Tag Archives: Maintenance

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R. Dooley

Service and Repair for Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles and/or Accessible Ramp/Lift?

Are you having trouble with your wheelchair van, ramp van, braun ability van, vantage mobility van, eldorado, amerivan, ricon lift, braun lift, grey market van, ams Legend, Edge, Edge II, Freedom, FR ?

No Worries We Can Fix It!

Even if you have had other Toyota dealer, Dodge dealer, Ford dealer, Honda dealer or a different adaptive mobility equipment dealer try and fix it. Call us, we can help.

Almost all wheelchair van and lift problems can be attributed to three main things. I would like to talk a little about each one and what you can do to be proactive in preventing problems that could stop your lift from operating.?

Reason Number 1: Operator Error. It may not be P.C. to bring it up, but many issues are caused by the user hurrying, not taking the proper precautions, or simply attempting to operate the van or lift in a situation it is not designed for. Let me expand on this a little.

We all know the obvious things an operator can do wrong. Lowering a lift on to extremely uneven ground or folding a platform into a van door that is not fully opened, if you have manual doors. The things that you need to think about are the issues that aren’t so obvious, but can still cause damage. Things like making sure you fully fold the platform when you are putting it in the stowed position. A lot of times people tend to release the fold switch too soon because the lift makes excessive noise when it cinches tight. Far from being a problem, that noise is a good thing What you’re hearing is the electric actuator “ratcheting,” which tells you that the lift is fully stowed and will not rattle as much while you’re driving. A tightly stowed platform will prevent certain lift components from wearing out prematurely, so be sure to keep the fold button pressed!

Another not-so-obvious issue is to make sure the outer roll stop deploys fully before you exit the platform. Think about it. If you are in a hurry and the roll stop is not completely down on the ground, your weight when rolling off of it is going to put excessive stress on those parts and you could cause problems that are easily avoidable. Even if the tip of the roll stop is up just a little bit, take the time to lower it completely before you exit the platform.?

Reason Number 2: Lack of Maintenance. Maintenance, maintenance, maintenance – I can’t say those words enough! Your dealer should set up a maintenance program for you and your lift should be in their shop for a regular check up at least twice a year. Every lift built after 2005 has a cycle counter on it that will tell us the total number of times you’ve used your lift, and all lifts should be maintained every 750 cycles. This is a short point. All you need to know is that if you don’t maintain your lift, something will eventually stop working!

Reason Number 3: Broken Parts. No matter what the product, we’ve all encountered that unexpected broken part that seems to go bad for no apparent reason. This actually represents a small percentage of wheelchair lift failures, and it can usually be avoided if the van or lift is maintained on a regular basis (see reason #2 above!). A typical situation might be a wiring harness that gets cut by component. This type of issue rarely happens out-of-the-blue, and with routine maintenance your dealer should be able to see the problem starting to occur and fix it before it gets worse.

That about sums it up The bottom line is that a properly operated and maintained wheelchair van or lift should give you years of reliable service. Read your manual and work closely with Automotive Innovations to make sure your lift is ready to go whenever you are. If you have any questions or are having an issue with your wheelchair van or lift feel free to call us at 508-697-6006.

Information & Maintenance: Wiper Blades

An easy way to remember to proactively change your wiper blades is to replace them when the time changes. Whether your alarm clock is gaining or losing an hour, change all your clocks, and then replace your wiper blades.

When inspecting wiper blades, look for the following:

  • Broken frame – detachment of frame arms at joints or connection points.
  • Metal Corrosion – especially at joints and claws.
  • Visible cracks, tears, and missing pieces in the rubber squeegee’s edge.
  • Flex rubber squeegee back and forth to see if it is still flexible. Aged squeegees will have difficulty conforming to the shape of your windshield and create streaks.
  • Check squeegee wiping edge for rounded edges which can prevent the wiper blade from making strong contact with the windshield and reduces wipe quality.
  • Tug to ensure wiper blade has been securely installed on the wiper arm.
  • Check that squeegee is secure in the wiper frame.

Remember to check your wiper blades as part of your regular preventative maintenance!

Wiper Blade Maintenance Tips
Visibility is fundamental to safe driving. Although drivers depend on their vehicles’ wiper blades to clear away rain, sleet and snow, many wait to replace them until they need them the most. So remembering to maintain wiper blades regularly can maximize visibility, efficiency and reliability.

Wiper blades deteriorate due to many environmental factors including:

  • Sun: Ultraviolet light and ozone deterioration
  • Oil: Car waxes and exhaust hold rubber-deteriorating oil
  • Airborne debris: Sand, mud and dust carried in the wind
  • Moisture: Acid rain and salt water (in moist air both near the shore and inland)

Remember, wiper blades should be checked every six months and changed at least once a year. Evaluate both the rubber squeegee and the metal frames to avoid common problems such as streaking, skipping, chattering, wearing and splitting – all offenders of reduced visibility and slowed reaction time while driving.

Common Wiper Problems

  • Streaking occurs when the rubber squeegee dries, hardens and cracks. It can also be caused by tree sap, road tar and other foreign substances collected on either the glass or the blade.
  • Skipping occurs when the blade develops a curvature from lack of use (e.g. left in the ‘parked position’ for an extended length of time).
  • Wearing occurs with extensive use and is when the rubber edges are rounded instead of squared.
  • Splitting is caused when the sun’s ultraviolet rays penetrate the rubber squeegee, causing it to breakdown and separate from the frame.
  • Bent Refill Vertebra and Bent Frames cause inconsistent contact with the glass surface, creating streaking or skipping.

Avoid these common problems and extend the life of your wiper blades by following these simple steps:

  • Clean your windshield every time you fill your gas tank.
  • Gently wipe the rubber squeegee with a damp paper towel to remove any loose dirt or oil.
  • Never use your windshield wipers to de-ice your windshield. Instead, either use an ice scraper or use your defroster to melt snow and ice.
  • Pull your wiper blades away from the windshield during winter months to prevent ice build up on the rubber squeegee and to prevent them from sticking to the windshield.

Efficient wiper blades are as important to a vehicle’s safe operation as clean oil and good tires. So remember to change your wiper blades at least once a year, to inspect them frequently for wear and tear and to enjoy the view!

Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle Heater Malfunctions and Maintenance

That first day when the world is coated in frost and the temperature has plummeted below freezing is not the time to find out your wheelchair vans heater is not working. Not only would the inside of your car feel like an ice box, but a broken heater can prevent your defroster from blowing warm air to your windshield to eliminate ice and fog, which can pose a hazard while driving. Not having a working heater could even become a dire situation, if you ever end up stranded.

That is why we recommend that you turn your car heater on long before you really need the heat. If your heater doesn’t respond with a warm blast of air, call and schedule an appointment today.

Causes of a breakdown
Your mobility van heater could stop working for a number of reasons, including:

  • A low antifreeze/water level in the radiator due to a leak in the cooling system.
  • A bad thermostat that isn’t allowing the engine to properly warm up.
  • A blower fan that isn’t working properly.
  • Coolant that contains rust particles or becomes otherwise contaminated and is blocking the heating core from circulating air into the cabin properly.

Depending on the problem, different types of repairs could be required. There really isn’t a heater unit, like a furnace in your house, that you can just replace. It is a combination of different things that provide heat into the vehicle. It’s very difficult to give a cost due to the wide variety of possible problems without inspecting the vehicle first.

One of the most important components, the heater core, which acts like a small radiator, passes the hot air from under the dashboard into the handicapped accessible vehicle. They can cost several hundred dollars to replace and sometimes takes a day or more to repair.

A decrease in the coolant level or a leak in the coolant system is one of the more common problems. Coolant doesn’t evaporate on its own. Topping it off may help in the short term, but it’s an indication of a deeper problem and should be checked out. You shouldn’t have to add anything at all if everything is working well. It can damage the motor if there is low heat from too little coolant.

A leak could be as simple as a loose hose clamp, or a major problem like a leaking engine cylinder head gasket, which can cause serious damage to the engine and cost several hundred dollars to replace.

Maintenance can prevent breakdowns
Several components make up the heating system, so unless you have experience with wheelchair accessible vehicle maintenance, it’s best to have a us diagnose the problem.

In general terms, a heating system works when the vehicle receives heat from the engine’s coolant system. Once the engine reaches its operating temperature — controlled by the thermostat — it heats up the coolant and water mixture, passes it through hoses and valves and into the heating core, which resembles a miniature radiator. A blower fan then pushes the warm air from the heating core through the cabin filter and into the vehicle.

The No. 1 tip is to have a mechanic asses your heater regularly by having a mechanic checking the coolant level and the other components. However, the coolant in newer vehicles may not need service until 60,000 to 100,000 miles, and heating problems usually don’t occur on newer vehicles.

Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle Heater Malfunctions and Maintenance

That first day when the world is coated in frost and the temperature has plummeted below freezing is not the time to find out your wheelchair vans heater is not working. Not only would the inside of your car feel like an ice box, but a broken heater can prevent your defroster from blowing warm air to your windshield to eliminate ice and fog, which can pose a hazard while driving. Not having a working heater could even become a dire situation, if you ever end up stranded.

That is why we recommend that you turn your car heater on long before you really need the heat. If your heater doesn’t respond with a warm blast of air, call and schedule an appointment today.

Causes of a breakdown
Your mobility van heater could stop working for a number of reasons, including:

  • A low antifreeze/water level in the radiator due to a leak in the cooling system.
  • A bad thermostat that isn’t allowing the engine to properly warm up.
  • A blower fan that isn’t working properly.
  • Coolant that contains rust particles or becomes otherwise contaminated and is blocking the heating core from circulating air into the cabin properly.

Depending on the problem, different types of repairs could be required. There really isn’t a heater unit, like a furnace in your house, that you can just replace. It is a combination of different things that provide heat into the vehicle. It’s very difficult to give a cost due to the wide variety of possible problems without inspecting the vehicle first.

One of the most important components, the heater core, which acts like a small radiator, passes the hot air from under the dashboard into the handicapped accessible vehicle. They can cost several hundred dollars to replace and sometimes takes a day or more to repair.

A decrease in the coolant level or a leak in the coolant system is one of the more common problems. Coolant doesn’t evaporate on its own. Topping it off may help in the short term, but it’s an indication of a deeper problem and should be checked out. You shouldn’t have to add anything at all if everything is working well. It can damage the motor if there is low heat from too little coolant.

A leak could be as simple as a loose hose clamp, or a major problem like a leaking engine cylinder head gasket, which can cause serious damage to the engine and cost several hundred dollars to replace.

Maintenance can prevent breakdowns
Several components make up the heating system, so unless you have experience with wheelchair accessible vehicle maintenance, it’s best to have a us diagnose the problem.

In general terms, a heating system works when the vehicle receives heat from the engine’s coolant system. Once the engine reaches its operating temperature — controlled by the thermostat — it heats up the coolant and water mixture, passes it through hoses and valves and into the heating core, which resembles a miniature radiator. A blower fan then pushes the warm air from the heating core through the cabin filter and into the vehicle.

The No. 1 tip is to have a mechanic asses your heater regularly by having a mechanic checking the coolant level and the other components. However, the coolant in newer vehicles may not need service until 60,000 to 100,000 miles, and heating problems usually don’t occur on newer vehicles.

Wiper Blade Information & Maintenance

Wiper blades should be replaced every six months to a year or as soon as you notice a difference in driving visibility. When wiper blades no longer make proper contact with the windshield surface, they can begin to squeak, chatter, skip, smear or streak reducing driving visibility.

An easy way to remember to proactively change your wiper blades is to replace them when the time changes. Whether your alarm clock is gaining or losing an hour, change all your clocks, and then replace your wiper blades.

When inspecting wiper blades, look for the following:

  • Broken frame – detachment of frame arms at joints or connection points.
  • Metal Corrosion – especially at joints and claws.
  • Visible cracks, tears, and missing pieces in the rubber squeegee’s edge.
  • Flex rubber squeegee back and forth to see if it is still flexible. Aged squeegees will have difficulty conforming to the shape of your windshield and create streaks.
  • Check squeegee wiping edge for rounded edges which can prevent the wiper blade from making strong contact with the windshield and reduces wipe quality.
  • Tug to ensure wiper blade has been securely installed on the wiper arm.
  • Check that squeegee is secure in the wiper frame.

Remember to check your wiper blades as part of your regular preventative maintenance!

Wiper Blade Maintenance Tips
Visibility is fundamental to safe driving. Although drivers depend on their vehicles’ wiper blades to clear away rain, sleet and snow, many wait to replace them until they need them the most. So remembering to maintain wiper blades regularly can maximize visibility, efficiency and reliability.

Wiper blades deteriorate due to many environmental factors including:

  • Sun: Ultraviolet light and ozone deterioration
  • Oil: Car waxes and exhaust hold rubber-deteriorating oil
  • Airborne debris: Sand, mud and dust carried in the wind
  • Moisture: Acid rain and salt water (in moist air both near the shore and inland)

Remember, wiper blades should be checked every six months and changed at least once a year. Evaluate both the rubber squeegee and the metal frames to avoid common problems such as streaking, skipping, chattering, wearing and splitting – all offenders of reduced visibility and slowed reaction time while driving.

Common Wiper Problems

  • Streaking occurs when the rubber squeegee dries, hardens and cracks. It can also be caused by tree sap, road tar and other foreign substances collected on either the glass or the blade.
  • Skipping occurs when the blade develops a curvature from lack of use (e.g. left in the ‘parked position’ for an extended length of time).
  • Wearing occurs with extensive use and is when the rubber edges are rounded instead of squared.
  • Splitting is caused when the sun’s ultraviolet rays penetrate the rubber squeegee, causing it to breakdown and separate from the frame.
  • Bent Refill Vertebra and Bent Frames cause inconsistent contact with the glass surface, creating streaking or skipping.

Avoid these common problems and extend the life of your wiper blades by following these simple steps:

  • Clean your windshield every time you fill your gas tank.
  • Gently wipe the rubber squeegee with a damp paper towel to remove any loose dirt or oil.
  • Never use your windshield wipers to de-ice your windshield. Instead, either use an ice scraper or use your defroster to melt snow and ice.
  • Pull your wiper blades away from the windshield during winter months to prevent ice build up on the rubber squeegee and to prevent them from sticking to the windshield.

Efficient wiper blades are as important to a vehicle’s safe operation as clean oil and good tires. So remember to change your wiper blades at least once a year, to inspect them frequently for wear and tear and to enjoy the view!

Rust Treatment

Owning any type of vehicle means that you have to commit to regular service and maintenance to keep it in good condition. Owning a wheelchair van and adaptive equipment is no different – you still need regular service to keep everything operating the way it should. However, it comes with some additional caveats – you can’t just go to any service center and ensure that you’re maintaining your wheelchair van or mobility equipment correctly.

Here at our Mobility Center, not only do we understand the importance of maintaining your mobility vehicle and adaptive equipment, but we take the needed steps to ensure that everything is always in top condition. No other mobility dealer (that we know of) offers the level of maintenance offered by us.

Rust Maintenance
Vehicles today are subject to rust and corrosion due to moisture, humidity, tons of road salt and other airborne pollutants that can cause rapid deterioration of your wheelchair van. If neglected, the damages can make your mobility investment of little value.  The thousands of yearly miles, environments and exposure to the elements of larger vehicles means they are a lot more likely to suffer from the effects of corrosion. Correct rust proofing on a regular basis can ensure that your vehicle does not suffer from corrosion related vehicle downtime and keep your van from falling apart.

** We highly recommend that everyone gets their wheelchair vans rust proofed at least twice a year. Once in Spring and again in the Fall. **

If you consider that new vehicles undergo thousands of spot welds and numerous bends and folds during assembly; this process damages the automobile coating systems, exposing these panels to corrosion. Besides body-panel damage, certain mechanical parts are also at risk – suspension mounts, hood-locking mechanisms, door hinges, brake cables – which are all susceptible to the damaging effects of rust on your wheelchair van.

To protect your vehicle against corrosion our rust proofing formula does more than just cover the metal required. A rust proofing product must be applied as a high-pressured spray, ensuring protection to your vehicle’s most critical areas by penetrating, displacing existing moisture and protecting the many vulnerable crevices of your automobile.

Benefits of rust treatment
Prevention is better than a cure. There are a number of products that can offer prevention against rust. Products are available either as oils, waxes, fluids and coatings.  The range is vast. Our rust prevention processes, products, plan and application have been found to be very effective and developed over more than 25 years and still remain affordable.

We are the only mobility dealer in New England to offer this service.
Our rust proofing processes is ever evolving and has been for more than 25 years.

Rust Treatment

Owning any type of vehicle means that you have to commit to regular service and maintenance to keep it in good condition. Owning a wheelchair van and adaptive equipment is no different – you still need regular service to keep everything operating the way it should. However, it comes with some additional caveats – you can’t just go to any service center and ensure that you’re maintaining your wheelchair van or mobility equipment correctly.

Here at our Mobility Center, not only do we understand the importance of maintaining your mobility vehicle and adaptive equipment, but we take the needed steps to ensure that everything is always in top condition. No other mobility dealer (that we know of) offers the level of maintenance offered by us.

Rust Maintenance
Vehicles today are subject to rust and corrosion due to moisture, humidity, tons of road salt and other airborne pollutants that can cause rapid deterioration of your wheelchair van. If neglected, the damages can make your mobility investment of little value.  The thousands of yearly miles, environments and exposure to the elements of larger vehicles means they are a lot more likely to suffer from the effects of corrosion. Correct rust proofing on a regular basis can ensure that your vehicle does not suffer from corrosion related vehicle downtime and keep your van from falling apart.

** We highly recommend that everyone gets their wheelchair vans rust proofed at least twice a year. Once in Spring and again in the Fall. **

If you consider that new vehicles undergo thousands of spot welds and numerous bends and folds during assembly; this process damages the automobile coating systems, exposing these panels to corrosion. Besides body-panel damage, certain mechanical parts are also at risk – suspension mounts, hood-locking mechanisms, door hinges, brake cables – which are all susceptible to the damaging effects of rust on your wheelchair van.

To protect your vehicle against corrosion our rust proofing formula does more than just cover the metal required. A rust proofing product must be applied as a high-pressured spray, ensuring protection to your vehicle’s most critical areas by penetrating, displacing existing moisture and protecting the many vulnerable crevices of your automobile.

Benefits of rust treatment
Prevention is better than a cure. There are a number of products that can offer prevention against rust. Products are available either as oils, waxes, fluids and coatings.  The range is vast. Our rust prevention processes, products, plan and application have been found to be very effective and developed over more than 25 years and still remain affordable.

We are the only mobility dealer in New England to offer this service.
Our rust proofing processes is ever evolving and has been for more than 25 years.

Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles: Summer Road Trip Preparation

Each year, the summer months bring a slew of adventurous opportunities including road trips, family outings and visits to special destinations like the beach and state parks. With these fun-filled plans in motion, the last thing you are going to want to be worrying about is car or handicap accessible vehicles maintenance. However, as the hottest season of the year, summer is also one of the most trying on your vehicle. Even if you are not exactly handy with a wrench, a quick trip to the mechanic can help you follow these trip-saving tips and make sure you reach your destination this summer.

Check tires.
Summer temperatures can significantly affect the pressure levels on your tires. Driving with an under or overinflated tire runs the risk of the tire bursting, really putting a damper on your vacation plans. To avoid getting stuck roadside, be sure to check your tire pressure regularly. Consult your car’s manual for the optimal range of pressure for your vehicle, and ensure that none of your tires falls below or over those numbers. While you are at it, also check the pressure of your spare tire, as that can make a big difference if you are in a bind.

Change oil.
Putting your car or handicapped vans through regular oil checks and changes can drastically improve your vehicle’s driving condition. From better gas mileage to an overall longer lifespan, your wheels will thank you for keeping them oiled up and ready to go. Experts recommend changing your vehicle’s oil every 3,000 miles. You can have a professional take care of it or even complete the process yourself.

Replace windshield wipers.
Although summer comes with the promise of pool days, it is also often known to spring sudden showers on unsuspecting drivers. The colder months can be quite harsh on windshield wipers with extreme temperatures, snow, ice and salt affecting the rubber blades and decreasing their efficiency. If you are finding that it takes a few swipes to clear your windshield, it is time to replace your blades.

Treat Rust.
Vehicles today are subject to rust and corrosion due to moisture, humidity, tons of road salt and other airborne pollutants that can cause rapid deterioration of your wheelchair van. If neglected, the damages can make your mobility investment of little value. The thousands of yearly miles, environments and exposure to the elements of larger vehicles means they are a lot more likely to suffer from the effects of corrosion. Correct rust proofing on a regular basis can ensure that your vehicle does not suffer from corrosion related vehicle downtime and keep your van from falling apart.

Stay cool.
One of the worst things you could hear during the hotter months is that the air conditioning has stopped working. Not only does this feature add comfort, it also prevents driver fatigue due to high temperatures. A cooling system that does not function properly has probably developed a leak out, allowing the refrigerant to escape. Prevent any further damage and have a professional take a look.

Prep Your Vehicle For Summer

Summer heat and unexpected breakdowns are hard on those with disabilities. High summer temperatures also take their toll on the engine. Follow the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule in the owner’s manual and your vehicle will hopefully make it through the summer in a breeze.

Some jobs you or a friend may be able do, while others are best left to the professionals.

  • Check the air conditioning and inspect belts and hoses. When is the last time you had the entire system inspected?
  • Inspect batteries and cables for corrosion, cracks and dirt. Have it tested if it’s near the end of its warranty. It’s a lot easier to replace a battery before a trip than replace a dead one on the side of the road.
  • Have a professional inspect your brake pads and linings for wear.
  • Change the engine oil and filter according to the service schedule. Check fluids, including coolant, brake, automatic transmission, windshield wiper and power steering.
  • Replace wiper blades once a year.
  • You probably check your tires’ air pressure, but what about the spare?
  • You can significantly alter the car’s performance by rotating the tires.
  • Test the lights – interior and exterior, including turn signals and high beams – to make sure they work. And clean them.
  • Change the air filter. A dirty filter lowers gas mileage and reduces engine performance.
  • Consider an inspection by a qualified technician before leaving on a trip. Repairs made on the road will be more costly.
  • A professional should inspect the radiator, pressure cap, belts and hoses. If it’s time, flush and refill the cooling system.

Buckle up and don’t leave home without your cell phone and your disabled parking permit.

It’s Time To Rust Proof Your Vehicle!

Spring has sprung
The snow is gone
& Rain has come
It’s time to rust proof your vehicle!

Owning any type of vehicle means that you have to commit to regular service and maintenance to keep it in good condition. Owning a wheelchair van and adaptive equipment is no different – you still need regular service to keep everything operating the way it should. However, it comes with some additional caveats – you can’t just go to any service center and ensure that you’re maintaining your wheelchair van or mobility equipment correctly.

Here at our Mobility Center, not only do we understand the importance of maintaining your mobility vehicle and adaptive equipment, but we take the needed steps to ensure that everything is always in top condition. No other mobility dealer (that we know of) offers the level of maintenance offered by us.

Rust Maintenance
Vehicles today are subject to rust and corrosion due to moisture, humidity, tons of road salt and other airborne pollutants that can cause rapid deterioration of your wheelchair van. If neglected, the damages can make your mobility investment of little value.  The thousands of yearly miles, environments and exposure to the elements of larger vehicles means they are a lot more likely to suffer from the effects of corrosion. Correct rust proofing on a regular basis can ensure that your vehicle does not suffer from corrosion related vehicle downtime and keep your van from falling apart.

** We highly recommend that everyone gets their wheelchair vans rust proofed at least twice a year. Once in Spring and again in the Fall. **

If you consider that new vehicles undergo thousands of spot welds and numerous bends and folds during assembly; this process damages the automobile coating systems, exposing these panels to corrosion. Besides body-panel damage, certain mechanical parts are also at risk – suspension mounts, hood-locking mechanisms, door hinges, brake cables – which are all susceptible to the damaging effects of rust on your wheelchair van.

To protect your vehicle against corrosion our rust proofing formula does more than just cover the metal required. A rust proofing product must be applied as a high-pressured spray, ensuring protection to your vehicle’s most critical areas by penetrating, displacing existing moisture and protecting the many vulnerable crevices of your automobile.

Benefits of rust treatment
Prevention is better than a cure. There are a number of products that can offer prevention against rust. Products are available either as oils, waxes, fluids and coatings.  The range is vast. Our rust prevention processes, products, plan and application have been found to be very effective and developed over more than 25 years and still remain affordable.

We are the only mobility dealer in New England to offer this service.
Our rust proofing processes is ever evolving and has been for more than 25 years.

Spring Rust Treatment

Owning any type of vehicle means that you have to commit to regular service and maintenance to keep it in good condition. Owning a wheelchair van and adaptive equipment is no different – you still need regular service to keep everything operating the way it should. However, it comes with some additional caveats – you can’t just go to any service center and ensure that you’re maintaining your wheelchair van or mobility equipment correctly.

Here at our Mobility Center, not only do we understand the importance of maintaining your mobility vehicle and adaptive equipment, but we take the needed steps to ensure that everything is always in top condition. No other mobility dealer offers the level of maintenance offered by us.

Rust Maintenance
Vehicles today are subject to rust and corrosion due to moisture, humidity, tons of road salt and other airborne pollutants that can cause rapid deterioration of your wheelchair van. If neglected, the damages can make your mobility investment of little value.  The thousands of yearly miles, environments and exposure to the elements of larger vehicles means they are a lot more likely to suffer from the effects of corrosion. Correct rust proofing on a regular basis can ensure that your vehicle does not suffer from corrosion related vehicle downtime and keep your van from falling apart.

** We highly recommend that everyone gets their wheelchair accessible vehicles rust proofed at least twice a year. Once in Spring and again in the Fall. **

If you consider that new vehicles undergo thousands of spot welds and numerous bends and folds during assembly; this process damages the automobile coating systems, exposing these panels to corrosion. Besides body-panel damage, certain mechanical parts are also at risk – suspension mounts, hood-locking mechanisms, door hinges, brake cables – which are all susceptible to the damaging effects of rust on your wheelchair van.

To protect your vehicle against corrosion our rust proofing formula does more than just cover the metal required. A rust proofing product must be applied as a high-pressured spray, ensuring protection to your vehicle’s most critical areas by penetrating, displacing existing moisture and protecting the many vulnerable crevices of your automobile.

Benefits of rust treatment
Prevention is better than a cure. There are a number of products that can offer prevention against rust. Products are available either as oils, waxes, fluids and coatings.  The range is vast. Our rust prevention processes, products, plan and application have been found to be very effective and developed over more than 25 years and still remain affordable.

We are the only mobility dealer in New England to offer this service.

Our rust proofing processes is ever evolving and has been for more than 25 years.

The Importance of Regular Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle Maintenance

Whether it’s an oil change or tire rotation, regularly servicing your wheelchair accessible vehicle can help save you time and money, as well as keep you safe on the road. Just as our bodies begin to show the signs of aging, cars, SUVs and vans also can experience diminished performance as time passes. Due to this natural process, it’s vital to get your vehicle checked out by professionals in order to ensure your vehicle’s longevity.

Save Money
While most things wear over time, regular maintenance can significantly decrease the chances of a major problem later on. Preventative and scheduled services are normally small and inexpensive jobs, and can also preserve resale value, saving you even more money.

Save Time
A major breakdown not only costs thousands of dollars, it can also put your vehicle out of working condition for weeks. The worse the damage is, the longer it will likely take a mechanic to get your van or car ready for the road again. Even if the downtime for your car isn’t more than a few hours, a breakdown on the road can be particularly difficult for people with limited mobility operating or riding in the vehicle.

Protect Yourself
Not only does maintenance and regular service save you time and money, it’s an important way to ensure you are safe inside your vehicle.

A wheelchair accessible or other adaptive vehicle can mean the difference between social freedom and considerable limitations. Take care of the investment in your freedom by following regular maintenance schedules and ensuring your ride is in the best shape possible!

How To Spring Your Vehicle Out of Winter

With record snowfalls and cold temperatures this winter has been a tough one, so it’s nice to know that Spring is just around the corner. That thick layer of dried road salt is a good reminder of just how hard winter has been on your vehicle, making the transition to spring an important time to give your car some much-needed TLC.

Battery: If you’ve started your car during extreme cold, you’ve heard the hesitation. Winter weather can be tough on all the starting components in your car like the alternator and starter. In turn, this increases the strain on the battery. Spring is a good time to get your battery tested and, if needed, replaced. If you’ve noticed that your interior lights are a bit dimmer or that your power windows move more slowly when the engine is off, this can be a sign that the end of your battery is near.

Brakes: Winter weather and road salt can be rough on your brakes. This is an important time to get these crucial safety items checked, including lines, hoses, parking brake and brake fluid.

Alignment: With potholes and heaves in the payment, there’s a good chance that winter may have knocked your car out of alignment. Getting your wheels realigned can save wear and tear on your tires and improve your gas mileage. Also a car that is out of alignment can be more difficult to steer and stop which can jeopardize your safety.

Tires: When the temperature changes, you may notice that your tires are a bit soft. Keep them at the right pressure for optimal gas mileage. Give a visual inspection to ensure that you have plenty of tread left, as well. Spring showers will mean wet and flooded roads, so be sure your tires can grip. If you are not certain what the tire pressure should be, check the information on the inside of your door.

Belts and hoses: Extreme temperatures can shorten the life of these vital engine components, leading to cracks and peeling on the belts and hoses. A quick inspection can help ensure that you won’t be surprised by a broken belt or hose.

Filters and Fluids: As part of your regular maintenance, be sure to have your filters and fluids checked, including engine oil, transmission fluid, brake fluid and antifreeze.

Wipers: Check your wipers for wear and cracks, and replace them if needed. Be sure that the wiper fluid reservoir is refilled.

Exterior: After months of sand and salt, it’s likely your car is well overdue for a washing. Winter’s road grime can be especially harsh on the exterior of your car, making a car wash a great idea. Besides, it will look great, too!

Under Your Vehicle: During winter vehicles are subject to rust and corrosion due to tons of road salt and other airborne pollutants that can cause rapid deterioration of your vehicle. Rust is an example of corrosion. Rust is a serious problem and spreads like a rash. It can shorten the lifespan and value of any vehicle. Correct rust proofing on a regular basis can ensure that your vehicle does not suffer from corrosion related vehicle downtime and keep your van from falling apart. The best time to prevent rust damage to your vehicle is in Autumn: before the first snowflake falls and Spring: after the first heavy rain fall; a little vehicle maintenance will help keep the rust away.

Six-Month Maintenance on Accessible Vehicles

Every vehicle needs maintenance on a periodic basis, and a wheelchair-accessible vehicle is no exception. Do you take your van to a regular mechanic occasionally for oil changes and tune-ups and then a mobility dealer for the adaptive equipment check-up every six months?

Going to two different places when you don’t need to is poor time management. For smooth operation of your time, vehicle and adaptive equipment, skip the mechanic and take it to a us – we can do both in just one trip.

We have the training and experience needed to maintain and repair complicated, high-tech systems and controls installed in modern wheelchair accessible vans and the expertise in dozens of features that a regular mechanic is not trained to repair.

Wiper Blade Information & Maintenance

Wiper blades should be replaced every six months to a year or as soon as you notice a difference in driving visibility. When wiper blades no longer make proper contact with the windshield surface, they can begin to squeak, chatter, skip, smear or streak reducing driving visibility.

Wiper Blade Information & Maintenance

An easy way to remember to proactively change your wiper blades is to replace them when the time changes. Whether your alarm clock is gaining or losing an hour, change all your clocks, and then replace your wiper blades.

When inspecting wiper blades, look for the following:

  • Broken frame – detachment of frame arms at joints or connection points.
  • Metal Corrosion – especially at joints and claws.
  • Visible cracks, tears, and missing pieces in the rubber squeegee’s edge.
  • Flex rubber squeegee back and forth to see if it is still flexible. Aged squeegees will have difficulty conforming to the shape of your windshield and create streaks.
  • Check squeegee wiping edge for rounded edges which can prevent the wiper blade from making strong contact with the windshield and reduces wipe quality.
  • Tug to ensure wiper blade has been securely installed on the wiper arm.
  • Check that squeegee is secure in the wiper frame.

Remember to check your wiper blades as part of your regular preventative maintenance!

Wiper Blade Maintenance Tips
Visibility is fundamental to safe driving. Although drivers depend on their vehicles’ wiper blades to clear away rain, sleet and snow, many wait to replace them until they need them the most. So remembering to maintain wiper blades regularly can maximize visibility, efficiency and reliability.

Wiper blades deteriorate due to many environmental factors including:

  • Sun: Ultraviolet light and ozone deterioration
  • Oil: Car waxes and exhaust hold rubber-deteriorating oil
  • Airborne debris: Sand, mud and dust carried in the wind
  • Moisture: Acid rain and salt water (in moist air both near the shore and inland)

Remember, wiper blades should be checked every six months and changed at least once a year. Evaluate both the rubber squeegee and the metal frames to avoid common problems such as streaking, skipping, chattering, wearing and splitting – all offenders of reduced visibility and slowed reaction time while driving.

Common Wiper Problems

  • Streaking occurs when the rubber squeegee dries, hardens and cracks. It can also be caused by tree sap, road tar and other foreign substances collected on either the glass or the blade.
  • Skipping occurs when the blade develops a curvature from lack of use (e.g. left in the ‘parked position’ for an extended length of time).
  • Wearing occurs with extensive use and is when the rubber edges are rounded instead of squared.
  • Splitting is caused when the sun’s ultraviolet rays penetrate the rubber squeegee, causing it to breakdown and separate from the frame.
  • Bent Refill Vertebra and Bent Frames cause inconsistent contact with the glass surface, creating streaking or skipping.

Avoid these common problems and extend the life of your wiper blades by following these simple steps:

  • Clean your windshield every time you fill your gas tank.
  • Gently wipe the rubber squeegee with a damp paper towel to remove any loose dirt or oil.
  • Never use your windshield wipers to de-ice your windshield. Instead, either use an ice scraper or use your defroster to melt snow and ice.
  • Pull your wiper blades away from the windshield during winter months to prevent ice build up on the rubber squeegee and to prevent them from sticking to the windshield.

Efficient wiper blades are as important to a vehicle’s safe operation as clean oil and good tires. So remember to change your wiper blades at least once a year, to inspect them frequently for wear and tear and to enjoy the view!

Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle Heater Malfunctions and Maintenance

Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle Heater Malfunctions and Maintenance

That first day when the world is coated in frost and the temperature has plummeted below freezing is not the time to find out your wheelchair vans heater is not working. Not only would the inside of your car feel like an ice box, but a broken heater can prevent your defroster from blowing warm air to your windshield to eliminate ice and fog, which can pose a hazard while driving. Not having a working heater could even become a dire situation, if you ever end up stranded.

That is why we recommend that you turn your car heater on long before you really need the heat. If your heater doesn’t respond with a warm blast of air, call and schedule an appointment today.

Causes of a breakdown
Your mobility van heater could stop working for a number of reasons, including:

  • A low antifreeze/water level in the radiator due to a leak in the cooling system.
  • A bad thermostat that isn’t allowing the engine to properly warm up.
  • A blower fan that isn’t working properly.
  • Coolant that contains rust particles or becomes otherwise contaminated and is blocking the heating core from circulating air into the cabin properly.

Depending on the problem, different types of repairs could be required. There really isn’t a heater unit, like a furnace in your house, that you can just replace. It is a combination of different things that provide heat into the vehicle. It’s very difficult to give a cost due to the wide variety of possible problems without inspecting the vehicle first.

One of the most important components, the heater core, which acts like a small radiator, passes the hot air from under the dashboard into the handicapped accessible vehicle. They can cost several hundred dollars to replace and sometimes takes a day or more to repair.

A decrease in the coolant level or a leak in the coolant system is one of the more common problems. Coolant doesn’t evaporate on its own. Topping it off may help in the short term, but it’s an indication of a deeper problem and should be checked out. You shouldn’t have to add anything at all if everything is working well. It can damage the motor if there is low heat from too little coolant.

A leak could be as simple as a loose hose clamp, or a major problem like a leaking engine cylinder head gasket, which can cause serious damage to the engine and cost several hundred dollars to replace.

Maintenance can prevent breakdowns
Several components make up the heating system, so unless you have experience with wheelchair accessible vehicle maintenance, it’s best to have a us diagnose the problem.

In general terms, a heating system works when the vehicle receives heat from the engine’s coolant system. Once the engine reaches its operating temperature — controlled by the thermostat — it heats up the coolant and water mixture, passes it through hoses and valves and into the heating core, which resembles a miniature radiator. A blower fan then pushes the warm air from the heating core through the cabin filter and into the vehicle.

The No. 1 tip is to have a mechanic asses your heater regularly by having a mechanic checking the coolant level and the other components. However, the coolant in newer vehicles may not need service until 60,000 to 100,000 miles, and heating problems usually don’t occur on newer vehicles.

The Importance of Servicing Your Wheelchair Van and Adaptive Equipment

The Importance of Servicing Your Wheelchair Van and Adaptive Equipment
Owning any type of vehicle means that you have to commit to regular service and maintenance to keep it in good condition. Owning a wheelchair van and adaptive equipment is no different – you still need regular service to keep everything operating the way it should. However, it comes with some additional caveats – you can’t just go to any service center and ensure that you’re maintaining your wheelchair van or mobility equipment correctly.

Here at our Mobility Center, not only do we understand the importance of maintaining your mobility vehicle and adaptive equipment, but we take the needed steps to ensure that everything is always in top condition. No other mobility dealer (that we know of) offers the level of maintenance offered by us.

For example, we can maintain primary and secondary driving controls, as well as providing service for wheelchair ramps and scooter lifts. Along with power seat bases, power door operators, wheelchair securement systems and other adaptive equipment. Those are only a few of the areas that our certified technicians can service and maintain. We also have a rust prevention/treatment that we highly recommend.

You’ll also find that we offer installation as well as service for a range of adaptive equipment like lowered floors, raised doors, adaptive steering controls, turning automotive seats and hand controls. All of our technicians are fully certified in mobility equipment so that you always know you’re in good hands with us.

Automotive Innovations has also created a innovative and ever evolving maintenance program over the past 25 years for our customers. We know that making sure your vehicle and adaptive equipment is in good condition is important to you, but we also understand that it can be difficult for you to tell when or if something needs service or repair. That’s why we started our operational preventative maintenance program over 20 years ago. This program ensures that your wheelchair van or mobility equipment is always in the best operational condition possible, but also assesses the need for repairs or replacement most of the time before anything happens.

We’re dedicated to giving you the peace of mind that you deserve and the maintenance you need to maintain your freedom at all times.

 

Service and Repair for Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles and/or Accessible Ramp/Lift?

Service and Repair for wheelchair accessible vehicles, ramps and lifts
Are you having trouble with your wheelchair van, ramp van, braun ability van, vantage mobility van, eldorado, amerivan, ricon lift, braun lift, grey market van, ams Legend, Edge, Edge II, Freedom, FR ?

No Worries We Can Fix It!

Even if you have had other Toyota dealer, Dodge dealer, Ford dealer, Honda dealer or a different adaptive mobility equipment dealer try and fix it. Call us, we can help.

Almost all wheelchair van and lift problems can be attributed to three main things. I would like to talk a little about each one and what you can do to be proactive in preventing problems that could stop your lift from operating.?

Reason Number 1: Operator Error. It may not be P.C. to bring it up, but many issues are caused by the user hurrying, not taking the proper precautions, or simply attempting to operate the van or lift in a situation it is not designed for. Let me expand on this a little.

We all know the obvious things an operator can do wrong. Lowering a lift on to extremely uneven ground or folding a platform into a van door that is not fully opened, if you have manual doors. The things that you need to think about are the issues that aren’t so obvious, but can still cause damage. Things like making sure you fully fold the platform when you are putting it in the stowed position. A lot of times people tend to release the fold switch too soon because the lift makes excessive noise when it cinches tight. Far from being a problem, that noise is a good thing What you’re hearing is the electric actuator “ratcheting,” which tells you that the lift is fully stowed and will not rattle as much while you’re driving. A tightly stowed platform will prevent certain lift components from wearing out prematurely, so be sure to keep the fold button pressed!

Another not-so-obvious issue is to make sure the outer roll stop deploys fully before you exit the platform. Think about it. If you are in a hurry and the roll stop is not completely down on the ground, your weight when rolling off of it is going to put excessive stress on those parts and you could cause problems that are easily avoidable. Even if the tip of the roll stop is up just a little bit, take the time to lower it completely before you exit the platform.?

Reason Number 2: Lack of Maintenance. Maintenance, maintenance, maintenance – I can’t say those words enough! Your dealer should set up a maintenance program for you and your lift should be in their shop for a regular check up at least twice a year. Every lift built after 2005 has a cycle counter on it that will tell us the total number of times you’ve used your lift, and all lifts should be maintained every 750 cycles. This is a short point. All you need to know is that if you don’t maintain your lift, something will eventually stop working!

Reason Number 3: Broken Parts. No matter what the product, we’ve all encountered that unexpected broken part that seems to go bad for no apparent reason. This actually represents a small percentage of wheelchair lift failures, and it can usually be avoided if the van or lift is maintained on a regular basis (see reason #2 above!). A typical situation might be a wiring harness that gets cut by component. This type of issue rarely happens out-of-the-blue, and with routine maintenance your dealer should be able to see the problem starting to occur and fix it before it gets worse.

That about sums it up The bottom line is that a properly operated and maintained wheelchair van or lift should give you years of reliable service. Read your manual and work closely with Automotive Innovations to make sure your lift is ready to go whenever you are. If you have any questions or are having an issue with your wheelchair van or lift feel free to call us at 508-697-6006.

Preventive Maintenance For Your Wheelchair Van Conversion

How To Maintain Your Mobility Equipment and Wheelchair Van

Every Three Months or 3,000 Miles

  • Lightly lubricate the upper, middle, and lower passenger-side, sliding door tracks on the wheelchair van using a silicone spray lubricant found at most hardware stores.
  • Lightly lubricate the ramp hinges with silicone spray lubricant.
  • Check for and remove debris from the passenger-side, sliding-door, lower track area, as well as under the ramp. Inspect the holes for water drainage at the front of the lower track area to make sure they’re not clogged.
  • Check the operation of the ramp and all electronic switches, if applicable.
  • Examine the exhaust for proper clearance from the body and the fuel tank. At all times, there should be at least a one-inch gap between the exhaust system and any part of the vehicle.
  • Rear entry conversions require application of a light coating of silicone spray lubricant to the ramp springs.

Every Six Months or 6,000 Miles
Examine the undercarriage of the van to check for scrapes and scratches from speed bumps or road debris. If you find scrapes and scratches, touch them up with more undercoating for rust prevention.

Wheelchair Tie Down Straps
Never use a wheelchair tie down or seat belt with worn or damaged webbing. Check all wheelchair tie downs, straps, and hooks once a month for signs of damage or wear. This includes all manual, retractable, and electronically retractable wheelchair tie downs, straps, and seat belts.

Electrical retractor straps should be serviced annually to confirm they are operating properly.
Your time spent maintaining the conversion on your handicap accessible van will be well worth it. Conversion issues unable to be resolved via the maintenance recommendations above can be easily addressed when you call us.

Rust Proof Your Wheelchair Van Before It’s Too Late

Winter is Coming
De-Icing the roads
Rust Proof Your Wheelchair Van Before the Road Salt Hits the Streets!

We can’t live without salt. It’s a necessary nutrient, it’s used to seed rain clouds, soften household tap water, make chemicals and is used to make ice cream!

In parts of the country with freezing winter temperatures, drivers know that warming the cars up in the morning isn’t the only inconvenience. Icy roads are, too. The same chemical reaction between ice and salt that creates creamy, delicious ice cream also keeps our roads and sidewalks free of dangerous ice during the cold winter months.

A salt and sand mixture is frequently spread over roads before or after a snow or ice storm. Salt lowers water’s freezing point, causing any ice already formed to melt even though the air temperature remains well below freezing. The sand helps keep the salt in place, plus it adds a bit of traction to wet and often slushy roads.

While road salting helps people travel safely, it has drawbacks. It can cause major body and undercarriage damage to your Wheelchair accessible vehicle unless you take extra care and precaution.

If you’re one of the many who must travel the saline streets in the land of the ice and snow, we have some great tips to help protect your mobility vehicle from the ravages of road salt.

Plan Ahead
The best time to prevent salt damage to your conversion van is in Autumn,before the first snowflake falls; a little car maintenance will help keep the rust away.

Prevent
Prevention is better than a cure. There are a number of products that can offer prevention against rust. Products are available either as oils, waxes, fluids and coatings.  The range is vast, but our rust prevention processes, product, plan and application has been found to be most effective. Our rust proofing is ever evolving and has been for over the past 25 years.

  • Our rust proofing formula does more than just cover the metal required, we apply it as a high-pressured spray, ensuring protection to your handicap accessible vehicle’s most critical areas by penetrating, displacing existing moisture and protecting the many vulnerable crevices of your automobile.

As seen in the picture below this van has heavy rust and metal fatigue due to a lack of maintenance.

IMG_0697

Once the rust is this bad there’s not much we can do other than replace the van.
So call us or come in today to rust proof your van before it’s too late.

 

 

10 Simple Ways to Get Your Conversion Van Ready for winter

Winter Driving ahead

For anyone living in a northern state, Winter means rain, sleet, slush, snow and ice. Driving along icy roads is tricky at the best of times, and there’s not always a plow available to get your road clear in time to go to work for the day. Why not make your life a little easier now, by preparing your conversion van for the coming winter? You can do many small things before the snow starts to fall to make your winter that much easier to handle.

1. Get an oil change. Specifically, get the right sort of oil change. Oil won’t freeze in the kind of temperatures we see in the north, but it will get thicker. Thicker oil does a worse job of keeping your engine lubed up, which means more wear and tear on the moving parts you definitely don’t want to replace. Dirty oil gums up even worse, so get that oil changed before the temperatures drop.

2. Take steps to ensure visibility at all times. The most important and most neglected fluid for visibility is windshield washer fluid. Topping up that tank will save you plenty of headaches when you have to scrape frost off the glass or wait for a heater to melt it. A blast with wiper fluid and a few passes of the wipers will clear it right up. It helps if you clean your windshield inside as well. Of course, you should also have a good snowbrush and ice scraper stored away in the trunk or back seat. 

3. Perk up your battery. The cold and wet conditions of a typical winter can wreak havoc on a battery. Connections will corrode and the batter may lose the ability to hold a charge. The older a battery is, the more likely you’ll run into issues along the way. Most auto shops can test your battery’s ability to hold a charge, and can tell you if you need a new one. Get it looked at before you end up stalled on the side of the freeway.

4. Check the belts and hoses in your engine. Belts and hoses are made of rubber and plastic, which tend to get brittle as they age. The addition of road salt and icy water splashing up onto them only makes the process faster. Take your conversion van in to have it services and pay special attention to the belts and hoses, so you don’t end up dropping fluid or finding a snapped belt while you drive. 

5. Monitor your tire pressure. In wet and icy conditions, traction is key to keeping your conversion van on the road. Your tires are made to function best at a certain level of inflation, which varies depending on the tire. As the temperatures get colder, the pressure of the air in your tires will drop, at about 1 PSI per ten degrees. Keeping your tires inflated properly keeps them working as best they can. 

6. Switch to snow tires, if applicable. Snow tires aren’t for everyone. If you live in the middle of the city and the roads are plowed several times a day, you probably don’t need a lot of extra traction from your tires. On the other hand, if you live in an area with plenty of hills and the plows come few and far between, winter tires might be a good option. 

7. If you have four-wheel drive in your vehicle, test it out. Make sure the system engages smoothly. Since you probably don’t use the system much during the summer, it might have an issue that you don’t notice. Better to get it tested now than to discover it doesn’t work when you need it. Don’t forget to make sure that anyone driving your vehicle knows how to turn the system on and off. For new drivers experiencing their first winter in their parents’ conversion van, this can be all new. 

8. Check your engine coolant. Most conversion vans run on something between pure antifreeze and a half and half mixture of antifreeze and water. Diluted antifreeze is perfectly fine. It would take ridiculously low temperatures to freeze even a half and half mixture, so there’s no sense in wasting half a gallon of coolant when you don’t need it. You can test the mixture of antifreeze yourself, or take it to a mechanic. Check to see if your vehicle uses a special kind of antifreeze as well. Just remember that if you replace your antifreeze yourself, you need to dispose of the old coolant properly. It’s harmful to the environment and illegal in most places to pour antifreeze down the drain. 

9. Stock up on supplies and put together an emergency kit. In the event that something breaks and you’re stranded, having an emergency kit is a lifesaver. Here’s an idea of what you should have in your kit:

  • Blanket, boots, gloves and warm clothes
  • Emergency food and water
  • A snow brush, ice scraper and a small shovel
  • A flashlight with spare batteries and a set of road flares
  • Windshield wipers and extra fluid
  • Repair items like jumper cables, a tool kit, a tire pressure gauge and a spare tire
  • A first aid kit

10. Don’t forget your training. All the tools and supplies in the world won’t help you if you don’t know what to do when you’re broken down. If you’re likely to be stranded for an extended period, light flares for the front and back of your vehicle. Run the engine and heater only for short durations to save gas. Wear your warm clothes to keep warm instead. To prevent your conversion van from freezing shut, crack the window slightly. If you have hard candies with you, you can munch on them to keep your mouth from drying out. Of course, make sure you have contact numbers and a way to call for help if you do end up stranded.

How To Maintain Your Mobility Equipment and Wheelchair Van

Maintain Your Mobility Equipment
VMi New England recommends keeping the bottom door track of your handicapped van clear of any debris by vacuuming out the track every 2 or 3 weeks. Debris in the bottom track will cause the door motor to work harder and even weaken or burn out prematurely. Such problems will only be more of an inconvenience in cold weather.

2013 Toyota Sienna VMI Summit Silver Wheelchair Van VMi New England

Check Your Brakes
We recommend that you make sure your brakes are in good working condition. You should never postpone having brake work done because you never know when you might have to drive on snowy or icy roads.

Check Your Lights
Lights are essential in snowy weather; not only do they help you see clearly, but they also help others see you. VMi New England recommends that you make sure your lights are clean and that all bulbs and fuses are working properly.

Remember Your Fluids

Frequently check all fluids (including brake fluid, antifreeze, washer fluid, transmission fluid, power-steering fluid, etc.) checked and “topped off.” In addition, we recommend that you consider keeping a half tank of gas in your car at all times–you don’t want to run out of gas in an emergency.

Don’t Forget Your Battery
Having your battery checked is especially crucial for handicapped accessible vans. The cold weather is strenuous on any battery but even more so on an accessible van’s battery. An accessible van has to power ramps, lifts, and doors, so it uses more battery power than other minivans. A common problem we see at VMi New England is customers who do not drive their accessible van enough to keep the battery charged and healthy. You can keep the battery charged by driving your vehicle more than 3 hours a week or by using a battery charger. Under normal conditions, batteries will typically last for 3½ years, so if your battery is older than that, we recommend that you make sure that it’s in good condition or think about replacing it.

Good Tire Maintenance Is Critical
Good tires might be one of the most essential driving tools in winter weather. Worn, bald, badly aligned, or badly balanced tires can cause accidents in any type of slippery weather. You’ll need to test the air pressure and tread on your tires and have your tires rotated so that the better ones are in the front for more traction and control. If you need new tires soon, don’t wait, get them now! If you have snow tires and live in areas with heavy and frequent snowfall, don’t hesitate to use them.

Don’t Forget Your Windshield
Taking care of the windshield on your wheelchair van entails more than having good wipers. Windshields on minivans and full-sized vans are large, so having good wipers and properly functioning rear and front defrosters are musts. Also, small dings in a windshield can become large cracks when it’s cold. Cracks are a result of the stress of having freezing temperatures on the outside of the windshield and the warm heater on the interior of the windshield. If this occurs, fix the ding and avoid the risk of replacing a costly van-sized windshield!

Be Prepared…Have an Emergency Plan
Sometimes emergencies occur despite precautions to avoid them. For this reason, there is no such thing as being over-prepared. Be sure that you have snow equipment and an emergency kit ready in case you need them.

Snow Equipment
If you ever get stuck or break down in snow or other inclement winter weather, having the appropriate equipment to get yourself out of your vehicle is important. Keeping a shovel, sidewalk salt, snow scraper/brush, jumper cables, spare tire, jack, and flares in your vehicle during the winter months is always a good idea. Also, if you live in an area with frequent and/or heavy snowfall, keep tire chains in your vehicle for extra traction.

Emergency Kit
A snow emergency kit in your car. Your emergency kit should include a cell phone, a cell-phone car charger, a blanket, a flashlight with good batteries, hand warmers, snacks, and water. Your kit should be able to keep you relatively comfortable while waiting in your vehicle for assistance to arrive. Please remember, if you’re waiting in your vehicle for assistance, make sure your exhaust pipe is clear of any snow or ice so carbon monoxide won’t enter the vehicle.