Wheelchair Access Vehicles: Converting vs. Buying
If you depend on a wheelchair to help increase your mobility, or if you plan to drive a vehicle in which one or more people who require a wheelchair will be riding, you may wish to consider purchasing one of several different specialized wheelchair access vehicles. Handicap vans and smaller vehicles are those that are specially designed or customized in order to better accomodate people who rely on wheelchairs. These vehicles oftentimes have a seat or multiple rows of seats removed, as well as a special hydraulic pump system or another mechanism to assist the person using the wheelchair in accessing the vehicle.
When paying for wheelchair vehicles, there are two primary ways that you can go about obtaining a car of this type; converting a standard vehicle and purchasing a specially designed one instead. Read on for a comparison of these two methods.
Converting a Standard Vehicle
Generally, the process of converting a standard vehicle is less expensive than that of buying a specially designed wheelchair accessible car. First of all, these arrangements can oftentimes be made on vehicles that you already own, which saves a great deal of money. Additionally, this allows the flexibility to determine exactly which car and/or wheelchair access lift you'll purchase. Thus, you can customize the car to your exact needs.
There are, however, a few risks also associated with converting a standard vehicle as well. These include the potential for you to install the lift incorrectly or for you to end up purchasing the wrong lift as well. Furthermore, the process of installing the lift can be quite expensive and difficult as well, and there is the potential for damage to be inflicted upon your vehicle during the process.
Buying a Customized Vehicle
The advantages to buying a customized wheelchair accessible vehicle include the fact that these vehicles come ready to use. If you need a wheelchair accessible vehicle immediately, this is perhaps the best way to go, as you don't have to worry about the process of selecting and installing a lift. However, the price of these cars is typically higher than it would be to purchase the lift and the vehicle separately.
Another consideration to keep in mind when deciding whether to purchase a customized vehicle or not is that fully customized vehicles are generally somewhat difficult to come by. This might make the process of searching for an appropriate wheelchair accessible vehicle frustrating and time consuming for you. In many cases, you'll have to continue searching for weeks or even months before you find a pre designed vehicle that suits your needs and taste.
There is no single choice that works best for all people. Instead, it's best to consider the amount of money that you have available to you, as well as the vehicles that are available in your area. If you already have a car that could easily be converted, this is another important consideration.