For those living with disabilities, the freedom to get from A to B by car is an incredible boost to one’s quality of life. With a wheelchair access vehicle (WAV), you get the added benefit of being able to get in and out without having to leave your chair.
Not only does this save time and effort, it also allows you to still enjoy any bespoke support provided by your wheelchair’s specialist seating system.
WAVs vary in size and passenger space like any vehicle, but are fitted with a ramp or lift to facilitate the wheelchair, which is then secured, generally by a tie-down system and a seatbelt.
Some models, drive-from-wheelchair WAVs, are fitted with automatic doors, ramps and docking systems to allow the user to access the vehicle without assistance.
Either way, buying a used WAV requires special consideration above and beyond even that involved in buying a regular used car. This guide contains some important details of what to look out for to make the process as streamlined as possible.
Keep the logistics of your vehicle in mind. Even the smallest WAV will be larger than most standard vehicles, and when you take into consideration the extra space needed to deploy a ramp or lift, space requirements can rack up.
Also think about the kind of roads you drive on most often. Buying a large used disabled vehicle might make for a more comfortable drive, but it may not be the most practical if you’re used to thin country roads. Remember, most adaptations involve lowering the floor of your vehicle. Consider what effect this will have on your ground clearance.
Thirdly, assess your regular passenger load. If it’s just yourself and a carer, you can get away with a smaller vehicle to save money, space and your all-important carbon footprint.
Most vehicles start life as standard models and are then converted to WAVs. This means you need to take care that the vehicle you choose has been adapted to meet your needs, and that all the relevant documentation and safety standards apply.
Something that often gets forgotten is that some of the more common adaptations to vehicles involve moving the fuel tank, or even replacing it with a smaller one to make space.
It’s worthwhile to ask what this means for the vehicle’s fuel consumption and MPG. Also enquire if any other optional extra features of the original vehicle have had to be removed or compromised to make room for mobility adaptations.
Nothing beats a test drive to ensure that a vehicle meets your requirements, but take it one step further and do a trial run of an actual typical journey. Take any bags you might usually take with you and even a couple of passengers for a fair, representative experience.
To recap, when choosing a WAV, work through this checklist:
Singlewell bears all this in mind, and more, when selecting our stock of WAVs. We’re proud to provide a broad range of used disabled vehicles, along with used vehicles for everyone.
If this article has inspired you to take a fresh look at your travel arrangements, come and visit us today.
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