A while back Dan Walsh, Service Manager for Bussani Mobility, was asked to give his Top Five Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Wheelchair Van. We posed the reverse question to him as well, “What are the worst things you can do to your van to guarantee it gives you trouble?” Take a look at his Top Five:
1. Lending Your Van – I’ve seen many wheelchair accessible vehicles used as a moving van, resulting in damage to the lift or ramp. I don’t know about you, but I can think of at least 10 different rental companies off the top of my head. Your product is WAY too important for that.
2. Wheelchair Securement – Taking the time to set up a proper wheelchair securement system is essential. In the end it will save you a lot of time and – more importantly – it’ll keep you safer.
3. Protect your Investment – So, now that you’ve purchased your wheelchair van, don’t you want to protect it? I spend the better part of my week explaining to major insurance companies what an accessible van is. Your dealer should have connections with responsible insurance brokers to help you with this, but ultimately, making sure your vehicle is insured properly is the consumer’s responsibility. I recommend having a copy of your bill of sale sent to your insurance company with a certified receipt.
4. Damage from Accidents – If they have an accident, I tell all of my customers, “CALL ME FIRST!” because I know what should and, most importantly, what should not be repaired after a collision. As a NMEDA/QAP-certified dealer, I rely on my 24-hour service for both mobility emergencies as well as any unfortunate accidents that may occur. I’ve spent hours un-doing what an uneducated appraiser has offered as payment on a van because they didn’t know its true value or the protocol for repairs.
5. Cleanliness – Simple as it seems, keeping a wheelchair accessible vehicle clean prevents a lot of debris from getting dragged into door tracks, lift barriers and motors. This is the cause of a major part of our daily repairs.
So, take this advice from someone who knows the damage these mistakes can make (not to mention the money and independence they cost). If you’ve seen any other critical mistakes, please share them!
Dan Walsh has served as the Service/Production Manager for Bussani Mobility in Bethpage, New York for the past five years. In this position, he supervises new vehicle production and oversees complete service needs of both OEM and conversion vehicles. Dan is responsible for reconditioning used vehicles and maintaining the dealership’s sales and rental fleets. He oversees all auto-body estimates and repairs, as well as purchasing from part vendors. Dan hires all service-related positions, from mechanics to porters to drivers, and manages the dealership’s 24-hour emergency service.