Tag Archives: mobility dealer

Used Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles

The used market for wheelchair accessible vehicles has grown in the past few years. This growing popularity seems to suggest that this solution works. In some cases, it does; however, buying a used wheelchair accessible vehicle is not like buying a new car. If you are are interested in purchasing a used vehicle, remember these key points.

  • It must meet your mobility needs
    All wheelchair accessible vehicles are different. Ramp width, door clearance, and interior height will vary between vehicles which will affect whether or not the vehicle will work for your needs. Previously installed aftermarket additions, such as hand controls and securment devices, will have to be removed or replaced considering they were put in for the previous owner. Before you you start your search you should know your exact needs. Be aware that this may narrow your options significantly.
  • Getting your current vehicle fitted with a ramp or lift
    It’s possible to convert a minivan you already own and make it accessible, as long as it meets the requirements set by your mobility dealer. Before doing so, you will need to know which accessible ramp or lift style works best for you and your family.
  • Buying online
    eBay Motors and Craigslist are increasingly popular options for buying vehicles online. An increasing number of wheelchair accessible vehicles are listed on these two sites. While the prices may be tempting, this option can be risky if it’s not being sold by a trusted resource (such as a Mobility Center). Ramps are complex pieces of machinery. Without a specially trained mechanic looking it over, it can be very hard to know if a person is selling a good vehicle. We do not recommend this option because it can lead to numerous issues.
  • Used vehicles from a dealership
    While mobility dealers are specifically trained to help you meet all your mobility needs, most still operate like conventional dealers. Customers sometimes trade-in their old vehicles for credit towards a new vehicle, leaving the dealership with a used vehicle. While not every dealership has a used vehicle inventory, some have good options to work with.

Used Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles

The used market for wheelchair accessible vehicles has grown in the past few years. This growing popularity seems to suggest that this solution works. In some cases, it does; however, buying a used wheelchair accessible vehicle is not like buying a new car. If you are are interested in purchasing a used vehicle, remember these key points.

  • It must meet your mobility needs
    All wheelchair accessible vehicles are different. Ramp width, door clearance, and interior height will vary between vehicles which will affect whether or not the vehicle will work for your needs. Previously installed aftermarket additions, such as hand controls and securment devices, will have to be removed or replaced considering they were put in for the previous owner. Before you you start your search you should know your exact needs. Be aware that this may narrow your options significantly.
  • Getting your current vehicle fitted with a ramp or lift
    It’s possible to convert a minivan you already own and make it accessible, as long as it meets the requirements set by your mobility dealer. Before doing so, you will need to know which accessible ramp or lift style works best for you and your family.
  • Buying online
    eBay Motors and Craigslist are increasingly popular options for buying vehicles online. An increasing number of wheelchair accessible vehicles are listed on these two sites. While the prices may be tempting, this option can be risky if it’s not being sold by a trusted resource (such as a Mobility Center). Ramps are complex pieces of machinery. Without a specially trained mechanic looking it over, it can be very hard to know if a person is selling a good vehicle. We do not recommend this option because it can lead to numerous issues.
  • Used vehicles from a dealership
    While mobility dealers are specifically trained to help you meet all your mobility needs, most still operate like conventional dealers. Customers sometimes trade-in their old vehicles for credit towards a new vehicle, leaving the dealership with a used vehicle. While not every dealership has a used vehicle inventory, some have good options to work with.

Used Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles

The used market for wheelchair accessible vehicles has grown in the past few years. This growing popularity seems to suggest that this solution works. In some cases, it does; however, buying a used wheelchair accessible vehicle is not like buying a new car. If you are are interested in purchasing a used vehicle, remember these key points.

  • It must meet your mobility needs
    All wheelchair accessible vehicles are different. Ramp width, door clearance, and interior height will vary between vehicles which will affect whether or not the vehicle will work for your needs. Previously installed aftermarket additions, such as hand controls and securment devices, will have to be removed or replaced considering they were put in for the previous owner. Before you you start your search you should know your exact needs. Be aware that this may narrow your options significantly.
  • Getting your current vehicle fitted with a ramp or lift
    It’s possible to convert a minivan you already own and make it accessible, as long as it meets the requirements set by your mobility dealer. Before doing so, you will need to know which accessible ramp or lift style works best for you and your family.
  • Buying online
    eBay Motors and Craigslist are increasingly popular options for buying vehicles online. An increasing number of wheelchair accessible vehicles are listed on these two sites. While the prices may be tempting, this option can be risky if it’s not being sold by a trusted resource (such as a Mobility Center). Ramps are complex pieces of machinery. Without a specially trained mechanic looking it over, it can be very hard to know if a person is selling a good vehicle. We do not recommend this option because it can lead to numerous issues.
  • Used vehicles from a dealership
    While mobility dealers are specifically trained to help you meet all your mobility needs, most still operate like conventional dealers. Customers sometimes trade-in their old vehicles for credit towards a new vehicle, leaving the dealership with a used vehicle. While not every dealership has a used vehicle inventory, some have good options to work with.

Putting Amputees Back in the Driver’s Seat

For some people, an automobile is a necessity not a luxury.

To have a full life in America requires mobility -not just the ability to walk or run, but the ability to travel greater distances with more convenience and flexibility than public transportation provides.

For many lower-limb amputees, however, the lack of feet makes driving impossible in a conventionally equipped vehicle. Hand controls along with left foot gas pedals provide the solution. They make it possible for lower-limb amputees and people with other disabilities to enjoy the prosperity and independence that comes with vehicle ownership and use.

Different types of hand controls
Basic hand controls usually consist of a lever attached to a bracket and mounted under the steering column on cars equipped with automatic transmissions. The lever is moved to operate throttle and brakes. Usually the left hand operates the control, allowing the right hand to steer and operate the vehicle’s accessories. The three most common types of hand controls are push/rock, push/twist, right angle pull, and push/pull.

The push rock and push twist hand control works by twisting the handle to apply the gas and pushing it to apply the brakes. The right angle pull hand control works by moving the lever down towards the driver’s lap for acceleration. To apply the brakes, the driver pushes the handle forward towards the front of the car. The push/pull hand control works by pulling on the handle to apply the gas, and pushing for the brakes. Most hand controls, except for a very few, apply the brakes by pushing.

Most hand controls are hand-powered, using linkages or cables to operate the gas and brakes. Some models are power-assisted to make it easier on the hand and arm. Cars are designed for the driver’s foot to operate the gas and brake, so the force required to operate the hand control can be tiring to the hand during long drives. Power-assist options for hand controls range from very complex devices such as an electric joystick, to relatively simple ones that use vacuum power like power brakes. Most hand controls are dual-action devices that permit the simultaneous application of throttle and brake. Dual-action controls are helpful when the car is stopped on a steep hill or when making tight maneuvers on steep grades. The throttle can be applied a little before releasing the brake to prevent the car from coasting backward before moving forward. While most users prefer dual-action, some prefer single-action units because they eliminate the chance of accidentally applying the throttle during braking.

Which is best for you?
The best choice of hand controls for a person depends on a number of factors, such as the car’s layout, expected driving conditions, and the driver’s size, disability, and preference.

Push/twist
Push/twist hand controls are a good choice if either a large driver, a small car, or both, limit space. Economical use of space is achieved because the lever only needs to be moved to apply the brake. Throttle control is achieved by twisting the grip in the same manner as operating a motorcycle.

Push/twist controls provide a precise, sporty feel. By necessity, push/twist hand controls are often power-assisted. Without power-assistance, the twisting motion tends to feel stiff, and the hand tires. With a good quality power-assisted twist control, very little effort is required to maintain a throttle setting; simply resting the hand on the handle should provide enough force. This results in less fatigue on long drives.

Push/twist controls are good in tight turns and on rough roads. Throttle surges, which can be experienced with a push/pull or right angle pull device, as the driver and his or her arm bumps, sways, leans, or lurches going through curves and over bumps tend not to occur with a push/twist. Most push/twist controls are dual-action units.

These controls are not recommended for people with grip problems or those with amputated fingers or hands. Good left-hand dexterity is required for safe driving with push/ twist controls.

Right angle pull
Right angle pull controls are the most widely used form of hand control. They are relatively inexpensive and, usually, easy to install and adjust. Operation is simple and intuitive for these strictly mechanical units.

Space, however, can be a problem. Throttle application requires that the lever be moved down toward the driver’s lap. If the driver is large or the car is small, a push/twist or even a push/pull control may be more suitable. Because the lever is connected to the gas pedal with mechanical linkages, the underside of the dashboard will often require trimming.

For those missing fingers, hands, or with reduced grip strength, various handles, wrist straps, grips, etc., can be adapted for the right angle pull control. Specialized handles can be configured for use with a prosthesis. Right angle pull controls are usually dual-action, but also can be single-action.

Push/pull
Push/pull hand controls are by definition single-action. Since the lever is pulled for gas and pushed for brakes, the gas and brakes can never be operated at the same time.

This is the easiest hand control to learn to use. Senior citizens like the push/pull because there is no confusion when learning, after using the foot pedals all their lives. Power-assisted and non-power-assisted models are available. The driver’s hand can rest directly on the lever without causing the throttle to surge.

As with the right angle pull control, different handles can be adapted to the driver to permit safe and easy operation. Power-assisted push/pull hand controls equipped with handle adaptations are recommended for people with limited arm strength and poor manual dexterity.

Some other factors to consider
When shopping for hand controls, aesthetics is also a factor to consider. Car owners can be surprised to find that a section of the dashboard was cut away during the installation process. Most hand controls are mounted under the dash with a support extending into the driver space under the steering column where the lever is connected. A panel under the dashboard is removed during installation. If the hand control’s design and the dashboard layout permit, the panel can be returned allowing the mounting bracket to be hidden. Sometimes, however, the hand control’s hardware protrudes into the passenger space, and the panel cannot be reinstalled without cutting a window in it. Each installation varies with the model of automobile and the particular hand-control unit. Check with your dealer about what you can expect to see when you get your car back.

Many of us share cars with other family members. It is important that the pedals can still be used with the hand control installed and that there are as few impediments to using them as possible. Most good controls provide room for a pedal-pushing driver. Ask the installer what to expect.

Driving should be fun. Poorly designed hand controls, or a badly performed installation, can cause the driver to be distracted or preoccupied with the control, lead to frustration, and reduce safety. Good hand controls, professionally installed, will allow enjoyable, safe driving.

Installation
No matter what type of hand controls you use, you are making a significant modification to your vehicle. It is, therefore, important to have a trained and qualified person perform the installation.

The installer should cut a minimum amount of the dashboard. The handle should be located in a comfortable position so that the driver can hold on to the hand control and hook a thumb over the steering wheel. This position helps to stabilize the steering wheel and the throttle. The whole assembly should feel solid and sturdy. If the installation is done properly using a high-quality control, driving will be easy and fun.

Everyone is different, and each person is a special case. If you are uncertain about your condition and your abilities, consult a Certified Driving Rehabilitation Specialist (CDRS). A CDRS knows about different disabilities and can advise you about the best solution to your driving needs. Contact a CDRS through your rehabilitation facility or through your local amputee support group.

Whether you are a first-time buyer or already drive with hand controls, it is good to know what is out there and what to look for. High-quality hand controls are available, as are skilled mobility technicians who understand the quality and safety issues involved with their installation.

Spend a few extra dollars to purchase a high-quality product and have it professionally installed. You already have made a significant investment in your vehicle. A quality set of hand controls will surely enhance your driving experience and, above all, your safety.

Funding an Accessible Vehicle

For some people living with disabilities, purchasing a handicap accessible vehicle seems like it’s only a dream. With the cost of medical equipment and treatments, raising the funds needed to purchase a van or truck can be challenging. However, there are a number of programs and options available should you need assistance. These rebates and funding opportunities make getting behind the wheel of an accessible vehicle a smooth ride.

Financing
When it comes to financing handicap accessible vehicles, the number of options can be overwhelming. From traditional sources available at dealerships to third party organizations, being able to afford a new van or car will require you to do a bit of research on what the best route is for you and your family. In most cases, however, financing a vehicle can break down payments into manageable monthly installments, making your purchase more affordable.

Rebates
Many manufacturers offer rebate programs to customers with disabilities purchasing accessibility products. Each manufacturer handles their rebate program differently, however most of them grant opportunities to receive up to $1,000 back on vehicle customizations. To provide more information about these programs, we’ve compiled a list of manufacturers with such offers, as well as contact details, on our Rebates page.

Government Funding
From Veterans Administration Agencies to Medicare and Medicaid, there are also government funding options available for those wishing to purchase handicap accessible vehicles. As with any other funding option, prior research is necessary to ensure you qualify for coverage, however your local mobility dealer can go over your options with you and help you make an informed decision.

Fundraising
Reaching out to family, friends and neighbors can be challenging, but is definitely a route to consider. After all, there are not many things that can’t be accomplished when a community bands together. Although it may not be a viable option for everyone, raising funds through donations and sponsorships might make the journey to a new vehicle much easier. Websites like GoFundMe have also made it simpler to rally supporters and accept donations.

With these options, owning handicap accessible vehicles is more affordable than you might think. Be sure to visit a mobility dealer to go over your needs and uncover even more possibilities.

Certified Driver Rehabilitation Specialists

Getting on the road to independence can be a long and twisting journey, but there are individuals, businesses and organizations ready, willing and able to help make it a smooth ride. Working with a Certified Driver Rehabilitation Specialist (CDRS) and a Mobility Dealer is one of the first and most important steps to take when purchasing mobility equipment or a new or used handicap accessible vehicle. Below are just some of the ways these specialists can make it easier for you to get behind the wheel.

Assessing Your Needs
Before taking to the road, you must complete a driving evaluation to determine your abilities as a driver. A CDRS-conducted evaluation will not only asses your driving skills as a driver with a disability, but will also match you with the most appropriate and best solutions for your mobility needs.

Safety First
By ensuring your mobility needs are met, a driving evaluation from a CDRS can help ensure you’ll be safer while on the road. These comprehensively trained specialists work with Mobility Dealers that are extremely knowledgeable about mobility solutions, provide individual, in-person evaluations and with their support and guidance, you can feel confident knowing that your time behind the wheel will be as secure as possible.

Adapted Driving Programs
A number of organizations also offer Adapted Driving Programs designed to help drivers with disabilities feel confident behind the wheel. Under the guidance of a CDRS, drivers can get hands-on training on how to stay safe and in control on the road. Some programs, such as senior safety courses, even help individuals find the best driving routes to common destinations and assist in learning rules and regulations affecting their driving environments.

Used Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles

The used market for wheelchair accessible vehicles has grown in the past few years. This growing popularity seems to suggest that this solution works. In some cases, it does; however, buying a used wheelchair accessible vehicle is not like buying a new car. If you are are interested in purchasing a used vehicle, remember these key points.

  • It must meet your mobility needs
    All wheelchair accessible vehicles are different. Ramp width, door clearance, and interior height will vary between vehicles which will affect whether or not the vehicle will work for your needs. Previously installed aftermarket additions, such as hand controls and securment devices, will have to be removed or replaced considering they were put in for the previous owner. Before you you start your search you should know your exact needs. Be aware that this may narrow your options significantly.
  • Getting your current vehicle fitted with a ramp or lift
    It’s possible to convert a minivan you already own and make it accessible, as long as it meets the requirements set by your mobility dealer. Before doing so, you will need to know which accessible ramp or lift style works best for you and your family.
  • Buying online
    eBay Motors and Craigslist are increasingly popular options for buying vehicles online. An increasing number of wheelchair accessible vehicles are listed on these two sites. While the prices may be tempting, this option can be risky if it’s not being sold by a trusted resource (such as a Mobility Center). Ramps are complex pieces of machinery. Without a specially trained mechanic looking it over, it can be very hard to know if a person is selling a good vehicle. We do not recommend this option because it can lead to numerous issues.
  • Used vehicles from a dealership
    While mobility dealers are specifically trained to help you meet all your mobility needs, most still operate like conventional dealers. Customers sometimes trade-in their old vehicles for credit towards a new vehicle, leaving the dealership with a used vehicle. While not every dealership has a used vehicle inventory, some have good options to work with.

Driving In A Wheelchair

With the right equipment driving can be a reality for many wheelchair users. Drivers have the option to transfer into the driver’s seat or drive from their wheelchair, whichever is most comfortable and convenient. Your mobility dealer can guide you through the range of options for your best driving experience.

  • The driver’s seat can easily be removed so you can drive from your wheelchair or transfer into the original seat.
  • Your mobility dealer can introduce you to the type of vehicle and the adaptive equipment that will make you comfortable behind the wheel.
  • You can drive from your wheelchair in any side-entry converted vehicle.
  • Rear-entry vehicles do not allow driving from a wheelchair.

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.

Adaptive Equipment Solutions To Help Arthritic Drivers and Others

People with severe arthritis, people with Muscular Sclerosis, Muscular Dystrophy and others with disAbilities can drive again with the help of a mobility equipment expert. To find the specific product solution for your driving challenges, consult with a Physical or Occupational Therapist, Driver Rehabilitation Specialist and a Mobility dealer. Here are just a few adaptive mobility devices that they may recommend to keep you on the road.

If your hands are too weak to turn the steering wheel, there’s a solution:

  • Joystick Driving Systems allow one-hand operation of brake, accelerator and steering and only require ounces of pressure to use.

If you can’t reach controls on your dashboard or steering wheel, there’s a solution:

  • Remote Wiper, Horn, Dimmer Switch, Signals and Headlight Controls. This control relocates these functions to a more reachable location. The driver uses a switch with the hand, elbow, head or knee.

If you have leg spasms, there’s a solution:

  • Pedal Block (for gas and brake) guards against inadvertent engagement of gas or the brakes due to a spasm.

Questions To Ask Yourself When Searching For a Mobility Specialist Dealer

Now that you have made the decision to purchase a wheelchair accessible vehicle, you need to shop around for the best provider. Many people turn to a mobility specialist dealer. Here are some considerations you may want to keep in mind when doing your research and shopping.

Stock
What vehicle brands does the dealer offer? Do they have a wide-range of vehicles for you to choose from? Do they provide both new and used choices? Do they convert other vehicles besides vans, like SUVs and trucks?

Range of Conversions
Does the company offer the ramp and product options that are specified to your needs? Do their vehicles provide the safety features and equipment you need?

Aesthetics
Which vehicle best fits your personality and will keep you happy in the long run?

Location
Is the dealer close to where you live?

Funds and Financing
Is purchasing from this provider beneficial to you in terms of cost? Do they provide a range of priced vehicles, or are all of their products around the same price?

Reviews
What have others said about this company? Are they a reputable dealer or have they had issues? Does the dealer provide feedback from previous customers or is it hard to find customer reviews?

On-Site Evaluations
In addition to the evaluation from a Certified Rehabilitation Specialist, will I receive another evaluation from the dealer? How will they know the equipment will fit properly? Will it be safe for me to drive?

Training
Once I have purchased my vehicle, how will I learn to use my new equipment? Will the dealer provide me training? Will they be available to address any questions I may have regarding the use of my equipment?

Customer Care
What does the company provide for you? Do they offer incentives like 24-hour local emergency service, warranties and/or trained Ability Specialists that can help you in your decision?

Dealers
Is the mobility specialist well informed and up-to-date on the technical skills necessary in today’s mobility market? Do they belong to the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association – the industry association for safe and reliable transportation options for people with disabilities?

Each of these factors are important to consider during the buying process.

Putting Amputees Back in the Driver’s Seat

For most of us, an automobile is a necessity rather than a luxury.

Hand Controls putting amputees back in the drivers seat

Hand Controls putting amputees back in the drivers seat

To have a full life in America requires mobility -not just the ability to walk or run, but the ability to travel greater distances with more convenience and flexibility than public transportation provides.

For many lower-limb amputees, however, the lack of feet makes driving impossible in a conventionally equipped vehicle. Hand controls along with left foot gas pedals provide the solution. They make it possible for lower-limb amputees and people with other disabilities to enjoy the prosperity and independence that comes with vehicle ownership and use.

Different types of hand controls

Basic hand controls usually consist of a lever attached to a bracket and mounted under the steering column on cars equipped with automatic transmissions. The lever is moved to operate throttle and brakes. Usually the left hand operates the control, allowing the right hand to steer and operate the vehicle’s accessories. The three most common types of hand controls are push/rock, push/twist, right angle pull, and push/pull.

The push rock and push twist hand control works by twisting the handle to apply the gas and pushing it to apply the brakes. The right angle pull hand control works by moving the lever down towards the driver’s lap for acceleration. To apply the brakes, the driver pushes the handle forward towards the front of the car. The push/pull hand control works by pulling on the handle to apply the gas, and pushing for the brakes. Most hand controls, except for a very few, apply the brakes by pushing.

Most hand controls are hand-powered, using linkages or cables to operate the gas and brakes. Some models are power-assisted to make it easier on the hand and arm. Cars are designed for the driver’s foot to operate the gas and brake, so the force required to operate the hand control can be tiring to the hand during long drives. Power-assist options for hand controls range from very complex devices such as an electric joystick, to relatively simple ones that use vacuum power like power brakes. Most hand controls are dual-action devices that permit the simultaneous application of throttle and brake. Dual-action controls are helpful when the car is stopped on a steep hill or when making tight maneuvers on steep grades. The throttle can be applied a little before releasing the brake to prevent the car from coasting backward before moving forward. While most users prefer dual-action, some prefer single-action units because they eliminate the chance of accidentally applying the throttle during braking.

Which is best for you?

The best choice of hand controls for a person depends on a number of factors, such as the car’s layout, expected driving conditions, and the driver’s size, disability, and preference.

Push/twist

Push/twist hand controls are a good choice if either a large driver, a small car, or both, limit space. Economical use of space is achieved because the lever only needs to be moved to apply the brake. Throttle control is achieved by twisting the grip in the same manner as operating a motorcycle.

Push/twist controls provide a precise, sporty feel. By necessity, push/twist hand controls are often power-assisted. Without power-assistance, the twisting motion tends to feel stiff, and the hand tires. With a good quality power-assisted twist control, very little effort is required to maintain a throttle setting; simply resting the hand on the handle should provide enough force. This results in less fatigue on long drives.

Push/twist controls are good in tight turns and on rough roads. Throttle surges, which can be experienced with a push/pull or right angle pull device, as the driver and his or her arm bumps, sways, leans, or lurches going through curves and over bumps tend not to occur with a push/twist. Most push/twist controls are dual-action units.

These controls are not recommended for people with grip problems or those with amputated fingers or hands. Good left-hand dexterity is required for safe driving with push/ twist controls.

Right angle pull

Right angle pull controls are the most widely used form of hand control. They are relatively inexpensive and, usually, easy to install and adjust. Operation is simple and intuitive for these strictly mechanical units.

Space, however, can be a problem. Throttle application requires that the lever be moved down toward the driver’s lap. If the driver is large or the car is small, a push/twist or even a push/pull control may be more suitable. Because the lever is connected to the gas pedal with mechanical linkages, the underside of the dashboard will often require trimming.

For those missing fingers, hands, or with reduced grip strength, various handles, wrist straps, grips, etc., can be adapted for the right angle pull control. Specialized handles can be configured for use with a prosthesis. Right angle pull controls are usually dual-action, but also can be single-action.

Push/pull

Push/pull hand controls are by definition single-action. Since the lever is pulled for gas and pushed for brakes, the gas and brakes can never be operated at the same time.

This is the easiest hand control to learn to use. Senior citizens like the push/pull because there is no confusion when learning, after using the foot pedals all their lives. Power-assisted and non-power-assisted models are available. The driver’s hand can rest directly on the lever without causing the throttle to surge.

As with the right angle pull control, different handles can be adapted to the driver to permit safe and easy operation. Power-assisted push/pull hand controls equipped with handle adaptations are recommended for people with limited arm strength and poor manual dexterity.

Some other factors to consider

When shopping for hand controls, aesthetics is also a factor to consider. Car owners can be surprised to find that a section of the dashboard was cut away during the installation process. Most hand controls are mounted under the dash with a support extending into the driver space under the steering column where the lever is connected. A panel under the dashboard is removed during installation. If the hand control’s design and the dashboard layout permit, the panel can be returned allowing the mounting bracket to be hidden. Sometimes, however, the hand control’s hardware protrudes into the passenger space, and the panel cannot be reinstalled without cutting a window in it. Each installation varies with the model of automobile and the particular hand-control unit. Check with your dealer about what you can expect to see when you get your car back.

Many of us share cars with other family members. It is important that the pedals can still be used with the hand control installed and that there are as few impediments to using them as possible. Most good controls provide room for a pedal-pushing driver. Ask the installer what to expect.

Driving should be fun. Poorly designed hand controls, or a badly performed installation, can cause the driver to be distracted or preoccupied with the control, lead to frustration, and reduce safety. Good hand controls, professionally installed, will allow enjoyable, safe driving.

Installation

No matter what type of hand controls you use, you are making a significant modification to your vehicle. It is, therefore, important to have a trained and qualified person perform the installation.

The installer should cut a minimum amount of the dashboard. The handle should be located in a comfortable position so that the driver can hold on to the hand control and hook a thumb over the steering wheel. This position helps to stabilize the steering wheel and the throttle. The whole assembly should feel solid and sturdy. If the installation is done properly using a high-quality control, driving will be easy and fun.

Everyone is different, and each person is a special case. If you are uncertain about your condition and your abilities, consult a Certified Driving Rehabilitation Specialist (CDRS). A CDRS knows about different disabilities and can advise you about the best solution to your driving needs. Contact a CDRS through your rehabilitation facility or through your local amputee support group.

Whether you are a first-time buyer or already drive with hand controls, it is good to know what is out there and what to look for. High-quality hand controls are available, as are skilled mobility technicians who understand the quality and safety issues involved with their installation.

Spend a few extra dollars to purchase a high-quality product and have it professionally installed. You already have made a significant investment in your vehicle. A quality set of hand controls will surely enhance your driving experience and, above all, your safety.

Save Big When Purchasing a Dodge Wheelchair Van

2013 Dodge Grand Caravan SXT VMI Northstar DR552571 front right side
You’ve found the ideal Dodge wheelchair van to meet your needs and now it’s time to determine exactly how you’re going to pay for the vehicle. Here are some things you can do to improve the buying experience.

Are You Purchasing from a Dodge mobility dealer?

If you’re buying a new Dodge wheelchair van, you’ll want to consider these pointers before you even think about opening your wallet.

Time is everything.
You can get the best possible prices on a vehicle in the last two weeks of December and between July and October. If you can hold off on a purchase until one of these date ranges, you’ll pay less.

Do your research.
You can pay less for a new vehicle if you do your homework. Know what other dealers are doing and seek out the best possible deals. Knowing what’s happening in the market can give you real negotiating leverage.

Don’t limit your choices.
You don’t need to restrict your choices to the vehicles on the lot. You can have a mobility dealer order the wheelchair van you want and those vehicles that come from the factory shouldn’t cost you a penny more than the ones that are already at the dealership.

Are You Purchasing from an individual?

Paying for a used Caravan, Grand Caravan sold by an disabled individual or caregiver can pose a few unique challenges. Keep the following advice in mind:

Be careful with cash.
Unless you personally know the seller, you should be cautious about showing up anywhere with a large quantity of cash on your person.

Be prepared to pay with a cashier’s check or money order. Many individual sellers will be wary about accepting a personal check from a buyer.

Stay away from wiring money.
Don’t utilize services like Western Union or Moneygram to buy a used wheelchair van. These outlets are often used in fraudulent activity and may not provide you with adequate protection.

Exercise caution.
If you’re considering using an escrow or shipping service when paying for your Dodge wheelchair van. Many people have lost their money due to criminal behavior on the part of those claiming to offer a legitimate service.

Are You Paying for Dodge Wheelchair Van Conversion?

Buying the underlying vehicle may only be part of your plans. If you’ll be paying for modifications, as well, consider the following:

Look for assistance.
Your state’s Department of Vocational Rehabilitation or development services offices may have a program to provide financial assistance for wheelchair van conversions. The Veteran’s Administration may be able to help vets qualify for funding.

Check with your insurance.
Depending upon your personal situation, you health or worker’s compensation insurance may provide benefits that will pay for part, or all, of the necessary modifications. Thoroughly investigate the opportunity.

Talk with your Dodge dealer.
Some dealers can actually wrap the financing of your mobility package up with your vehicle loan. You’ll end up with a single payment and you may save money on the interest rate in the process.

Get a prescription.
If you can get a doctor’s prescription for your planned modifications, you may be able to exempt the expense from sales tax. If you’re not responsible for those taxes, you’ll be spending less money.

Buying a Dodge wheelchair van requires a little bit of planning, thinking and investigation. If you follow these recommendations, paying for a Caravan, Grand Caravan or Sprinter should be more enjoyable and less expensive.

Tips to Save Money When Converting Honda Wheelchair Vans

New and Used Honda Odyessey wheelchair accessible vans for sale at VMi New England Mobility Center
Transforming a Honda Odyssey into an ideal wheelchair accessible van can be an overwhelming experience. Not only are you making important decisions, you are also confronting hefty price tags.

Conversions are not cheap. That is not just true with Honda vehicles either. The process involved in taking a “factory” vehicle and transforming it into safe, smart, reliable wheelchair transportation vehicle is a major undertaking. You will be dealing with skilled professionals who use the best possible equipment–and who expect to be compensated accordingly.

Fortunately, you can do a few things to keep your bill down. Your Honda wheelchair van will never be a “steal,“ but it can feel like a bargain if you follow these recommendations.

Proper Needs Assessment
You should undergo an evaluation from a licensed professional before making a purchase. They will give you a full report of the adaptations you will need in a wheelchair vehicle. They will also talk with you about those different options and what you must have, comparing that to other options.

In some cases, that report may say you will need a ramp. Obviously, you should follow the recommendation. However, the report may leave some discretion in terms of what ramp you will want to buy. Do you really need a full power option or could you function with a spring-assisted ramp? The goal here is to select adaptations that meet your needs while avoiding overspending on those that exceed your actual needs.

Remember, the average wheelchair van may only last ten years. That means you are buying the Odyssey you need now. You are not trying to “have all the bases covered” for your later years. This is not a lifetime decision.

Understanding Funding and Financing Options
You should look for every available source of funding assistance for your Honda wheelchair van. Are you eligible for a federal or state program that can help reduce costs? Is there a mobility rebate available? Did you serve in the military and follow-up on potential Veteran’s Administration assistance? Will your health insurance or worker’s compensation coverage help with the conversion bill? You may or may not find ways to decrease costs, but it is definitely worth a long look.

If you are financing, you should be certain you are getting the best possible deal on your loan. You can get financing for a Honda wheelchair van from your bank, an auto finance company, a home equity loan or a variety of other sources. You should be choosing the best option available. If you have not yet purchased your Odyssey, talk with your Honda wheelchair van dealer. They may be able to bundle the price of your conversions into your auto loan.

Shop Wisely
You should do extensive comparison shopping before making decisions about your disability equipment dealer and conversion manufacturer. You do not want to cut corners on quality or safety to save money, but you do want to be sure that you are getting the best possible deal from qualified professionals.

Making wise equipment selections based on your actual needs, investigating all funding and financing options and being a motivated, well-informed shopper who’s willing to negotiate can help you find the best possible deal.

With a little extra effort, you may be able to dramatically decrease the amount of money you spend on your Honda wheelchair van.