A Beginner’s Guide to Buying Your First Wheelchair Van
Shopping for your first wheelchair accessible vehicle can be an intimidating experience. Your first experience with handicap vehicles should open doors and show you the possibilities– not stress you out.
We’re here to make sure that happens. That’s why we’ve developed a beginners guide to ease your mind and help you know where to start when shopping for a mobility van.
We’ve designed this guide as a broad look at both the why and how of accessible vehicle shopping. Start here for the basics and then– when you are ready–you can dive into more detail by contacting your local BraunAbility mobility dealer to discuss your specific needs in detail.
What are Handicap Vans?
Handicap vans are wheelchair accessible vehicles that have been converted for the convenience of motorists with mobility challenges. Instead of trying to make a vehicle work for your unique mobility needs, these vehicles are designed to work for you.
In short, a wheelchair accessible van provides accessibility to the places you want to go and customized convenience that fits your daily life and style.
Why Do I Need a Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle?
Imagine driving a vehicle that was literally designed just for you. The right wheelchair accessible vehicle is customized to fit your physical needs, your lifestyle, your personal style, and – of course – your budget.
Your needs and preferences should guide the way: From getting in and out of the vehicle with ease; to transporting your mobility equipment; to accessing your favorite spots; to accommodating your family and friends.
The need for a mobility vehicle is driven by the need to live your life at your pace, on your terms. Your local BraunAbility dealer is there to help you find the perfect van that checks all the boxes.
But Aren’t Handicap Vans Ugly?
When many people hear the phrase “wheelchair accessible van” the vehicle they picture is neither attractive, nor exciting. Negative past experiences and bad impressions of outdated models are very common.
The mobility vehicles of today are not your mother’s handicap van.
A visit to your local mobility dealer will permanently change your view of handicap accessible vehicles. Dealers now offer stylish models from your favorite automakers, including those from Toyota, Dodge, and Honda. Modifications are available on a wide array of vehicle types.
Practical features like lifts, ramps, and floor plans are accompanied by comfort, design, and technology choices from upholstery to paint schemes to gadgets. Finding a van that fits your mobility needs no longer means sacrificing personal style.
Mobility Features That Fit Your Lifestyle
It’s true. When shopping for handicap accessible vans today, you can choose from many personal luxury features. Satellite radio, portable Blu-ray players and heated seats can make an accessible vehicle feel like home away from home.
But you’ll want to start with the practical features that provide the right accessibility.
Choose between a ramp or lift: The right option offers convenient entry and exit in your particular mobility equipment.
Choose the right seats: Do you want removable seats? Where do you want locations of seats vs open space to comfortably fit passengers– both in and out of wheelchairs?
Choose entry door placement: Do you want to enter the vehicle from the rear or side?
Choose the right floor and ceiling height: Find the option that suits your wheelchair, driving preferences, and passengers.
Choose between a manual or power ramp: Find the best option for your convenience and budget.
Choose Driving Controls: Do you want/need modified pedals, hand controls, or other driving aids?
The choices in features vary as widely as the mobility needs of the driver and passengers. While many find this amazing number of choices in options, styles, and features freeing…
We understand it can also be overwhelming.
Mobility Vehicle Options: Exciting or Overwhelming?
With so many options, it’s easy to worry if you’re investing in the one that will fit your needs and keep you safe in the long run.
It’s true, there is a lot of information to consider. For example:
What type of lift will work with your scooter or wheelchair?
What type of floor/headroom works best for your driver/passengers?
What seating configuration will best accommodate your passengers and equipment?
Will you require driving aids?
Where is the best location for your handicap accessible ramp or lift?
So how do you navigate the vast array of options? Your local BraunAbility dealer is there to help with these questions and other ones you may not have even considered. They are experts in determining a customer’s needs and matching them to just the right vehicle.
Work With a Mobility Expert
Our Product Specialist Team at BraunAbility along with your local dealer mobility specialists make the selection process as simple and clear as possible. Have a limited budget or no working knowledge of the kind of wheelchair van you need? They will walk you through the questions and work out all the details. Let them be your guide to the options you need for your budget, way of life, and style.
Here are just a few ways mobility experts can help:
Understand Your Daily Needs
A mobility expert will start by getting to know you, your family, and your lifestyle.
Who will be driving?
Who and how many will be riding in it?
Where will you be parking?
Do you love road trips?
What equipment will you be transporting for your mobility needs and hobbies?
These questions all determine the best vehicle and conversion options for you.
Understand Your Budget
Mobility experts know that pricing can be a real hurdle for many buyers. That is why they have a dedicated team working with leasing, financing, and special agencies that ensure you have options.
Government Incentives: Your expert will lead you through incentives that exist from federal, state, and local agencies to help you get into a vehicle as soon as possible.
Buying Options: Should you buy a new vehicle and customize it to your needs? Is there a used vehicle available with the equipment you need? Can you buy a used vehicle and modify it to suit your daily life? Your expert can advise you.
Finance Options: What finance options will best suit your budget, fit your monthly payment capacity, or save you money? Your expert will guide the way.
Understand Your Ongoing Needs
Your local BraunAbility dealership understands the ongoing needs of your vehicle and the specialized equipment inside. They can advise you on the perfect maintenance schedule for your unique vehicle. They have access to all the parts necessary and are certified to repair both your vehicle and all of its customized pieces.
Trust your local BraunAbility certified mobility experts to guide you to the right product for your daily needs and keep it serving you reliably for years to come. It’s a comfort to have a dependable expert to rely on.
The right customized mobility vehicle can provide access to the people and places you want to see and all the things you want to do. When you are ready to embark on the journey to your new trusted ride, your BraunAbility dealer is ready to provide the answers and guidance you need every step of the way.