Factors to Weigh When Considering a Wheelchair-Accessible Vehicle Investment

Factors to Weigh When Considering a Wheelchair-Accessible Vehicle Investment

Purchasing a wheelchair-accessible vehicle (WAV) represents a significant investment for many families and individuals. With a range of options available, from lowered floor minivans to full-size conversion vans, it’s important to weigh several factors to choose the right WAV to meet your needs and budget.

Hire a WAV First
The first step involves honestly evaluating your current and future mobility needs. Consider the type of wheelchair or mobility aid you use now and may need in the future. Decide whether wheelchair accessible vehicle hire is a better option than buying or leasing one. Hiring a WAV is a good way to assess your needs before you commit to buying or leasing.

Features to Look For
Measure the size and weight to determine door width, interior dimensions, and weight capacity required in a WAV. If you need a ramp for access, measure the ideal slope and turning radius. Identify any accessories, like tie-downs or hand controls, needed to safely secure your mobility device and allow you to drive independently. Defining these needs upfront will narrow your WAV search.

Choosing Between New, Used and Rental Vehicles
New WAVs allow you to customise the vehicle but carry a higher upfront cost. Check for incentives like mobility schemes through Motability that provide lease options for new vehicles. Used WAVs offer a more affordable option, but may have higher mileage and wear. Inspect any used vehicle thoroughly and test its accessibility features. Mobility cars for hire may be more sensible if you don’t need a vehicle regularly. Weigh the costs against your budget and anticipated duration of use.

Assessing Frequency of Use in Daily Life
Consider how often you will rely on a WAV for daily tasks like commuting to work, shopping and errands, and social or recreational use. If it will be your primary vehicle, invest in features and interior space to maximise comfort, accessibility and storage. For occasional use, you may opt for a more basic model. Frequent drivers should also evaluate the reliability, fuel economy, and low-maintenance costs of different WAV options.

Researching Financing and Insurance
Finance options like bank loans, leasing, or mobility scheme allowances help make WAVs affordable. Comparison shop to get the best terms and lowest payments. Specialist insurers offer coverage for WAVs, but costs are higher than standard vehicles. Get quotes from multiple providers and ask about discounts for safety features. Factor in total financing, insurance, maintenance and running costs as part of the investment.

Prioritising Safety and Design Features
Don’t compromise on safety – look for a WAV that meets or exceeds safety standards, with features like entry ramps, wheelchair locks, and driver assistance technology. Also consider the overall design, including comfortable seating, storage, and ease of access into the driver area and the rear. Test drive WAVs you’re considering to experience the design and accessibility first-hand. Adding customisations later can be costly, so include features you need now.

Seeking Professional and User Reviews
Consult mobility specialists for advice on WAV models, features and customisations to best meet your needs. Join online forums to read user reviews highlighting the pros and cons of vehicles you’re considering based on real-world experience. Review any customer satisfaction surveys and recall issues. Taking the time to research helps ensure you select the most suitable WAV.

Investing in a WAV requires careful consideration of many factors surrounding your mobility needs, budget, usage, and feature preferences. Evaluating all of these elements will guide you to pick the right accessible vehicle to maintain your active lifestyle. Take time to weigh all of these key points as you research the WAV options available.