If you’re planning on making a wheelchair van conversion process for a standard van that you’ll add a wheelchair lift or other mechanized accessory to, it’s important you first consider all of the various costs that you’ll need to expect. Having a wheelchair van access vehicle can be the difference between mobility and total immobility for some people, so the cost and time involved in this effort is oftentimes well worth your effort. However, wheelchair transportation in a standard vehicle is not inexpensive, and there are a number of different steps you’ll have to go through to pay for the conversion process. Read on for a brief overview of these steps.
Step 1 — Purchase the Vehicle
The single biggest cost associated with a wheelchair van conversion is the cost of the vehicle itself. If you already own a sizable minivan or a full size van, you’re starting off the process in a good position. You’ll still likely have to make some adjustments to the vehicle in order to make it work ideally for your situation, however. Otherwise, if you don’t already have a vehicle that will be suitable, you’ll need to buy one. The best option for the cheapest deal is to buy a slightly used vehicle that is still in excellent working condition.
Step 2 — Price Out and Purchase the Lift
There are a number of different types of wheelchair lifts that are commonly installed in vans to help people access them. These depend upon whether the person who makes use of the wheelchair will be driving primarily, sitting in the passenger seat at the front of the vehicle, or sitting behind the driver. It also depends upon the vehicle itself and on the size of the interior space of the car as well as the type of side doors that the vehicle has. Take the time to thoroughly research which option will be best for you, given your needs and the specifications of your car.
Purchase the lift online or through a specialty auto repair and auto body shop in your area. Most lifts costs upwards of $1,000, and you may also need to factor in a shipping and handling charge as well.
Step 3 — Have the Lift Installed
If you’re mechanically oriented and can take the time and effort to install the lift, some lifts are relatively easy to be installed in a vehicle on their own. Others, however, are quite an intensive and difficult process, particularly if you haven’t had experience with an installation of this type before. If this is the case, it’s best to hire a professional mechanic or installation service to put the lift into your car so you can be sure the procedure is done correctly.
If you have any additional questions or concerns about the process of purchasing and setting up a wheelchair accessible van, speak with a professional.