Wheelchair Van Problems You Can Avoid

BraunAbility Infloor ramp close up of a BraunAbility Pacifica

Wheelchair Van Maintenance Tips From a Handicap Vehicle Expert

Dan Walsh, Chief Operating Officer and co-owner of Bussani Mobility, has decades of experience in mobility service and was asked to give customers his top maintenance tips to ensure the longevity of their wheelchair accessible vehicle. We posed the reverse question to him as well, "What are the worst things you can do to your wheelchair accessible van to guarantee it gives you trouble?" 

Top Five Mistakes That Kill Your Wheelchair Van 

1. Lending Your Van to Friends or Family

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 to help your friends and family with moving their prized possessions. Your product is WAY too important to risk damage.

2. Using Incorrect Wheelchair Securement Systems

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. Improperly Insuring Your Accessible Vehicle

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. (Work with BraunAbility Finance to secure financing upfront. Learn more here.)

4. Letting a Local Mechanic Repair Your Vehicle After 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. Keeping Your Vehicle Dirty

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!

Before his promotion to COO, Dan Walsh served as the Service/Production Manager for Bussani Mobility in Bethpage, New York and oversaw the complete service needs of both OEM and conversion vehicles. Dan was also responsible for reconditioning used vehicles and maintaining the dealership's sales and rental fleets. 


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