By Monique McGivney, www.vantagemobility.com
I get this question a lot and it’s a great question. Shopping for an accessible minivan can be confusing and mind-numbing, but it doesn’t have to be.
I’ve put together some questions that you should ask, that will give you a little more knowledge about this major purchase you are about to make.
Just like with anything, I always recommend that you do your due diligence; talk to other people who have accessible vans, talk with professionals (driver evaluators, OT, PT, etc.) and always try out different products. Each manufacturer converts the vehicles in different ways, with different features and benefits. Find the one that best fits you and your family’s needs, not the one that looks the prettiest or the one that is the cheapest.
10 Questions You Should Ask…
1. What are the differences between an in-floor and fold-out ramp?
2. Why is a 55” door opening height so important?
3. Why is an 11” lowered floor beneficial?
4. What does “wheelchair maneuverability” in an accessible van mean?
5. How do I know how much interior headroom I need in an accessible van?
6. Is the functionality of the front passenger seat the same with all ramp systems?
7. What is the back-up system for the conversion in case of a power failure?
8. How much ground clearance do I need to clear speed bumps?
9. What is the benefit of having an 8° ramp angle?
10. Can I purchase a minivan and have it converted or do I have to buy the van already converted?
I am intentionally not putting the answers to these questions because it should be a dialog you have with a local Mobility Equipment Dealer. Ask these questions and demo different vans to find the answers.
Question #1 for example seems simple but once you get into two vans; one with a fold-out ramp and one with an in-floor ramp you will see many more differences. Those differences will be more or less apparent depending on where you or the person in a wheelchair will be positioned in the van.
If you have ever wondered what goes into making a wheelchair accessible minivan, check out this video, How It’s Built by VMI.
Monique, Marketing Manager for VMI (Vantage Mobility International), is all about helping end-users in scooters, manual chairs and power chairs determine the most effective means of transportation. Don’t just sit there…Let’s Roll!