Tag Archives: wheelchair van

How To Properly Insure Your Accessible Wheelchair Van

Everyone understands that it’s a legal requirement to have their vehicles insured and recognizes the value of being properly insured in case of an accident. But, most people are not insurance experts. In fact, some aspects of vehicle insurance confuse many people.


In order to keep your accessible van as safe as you can make sure you’re protecting it with the right types of commercial auto insurance. Here are the primary types of insurance you’ll need:

Liability Insurance

Liability insurance is normally required by law in all parts of the United States. This coverage is designed to protect other people from suffering losses that are caused when your wheelchair van causes an auto accident. Liability insurance primarily focuses on two coverage areas: Bodily injuries and Property Damages.

  • Bodily Injury – This section of your liability insurance policy helps pay for any injuries inflicted on other people from an auto accident. If your mobility van causes, or is found to be at fault for, an auto accident that causes people to get physically hurt, the bodily injury portion of your coverage pays for their medical expenses. When an injured person must be transported to the hospital for example, your bodily injury coverage can pay for the ambulatory bills and expenses. It also pays for the emergency room care, doctor’s visits, prescription medications, physical therapy, rehabilitation and other medical bills that are caused due to the auto accident. Bodily injury also pays for a person’s lost wages when they must miss work due to recovery times, and it pays for pain and suffering of the victims. When a person is killed in an auto accident, your bodily injury insurance can pay their funeral expenses as well.
  • Property Damage – When a vehicle or other property sustains damages from an auto accident that was caused by your handicap van, the property damages portion of your liability insurance will pay for the cost of repairs.

Liability insurance can provide your wheelchair van with protection at varying levels, based on the amount of coverage you select. You can choose a standard split level policy or a combined single limit policy as well.

A split limit policy sets maximum benefit limits on two separate portions of an auto accident claim. Split limit policies will pay no more than the set limit per person for bodily injuries but no more than the total combined limit for all bodily injuries in an accident. It will also pay a separate maximum for property damages. Example: A liability split limit policy of $15,000/$50,000/$35,000 explains a specific payment maximum per accident. No more than $15,000 will be paid for any individual person’s bodily injuries in one accident; no more than $50,000 will be paid for the combined total of bodily injuries; and $35,000 is the maximum amount the policy will pay for property damages.

If you elect a single combined limit liability policy instead, there is no separate maximum limit defined for bodily injuries or property damages. There is just one maximum overall payout for the policy for each accident. A $50,000 combined single limit liability policy for example, would pay a maximum of $50,000 in damages per accident regardless of whether the damages were to people or property.

Medical Payments

Medical payments insurance is important coverage for a wheelchair van, because it pays medical related expenses that arise for your van driver and any passengers who were riding in the vehicle at the time of the accident. Coverage is for paying medical and related bills, such as ambulance transport, hospital care and follow up treatments. This insurance protects your driver and passengers without regard to who causes an auto accident. It is not available in all areas however, so be sure to contact one of your licensed representatives to determine if it’s an option for your policy.

Physical Damage Insurance

Physical damages insurance protects your wheelchair accessible vehicle itself. And it protects your you from having to pay the bills when the van is damaged or destroyed. This insurance is extremely important for you  if you still have an outstanding unpaid finance loan because it provides you with the most protection possible. There are three types of physical damages insurance protection:

  • Comprehensive Physical Damage Protection – Comprehensive damages protects you from a number of potential risks, perils and hazards. It does not protect against damages and losses caused by a collision or caused when your van overturns. It does however, protect against losses and damages caused by theft, break ins, vandalism and natural events. If your van is damaged due to a tree falling on it in a storm for example, your comprehensive damage protection coverage will pay for the repairs.
  • Collision Protection – Collision protection is specifically designed to pay for damages and destruction that are caused by a collision or by a roll over event. If your van has a blowout and overturns for example, your collision damage protection will pay for the repairs. If the van backs into a building while trying to access a wheelchair ramp, the collision damage protection pays for those repairs as well.
  • Specified Peril (CAC) – Pecified Peril coverage is also known as Fire and Theft with Combined Additional Coverage. This does not protect you against collision or roll over events. Instead, it protects you from just those perils that are specified on your insurance policy.

Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist

If your van is involved in an auto accident with another vehicle and that other vehicle was the cause for the accident, their liability insurance is supposed to pay for your bodily injuries and property damages. If the other driver does not carry insurance however, or if they do not carry enough coverage to pay all of the resulting bills, they are considered uninsured or underinsured. You can purchase protection against these risks with an uninsured or underinsured motorist policy. When the other driver is at fault but unable to pay for all of your damages, your policy will pick up the difference. This policy works much like your Liability policy.

  • Bodily Injury – As covered with Liability Insurance.
  • Property Damage – As covered with Liability Insurance.
  • Collision Deductible Waiver (CDW) – When you carry an uninsured or underinsured motorist bodily injury policy on your wheelchair van, you can qualify for a collision deductible waiver (CDW). The CDW makes it so that you do not have to pay your standard insurance deductible when you make an uninsured or underinsured motorist accident claim.

Other Important Commercial Auto Insurance for Wheelchair Vans

  • Special Equipment Coverage – This type of coverage covers every aspect of vehicle adaptation including mobility equipment such as a lift, ramp, lowered floor, kneeling systems, a lock-down system, or any other added adaptive driving equipment (hand controls and left foot accelerators).
  • Rental – If your van is unusable due to an auto accident, rental insurance can pay for the cost of a temporary replacement.
  • Towing – Towing insurance pays for the cost of towing your accessible vehicle from the scene of an accident when it is badly damaged.
  • Accessories – Accessories insurance protects you from losses associated with extra devices you may have installed on your van. A wheelchair van taxi may have a mileage meter installed for example, and a communications radio to keep them in contact with their dispatcher.

** The limits of your coverage and your deductibles for each element of your policy will vary based upon what you’ve purchased from your insurance company.

How to Afford a Used Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle New England

Among people with disabilities, especially wheelchair users, one of the most talked about subjects is the price of a wheelchair accessible vehicle. A shiny new van can be out of range for many consumers on fixed incomes. But a used wheelchair van could be a possibility.

Let’s take a look at some concerns people may have:

Used vehicles have too much mileage on them.

Many used vehicles don’t have much mileage and the mobility equipment may be hardly used.

How much does a used accessible van with a ramp or lift cost?

A wheelchair accessible van less than 3 years old could start at $30,000—or thousands more. A gently used, older wheelchair van can be converted to save even more.

An older vehicle won’t last much longer.

A vehicle properly taken care of can last for decades. For added peace of mind, contact a mobility dealer who sells used wheelchair accessible vehicles and has decades of experience.

A used vehicle probably won’t have the equipment I want.

You want an in-floor ramp but you can only find fold-outs. If the price is right, you may be able to have the desired equipment installed after the sale. Do your research up front.

How can I qualify for a vehicle loan?

  • Talk to your VMi New England mobility dealer—they know the organizations, non-profits, state and federal agencies and charities that will help in financing in your area.
  • If you are a Veteran, you may be eligible for a credit towards a wheelchair accessible vehicle. For more information go to VMi New England
  • Start saving! If you get an income tax refund, put it in a special savings account.
  • Ask your family and friends to forgo gifts and donate towards your vehicle fund.

Above all, contact a mobility expert like the ones at VMi New England. They will work hand-in-hand with you on areas like what is right for you, financing options, rates, terms, manufacturer offers, incentives and benefits.

VMi New England is an advocate for mobility and accessibility for drivers with disabilities. If you need help with converting or buying a handicap accessible car, truck or van, please consider one of our adapted wheelchair vans.

Don’t Let Your Vehicle Get Rusty! Schedule An Appointment Today!

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.

The best time to prevent rust damage to your vehicle is in Autumn: before the first snowflake falls and Spring: after thae first heavy rain fall; a little vehicle 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 26 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.

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.

How To Make Your Wheelchair Van More Affordable

A wheelchair van can provide a little freedom for a person with a disAbility or someone caring for a loved one with mobility limitations. It’s hard to put a price on the freedom these vehicles can provide, however the fact remains that vans, conversions and specialized equipment all come with some costs. Fortunately, there are a number of ways that make these vehicles more affordable and get you one step closer to driving independence.

Search for Used Vans
Finding a used wheelchair accessible van in good condition might sound like a dream, but it is far from impossible. With a little research and some patience, you might be able to find a vehicle that works for your needs, at a discounted price. Many mobility dealerships take used vans as trade-ins for resale and some manufacturers will even install brand new wheelchair conversions in the pre-owned vehicles. Certain dealerships also sell rental vans that have been retired after a year of use. While a used van can be a great deal, it’s important to still consult with a qualified mobility equipment dealer, as these vehicles might not have the exact equipment to fit your needs.

Update Your Current Van
If your vehicle is still in relatively good condition but needs a few adjustments to make it more accessible for you and your loved ones, an update could be an affordable alternative to purchasing a new van. Talk to your local mobility dealer about updating your adaptive equipment and you could be on your way to saving a few thousand dollars!

Contact Local Organizations
If you need extra help funding a new handicap vehicle, a local chapter or organization working to help those with your particular disabilities might be able to help. While these groups might not be able to provide a large amount of money to fund your vehicle purchase, they might be able to provide you with helpful community resources or at least help coordinate fundraising activities.

Rust Prevention Is A Must Before Winter!

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.

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.

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 26 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 pictures below this van has heavy rust and metal fatigue due to a lack of maintenance.

Adaptive Mobility Van Brought to Automotive Innovations For Lack of Rust Treatment 1 Adaptive Mobility Van Brought to Automotive Innovations For Lack of Rust Treatment 2

 We Removed the Rust, Re-Built the Underneath and rust Proofed this Vehicle.Adaptive Mobility Van Brought to Automotive Innovations to Remove the Rust Adaptive Mobility Van Brought to Automotive Innovations For Lack of Rust Treatment- rust removed, re built and rust prevention

Don’t let your vehicle get rusty, schedule an appointment today!

Respect Accessible Spaces

Going out in public is often riddled with obstacles for people with disAbilities. While this is largely due to inaccessible structures like stairs and narrow doors, so many unnecessary barriers are created by able-bodied people who place themselves where they shouldn’t be. That’s not to say that someone with a disAbility has special privileges. Rather, reserved access locations are intended to give people with disAbilities equal opportunities to experience the world around them. Here are some accessible places where able-bodied people should not be:

Handicap Parking Spaces
By far, the most frustrating obstacle put in place by able-bodied people is parking illegally in handicap accessible parking spaces. Though often thought that handicap parking is one of the “perks” of having a disAbility, the reality is that it’s a necessity, not a convenience. Most people with a disAbility get around in a wheelchair accessible vehicle that’s adapted with either a foldout/in-floor ramp or a lift so they can easily get in and out of their vehicle. If they don’t have access to a parking spot with enough space, there is literally no (safe) way for them to get out of their vehicles, which directly prevents them from getting where they need to go.

There are countless times when entering many parking lots that you’ll find that the only accessible spots are occupied by someone who doesn’t have a proper license plate or a permit. It is also common that vehicles park illegally in the white/blue lines next to the accessible spots making it impossible for the owner to access their vehicle which leaves them stranded.

Parking illegally in a handicap spot denies an important means of access to all people who legitimately need the accessible spaces. Able-bodied people have an entire parking lot full of spaces to choose from; disabled people usually only have a few accessible spaces. The accessible spaces are not there for the convenience of people who are lazy, or for people who claim they just needed to run into the store for a second. Illegal use of any part of a accessible parking space is inexcusable in any situation.

Accessible restroom stalls
While using the restroom at multiple locations you will find that most stalls are empty except the accessible one. Able-bodied people see the big, roomy bathroom open and are drawn to it; it’s understandable not wanting to be cramped into a small stall. However, using accessible bathroom facilities, especially when others are available, does demonstrate that people with disabilities aren’t in society’s conscience as being just as likely to be out in public as non-disabled people.

If every other stall is taken, it’s obviously okay to use it. But since people with disAbilities cannot physically get into regular sized restroom stalls, it’s not asking too much for able-bodied people to leave the one accessible bathroom option open when there are five other empty ones that are readily available.

Accessible shower stalls
Much like accessible bathroom stalls, there’s usually only one accessible shower facility in places like shared college dormitory restrooms and gym locker rooms. The accessible stalls are roomier and they often have a fold-down seat attached to the wall. Although this may be tempting for non-disabled people who want a shower with room to dance around or have a place to rest tired feet the accessible facilities are not intended for the convenience of able-bodied people.

Apparently, this is a hard concept for people. Frequently you’ll discover that every shower stall is empty except for the accessible one.  Unfortunately it seems that able-bodied people see accessible showers as a luxury, rather than realizing that they are a necessity for disAbled people.

Accessible dressing rooms
Most stores have a large dressing room that qualifies as “accessible.” Unfortunately, they are rarely, if ever, properly labeled or guarded by store employees. Hence, some of the worst offenders of able-bodied people who block public access are the ones who use accessible dressing rooms.

Some people who actually need the accessible stall have to wait for 15-20 minutes (give/take) while able-bodied people take their time in the only accessible dressing room, even though several other regular dressing rooms are available. Able-bodied people need to realize that they have fifteen dressing rooms to choose from while people with disAbilities, that actually need an accessible room, only have one option.

Respect Accessible Spaces
If you don’t have a disAbility, then next time you just have to grab a gallon of milk or try on a bunch of shirts, please reconsider and don’t take up the only reserved accessible places. Leaving accessible places open for the people who truly need them is a super simple way to promote inclusion and acceptance of the disAbled community.

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.

HighTower: Side Mounted Docking Station

From B&D Independence, the leader and most trusted name in transfer seating for decades, comes a revolutionary new system.

Designed to significantly increase your ground clearance, Hightower gives you the freedom and enhanced mobility you’ve been searching for.

The Hightower is the world’s first vertical docking console.

HighTower boasts a sleek and streamline design while its brackets are made to meet the needs of individual wheelchairs and vehicle systems. This is good form and functionality all in one small but powerful package.

The revolutionary HighTower side-mounted docking console eliminates ground clearance concerns and improves stability. This means an operator can move about freely and drive with confidence from their powered wheelchair.

What is the HighTower Docking System?
The HighTower Docking System is a side-mounted docking station designed to dock powered wheelchairs into the driver or front passenger position of a lowered-floor minivan or full size van. It is the first ever of its kind, and utilizes a rod bracket between the frame and seat of the wheelchair that docks with a station situated in the console area between the driver and front passenger seat.

Who is developing the HighTower Docking System?
HighTower is developed by B&D Independence, Inc. B&D is the recognized leader of Transfer Seat Bases for the mobility industry, and has been producing Transfer Seat Bases for over 30 years. More information on B&D Independence, Inc. can be found at their website, www.bdindependence.com

Will the same HighTower Docking System support both a Driver and Passenger wheelchair?
The Hightower Docking Systems are built specifically to support either a Driver or Passenger application. However, depending on the wheelchair and the needs of the user, a Driver and a Front Passenger system can be installed into the same vehicle. Consult your local mobility dealer for more details.

How does the HighTower install to my vehicle and wheelchair?
Installation to both vehicle and wheelchair is simple. A frame bracket sits between the seat and the frame of the wheelchair, and the rod bracket is attached to this frame bracket. The HighTower Docking System is positioned in the console area and bolted in place while electrical wires to supply power are run to the vehicle.

What testing has B&D conducted for HighTower?
HighTower Docking System is crash tested and certified under RESNA WC-4:2012, Section 18. B&D Independence works with the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) to conduct the latest crash testing and safety requirements for the HighTower Docking System. Further information can be found at UMTRI’s website, http://www.umtri.umich.edu/. B&D Independence is also a member of the COWHAT (Committee on Wheelchairs and Transportation), the foremost leader on safety and testing related to Power Wheelchairs and their securement systems. More information on COWHAT can be found at: http://www.resna.org/atStandards/wheelchairs-and-transportation.dot

What specific wheelchairs work with the HighTower?
We work closely with wheelchair manufacturers and are adding new models regularly. We suggest you refer to our wheelchair applications search engine on our website, www.hightowerdocking.com, for the most current listing.

 My wheelchair is not listed on www.hightowerdocking.com; why?
HighTower is currently focused on ‘Rehabilitation Power Wheelchairs.’ Medicare defines this as Group 2 Complex, Group 3 and some Group 4 Power Wheelchairs. B&D Independence reviews the bracket needs of power wheelchairs in these categories to see if they would be right for a HighTower application, then, conducts all necessary testing and fitting before offering brackets for the specific wheelchair.If you feel your power wheelchair qualifies for the HighTower Docking System, but do not see your wheelchair listed, contact B&D Independence at info@bdindependence.com. Include your wheelchair make and model in the email.

What vehicles does the HighTower fit?
HighTower fits lowered-floor minivans such as the Chrysler, Dodge, Honda, and Toyota. HighTower can also fit to lowered-floor and some non lowered-floor full size vans. HighTower cannot fit to floors that are not compatible with wheelchairs, such as those with multiple floor levels or floors that have obstacles located in the driving / front passenger area, such as a airbag / control module found in most non-lowered full size vans.

Can I use my Hightower System as a unoccupied wheelchair restraint?
No, or more specifically, not yet. HighTower was built and tested as a forward facing Driver or Front Passenger application only. However, B&D Independence recognizes the need for unoccupied use in both the driving and cargo area of the vehicle; testing and engineering is being conducted to see if that can be a future possibility of the HighTower Docking System.

What mobility equipment can the HighTower work alongside?
HighTower works with most applications of equipment including hand controls, spinner knobs, pedal guards and other various simple use products. Even with high technology products, such as EMC or DSI equipment, the HighTower can coexist. The deciding factor in all of these applications will be the area in between the driver and front passenger seat; this location must be generally clear to receive the HighTower Docking System.

I use EMC / DSI equipment in my vehicle; will this cause a problem?
B&D Independence has conducted fit testing with the EMC / DSI Control box, a 26” wide wheelchair, and the passenger conversion pedestal and OEM Seat. All of these items were able to fit in the vehicle. EMC and DSI have been consulted regarding possible conflicts with the HighTower system; there is room to maneuver and move (slightly) the EMC / DSI control module, or even completely move the unit to the back of the vehicle, if the power wheelchair is very wide. Consult your local dealer for more information regarding the possibility of EMC / DSI equipment and HighTower.

Wheelchair Van Conversion Styles: In-Floor Ramp Vs. Fold-out Ramp

There are several wheelchair accessible van conversion styles you’ll want to consider when choosing the right mobility solution for you. One decision you’ll have to make is to choose between an In-Floor wheelchair van ramp and a Fold-Out wheelchair accessible ramp.

In-Floor Vs. Fold-Up Wheelchair Ramps
Another important consideration to make is whether you’d prefer a fold-up or an in-floor wheelchair ramp in your handicap van. As their name implies, fold-up ramps fold in half and stow upright, next to the side passenger door. On the other hand, in-floor ramps slide into a pocket underneath the vehicle’s floor. People who opt for in-floor ramps prefer the ramp out of the way of the passenger entrance. Typically, fold-up ramps tend to be less expensive and easier to maintain, and they present a lower ramp angle. In-floor and fold-up wheelchair ramps are available in a wide range of handicap minivan conversions.

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.

Side Mounted Docking Station

From B&D Independence, the leader and most trusted name in transfer seating for decades, comes a revolutionary new system.

Designed to significantly increase your ground clearance, Hightower gives you the freedom and enhanced mobility you’ve been searching for.

The Hightower is the world’s first vertical docking console.

HighTower boasts a sleek and streamline design while its brackets are made to meet the needs of individual wheelchairs and vehicle systems. This is good form and functionality all in one small but powerful package.

The revolutionary HighTower side-mounted docking console eliminates ground clearance concerns and improves stability. This means an operator can move about freely and drive with confidence from their powered wheelchair.

What is the HighTower Docking System?
The HighTower Docking System is a side-mounted docking station designed to dock powered wheelchairs into the driver or front passenger position of a lowered-floor minivan or full size van. It is the first ever of its kind, and utilizes a rod bracket between the frame and seat of the wheelchair that docks with a station situated in the console area between the driver and front passenger seat.

Who is developing the HighTower Docking System?
HighTower is developed by B&D Independence, Inc. B&D is the recognized leader of Transfer Seat Bases for the mobility industry, and has been producing Transfer Seat Bases for over 30 years. More information on B&D Independence, Inc. can be found at their website, www.bdindependence.com

Will the same HighTower Docking System support both a Driver and Passenger wheelchair?
The Hightower Docking Systems are built specifically to support either a Driver or Passenger application. However, depending on the wheelchair and the needs of the user, a Driver and a Front Passenger system can be installed into the same vehicle. Consult your local mobility dealer for more details.

How does the HighTower install to my vehicle and wheelchair?
Installation to both vehicle and wheelchair is simple. A frame bracket sits between the seat and the frame of the wheelchair, and the rod bracket is attached to this frame bracket. The HighTower Docking System is positioned in the console area and bolted in place while electrical wires to supply power are run to the vehicle.

What testing has B&D conducted for HighTower?
HighTower Docking System is crash tested and certified under RESNA WC-4:2012, Section 18. B&D Independence works with the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) to conduct the latest crash testing and safety requirements for the HighTower Docking System. Further information can be found at UMTRI’s website, http://www.umtri.umich.edu/. B&D Independence is also a member of the COWHAT (Committee on Wheelchairs and Transportation), the foremost leader on safety and testing related to Power Wheelchairs and their securement systems. More information on COWHAT can be found at: http://www.resna.org/atStandards/wheelchairs-and-transportation.dot

What specific wheelchairs work with the HighTower?
We work closely with wheelchair manufacturers and are adding new models regularly. We suggest you refer to our wheelchair applications search engine on our website, www.hightowerdocking.com, for the most current listing.

 My wheelchair is not listed on www.hightowerdocking.com; why?
HighTower is currently focused on ‘Rehabilitation Power Wheelchairs.’ Medicare defines this as Group 2 Complex, Group 3 and some Group 4 Power Wheelchairs. B&D Independence reviews the bracket needs of power wheelchairs in these categories to see if they would be right for a HighTower application, then, conducts all necessary testing and fitting before offering brackets for the specific wheelchair.If you feel your power wheelchair qualifies for the HighTower Docking System, but do not see your wheelchair listed, contact B&D Independence at info@bdindependence.com. Include your wheelchair make and model in the email.

What vehicles does the HighTower fit?
HighTower fits lowered-floor minivans such as the Chrysler, Dodge, Honda, and Toyota. HighTower can also fit to lowered-floor and some non lowered-floor full size vans. HighTower cannot fit to floors that are not compatible with wheelchairs, such as those with multiple floor levels or floors that have obstacles located in the driving / front passenger area, such as a airbag / control module found in most non-lowered full size vans.

Can I use my Hightower System as a unoccupied wheelchair restraint?
No, or more specifically, not yet. HighTower was built and tested as a forward facing Driver or Front Passenger application only. However, B&D Independence recognizes the need for unoccupied use in both the driving and cargo area of the vehicle; testing and engineering is being conducted to see if that can be a future possibility of the HighTower Docking System.

What mobility equipment can the HighTower work alongside?
HighTower works with most applications of equipment including hand controls, spinner knobs, pedal guards and other various simple use products. Even with high technology products, such as EMC or DSI equipment, the HighTower can coexist. The deciding factor in all of these applications will be the area in between the driver and front passenger seat; this location must be generally clear to receive the HighTower Docking System.

I use EMC / DSI equipment in my vehicle; will this cause a problem?
B&D Independence has conducted fit testing with the EMC / DSI Control box, a 26” wide wheelchair, and the passenger conversion pedestal and OEM Seat. All of these items were able to fit in the vehicle. EMC and DSI have been consulted regarding possible conflicts with the HighTower system; there is room to maneuver and move (slightly) the EMC / DSI control module, or even completely move the unit to the back of the vehicle, if the power wheelchair is very wide. Consult your local dealer for more information regarding the possibility of EMC / DSI equipment and HighTower.

Rust Proof you Vehicle Today

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.

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.

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.

The Benefits of a Wheelchair Van for Service Dogs

Many of the innovative designs that make up a wheelchair van are also convenient for your four-legged friends. From spacious cabins to simple ramps systems, a wheelchair van just might empower a service dog nearly as much as it enables a person with a wheelchair, a caregiver or a disabled veteran. Wheelchair vans allow service dogs and their owners to:

  • Find comfortable and flexible seating in the roomy cabins
  • Remove the unnecessary and dangerous stress and strain from traditional loading and unloading options
  • Speed up the process of entering and exiting the vehicle
  • Create safer alternatives in parking spot entrance, exit and maneuverability
  • Transport the entire family in one trip
  • Prevent the wear and tear a dog may unintentionally inflict upon smaller vehicles
  • Integrate durable floors for wheelchairs that are scuff-resistant for dogs, too
  • Enter and exit from the same side door at nearly the same time

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.

Ready To Sell You Wheelchair Van? Make sure Its Ready To Be Bought!

If you’re trying to sell your wheelchair accessible vehicle by yourself, you should know the average mobility vehicle could take a few months to sell. The number of people with limited mobility in one local area who are in the market to purchase can be very small. Add to that the specialized equipment on your van that a potential buyer may not want, and the weeks roll by (and you’re still making payments on the old van).

The fastest deal is at a local mobility dealership. We buy and sell new and used vans throughout New England, take trade-ins, buy vehicle outright and/or can put them on consignment—whether it’s a non-converted vehicle or a converted van.

In order to get the best offer (or trade-in value), you should make sure its in “buying condition”.

Look at the vehicle with fresh eyes—like a buyer would. Ask yourself, “Would I buy this vehicle?”

  • If something needs repairing, fix it. A small investment can add hundreds to the value.
  • Wash it, wax it or take it to a detailer for a shine, inside and out. Maybe you only need to wash it and perhaps buy new floor mats.
  • Write down vehicle information such as year, make, model, interior and exterior colors and mileage; VIN number; side or rear entry, configuration of the interior of the van; standard features; removable features and any other adaptive extras.
  • Double check safety features: Are the tie-downs still sturdy and clean? Does the lift or ramp still operate smoothly?
  • Consider replacing the tires if they are bald.
  • Take out all personal items you may want to keep.
  • Find the registration, warranty, owner’s manual, equipment manuals and repair receipts.
  • All controls should be clearly labeled—and work!

Now you’re ready to sell or trade-in for a newer model.

How To Have A Comfortable & Safe Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle In Winter

We’re sure there’s no need to remind you, given the freezing temperatures outside, but winter is in full effect. During this season, keeping warm is an absolute top priority to both stay comfortable and safe. Whereas summer makes driving feel like a blast, winter might mean your accessible vehicle is taking on some damage you might not even know about.

Frozen seats, iced over windows and cold air are only some of the effects you’ll be experiencing unless you make sure to follow these helpful tips. With proper preparation, your wheelchair van doesn’t have feel like a refrigerator.

How to stay safe in your wheelchair accessible vehicle:

  • Always keep spare hats, gloves, blankets and extra layers in your wheelchair accessible vehicle. Unfortunately, cars break and, if it happens to you, having these extra essentials will make your wait for help bearable or even life-saving.
  • Make sure to keep at least half a tank of gas at all times. This helps weigh down your car in icy conditions and also prevents running out of fuel while lost or stuck in the snow.
  • Check your antifreeze levels weekly or bi-weekly for any potential leaks. You would much rather find one in your garage than learn about it on the road when your engine stops.
  • Switch your windshield wiper fluid to cold weather formula ASAP. Summer formula is great in the heat, but it’ll freeze during winter and either clog the pipes or ice over your windshield when sprayed.
  • Especially for those in a wheelchair, an extra-long/telescopic ice scraper will do wonders in creating maximum visibility. Don’t forget to clean the roof as well, which will prevent a pile of snow from hitting the car behind you.
  • Store an emergency cell phone battery in the glove box for when you’re potentially lost or stranded. Just make sure to keep the battery charged!

How to stay warm:

  • There’s no reason not to enjoy heated seats even if your accessible vehicle wasn’t installed with them. Pick up aftermarket seat warmers to provide both heat and additional support for your back and hips.
  • Stop by your local hardware store to grab a can of silicone spay. A quick spray along the window and door cracks will help prevent moisture buildup, which means your doors won’t freeze shut overnight.
  • Use steering wheel covers to help insulate your hands and also provide extra grip for slippery conditions.
  • Switch your heat settings over to recirculate the interior air. This reheats the already hot air instead of pulling in cold air from the outside. During the summer, always keep air coming in from the outside to cool the engine. But during the winter, the air inside does the job just fine.
  • Starting at around $100, you can install an aftermarket remote car starter. Now you can start and pre-heat your acessible vehicle from the comfort of your living room, just remember to set your dials accordingly each time you leave your car.
  • And of course, sip on some delicious coffee or tea from an insulated container.

Applying these ideas will help keep you comfy and safe during the harsh winter months. Always make sure to drive safe; and smile, because spring is just around the corner.

Renting A Wheelchair Van

There are 3 key points that everyone looking to rent a wheelchair van should be aware of.

  • Rentals can be delivered – even to airports
    Having your vehicle with you is not always an option. Wheelchair van rentals just may be the right thing to make your travels, business functions, and more, easier.
  • Rentals come in both minivans and full-sized vans
    Wheelchair vans are rented for more reasons than vacation travel. Transportation for bigger chairs or multiple people may facilitate the need for different vans for different situations. Depending on your rental location, you have the option to rent either a full-size van or a mini-van.
  • Rental vehicles can be a good way to find the right vehicle for you
    Test drives are critical for determining what vehicle is right for you, but what if you want to make sure the vehicle will work perfectly for your day-to-day routine? Rent the wheelchair van! Renting different vehicles may help you truly determine what ramp style, vehicle type, or door height will give you the best results for your daily routine.

 

Accessible Valentine’s Day Ideas

For some, Valentine’s Day is a special day spent with a significant other, but loved family members and friends also make for a great reason to spend time with people you care about. With a mobility vehicle, there are endless possibilities when it comes to planning the perfect day with those closest to you. The following are a few date night ideas your wheelchair van can get you to and that are handicap accessible.

See a Show
Many local theatres and movie theaters run special shows or engagements on Valentine’s Day. Specially designed ramps are common and make for a great evening supporting local arts programs or just having an enjoyable time. Make sure to purchase tickets in advance and arrive early for preparation.

Plan a Romantic Dinner
Restaurants are booming on February 14 and, with a little planning, you can relish in an evening on the town. By using Google and/or Yelp! (which offers wheelchair accessible information), you can easily book a reservation for a handicap accessible table.

Leisurely Stroll in a Park
You can research ahead of time for events at local parks for a special evening with the whole family or a significant other. Festivals with crafts, food and music while walking under the stars would make a magical night on easy terrain. Your wheelchair accessible car can find a spot in the lot while you find one in a field or arena using available ramps.

Try Something New: Find a Drive-In Theater
If you’re looking for a truly unique experience, you can find a drive-in movie theater in your area. Take your wheelchair accessible vehicle and pile the whole family in for an affordable movie and distinct adventure. Enjoy the comfort of your mobility vehicle while you watch movies on the outdoor silver screen.

In all, with enough preparation, your wheelchair van can go anywhere you want with ease for a successful Valentine’s Day date.

Full Service Automotive Shop

The VMi New England Mobility Center’s Team in Bridgewater, MA offers a in-house body shop in addition to a auto service department that is staffed with the most qualified technicians ready to answer your questions and address your handicap van auto repair needs. Our auto body service and car repair experts have the experience to get your wheelchair accessible van back on the road in top condition. You can come from and where in New England to have one of our specialists repair your adapted vehicles, wheelchair vehicles, used adapted vehicles, or used conversion vans, conversion van or handicapped vehicle. Call anytime to schedule an appointment, or contact our van service department if you have any additional questions.

At the VMi New England Mobility Center we provide wheelchair accessible van body repair service for all make & model vans & mobility equipment. We service and repair most all brand mobility vehicles including BraunAbility and VMI van’s We perform body shop service, rust prevention, rust repair and warranty work on all the vehicles & products we sell. We repair wheelchair lifts in vans & buses for both private and commercial customers

Wheelchair Van Body Shop
With our in house down draft spray booth we can assist you with Autobody repair as well as work with insurance companies to be sure you get the proper support in repairing damaged wheelchahir accessible vehicles .

Full Service Automotive Shop
Our team of technicians also perform Full Service Auto repair so we can offer 1 stop shopping. Instead of using 2 different mechanics for the repair of one vehicle, let our trained service team handle all of your mechanical needs

Large Selection Of Wheelchair Van Parts In-Stock
We offer a large selection of parts for wheelchair lifts and wheelchair vans including: BraunAbility, VMI, Vision & more. Our expert staff in our service department are standing by to fix your mobility van. Whether you need a single part or would like to keep your entire fleet going, we have the name brand parts available. If we don’t have the exact part your looking for, we can get almost anything within a day. Give us a call today for all your wheelchair van needs.

Tips For Buying A Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle

You’re a first time wheelchair van buyer, and like many other customers have questions about handicap vans, or how or where they are built, and what kind of prices to expect. This portion of our website will assist you to find answers to your questions and provide creative mobility product solutions. We encourage you to gather as much information as possible, but the best education of needs and options is done through a consultation with a Mobility Consultant. Our staff knows the inside and out of Adaptive Equipment and can custom fit and recommend the perfect wheelchair accessible vehicle transportation for friends, family, and most importantly you!

There are many different options and possibilities with handicap accessible vehicles; the most common option is a wheelchair accessible minivan. A wheelchair accessible van is modified to allow a wheelchair or scooter user to drive their mobility equipment directly into the handicap accessible vehicle with no assistance. Featuring a 10-11″ dropped floor for easy entry and exist (with headroom up to 58″!) and removable front seats that allow the user to ride safely in the front passenger area or even drive from their wheelchair.

TIPS TO BUYING A WHEELCHAIR ACCESSIBLE VEHICLE:

  • Create a list of features you want and need, so you can accurately access the cost differences.
  • Take into consideration how you’re going to transport the whole family.
  • Consider the adaptive equipment that needs to be transported. Will it change over time?
  • What is the age of the user and caregivers?
  • Have a budget. Check with a Mobility Consultant to obtain all information including 10-year financing options and rebates available.
  • Talk with a Certified Mobility Consultant to explain features and benefits, and guide you through the wheelchair van conversion buying process.
  • Purchasing your new or used wheelchair van from Ability Center provides a piece-of-mind because we are a Certified Mobility Dealer that is part of NMEDA and is QAP certified.
  • Rent and try before you buy. Ability Center will apply your handicap van rental costs to the purchase of a new or previously-owned handicap accessible vehicle.
  • Buy for today, and tomorrow! It’s a big investment that should last you many years.

HERE ARE SOME OF THE MOST COMMON QUESTIONS AND THEIR ANSWERS:

  • Do you convert the mobility vans there? No. Vans with new ramp conversions are converted in three locations: Indiana, Michigan, and Arizona. We obtain them complete. We install external or internal lifts, and any adaptive equipment necessary to custom fit the driver to their van.
  • What vans are being converted? Currently, the manufacturers are converting the Dodge/Chrysler minivans, Toyota Sienna, Honda Odyssey Chevrolet/Buick minivans, and Ford E-Series vans & Transit Connects.
  • I want to carry two wheelchairs. Can I? Most handicap van conversions make carrying two wheelchairs a breeze, but that depends on the style of chair or scooter. Talk to our Mobility Specialist they’ll know what will work for you.
  • I can’t make it down to your store. Can you come out? Yes. We love in-home demonstrations. It gives you the chance to have your whole family there and try the new or used handicap van in your own environment. Just pick a van, and we’ll bring it out to you at no-charge.
  • How do I secure my wheelchair? Depending on the model, there are several ways to secure your equipment. Three typical ways are: 4-piont manual strapping system that comes with every van; optional 4-point retractable straps; and the EZ-Lock bracket system. Please check with your Mobility Specialist to see if a bracket designed for your equipment. There are some popular wheelchairs on the market that do not have a bracket.
  • I want to save more money. What do you have? Besides taking advantage of any and all rebates out there, consider a manual ramp version or the very popular used van with a new conversion. A pre-owned conversion van may be the way to go if you are considering a budget. You can save thousands on a pre-owned van.
  • Why is the price set the way it is? The final price is a combined cost of the van AND the mobility conversion. What will determine the overall price is what you want out of the van and options (i.e.: Toyota Sienna Limited versus Dodge Grand Caravan SE). The conversions are priced very closely and do not generally affect overall price.
  • Can I trade in my non-converted vehicle? YES! Bring it by and we’ll give you the best deal on non-converted or converted vehicles. We’ll take the stress out of selling the vehicle on the market.
  • Can I try the van first? Absolutely you can test drive the vehicle to see if it going to work for you and your family!
  • I want to buy my van at the dealer; they’ve been nice to me. Depending on the manufacturer and conversion, that could be done. You will not take physical possession of the van, but your relationship with them will be continued. Before you do, talk to our Mobility Specialists and they’ll let you know if that van can be purchased through your favorite dealer. We have a great working relationship with most dealers, so we know how to work with the auto dealers in your town.
  • Do you offer financing for handicap vans? Yes. We work with banks that finance mobility vans up to 10 years, or on terms that fit your needs. Our rates are comparable to what is on the market.
  • Can I use my own bank? Certainly. But be cautious, you must let them know that it is a van converted for wheelchair access. Some private or national banks will not finance the total cost of the mobility van, and only finance up to 120% of the value of the van prior to conversion. Call your Mobility Specialist before you go to your bank, it may be helpful to assist you with your bank by letting them know of your intentions.
  • Does Medicare pay for vans? No. Due to Medicare guidelines and policy the vehicle conversion is a “deluxe item” only to be used outside the home, for which that equipment Medicare does not deem “medically necessary.”
  • Who will assist with funds for me? Depending on where you live, your state could have funds set aside for financial assistance. These funds are available upon application and approval of your case and if the state has funds available. Sometimes this can take up to 6 months or longer. Call our Mobility Specialist; they will know where to direct you to start the process.
  • I am a disabled Veteran. How do I obtain a mobility van? If the VA has provided you with a wheelchair or scooter, you are entitled to a lift for your existing vehicle or a mobility conversion to transport that equipment. Depending on your diagnosis or if your disability is service connected or not, either will be provided. Call us; we’ll work with your local VA to help you start the process. We are very experienced with Veterans policy and procedures.
  • Can I convert my own van? The handicap vans we offer are complete, but you could convert your own. This is a very rare circumstance, but if it absolutely needs to be done your vehicle needs to fit the manufacturer’s criteria for converting a customer-owned van. In just about all cases, because of the time and additional expenses, it is more beneficial and cost effective to the customer to purchase a van post-converted to take advantage of rebates. Conversions cannot be financed on their own.

Vehicle Rust Proofing, Prevention and Repair

First, it’s important to know what rust is. Rust is an example of corrosion. When iron (which is in steel) and oxygen mix with air or water, rust occurs. Eventually, rust can take over any iron mass and cause it to disintegrate. Corrosion can also occur when dirt or moisture accumulate on a vehicle’s underbody.

Rust is a serious problem and spreads like a rash. It can shorten the lifespan and value of any vehicle.

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.

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.

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 Proofing
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 26 years.

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

Adaptive Mobility Van Brought to Automotive Innovations For Lack of Rust Treatment 1 Adaptive Mobility Van Brought to Automotive Innovations For Lack of Rust Treatment 2 We Removed the Rust, Re-Built the Underneath and rust Proofed this Vehicle. Adaptive Mobility Van Brought to Automotive Innovations to Remove the Rust

Adaptive Mobility Van Brought to Automotive Innovations For Lack of Rust Treatment- rust removed, re built and rust prevention

Don’t let your vehicle get rusty, schedule an appointment today!

How To Make Your Wheelchair Van More Affordable

A wheelchair van can provide a little freedom for a person with a disAbility or someone caring for a loved one with mobility limitations. It’s hard to put a price on the freedom these vehicles can provide, however the fact remains that vans, conversions and specialized equipment all come with some costs. Fortunately, there are a number of ways that make these vehicles more affordable and get you one step closer to driving independence.

Search for Used Vans
Finding a used wheelchair accessible van in good condition might sound like a dream, but it is far from impossible. With a little research and some patience, you might be able to find a vehicle that works for your needs, at a discounted price. Many mobility dealerships take used vans as trade-ins for resale and some manufacturers will even install brand new wheelchair conversions in the pre-owned vehicles. Certain dealerships also sell rental vans that have been retired after a year of use. While a used van can be a great deal, it’s important to still consult with a qualified mobility equipment dealer, as these vehicles might not have the exact equipment to fit your needs.

Update Your Current Van
If your vehicle is still in relatively good condition but needs a few adjustments to make it more accessible for you and your loved ones, an update could be an affordable alternative to purchasing a new van. Talk to your local mobility dealer about updating your adaptive equipment and you could be on your way to saving a few thousand dollars!

Contact Local Organizations
If you need extra help funding a new handicap vehicle, a local chapter or organization working to help those with your particular disabilities might be able to help. While these groups might not be able to provide a large amount of money to fund your vehicle purchase, they might be able to provide you with helpful community resources or at least help coordinate fundraising activities.

Rust Prevention Is A Must Before Winter!

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.

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.

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 26 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 pictures below this van has heavy rust and metal fatigue due to a lack of maintenance.

Adaptive Mobility Van Brought to Automotive Innovations For Lack of Rust Treatment 1 Adaptive Mobility Van Brought to Automotive Innovations For Lack of Rust Treatment 2 We Removed the Rust, Re-Built the Underneath and rust Proofed this Vehicle. Adaptive Mobility Van Brought to Automotive Innovations to Remove the Rust

Adaptive Mobility Van Brought to Automotive Innovations For Lack of Rust Treatment- rust removed, re built and rust prevention

Don’t let your vehicle get rusty, schedule an appointment today!

HighTower: The World’s First Side Mounted Docking Station

B&D HighTower Docking System 3From B&D Independence, the leader and most trusted name in transfer seating for decades, comes a revolutionary new system.

Designed to significantly increase your ground clearance, Hightower gives you the freedom and enhanced mobility you’ve been searching for.

The Hightower is the world’s first vertical docking console.

HighTower boasts a sleek and streamline design while its brackets are made to meet the needs of individual wheelchairs and vehicle systems. This is good form and functionality all in one small but powerful package.

The revolutionary HighTower side-mounted docking console eliminates ground clearance concerns and improves stability. This means an operator can move about freely and drive with confidence from their powered wheelchair.

B&D HighTower Docking System 10

What is the HighTower Docking System?
The HighTower Docking System is a side-mounted docking station designed to dock powered wheelchairs into the driver or front passenger position of a lowered-floor minivan or full size van. It is the first ever of its kind, and utilizes a rod bracket between the frame and seat of the wheelchair that docks with a station situated in the console area between the driver and front passenger seat.

Who is developing the HighTower Docking System?
HighTower is developed by B&D Independence, Inc. B&D is the recognized leader of Transfer Seat Bases for the mobility industry, and has been producing Transfer Seat Bases for over 30 years. More information on B&D Independence, Inc. can be found at their website, www.bdindependence.com

Will the same HighTower Docking System support both a Driver and Passenger wheelchair?
The Hightower Docking Systems are built specifically to support either a Driver or Passenger application. However, depending on the wheelchair and the needs of the user, a Driver and a Front Passenger system can be installed into the same vehicle. Consult your local mobility dealer for more details.

How does the HighTower install to my vehicle and wheelchair?
Installation to both vehicle and wheelchair is simple. A frame bracket sits between the seat and the frame of the wheelchair, and the rod bracket is attached to this frame bracket. The HighTower Docking System is positioned in the console area and bolted in place while electrical wires to supply power are run to the vehicle.

What testing has B&D conducted for HighTower?
HighTower Docking System is crash tested and certified under RESNA WC-4:2012, Section 18. B&D Independence works with the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) to conduct the latest crash testing and safety requirements for the HighTower Docking System. Further information can be found at UMTRI’s website, http://www.umtri.umich.edu/. B&D Independence is also a member of the COWHAT (Committee on Wheelchairs and Transportation), the foremost leader on safety and testing related to Power Wheelchairs and their securement systems. More information on COWHAT can be found at: http://www.resna.org/atStandards/wheelchairs-and-transportation.dot

What specific wheelchairs work with the HighTower?
We work closely with wheelchair manufacturers and are adding new models regularly. We suggest you refer to our wheelchair applications search engine on our website, www.hightowerdocking.com, for the most current listing.

 My wheelchair is not listed on www.hightowerdocking.com; why?
HighTower is currently focused on ‘Rehabilitation Power Wheelchairs.’ Medicare defines this as Group 2 Complex, Group 3 and some Group 4 Power Wheelchairs. B&D Independence reviews the bracket needs of power wheelchairs in these categories to see if they would be right for a HighTower application, then, conducts all necessary testing and fitting before offering brackets for the specific wheelchair.If you feel your power wheelchair qualifies for the HighTower Docking System, but do not see your wheelchair listed, contact B&D Independence at info@bdindependence.com. Include your wheelchair make and model in the email.

What vehicles does the HighTower fit?
HighTower fits lowered-floor minivans such as the Chrysler, Dodge, Honda, and Toyota. HighTower can also fit to lowered-floor and some non lowered-floor full size vans. HighTower cannot fit to floors that are not compatible with wheelchairs, such as those with multiple floor levels or floors that have obstacles located in the driving / front passenger area, such as a airbag / control module found in most non-lowered full size vans.

Can I use my Hightower System as a unoccupied wheelchair restraint?
No, or more specifically, not yet. HighTower was built and tested as a forward facing Driver or Front Passenger application only. However, B&D Independence recognizes the need for unoccupied use in both the driving and cargo area of the vehicle; testing and engineering is being conducted to see if that can be a future possibility of the HighTower Docking System.

What mobility equipment can the HighTower work alongside?
HighTower works with most applications of equipment including hand controls, spinner knobs, pedal guards and other various simple use products. Even with high technology products, such as EMC or DSI equipment, the HighTower can coexist. The deciding factor in all of these applications will be the area in between the driver and front passenger seat; this location must be generally clear to receive the HighTower Docking System.

I use EMC / DSI equipment in my vehicle; will this cause a problem?
B&D Independence has conducted fit testing with the EMC / DSI Control box, a 26” wide wheelchair, and the passenger conversion pedestal and OEM Seat. All of these items were able to fit in the vehicle. EMC and DSI have been consulted regarding possible conflicts with the HighTower system; there is room to maneuver and move (slightly) the EMC / DSI control module, or even completely move the unit to the back of the vehicle, if the power wheelchair is very wide. Consult your local dealer for more information regarding the possibility of EMC / DSI equipment and HighTower.

Respect Accessible Spaces

Going out in public is often riddled with obstacles for people with disAbilities. While this is largely due to inaccessible structures like stairs and narrow doors, so many unnecessary barriers are created by able-bodied people who place themselves where they shouldn’t be. That’s not to say that someone with a disAbility has special privileges. Rather, reserved access locations are intended to give people with disAbilities equal opportunities to experience the world around them. Here are some accessible places where able-bodied people should not be:

Handicap Parking Spaces
By far, the most frustrating obstacle put in place by able-bodied people is parking illegally in handicap accessible parking spaces. Though often thought that handicap parking is one of the “perks” of having a disAbility, the reality is that it’s a necessity, not a convenience. Most people with a disAbility get around in a wheelchair accessible vehicle that’s adapted with either a foldout/in-floor ramp or a lift so they can easily get in and out of their vehicle. If they don’t have access to a parking spot with enough space, there is literally no (safe) way for them to get out of their vehicles, which directly prevents them from getting where they need to go.

There are countless times when entering many parking lots that you’ll find that the only accessible spots are occupied by someone who doesn’t have a proper license plate or a permit. It is also common that vehicles park illegally in the white/blue lines next to the accessible spots making it impossible for the owner to access their vehicle which leaves them stranded.

Parking illegally in a handicap spot denies an important means of access to all people who legitimately need the accessible spaces. Able-bodied people have an entire parking lot full of spaces to choose from; disabled people usually only have a few accessible spaces. The accessible spaces are not there for the convenience of people who are lazy, or for people who claim they just needed to run into the store for a second. Illegal use of any part of a accessible parking space is inexcusable in any situation.

Accessible restroom stalls
While using the restroom at multiple locations you will find that most stalls are empty except the accessible one. Able-bodied people see the big, roomy bathroom open and are drawn to it; it’s understandable not wanting to be cramped into a small stall. However, using accessible bathroom facilities, especially when others are available, does demonstrate that people with disabilities aren’t in society’s conscience as being just as likely to be out in public as non-disabled people.

If every other stall is taken, it’s obviously okay to use it. But since people with disAbilities cannot physically get into regular sized restroom stalls, it’s not asking too much for able-bodied people to leave the one accessible bathroom option open when there are five other empty ones that are readily available.

Accessible shower stalls
Much like accessible bathroom stalls, there’s usually only one accessible shower facility in places like shared college dormitory restrooms and gym locker rooms. The accessible stalls are roomier and they often have a fold-down seat attached to the wall. Although this may be tempting for non-disabled people who want a shower with room to dance around or have a place to rest tired feet the accessible facilities are not intended for the convenience of able-bodied people.

Apparently, this is a hard concept for people. Frequently you’ll discover that every shower stall is empty except for the accessible one.  Unfortunately it seems that able-bodied people see accessible showers as a luxury, rather than realizing that they are a necessity for disAbled people.

Accessible dressing rooms
Most stores have a large dressing room that qualifies as “accessible.” Unfortunately, they are rarely, if ever, properly labeled or guarded by store employees. Hence, some of the worst offenders of able-bodied people who block public access are the ones who use accessible dressing rooms.

Some people who actually need the accessible stall have to wait for 15-20 minutes (give/take) while able-bodied people take their time in the only accessible dressing room, even though several other regular dressing rooms are available. Able-bodied people need to realize that they have fifteen dressing rooms to choose from while people with disAbilities, that actually need an accessible room, only have one option.

Respect Accessible Spaces
If you don’t have a disAbility, then next time you just have to grab a gallon of milk or try on a bunch of shirts, please reconsider and don’t take up the only reserved accessible places. Leaving accessible places open for the people who truly need them is a super simple way to promote inclusion and acceptance of the disAbled community.

How to Respectfully Communicate with People with Disabilities

The first steps of empowering and respectfully communicating with people with disabilities are making an effort and fine tuning awareness. There’s no absolute formula for compassion, but putting forth the effort — any effort, really — goes miles.

Recognize there are trigger words that often carry a deep connotation of disrespect and disregard for a magnitude of communities. Titles like “cripple,” “retard,” “slow” and “vegetable” carry vulgar consequence, but conversations surrounding people who have disabilities deserve a deeper level of understanding than simply avoiding a handful of hurtful words.

These people are humans, not disabilities.

Build, Don’t Box

Common tongue often highlights a person’s disabilities like the elephant in the room. A more active approach is to acknowledge and applaud one’s abilities. Focus on the person, not the disability. And, just like any of us, we each have our challenges but we don’t go around telling people we “suffer from” one thing or the other. This language would steal any sort of confidence that we might overcome our daily hurdles.

You wouldn’t say, “Joe’s a crippled, paraplegic banker with a handicap van.”

This approach confines Joe and his potential, boxing him into a stigma of predetermined deficiency.

“Joe is a banker with paraplegia who drives a mobility vehicle,” builds Joe as a capable human. Seeing Joe first and foremost as a person instead of a condition shows respect for his ample abilities.

Furthermore, it’s crucial to recognize individuals. Joe is Joe. Joe is not one of “the handicapped,” “the paraplegics” or any other all-inclusive term. Joe is one, able individual who has paraplegia. The condition does not define Joe, and though Joe may be proud and affiliated with communities who engage paraplegia, it’s best to allow Joe the opportunity to define those relations.

Never Stop Learning

Simply put: Don’t be afraid to ask. If you’re concerned you don’t know how to interact with people with disabilities, voicing your innocent naivety may be the wisest approach. Instead of shying away from the conversation and further alienating that person, seek out a respectful opportunity to ask about his or her story.

Take a stand to empower people with disabilities through your awareness, speech and understanding.

10 Questions

When searching for a wheelchair van, take these 10 questions to your local Certified Mobility Equipment Dealer and take 10 minutes to get educated.  Test out different vehicles with you and your family and see which best fits you.  Just because it is a wheelchair accessible van, does not mean it is a one size fits all.

  1. What are the differences between an in-floor and fold-out ramp?
  2. How does SURE DEPLOY help in case of vehicle power failure?
  3. Why is a 55 1/2″ or higher door opening height so important?
  4. What is the benefit of having an 8 degree ramp angle?
  5. Why is an 11″ or lower dropped floor beneficial?
  6. What does “wheelchair maneuverability” in an accessible van mean?
  7. How do I know how much interior headroom I need in an accessible van?
  8. Is the functionality of the front passenger’s seat the same with all ramp systems?
  9. Where is the spare tire located and how is it accessed?
  10. How much ground clearance do I need to clear speed bumps?

What Type of Wheelchair Vehicle is Best For you?

Deciding which type of accessible vehicle to drive or use for transportation is difficult. Almost any type of vehicle can be modified to accommodate accessible transportation, but one stands out as the best wheelchair vehicle for families, businesses, or public transportation.

Wheelchair Minivans
Wheelchair minivans come out on top as the best wheelchair vehicle all around. They offer affordable pricing, lots of interior space, great gas mileage, quick access, and top safety ratings. Buyers can choose from side and rear entry wheelchair vans with a power or manual ramp for easy access in and out of the vehicle. Minivans have a low center of gravity and drive like a car making them very gas efficient and easy to drive. Some minivans also negate the need for an expensive kneeling system by extending the ramp 4 inches. This saves the customer thousands of dollars versus other national brands.

WheelchairFull Size Vans
Most full size conversion vans use a lift rather than a ramp. Lift systems are significantly more expensive than ramps in addition to the vehicle itself being more expensive than a minivan. Full size vans are built on a truck chassis making driving and maneuverability extremely challenging. Full size vans have either captain’s chair seating or bench seating that forces the buyer to choose less passenger seating or benches that a caregiver would have to crawl over to get to a passenger. Full size vans have very low gas mileage and a high center of gravity making it less stable than a minivan. Most full size vans carry the additional expense of needing the back doors widened to accommodate a lift or ramp and possibly the roof raised. Using a ramp is possible with full sized vans, however a kneeling system is required adding thousands to your accessible conversion.

Wheelchair Accessible SUVs
SUVs are stylish, popular, and often coming standard with four wheel drive for off road driving. While this feature is nice in the occasional snow storm, the low gas mileage, expensive maintenance, higher insurance rates, and unstable high center of gravity doesn’t really make it worth the trade. Making an SUV accessible is extremely costly by adding transfer seats, kneeling systems and expensive unreliable hitch mounted lifts. While SUVs are as big or bigger than a minivan, most of the cargo space is taken up by bench seating for passengers. Once you transfer a user out of the chair and onto the seat and store the wheelchair in the relatively small space in the back for cargo, your storage space is cut in half.

Wheelchair Accessible Cars
While cars are typically good on gas, easy to drive, and stylish, using one as accessible transportation can be difficult. Since they are so low to the ground, transferring out of the wheelchair and into the car can put not only the wheelchair user at risk, but the person assisting at risk for injury. Using a car requires the use of a foldable wheelchair, a portable wheelchair that does not necessarily offer the same customized comfort amenities as the user’s wheelchair he/she uses all the time. Once a portable wheelchair is placed in the trunk, it becomes basically useless with all the space taken up from the chair.

Wheelchair Accessible Motorcycles
Motorcycles are fun, environmentally friendly vehicles that can be customized to a wheelchair user. Wheelchair users can purchase add on packages to either drive from their chair, slide from their chair onto a common motorcycle seat that is stored inside a lift attached to the back of the bike, or ride in their chair shotgun via a side car. While an exhilarating hobby, most area climates are not conducive to year round motorcycle use since you and your chair are exposed to the elements. Motorcycle accidents are among the most horrific on the road since they are not surrounded by a metal frame, and they are less visible to other drivers. Using a motorcycle for your primary accessible transportation only allows the wheelchair user and possibly one other rider to use it at the same time so the versatility of the vehicle is rather limited.

Pick Up Trucks
Pick up trucks have the same unstable high center of gravity and low gas mileage as SUVs. An expensive transfer chair or robotic system is required to transfer in and out of the cab of the truck. Even with the purchase of high dollar king or extended cab trucks, the wheelchair has to be transported in the bed of the truck which is exposed to the elements critically reducing the life of your chair.

Finding the best wheelchair accessible vehicle for yourself, your family, or your business can be a daunting task, but you are on the right path towards making the right decision and enjoying the mobility freedom you deserve.

Wheelchair Van Conversion Styles: In-Floor Ramp Vs. Fold-out Ramp

There are several wheelchair accessible van conversion styles you’ll want to consider when choosing the right mobility solution for you. One decision you’ll have to make is to choose between an In-Floor wheelchair van ramp and a Fold-Out wheelchair accessible ramp.

In-Floor Vs. Fold-Up Wheelchair Ramps
Another important consideration to make is whether you’d prefer a fold-up or an in-floor wheelchair ramp in your handicap van. As their name implies, fold-up ramps fold in half and stow upright, next to the side passenger door. On the other hand, in-floor ramps slide into a pocket underneath the vehicle’s floor. People who opt for in-floor ramps prefer the ramp out of the way of the passenger entrance. Typically, fold-up ramps tend to be less expensive and easier to maintain, and they present a lower ramp angle. In-floor and fold-up wheelchair ramps are available in a wide range of handicap minivan conversions.
Wheelchair Van Conversion Styles- In Floor Ramp Vs. Fold out Ramp

VMI Northstar Vs. Summit

VMI Northstar Vs. Summit
Shopping for a wheelchair van can be a confusing and long process, especially if you don’t know how or what to look for. All wheelchair-accessible vehicles are different and there are several features to consider before making such a large purchase. Think about things like your preferred make and model, how much space you need, whether you will be the driver or passenger, and what type of ramp system you want.

There are two basic wheelchair ramps for vans – in-floor and fold-out ramps. In-floor ramps, like VMI’s Northstar, store under the floor when not in use for added safety inside of the vehicle. Fold-out wheelchair ramps, such as the Summit from VMI, are stowed within the vehicle and extend outward when deployed.

Each van wheelchair ramp has its own benefits and can accommodate users of different sizes with different types of wheelchairs. Benefits of the fully-powered Northstar in-floor wheelchair ramps include:

  • An obstacle-free doorway for safe entry and exit
  • More open space to maneuver inside of the minivan
  • Cleaner interior free of dirt and debris
  • Accommodating high capacity and width

While the Northstar wheelchair ramp system is convenient for almost any wheelchair user, the Summit wheelchair ramps offer other helpful benefits, such as:

  • A great value at an affordable price
  • Easier navigation because of high side rails
  • Corrosion-resistant strength and durability
  • A manual deployment option for reliable access

Although both of these wheelchair van ramps provides users unique perks, both are great options and can increase independence through better mobility. If you need help deciding which wheelchair ramp would be right for you, contact us today.

Calling All Veterans! Don’t Forget To Enter The Star Spanged Salute Today For Your Chance To Win!

Calling All Veterans! Enter 'The Star Spanged Salute' Today For Your Chance To Win!
VMI’s Star Spangled Salute
The 2nd Annual Operation Independence Star Spangled Salute Veteran Contest has now been launched by VMI (Vantage Mobility International) alongside Toyota Motor Sales USA. Enter for your chance to win a brand new 2015 Toyota Sienna with a VMI Access 360 in-floor ramp conversion system.

Eligibility
Only U.S. disabled veterans are eligible to win the free mobility van. If you are a disabled veteran or would like to enter the contest on a veteran’s behalf, simply fill out the form. Only one-entry per household.

Contest Details

  • Registrar to win a 2015 Toyota VMI Wheelchair Van
  • Entries must be submitted by 11/09/14
  • Winner announced Veterans Day, 11/11/14

Important Dates

  • 04/02/2014 – VMI will begin accepting The Star Spangled Salute entries
  • 11/09/2014 – The Star Spangled Salute Entries End
  • 11/11/2014 – VMI will draw and announce The Star Spangled Salute on Veterans Day
  • 12/31/2014 – The Star Spangled Salute Winner MUST claim prize before December 31, 2014


Terms and Conditions:

The 2014 Operation Independence Star Spangled Salute campaign is valid from April 2, 2014 to November 9, 2014 for all Disabled U.S. Veterans.

Winner will be randomly drawn and announced on November 11, 2014 and must show proof of military service. Winner will receive any 2015 Toyota Sienna with the VMI Northstar Conversion; no exceptions will be made.

No purchase necessary. Valid in the United States only. Limit one entry per household. Entries may be made at www.vans4vets.com or by calling 800-488-6148.

If the winner already purchased their Toyota VMI Northstar conversion between April 2, 2014 and November 10, 2014 – they can elect to be reimbursed for their out of pocket cost of the wheelchair accessible Toyota VMI Northstar minivan by December 31, 2014. Reimbursement will be coordinated between VMI and the winner directly if the vehicle was purchased prior to the winner being announced.

Campaign is not valid on any added accessories. Winner is responsible for the payment of applicable taxes and registration fees. Prize must be claimed by December 31, 2014 and is non-transferable. No exceptions will be made.

Everyone Has A Story To Tell: Help A Local Hero Win A New Wheelchair Van!

Everyone Has A Story To Tell Help A Local Hero Win A New Wheelchair Van
Who Is A Local Hero?

  • Local Heroes can be Defined as People who Volunteer, Educate, Advocate, Achieve, and Persevere.

Whether you are living with a disability or have dedicated your time to helping someone who is, we want to hear what makes you/them a Local Hero.

How To Enter

  1. Get the Promo Code From your Local Dealer (including us: 508-697-6006)
  2. Complete the Local Hero Entry Form and include either a written story or a video.
    • Written: Write up to 400 words with a picture of the local hero (1MB or less).
    • Video: Make a YouTube video that is no longer than 2 minutes.
  3. Preview your Story and Submit your Local Hero Entry Form here

Important Dates

  • February 25, 2014 – NMEDA will begin accepting Local Hero entries
  • March 11, 2014 – Public voting begins — Click here to vote
  • May 9, 2014  – Local Hero entries and voting end
  • May 30, 2014 – The Local Hero Winners are contacted
  • June 2014 – Local Heroes will publicly be announced
  • June/August 2014 – Wheelchair Accessible vehicles will be delivered

Obtaining a Wheelchair Accessible Van

Obtaining a Wheelchair Accessible Van
Automotive Innovations, Your New England Mobility Resource understands a wheelchair van is much more than a way to get around. It means independence, a higher quality of life and freedom. We also understand that people with disabilities often struggle with medical bills, limited income and other financial obstacles that can make owning a handicap van seem unrealistic.

A wheelchair van is more obtainable than you realize. Numerous grants and reimbursements are offered from varied sources. And now you’ve found the most comprehensive online resource for wheelchair van financial assistance options. Explore the links below to discover the available grants, rebates and reimbursements for buying a wheelchair van or modifying a car with adaptive driving equipment.

OEM Rebate Programs
Learn about rebates offered by original equipment manufacturers. Vehicle manufacturer programs that give money back on new wheelchair vans or handicap van conversion equipment are a great way to cut your costs.

Organizations that Award Grants
See a list of nonprofit organizations and associations that award grants to people with physical disabilities. Grants can significantly offset the expense of a wheelchair van or adaptive driving equipment.

Financial Aid for Veterans
Find sources of funding for veterans of the U.S. military. Most veterans are eligible for partial or complete aid for acquiring a wheelchair van.

Assistance for Families with Disabled Children
Read about aid benefiting families of children with special mobility needs. Grants for physically disabled children help families afford a handicap van.

State Grants
Search for grants given out by your state. Every state provides financial aid to the physically disabled. Your state government is an essential source to help make a wheelchair van, accessibility modification or adaptive driving controls more affordable.

Rust Proof you Vehicle Today

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.

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.

DSC_5486

Above is a picture of a van that has heavy rust and metal fatigue due to a lack of maintenance, once it’s this bad there’s not much we can do other than replace the van.

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.

Driving with Paralysis


The first step in the process of learning to drive with paralysis is to get a thorough evaluation from a qualified driver trainer to determine your basic driving set-up, specific modifications, and driving equipment. An evaluation includes vision screening and assesses muscle strength, flexibility and range of motion; coordination and reaction time; judgment and decision making; and ability to drive with adaptive equipment.

To find a qualified evaluator, contact us today (508-697-6006) we maintain a list of certified specialists throughout the New England area.

As for getting a drivers license, states require a valid learner’s permit or driver’s license to receive an on-the-road evaluation. You cannot be denied the opportunity to apply for a permit or license because you have a disability, but you may receive a restricted license, based on the use of adaptive devices.

Once you get the go-ahead from the evaluation, it’s time to think about the kinds of vehicles that suit your abilities and needs. Selecting a vehicle for modification requires collaboration with the evaluator and a qualified vehicle modification dealer. The following questions can help with vehicle selection and whether you can adapt a car you already own.

  • Does the necessary adaptive equipment require a van, or will a passenger car suffice (will you be driving from a wheelchair or can you transfer to the car seat? If you can transfer in and drive a car your choices are much wider.
  • Can the vehicle accommodate the equipment that needs to be installed?
  • Will there be enough space to accommodate other passengers once the vehicle is modified?
  • Is there adequate parking space at home and at work for the vehicle and for loading/unloading a wheelchair or walker?

If a third party is paying for the vehicle, adaptive devices, or modification costs, find out if there are any limitations or restrictions on what is covered. Always get a written statement on what a funding agency will pay before making your purchase.

The cost of modifying a vehicle varies greatly. A new vehicle modified with adaptive equipment can cost from $20,000 to $80,000. Therefore, it pays to investigate public and private opportunities for financial assistance.

There are programs that help pay part or all of the cost of vehicle modification, depending on the cause and nature of the disability. Contact your state’s department of Vocational Rehabilitation or another agency that provides vocational services, and, if appropriate, the Department of Veterans Affairs. Also, consider the following:

  • Many nonprofit associations that advocate for individuals with disabilities have grant programs that help pay for adaptive devices.
  • If you have private health insurance or workers’ compensation, you may be covered for adaptive devices and vehicle modification. Check with your insurance carrier.
  • Many manufacturers have rebate or reimbursement plans for modified vehicles.
  • Some states waive the sales tax for adaptive devices if you have a doctor’s prescription for their use.

You may be eligible for savings when submitting your federal income tax return. Check with a qualified tax consultant to find out if the cost of your adaptive devices will help you qualify for a medical deduction.

Find a qualified dealer to modify your vehicle. Ask questions, check credentials and references. Do they work with evaluators? Will they look at your vehicle before you purchase it? Do they require a prescription from a physician or other driver evaluation specialist? Do they provide training on how to use the equipment? Do they provide service? What is the cost? How long will it take to do the work? What is the warranty?

Rhode Island Mobility Van Resources

Vocational Rehabilitation Program

What is the Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Program?
The Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Program is the public state and federally funded program that assists individuals with disabilities to choose, prepare for, obtain and maintain employment. Employment being the successful outcome of services provided through the public vocational rehabilitation program. It is expected that individuals with disabilities who apply for services are interested in becoming employed and understand that this is the focus of the VR program.

Who is Eligible for VR Services?

Do you want to work?
Do you have a condition that limits your job opportunities?
To be eligible for vocational rehabilitation services, you must – 1) have a physical, intellectual or emotional impairment which is a substantial barrier to employment, and 2) require vocational rehabilitation services to prepare for, secure, retain, or regain employment, and 3) be able to benefit from vocational rehabilitation services in terms of an employment outcome. If you are receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), your vocational rehabilitation office will presume that you are eligible for vocational rehabilitation services.

How Do You Obtain Services Through the Vocational Rehabilitation Program?

Individuals with disabilities must first apply for the VR program and be determined eligible before services can be provided. Individuals with significant disabilities are presumed eligible for the program if an application is completed and there is documentation of disability. All applicants for the VR program are encouraged to present documentation of their disability and/or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Insurance (SSI) to speed up the eligibility process.

Employment Plan
(Individualized Plan for Employment)

The eligible individual with a disability and a Qualified Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor will work together to develop an employment plan called the Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE). The Employment Plan considers the individual’s unique strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, skills, abilities, preferences, capabilities, interests, and values, as well as the barriers to employment. The Employment Plan identifies the employment goal that the individual has chosen, the time it is expected to reach the goal, the services that the individual chooses as necessary to reach the employment goal, and how the services will be provided. Some of the services may be provided directly by the VR Counselor, others may be available through other public sources such as netWORKri (One Stop Career Centers), and others may be purchased with funds provided by the VR agency. The individual may develop the Employment Plan with the assistance of the VR Counselor, another individual, or by him or herself. The VR Counselor is always available to provide assistance in this process, and a Qualified Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor who works for the public VR program must approve the Employment Plan before any services are provided through the VR agency. The partnership between each individual with a disability and their Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor is a key component in the Vocational Rehabilitation process.

What Are Some of the Services that can be Included in an Employment Plan?

Vocational rehabilitation services that may be included in an Employment Plan are:

  • Counseling and Guidance to help plan vocational goals and services
  • Transition Services from School to Career
  • Rehabilitation Technology Services
  • Assistive Technology Services
  • Diagnostic Evaluations
  • College or Vocational Training
  • Job Training and Job Supports
  • Job Development and Placement Services
  • Vehicle Modifications
  • Housing Modifications
  • Post-Employment Services

What Are Some Services After an Employment Goal is Achieved?

Employment is the successful outcome for the individual with a disability and the VR program. Once employed, however, the VR agency may assist with post-employment services to assist the individual to retain or advance in employment.

If you are interested in applying for services, please fill out and sign the completed Application (Espanol) and return to Intake, Office of Rehabilitation Services, 40 Fountain Street, Providence, RI 02903.

Rehabilitation Services

Office of Rehabilitation Services
The Office of Rehabilitation Services helps people with disabilities become employed and live independently in the community. They provide a variety of programs and services to empower individuals with disabilities to prepare for, obtain and maintain employment and economic self-sufficiency.

Vocational Rehabilitation
The focus of the Vocational Rehabilitation Program is to help people with disabilities prepare for, obtain and maintain employment. Individuals who apply for this program are interested in becoming employed. If a person receives Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and they are interested in working, they are assumed to be eligible for this program.

Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired
The Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired offers a variety of training and adjustment services for individuals who are blind or who have significant visual impairments. The goal is to help them become independent, active, and self-sufficient members of their community. Services are available for children and adults.

Disability Determination Services
The Disability Determination Services unit determines the eligibility for children and adults with disabilities who are applying for cash benefits from the federal Social Security Administration’s programs – Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

Assistive Technology Access Partnership
The Office of Rehabilitation Services administers the Assistive Technology Access Partnership which can help individuals with disabilities get assistive technology devices and services.

Links

  • Office of Rehabilitation Services
    • (401) 421-7005 (voice)
    • 
(401) 421-7016 (TDD)
  • Vocational Rehabilitation Program
  • Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired
  • Disability Determination Services
  • Assistive Technology Access Partnership

Rhode Island Disability Grants Handicap Funding RI

Buying a wheelchair van can be easier through handicap grants, loans for the disabled, mobility finance programs, government assistance, and other handicap funding sources. Get some or all the cost funded with Rhode Island disability grants for a wheelchair van or vehicle conversion. Delivery of handicap vans in Rhode Island or nationwide is fast and convenient.

Disability Grants in Rhode Island (RI)
The grants listed below may or may not provide funding for handicap vans to individuals. Please contact your local Rhode Island grant provider for a detailed list of requirements.

TechACCESS of Rhode Island

TechACCESS provides a list of resources that can help disabled persons living in Rhode Island purchase a handicap van with supplemental funding.

How to Apply for Rhode Island Grants or Mobility Funding
Help us build the largest Rhode Island directory of handicap grants, loans, and other mobility funding sources by contributing your favorite mobility funding programs. Rhode Island residents can find disability grants, wheelchair van loans, or other financing options to help pay for a wheelchair van by contacting one or several disabled funding programs. We will helps you find a used wheelchair van for sale and gladly accept all funding assistance programs to ensure your handicap needs are met.

Operation Independence

Operation Independence wheelchair accessible vehicles for veterans
Operation Independence is an awareness campaign to help Veterans understand and utilize their vehicle mobility benefits such as the auto allowance grant and the automobile adaptive equipment program. These benefits along with the assistance of a VMI Select Dealer can help a Veteran select and purchase a wheelchair accessible vehicle that best fits their needs.

VMI is the premier manufacturer of wheelchair accessible vans. VMI Dealers, such as VMi New England, are experts in mobility assessment and customization. Together we have combined our knowledge with the Paralyzed Veterans of America to increase awareness with disabled Veterans regarding VA vehicle benefits, and help them get the benefits they have earned while serving our country.

VMI and Select Dealer Networks, such as VMi New England, will help give Veterans a $1000 rebate towards a van that will be converted for wheelchair accessibility.

Wheelchair Van Ramp Information

Wheelchair ramp information
There are two types of wheelchair ramps, the in-floor ramp and the fold out ramp.

In-floor ramps are stored inside the floor of the van so that it is out of the way and allows more access space inside the cabin.

The Pros of The In-Floor Ramp:

  • With no ramp in the doorway, passengers who are not in wheelchairs can enter and exit the vehicle without having to deploy the ramp.
  • If you’d been bothered by the foldout ramp interfering with the front passenger seat reclining, that issue is eliminated with an in-floor ramp.
  • Out of sight, out of mind! An in-floor ramp is completely concealed, so the interior looks closer than ever to that of a standard Vehicle.

The Cons of The In-Floor Ramp:

  • The in-floor ramp has a slightly higher ramp angle compared to the foldout.
  • Deploying an in-floor ramp onto a high curb could be a problem.
  • An in-floor ramp may require more maintenance because the ramp tends to collect more debris.

Fold out ramps are stored folded up inside of the cabin which reduces the Cabin space, but does allow a lower

The Pro’s of The Fold Out Ramp:

  • If you pull alongside a curb, it’s very easy to deploy a foldout ramp onto the sidewalk.
  • In the case of an emergency, a wheelchair user can always push a foldout ramp until it deploys.
  • Because the ramp is stored upright, less debris is able to get trapped and result in maintenance issues.
  • Compared to the in-floor option, the foldout conversions have a lower ramp angle

The Cons of The Fold Out Ramp:

  • Because the foldout ramp is housed in the doorway when stored, it takes up a small amount of interior space.
  • The ramp can limit the front passenger seat from fully extending in a reclined position.
  • In order to enter or exit on the ramp side of the vehicle, the ramp must be deployed.

You Have Other Choices, Too

Side Entry Ramp

At the risk of stating the obvious, the side entry ramp deploys from the side of the van rather than the back. The side entry ramp is deployed after the power-operated door on the side of the van slides open. Ramps can be automatically activated or manually opened and closed. For maximum safety, a power ramp should have a manual override in case of a power failure. All AMS side entry ramps are automated, with a manual override, and operation by remote control or controls inside and outside the door.

A side ramp can present a problem if you park in a two-car garage or in a non-handicap-accessible parking space, because you won’t have enough room to deploy the ramp properly. That said, they work beautifully in handicap parking spaces and won’t require you to open the ramp into oncoming traffic.

Rear Entry Ramp
Usually less costly than a side ramp conversion, the rear entry ramp wheelchair van deploys from the back of the van and is typically better suited for the wheelchair user who prefers to sit in the middle or back of the vehicle. Manual operation is the standard for rear entry ramps, which accounts for the lower cost, but automated rear entry ramps are available. Long-channel rear entry ramps can accommodate two wheelchair users in a minivan. Rear entry ramps can be hazardous in some parking situations if you have to deploy the ramp into a lane of traffic.

Portable Ramp

A lightweight, portable ramp offers flexibility in that you can use it for vehicle access as well as access to homes and buildings without handicap access. A portable ramp includes the same safety features (non-slip surface, side guards) as a permanently installed ramp, and these ramps typically fold up for easy portability.

Channel/Track Ramps
Instead of one wide ramp, economical channel or track ramps have two ramps with slip-proof channels, with each one wide enough to accommodate one wheel of a wheelchair. Also portable, track ramps can be adjusted to accommodate wheelchairs of any width simply by spreading them further apart.

What to Look For in a Wheelchair Ramp
Wheelchair accessible ramp designs vary, but there are a few things to look for in a ramp that affect your safety and ease of use. As always, price is a factor. That said, some of these features are, or should be, non-negotiable.

Non-Slip Surface

Also called an anti-slip surface or non-skid surface, a non-slip surface can be painted on or applied, like a rubberized coating. The need for a non-slip surface is indisputable, and most wheelchair van ramps are treated in some way to prevent slips and skids.

Sufficient Width
Wheelchairs come in different widths, and so do accessible van ramps. Make sure the ramp on your chosen van is more than wide enough to accommodate your wheelchair.

Side Guard/Lip
Side guards (or lips) on either side of the ramp help prevent your wheelchair from falling over the edge of the ramp during entry or exit.

Maximum Weight

Wheelchair ramps have weight limits, and they vary, though most ramps can handle several hundred pounds. Always ask. Take both your weight plus the weight of the wheelchair into consideration.

Degree of Incline

A lower incline or slope means an easier climb up the ramp. The ADA recommends a 2:12 slope, which means every 2″ of vertical rise requires one foot of ramp (9.5 degrees of incline).

Manual/Motorized
An onboard ramp can be manually operated or automated to deploy and retract at the push of a button. An automated ramp adds to the price of the conversion; if you choose an automated ramp, make sure it has manual back-up. If, for some reason, the vehicle loses power, you’ll still be able to enter and exit.

Wheelchair Van Secondary Driving Controls

Secondary Driving Controls
Here are the options for Secondary Driving Controls that we offer:

  • Ignition Starting
  • Lights Turn Signals/Hazards
  • Horn/Dimmer
  • Wipers | Cruise On/Set
  • Windows Locks
  • Electric Park Brake
  • Electric Shift
  • Left and Right Power Mirror Control

Crescent Industries Voice Scan Controls
The operation is simple:

Step 1 – Activate the scan by pushing the switch.
Step 2 – When the desired function is heard, activate the switch again and the function begins!!

Activate the switch and a voice (yours if you like) announces the functions. When the desired function is heard, activate the switch again to select the function. VoiceScan can be programmed in either one or two channel mode. The one channel mode allows all functions to be operated from a single switch, while the two channel mode allows for two priority functions. In either mode, VoiceScan can control up to 16 functions. Voice Scan is field programmable-it can be customized at your shop! And, like our Touch Pads and Elbow Pads, VoiceScan can be used with any vehicle function.

16 button pad
The Command 16 system builds on proven technology in adaptive driving while providing high reliability. It’s progressive modular design provides ease of installation and customization. The Command 16 consists of three components: the console, the vehicle interface, and the relay packs. The Command 16 can be configures to control any device and will fit any vehicle.
Quick and Simple Installation
Installation is simply a matter of installing the relay packs, mounting the console, and plugging the system together.
Custom and Versatile
The Command 16 can control any function in any vehicle and is back-lit for night time operation.

4 button pad
A four switch Elbow Console that contains four mechanical switches. The Command 4 can be any four functions of your choice. Common configurations are turn signals, horn and dimmer, or turn signals and wipers.

Remote Controls
We have remote controls for all lifts including:

  • Ricon
  • Crow River
  • Crow River Vangater II
  • Braun
  • I.M.S.

Remotes come standard with magnetic entry, but may be ordered with any combination of remote, magnetic entry, and front station. Stand alone magnetic entry systems are also available for all lifts.

Electronic Gear Selection
Electronic Gear Selection allows the operator to push a button for a gear selection.

Voice Scan installed using one to two targets or buttons to operate a multitude of functions within the vehicle while utilizing a verbal audible menu with advanced remote accessory controls including single touch and voice scan. The products are reliable and easily serviced, including a warranty that commits to customer satisfaction

Safe, Simple and Rugged. OEM Steering Wheel may remain in all vehicles, if placement of the servo steering wheel permits. Backup Power Steering System allows the user to steer if the engine shuts off, and is automatic. Customized orthotic adaptations and adjustable force and feedback are available to suit each application. Reduced-effort or Zero-effort force used to steer.

EGS Electric Gear Shifter Directly attaches to the OEM shifter hardware. Utilizes the OEM transmission control display on the vehicle’s dash. Activated through several switching options.

Electronic Park Brake
Electric parking brake system offers enough torque to stop your vehicle when parking in steep areas or in an emergency situation. Activated through several switching options and can be located in any area that is most accessible to the user’s range of motion.

We are committed to coming up with new and innovative mobility solutions to meet your adaptive mobility equipment needs in the New England Area!

Our electronic mobility controls have been enabling consumers in the New England Area with the ability to have a safe and independent driving system for more than 20 years

We build quality long lasting electric mobility driving controls, our servo steering, electronic gas and brake devices and other adaptive mobility equipment have been exceeding the expectations of consumers in the New England area for more than two decades.

Wheelchair Van Power Transfer Seats

We understand your unique needs and it takes an advanced seat to adjust to them. The Power Transfer Seat swivels 90 degrees at the touch of a button, allowing you to transfer from your wheelchair to either front seat, quickly and easily. The Six-way operation lets you make adjustments: up, down, forward, back, and rotation right and left. No other seat can put comfort, convenience and efficiency within your reach. The power of flexibility is yours: A pure example of innovative technology that picks up where others leave off.

Power Transfer Seat™ Advantages:

  • Fingertip control
  • Fits most full size vans and minivans
  • Adjustable to most seats
  • All functions are independent for maximum flexibility
  • Completely automatic rotation
  • Six way operation
  • Up-Down -Forward-Back -Rotate Right-Left

 

Veigel North America Hand Controls

Veigel is the internationally leading manufacturer of driving school systems and driving aids for handicapped persons. They believe in absolute customer satisfaction which we are achieving by developing and manufacturing our products at the highest quality level.

With over 80 years of experience manufacturing adaptive driving products like, mechanical hand controls, and an in-house R&D facility everything Veigel manufacture has been designed and tested to meet the highest standards in quality, function and design. The average employee has 15 years of experience at Veigel Automotive. The combined effort of so many years of dedication and focus have resulted in the highest quality, most reliable and safest products on the market.

Veigel 4100 Classic Hand Control
The Veigel hand control is an accelerator and brake that fits perfectly into the interior of modern vehicles. Thanks to the ergonomically optimized handle and the additional individual adjustability of the grip angle the acceleration becomes easier, fatigue-free and adapts to every hand position of the driver. To accelerate you simply turn the handle on your hand control clockwise. In order to break, just push the hand control slightly front wise. The break can also temporary be locked in place. The hand control can also easily be fold away.

Veigel 4200 Compact Hand Control
Proven hand control technology from Automotive Innovations and Veigel in a modern design – this is the principle of the COMPACT hand control. The functional principle is rather simple: To accelerate the ergonomically designed handle is only to pull backwards. A short push forward activates the break, which also can be temporary locked in place. As the CLASSIC, the COMPACT can also be fold away.

Veigel Commander
The optional fitted Veigel Commander for CLASSIC or COMPACT allows the driver to conduct the most important secondary functions of the vehicle unstressed with just one finger. The device can be used very easily and merges perfectly with the award-winning Design of the Veigel hand control. In addition the Original lever can still be used as normal.

Veigel Basic-Commander
The Basic Commander enables the driver to indicating in each situation, even at a roundabout, without repositioning or letting your hand loose of the steering wheel. Also this switch is really easy to use and fits perfectly to the award-winning design of the Veigel hand control. Needles to say, that the original lever still can be used as normal.

  • The Basic Commander is available for the COMPACT and the CLASSIC hand control.
  • Classic leather-clad
  • Complying with your request you can order the hand control in leather-clad.

Sure-Lock Wheelchair Tie-Downs


 

With over 30 years of experience, Sure-Lok is a leading manufacturer of wheelchair securements and occupant restraint systems for transporting individuals with special needs. Sure-Lok offers a wide selection of wheelchair securements and occupant restraint systems, giving our customers the freedom to choose the system that best meets their needs.

AL700 Titan Series Systems
With its distinctive blue webbing and highly-visible, yellow “locked” indicator tag, the AL700 Titan Retractor Series lets operators know when the retractor is in locked mode. With the auto-tensioning feature, webbing automatically retracts into the housing and stays off the floor, keeping it cleaner and longer lasting. The low-profile design minimizes interference with most wheelchairs and has a sleeker, cleaner retractor case with stud fitting to attach the occupant restraint system. Titan retractors allow operators to quickly secure a wheelchair in seconds — with only one hand.

FF600 Retractor Series Systems
The FF600 Retractor System is a proven and convenient way to secure passengers in wheelchairs. The ergonomically designed handle is quick and easy to grasp, the dual, 24-teeth sprocket mechanism enables the user to more easily increase tension on the webbing and the track fittings are specifically designed to ensure free pivoting action for optimum belt alignment. And the versatility of the system offers users a choice — S-hook or Buckle & Tab hardware attachment styles.

FE500 Manual Series Systems
The FE500 System has been relied upon for nearly 20 years, offering maximum versatility and a quick, simple operation. As our most economical solution, the easy-to-use tie-down is available in Cam, Ratchet and Overcenter Buckle assemblies and offers snap hook and D-ring or S-hook attachment styles. The 1” wide strap provides easy attachment to a variety of wheelchair designs allowing the webbing to conform to the structural frame of the wheelchair, minimizing scratches and dents.
Important Safety Information

Select Sure-Lok Products Suitable for Your Application
The Sure-Lok products that you select must be suitable for your particular application. All products shown on this website and in the catalog are designed and intended to be installed and operated with the occupant in a forward-facing orientation within the vehicle. Installation of products that are not suitable or are installed in an unsuitable manner may compromise proper securement of the wheelchair and occupant, causing injury or death to the occupant, other passengers or driver and wheelchair damage.

Installation and Operation
A qualified person (an individual properly trained in securing mobility aides and positioning occupant restraints) must ensure that the intended application conforms to current, applicable industry standards and government regulations regarding the installation of wheelchair securement and occupant restraint systems.

The vehicle and/or seat manufacturer and/or vehicle modifier must review and approve the system’s location, method of installation and operation of the securement system. The vehicle floor and sidewall structures, where the system anchorages are attached, must have sufficient strength to meet applicable federal government and recommended industry standards.
Not all wheelchairs (e.g. scooter) are endorsed by their manufacturer for use as an occupant seat when transporting an individual in a motor vehicle. Contact the manufacturer of your wheelchair for their recommendation regarding alternative seating options.

Some wheelchairs are compliant with the ANSI/RESNA transit safety standard WC-19, which means that they have been dynamically tested. To determine if your wheelchair is ANSI/RESNA WC-19 compliant, refer to your wheelchair’s labeling or owner’s manual or contact the wheelchair manufacturer.

Standards Compliance
AL700 Titan Series Systems when properly used with a complete Sure-Lok System, comprised of wheelchair tie-down, a complete occupant restraint system (including lap and shoulder belt), track and anchorages are designed to meet the following requirements where applicable:

  • 30mph/20g Impact Test Criteria per SAE J2249
  • 30mph/20g Impact Test Criteria per Canadian Z605 Standard
  • 30mph/20g Impact Test Criteria per National Standards for School Buses
  • 30mph/20g Impact Test Criteria per ISO 10542 Standard
  • 49 CFR Part 38 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
  • 49 CFR Part 571.222 (FMVSS 222) School Bus Passenger Seating and Crash Protection
  • FMVSS 302 Flammability Test

Q’Straint QRT Max Wheelchair Tie Downs

Q'Straint QRT Max Wheelchair Tie Downs, Q'Straint, QRT Max, Wheelchair Tie Downs, Q'Straint QRT Max, Wheelchair Tie Downs, Tie Downs, Wheelchair van
The QRT Max is one of the latest developments from Q’Straint. Mobility Sales is proud to be a distributor of this highly developed product. Q’Straint believes this is an advancement in the industry of wheelchair restraints, therefore raising the bar for all its competitors. The QRT Max offers greater safety and convenience and continues to remain a dependable product. Compared to its other restraints, the QRT Max offers improvements in a number of areas. For example the Positive Lock Indicator confirms that the base is secured to the track. Also, this new design is so compact that most footrests are able to easily clear the QRT Max when entering and exiting the van.

The Brand
Q’Straint has been an established company since 1983, and has researched in the field of wheelchair and passenger restraints since 1970. Around that time, they discovered that wheelchair passengers were not as secure in moving vehicles as the other passengers. It was Q’Straint’s goal to change this as quickly as possible. Their research has continued through the decades to bring you the latest in wheelchair restraints. They test their products beyond the specifications and remain the leader in wheelchair and occupant restraints. The 6200 Wheelchair Restraint is a single, fully automatic deluxe retractor, and is mounted onto an L-track fitting.

Features and Benefits
The QRT Max continues to deliver the qualities that have made Q’Straint the leader in the wheelchair restraint industry. The One-Hand Securement allows the attendant to conveniently secure the wheelchair in place with minimal exertion. Once the restraints are in place on the chair, the QRT Max automatically eliminates the slack left on the webbing. This increases the safety of the wheelchair passenger along with other passengers whose path could be obstructed by the slack. There is no manual tightening, the process is effortless and can save you time and energy. Furthermore, you will not have to worry about which part goes where because all of the QRT Max pieces are interchangeable. These are just a few characteristics that help Q’Straint set itself apart from its competitors.

BraunAbility UVL Wheelchair Lift

BraunAbility UVL Wheelchair Lift
The BraunAbility UVL, or Under Vehicle Lift, provides an innovative solution to your personal mobility needs. The mobility lift is mounted underneath the full-size wheelchair accessible vehicle, and is virtually out of site and out of the way until use of the lift. This design creates more interior space with easier access into the vehicle for friends and family. The lift is activated by the standard hand-held or operational remote control, and with one click of the button, the lift smoothly deploys from the underneath the vehicle. With its simple and smooth design, deploying and retracting your lift will come with ease and enjoyment as you enter and exit your wheelchair accessible vehicle.

The UVL van lift’s safety features include a slip-resistant platform, automatic rollstop and an integrated manual backup system which allows you to safely get on and off the ramp. Your mobility freedom is just a push of the button away with the BraunAbility UVL van lift!

Specifications:

  • Lifting Capacity: 750 lbs.
  • Weight: 365 lbs.
  • Platform width: 31″
  • Platform Length: 48″ and 53″

Ricon S-Series Commercial Platform Wheelchair Lift

Ricon S-Series Commercial Platform Wheelchair Lift
Ricon S-Series handicap platform lifts from Vantage Mobility International offer a wide variety of unique features that ensure efficient, safe, and comfortable travel in commercial wheelchair transport applications.

Whether for a bus, shuttle van, or ambulate, the S-Series line of platform mobility lifts utilizes a compact but sturdy design that integrates standee handrails and occupant safety belts. In short, the Ricon S-Series commercial lifts are perfect for any business looking for more wheelchair access.

Standard Features

  • ADA Compliant
  • Compact Design
  • Mechanical Inboard and Outboard Rollstops
  • Sto-Lok Technology
  • Stainless Steel Fittings
  • Lubrication Free Bearings

Ricon UNI-Lite Platform Wheelchair Lift

Ricon UNI-Lite Platform Wheelchair Lift
The Ricon UNI-lite platform handicap lift offers two distinct advantages over competing models on the marketplace. First, the UNI-lite is a lightweight electric mobility lift (other lifts are commonly hydraulic powered). Second, the UNI-lite is constructed of lightweight aluminum, creating less wear and tear on the suspension in a wheelchair van.

Like all VMI platform wheelchair lifts, the UNI-lite combines strength and reliability with features that provide convenience and easy use.

The affordable Ricon UNI-lite handicap lift is one of the lightest, smoothest, and quietest mobility platform lifts in the world. This is due to its lightweight aluminum construction and electric powered operation. The UNI-lite also includes some important safety and convenience features. Rollstops prevent a wheelchair or scooter from inadvertently rolling off the handicap platform lift while in use. Control switches are conveniently located on the handrails, so operating the lift is easy and simple.

Specifications
UL 2400-1

  • Stationary Frame Width – 37″
  • Lift Height – 47″-57″
  • Folded Installation Depth – 11.5″
  • Usable Platform Width – 26″
  • Usable Platform Length – 36″
  • Step-well Floor To Ground Travel – NA
  • Flat Floor To Ground Travel – 24″
  • Traveling Frame Width – 31″
  • Clear Entry Height – 44″-54″
  • Folded Floor To End Of Platform – 41″
  • Base Plate Width – 33.5″

UL 2806-2

  • Stationary Frame Width – 40″
  • Lift Height – 50″-57″
  • Folded Installation Depth – 11.5″
  • Usable Platform Width – 29″
  • Usable Platform Length – 40″
  • Step-well Floor To Ground Travel – 30″
  • Flat Floor To Ground Travel – 28″
  • Traveling Frame Width – 34″
  • Clear Entry Height – 47″-54″
  • Folded Floor To End Of Platform – 45″
  • Base Plate Width – 36.5″

UL 7808-2

  • Stationary Frame Width – 40″
  • Lift Height – 50″-57″
  • Folded Installation Depth – 11.5″
  • Usable Platform Width – 29″
  • Usable Platform Length – 44″
  • Step-well Floor To Ground Travel – 30″
  • Flat Floor To Ground Travel – 28″
  • Traveling Frame Width – 34″
  • Clear Entry Height – 47″-54″
  • Folded Floor To End Of Platform – 50″
  • Base Plate Width – 36.5″

Standard Features

  • Lightweight Aluminum Construction
  • Powerful, Quiet Electric Motor
  • Powered Rollstop
  • Smooth, Strong Operation
  • Adjustable to Fit Most Doors
  • Compact with Large Platform

UL 2810-2

  • Stationary Frame Width – 43″
  • Lift Height – 50″-57″
  • Folded Installation Depth – 11.5″
  • Usable Platform Width – 32″
  • Usable Platform Length – 40″
  • Step-well Floor To Ground Travel – 30″
  • Flat Floor To Ground Travel – 28″
  • Traveling Frame Width – 37″
  • Clear Entry Height – 47″-54″
  • Folded Floor To End Of Platform – 45″
  • Base Plate Width – 36.5″
  • UL 2808-3
  • Stationary Frame Width – 40″
  • Lift Height – 59″-65″
  • Folded Installation Depth – 11.5″
  • Usable Platform Width – 29″
  • Usable Platform Length – 44″
  • Step-well Floor To Ground Travel – 30″
  • Flat Floor To Ground Travel – 28″
  • Traveling Frame Width – 34″
  • Clear Entry Height – 56″-62″
  • Folded Floor To End Of Platform – 50″
  • Base Plate Width – 36.5″

UL 2910-3

  • Stationary Frame Width – 43″
  • Lift Height – 59″-65″
  • Folded Installation Depth – 11.5″
  • Usable Platform Width – 32″
  • Usable Platform Length – 40″
  • Step-well Floor To Ground Travel – 30″
  • Flat Floor To Ground Travel – 28″
  • Traveling Frame Width – 37″
  • Clear Entry Height – 56″-62″
  • Folded Floor To End Of Platform – 45″
  • Base Plate Width – 39.5″

Optional Features

  • Remote Control
  • Power Swing Door Operators
  • Power Sliding Door Operators
  • Different Dimensions for Models U6-2636, U6-2639, U6-2644, U6-2940, U6-2944, U6-3240, U6-3244, U6-2940T, U6-2944T, U6-3240T, U6-3244T

Ricon Slide-Away Platform Wheelchair Lift

Ricon Slide-Away Platform Wheelchair Lift1Ricon Slide-Away Platform Wheelchair Lift2Ricon Slide-Away Platform Wheelchair Lift

The Ricon Slide-Away platform wheelchair lift features a revolutionary design which offers the strength of a dual post hydraulic lift, but the flexibility of a single post lift.

When using the Slide-Away handicap lift, the sliding second tower travels toward the front of the full-size mobility van. When not in use, it stows toward the rear of the vehicle, which leaves the side door unobstructed. This means able-bodied passengers can get in and out easily, and the front passenger seat can retain normal functionality.

Ricon Slide-Away™ mobility platform lifts represent the most innovative design the industry has seen for a long time. Strength of a dual post lift combined with the flexibility of a single post lift translates to a better user experience. Slide-Away wheelchair lifts are rated with a 600 pound capacity, and can be retrofitted with an 800 pound installation kit.

Specifications
ST00

  • Stationary Frame Width – 45″
  • Folded Height – 46″
  • Installation Depth – 21.5″
  • Usable Platform Width – 30″
  • Usable Platform Length – 42″
  • Floor To Ground Travel – 30″
  • Traveling Frame Width – 37.5″
  • Clear Entry Width – 31″
  • Stowed Arms Width – 19.3″
  • Installed Depth – 7″

ST01

  • Stationary Frame Width – 45″
  • Folded Height – 52″
  • Installation Depth – 21.5″
  • Usable Platform Width – 30″
  • Usable Platform Length – 48″
  • Floor To Ground Travel – 30″
  • Traveling Frame Width – 37.5″
  • Clear Entry Width – 31″
  • Stowed Arms Width – 19.3″
  • Installed Depth – 7″

Standard Features

  • Unobstructed Access Through Side Doors
  • Allows Full Use of Frong Passenger Seat
  • Innovative Dual-Post Hydraulic Lift Design
  • Two-Step Manual Back-Up System

Optional Features

  • 800 Pound Installation Kit Available
  • Remote Control
  • Power Swing Door Operators
  • Power Sliding Door Operators
  • Different Dimensions for Models ST00 and ST01

Sure Deploy

VMI introduces a new electronic primary backup system. The SURE DEPLOY* gives the customer a simple way to operate the VMI Northstar In-Floor ramp when the standard electronic control system is not functioning.

sure-deploy

  • As of July 1, 2007 all Chrysler/Dodge minivans with the Northstar in-floor ramp, are being produced with the SURE DEPLOY installed as standard equipment.
  • It bypasses the VMI 5 control system as well as other existing system elements
  • A backup battery, independent of the vehicle 12V system provides continuous power to the SURE DEPLOY system
  • The backup battery is charged from the vehicle electrical system using a built in “smart” charger and charges primarily when the vehicle is running
  • Eliminates physical exertion required by the customer to operate the manual crank to deploy the Northstar ramp
  • Operation is controlled by a simple mounted key pad strategically located to be easily accessible from either inside or outside of the vehicle, on the
C Pillar
  • Basic protections are built into the controls to prevent inadvertent operation and to prevent children from easily operating the now primary backup system
  • In a recent product demonstration, 9 out of 10 dealers recommended that VMI offer the SURE DEPLOY as standard equipment.
  • Patent Pending

Dodge Grand Caravan With VMI Northstar Conversion – More information

VMI Northstar on a Dodge Grand Caravan
The VMI Northstar on a Dodge Grand Caravan is the result of the progressive engineering approach at VMI. Vantage Mobility International has included a multitude of accessible features on these wheelchair conversion vehicles. Items like Power Kneel, power in-floor ramp, and remote control activation make them the perfect choice for disability transportation.

Next Generation Thinking for a Handicap Conversion Van
Next generation thinking has been accurately implemented in the Dodge Grand Caravan with the VMI Northstar handicap conversion van.

Dodge Grand Caravans with the VMI Northstar mobility van conversion represent wheelchair access taken to a whole new level. VMI Northstar wheelchair conversion vans have been around since 1993 and have always been a crucial element to Vantage Mobility International’s product line.

Disabled Access in a Handicap Vehicle Conversion
Disabled access plays a major role in every aspect, from design to manufacturing. Featuring a power sliding passenger door and in-floor wheelchair ramp, the VMI Northstar handicap vehicle conversion is a great solution for disability travel.

The drive-ability for a wheelchair user is one of the most vital components of the Dodge Grand Caravan with the VMI Northstar mobility conversion van. Simple installation of hand controls, transfer seat, or other mobility driving aid can transform the VMI Northstar equipped Dodge Grand Caravan into a disabled driving system.

Dodge Grand Caravan Models
The VMI Summit is available on Dodge Grand Caravan Express, Main-street, Crew, and R/T minivan models.

Dodge Grand Caravan With VMI Northstar Conversion – Specifications

Dodge Grand Caravan with a VMI Northstar Conversion - specifications
Description

Dodge Grand Caravan with VMI Northstar

  • Interior handles, and switches, buttons are easily accessed
  • Front passenger seat retains regular functions
  • No additional noise from handicap ramp
  • In the event of an accident, the accessible ramp is under the floor-not inside the mobility van
  • Works on curbs up to 10 inches tall
  • Increased maneuverability due to greater space inside the accessible van
  • Ramp-free doorway allows easy entry/exit for ambulatory passengers
  • Minimized handicapped van conversion wear and tear (fewer wheelchair ramp cycles to load/unload additional passengers)
  • Uncluttered and clean wheelchair vehicle interior
  • Mobility vehicle interior gets less dirt inside
  • Increased handicapped ramp width

Specifications

  • Maximum Floor Drop – 11″
  • Handicap Vehicle Ground Clearance – 5.5″
  • Door Opening Width – 31.25″
  • Door Opening Height – 55.25″
  • Usable Mobility Ramp Width – 29.25″
  • Wheelchair Ramp Length – 44″
  • Length from Back Seats to Kickplate – 58″
  • Overall Floor Length – 85.5″
  • Floor Width at Front Doors – 61″
  • Interior Height at Driver & Passenger Positions (Without Sunroof) – 57.25″
  • Interior Height at Center Position – 58.5″
  • Steering Wheel Bottom to Floor – 29.5″
  • Measured Down from Front Edge of Steering Wheel to Front Kick-Up – 16.25″

Standard Features
Dodge Grand Caravan with VMI Northstar only

  • Extremely-low 8.0° handicapped ramp angle
  • Sure Deploy backup system leaves accessible van conversion usable even with power failure
  • Manual secondary backup system for additional peace of mind
  • 600lb. handicap ramp weight capacity

Dodge Grand Caravan with VMI Northstar AND Summit

  • Fully-powered accessible van ramp
  • 11” drop FLEX Floor maximizes interior space and headroom for better maneuverability
  • Complete undercoating and rust proofing
  • PowerKneel system lowers the minivan to reduce ramp angle
  • Seamless integration with Dodge Grand Caravan vehicle electronics
  • Complete control through Dodge keyfob and interior switches
  • Removable front passenger and driver seat bases
  • No-skid wheelchair ramp surfacing
  • Complete crash testing and compliance with all government safety standards
  • 3-year/36,000-mile warranty

Optional Features

  • Durafloor (rubberized flooring) to match Dodge Grand Caravan interiors

Dodge Grand Caravan With VMI Northstar Conversion – Information

Dodge Grand Caravan With VMI Northstar Conversion - Information
VMI first developed the Northstar handicap van conversion in the early 1990’s to meet customer preferences for increased interior space. To this day, the VMI Northstar on the Dodge Grand Caravan minivan remains one of the best mobility ramp vans in America.

By sliding out of a space below the floor, the Northstar mobility ramp maximizes space inside the accessible vehicle. There are so many benefits of an in-floor wheelchair ramp, it is easily understood why its so popular.

Chrysler Town and Country With VMI Northstar Conversion – More Information

Chrysler Town & Country Handicap Conversion Vehicle
The VMI Northstar wheelchair van conversion on a Chrysler Town & Country minivan is the culmination of the forward thinking philosophy at Vantage Mobility International. Some of the accessible features on these handicap conversion vans include a power in-floor ramp, remote control activation, and Power Kneel for a reduced wheelchair ramp entry angle.

When properly implemented, innovative thinking is communicated from design to final product, and VMI believes their VMI Northstar on a Chrysler Town & Country is a superior mobility conversion vehicle.

The Chrysler Town & Country with VMI Northstar handicap conversion vehicle represents the ultimate in wheelchair access. Since its original development in 1993, the VMI Northstar wheelchair vehicle conversion has remained the cornerstone of the Vantage Mobility International accessible van product line. In fact, there are over 10,000 VMI Northstar minivans on the road today.

Every detail has been meticulously designed and manufactured with disability access in mind. From the power in-floor mobility ramp to the power doors, the VMI Northstar handicap van conversion answers the call for disabled transportation. Even the center console has been modified for improved front seat maneuverability.

Important Mobility Vehicle Conversion Features
One of the most important features of the Chrysler Town & Country with VMI Northstar mobility vehicle conversions is the ability for a person in a wheelchair to drive. Whether using a transfer seat, hand controls, or other handicap driving device, the VMI Northstar on a Chrysler Town & Country is a totally independent driving solution.

Chrysler Town & Country Models Available
The VMI Summit is available on Chrysler Town & Country LX, Touring, Touring-L, and Limited minivan models.

Chrysler Town and Country With VMI Northstar Conversion – Specifications

Chrysler Town and Country With VMI Northstar Conversion - Specifications

Description
Chrysler Town & Country with VMI Northstar

  • Handicap vehicle interior left clean and more like the original minivan
  • Reduced debris carried into the accessible vehicle carpet
  • Width of wheelchair ramp increased for wider wheelchairs
  • All interior switches, buttons, and handles are within reach
  • Keep full functionality of front passenger seat
  • No rattling or squeaking from mobility ramp
  • Handicapped ramp will not become a dangerous obstruction in the event of an emergency
  • Deployable on curbs up to 10” in height
  • Maximized space inside these handicapped vehicles for maneuvering a wheelchair
  • Simple exit/entry for additional passengers due to unblocked doorway (no folding mobility ramp in the way)
  • Do not have to activate handicap ramp for ambulatory people to enter/leave vehicle (less wear and tear on the wheelchair accessible van)

Specifications

  • Maximum Floor Drop – 11″
  • Wheelchair Vehicle Ground Clearance – 5.5″
  • Door Opening Height – 55.25″
  • Door Opening Width – 31.25″
  • Mobility Ramp Length – 58.5″
  • Usable Handicap Ramp Width – 29.25″
  • Overall Floor Length – 85.5″
  • Length from Back Seats to Kickplate – 58″
  • Floor Width at Front Doors – 61″
  • Interior Height at Center Position – 58.5″
  • Interior Height at Driver & Passenger Positions (Without Sunroof) – 57.25″
  • Steering Wheel Bottom to Floor – 29.5″
  • Measured Down from Front Edge of Steering Wheel to Front Kick-Up – 16.25″

Standard Features
Chrysler Town & Country with VMI Northstar only

  • Ultra-low 8.0° wheelchair ramp angle
  • Manual secondary backup system for additional peace of mind
  • 600lb. mobility ramp weight limit
  • Sure Deploy backup makes these handicapped accessible vans reliable even when power fails

Chrysler Town & Country with VMI Northstar AND Summit

  • All-electric conversion and handicapped ramp
  • 11” drop FLEX Floor maximizes headroom and interior space for wheelchair maneuverability
  • Complete rust proofing and undercoating
  • PowerKneel system lowers the minivan for a reduction in the angle of the ramp
  • Seamless integration with Chrysler Town & Country electronic systems
  • Controlled via Chrysler keyfob and switches located inside the mobility van
  • Removable front driver and passenger seat bases
  • Skid-resistant handicap ramp
  • Compliant with all government safety standards and fully-crash tested
  • 3-year/36,000-mile warranty

Optional Features

  • Durafloor (rubberized flooring) to match Chrysler Town & Country interior

Chrysler Town and Country With VMI Northstar Conversion – Information

Chrysler Town and Country With VMI Northstar Conversion - Information



In order to accomplish an open interior and greater interior space, VMI engineered the first Northstar mobility van conversion almost 20 years ago. Nearly 20 years on the road and the VMI Northstar on the Chrysler Town & Country is still setting the standard for handicapped vans.

The Northstar wheelchair ramp slides out from underneath the floor of the handicapped vehicle instead of using valuable interior space. It is easy to see why the Northstar is so popular within the disabled community when the advantages are so obvious.

Honda Odyssey with VMI Northstar Conversion – More Information

Culmination of Wheelchair Accessible Vans
The VMI Northstar wheelchair accessible van represents the culmination of our forward thinking philosophy. VMI Northstar mobility minivans on a Honda Odyssey chassis feature a power in-floor mobility ramp for open and unrestricted entry by those with a disability.

The Honda Odyssey with VMI Northstar handicap van conversion also offers amazing interior maneuverability. The VMI one touch remote control allows easy and simple wheelchair ramp deployment at your fingertips, while VMI Power Kneel gives an extremely low handicap ramp angle in these mobility vehicle conversions.

The VMI Northstar handicap conversion van on Honda Odyssey minivans is the end result of years of work by Vantage Mobility International engineers. The result is one of the finest and most accessible mobility conversion vehicles on the road.

Different Wheelchair Van Models Available
VMI Northstar wheelchair van conversions are available on Honda Odyssey EX, EX-L, Touring, and Touring Elite. Whether you are searching an affordable disability transportation solution or a fully loaded handicap conversion vehicle, the Honda Odyssey with VMI Northstar has a niche for you.

The combination of accessible features on the Honda Odyssey with VMI Northstar handicap conversion vehicle is unmatched in its wheelchair access. The in-floor wheelchair ramp offers entry and exit into the mobility van conversion, and once inside, a person who is disabled can choose anywhere inside the vehicle to ride. Even the front passenger or drivers position are accessible!

More Information-Compatible Wheelchair Van Accessories
Hand controls or other handicap driving aids can also be added for a completely independent driving solution in Honda Odyssey with VMI Northstar wheelchair vehicle conversions.

Honda Odyssey with VMI Northstar Conversion – Specifications

Honda Odyssey VMI Northstar Conversion Specifications

Description

  • Maximum interior space for wheelchair maneuverability
  • Obstruction-free doorway allows easy entry/exit for able-bodied passengers
  • Reduced accessible van conversion wear (no need to deploy mobility ramp for able-bodied passengers)
  • Clean, uncluttered handicapped vehicle interior
  • Less dirt and debris from ramp into handicap accessible vehicle interior
  • Wider usable accessible ramp surface
  • Easy access to all interior buttons, handles, and switches
  • Full use of front passenger seat
  • No squeaking or rattling from wheelchair ramp
  • Handicap Ramp stowed safely under floor in the event of a collision
  • Deployable on curbs up to 10” in height

Specifications

  • Door opening height – 55″
  • Door opening width – 30.75″
  • Wheelchair Ramp length (angled ramp and transition plate) – 59″
  • Mobility Ramp length (distance ramp protrudes from mobility vehicle) – 43″
  • Usable Handicap Ramp width – 30″
  • Overall floor length – 91.5″
  • Length (from back of seat bases to kickplate) – 61.75″
  • Floor width at B pillar – 60″
  • Floor width at front doors – 60.5″
  • Interior height at center position – 60″
  • Interior height at driver’s position – 57.25″ without sunroof

Standard Features
Honda Odyssey with VMI Northstar only

  • Ultra-low 8.0° accessible ramp angle
  • 750lb. wheelchair ramp capacity
  • Sure Deploy backup system allows users to stow or deploy the mobility ramp van conversion even in the event of complete power failure
  • Manual secondary backup system for additional peace of mind

Honda Odyssey with Northstar AND Summit

  • Full-power ramp and conversion
  • 12.75” drop FLEX Floor maximizes headroom and interior space for wheelchair maneuverability
  • Patented independent rear suspension designed to preserve Honda ride quality and performance
  • E-coated floor for maximum corrosion resistance
  • NEW, ultra-reliable hydraulic PowerKneel system lowers the minivan to reduce ramp angle
  • Seamless integration with Honda Odyssey electronics prevents damage to vehicle/conversion
  • Conversion control through Honda keyfob and interior sliding-door switches
  • Halo-lit, one-touch interior conversion button
  • Ramp ON/OFF switch allows users to disable all conversion features for guest drivers, valets, car wash attendants, etc., and open sliding doors for able-bodied passengers without deploying the ramp
  • NEW lightweight, removable front seats are easier to install or remove
  • NEW quick-release straps allow users to remove front seats in seconds without removing plastic covers or searching for handles/pedals beneath the seat
  • Non-skid handicapped ramp surface
  • Fully crash-tested and compliant with all government safety standards
  • 3-year/36,000-mile warranty

Optional Features

  • Durafloor (rubberized flooring) closely matched to the existing Honda Odyssey interior

Honda Odyssey with VMI Northstar Conversion – Information

Honda Odyssey VMI Northstar Conversion Information

To satisfy our customers’ needs for additional interior space and a clean, obstruction-free accessible vehicle interior, VMI pioneered the development of the Northstar in-floor wheelchair ramp system for the Honda Odyssey minivan. After almost two decades of refinement, the Northstar remains the most technologically advanced handicap ramp system on the market. Instead of taking up space inside the handicap vehicle, the Northstar wheelchair ramp simply rolls out from beneath the floor. When one considers the advantages of the Northstar in-floor wheelchair ramp system, there is no question why the Northstar is far and away VMI’s best-selling product.

Toyota Sienna With VMI Northstar Conversion – Specifications

Toyota Sienna With VMI Northstar Conversion - Specifications
Description

Toyota Sienna with VMI Northstar

  • NEW – Access360 design with more space to enter and maneuver inside the mobility van
  • NEW – Access360 design allows for more flexibility and ease of use
  • Obstruction-free doorway allows easy entry/exit for able-bodied passengers
  • Clean, uncluttered handicapped vehicle interior
  • Greater safety in the event of a collision
  • Less dirt and debris from in-floor ramp into wheelchair accessible vehicle interior
  • Wider usable accessible wheelchair ramp surface
  • No interference with factory seats or controls
  • Full use of front passenger seat
  • Obstacle-free front row floor
  • Ramp stowed safely under floor in the event of a collision
  • 9″ more floor length than any other Toyota Sienna conversion on the market today

Specifications
Toyota Sienna with VMI Northstar

  • NEW – Access360 design with more space to enter and maneuver inside the mobility van
  • NEW – Access360 design allows for more flexibility and ease of use
  • Obstruction-free doorway allows easy entry/exit for able-bodied passengers
  • Clean, uncluttered handicapped vehicle interior
  • Greater safety in the event of a collision
  • Less dirt and debris from in-floor ramp into wheelchair accessible vehicle interior
  • Wider usable accessible wheelchair ramp surface
  • No interference with factory seats or controls
  • Full use of front passenger seat
  • Obstacle-free front row floor
  • Ramp stowed safely under floor in the event of a collision
  • 9″ more floor length than any other Toyota Sienna conversion on the market today

Standard Features
Toyota Sienna with VMI Northstar only

  • Ultra-low 8.0° accessible ramp angle
  • 800lb. wheelchair ramp capacity
  • Sure Deploy backup system allows users to stow or deploy the mobility ramp van conversion even in the event of complete power failure
  • Manual secondary backup system for additional peace of mind

Toyota Sienna with Northstar AND Summit

  • Full-power ramp and conversion
  • 12.75” drop FLEX Floor maximizes headroom and interior space for wheelchair maneuverability
  • Patented independent rear suspension designed to preserve the Toyota ride quality and performance
  • E-coated floor for maximum corrosion resistance
  • NEW, ultra-reliable hydraulic PowerKneel system lowers the minivan to reduce ramp angle
  • Seamless integration with the Toyota Sienna’s electronics prevents damage to vehicle/conversion
  • Conversion control through Toyota keyfob and interior sliding-door switches
  • Halo-lit, one-touch interior conversion button
  • Ramp ON/OFF switch allows users to disable all conversion features for guest drivers, valets, car wash attendants, etc., and open sliding doors for able-bodied passengers without deploying the ramp
  • NEW lightweight, removable front seats are easier to install or remove
  • NEW quick-release straps allow users to remove front seats in seconds without removing plastic covers or searching for handles/pedals beneath the seat
  • Non-skid handicapped ramp surface
  • Fully crash-tested and compliant with all government safety standards
  • 3-year/36,000-mile warranty

Optional Features

  • Durafloor (rubberized flooring) closely matched to the existing Toyota Sienna interior

Toyota Sienna With VMI Northstar Conversion – Information

Toyota Sienna With VMI Northstar Conversion - Information

The all new Toyota Sienna with a VMI Northstar wheelchair van conversion is vehicular perfection for people living with disability. The Toyota Sienna handicap accessible van with a power in-floor ramp offers the most wheelchair access in a flexible package. And like everything from Toyota, the quality and value are unmatched.

The VMI Northstar handicap van engineers put together the Access360 performance package through years of research and experience that have accumulated into the most versatile mobility van on the market. There is more entry space, more interior height, and better aesthetics. It all adds up to Toyota Sienna wheelchair vans that offers flexibility, ease of use, and safety.

Dodge Grand Caravan With VMI Summit Conversion – More Information

Dodge Grand Caravan Mobility Conversion Van
The Dodge Grand Caravan with VMI Summit mobility conversion van provides greater interior room than other folding mobility ramp vans. The exclusive Vantage Mobility International design allows for a folding wheelchair ramp system that creates this extra space.

For maximum security while entering the handicap vehicle conversion, side rails on the ramp have been raised 2 inches to prevent accidental roll-off. The entry angle of the ramp has also been reduced by the inclusion of Power Kneel.

VMI continues to distance themselves from their competition, and the Summit mobility van conversion on the Dodge Grand Caravan has played a major role in Vantage Mobility International’s lineup for over 15 years.

Specific Wheelchair Conversion Van Advantages
Dodge Grand Caravans offer a specific set of advantages over competitors wheelchair conversion vans. In fact, because the VMI Summit is available on the Express, Main-street, Crew, and R/T, there is a model that will work for almost any situation.

Special design configurations have been made in several areas of these wheelchair van conversions. The floor has been lowered 11″ which provides 54″ of headroom while entering. The front seating area has also been configured for disability access, meaning a disabled person can choose to ride in the front passenger position or even drive.

Easy-Clean Handicap Accessible Vehicle Interior
VMI Summit handicap accessible vehicles offer optional rubberized flooring for an easy-clean interior. For additional details on the VMI Summit or Dodge Grand Caravan, contact a VMI Mobility dealer soon.

Dodge Grand Caravan With VMI Summit Conversion – Specifications

Dodge Grand Caravan with summit conversion - specifications
Description

Dodge Grand Caravan with VMI Summit Only

  • 2” siderails help people with a disabilities stay on the ramp when coming in and out of the handicapped vehicle
  • When other vehicles park too close, 48” wheelchair ramp leaves wheelchair users more room to maneuver
  • By simply pushing outward on the handicapped ramp, it can be deployed for a safe exit in the event of a mechanical or power failure
  • Handicap ramp surface allows debris to fall through so it doesn’t end up inside the wheelchair vehicle
  • Mobility ramp has a quiet cabin dut to an anti-rattle device
  • 600lb. handicapped ramp rating

Dodge Grand Caravan with VMI Northstar AND Summit

  • Fully-powered accessible ramp
  • 11” drop FLEX Floor maximizes head clearance and interior space for maneuvering a wheelchair
  • Complete undercoating and rust proofing
  • PowerKneel system lowers the minivan to reduce wheelchair ramp angle
  • Total integration with Dodge systems prevents damage to vehicle/ conversion
  • Accessible van conversion is controlled through and interior sliding-door switches and Dodge keychain
  • Easy-out passenger and front driver seat stands
  • No-slip handicapped ramp
  • Total crash-testing and compliance with all government standards for safety
  • 3-year/36,000-mile warranty

Specifications

  • Maximum Floor Drop – 11″
  • Mobility Vehicle Ground Clearance – 5.5″
  • Door Opening Height – 54.25″
  • Usable Wheelchair Ramp Width – 28.75″
  • Handicap Ramp Length – 50.25″
  • Length from Back of Seats to Kickplate – 58″
  • Overall Floor Length – 85.5″
  • Floor Width at Doors – 61″
  • Interior Height at Center Position – 58.5″
  • Interior Height at Drivers & Passengers Position (Without Sunroof) – 57.25″
  • Steering Wheel Bottom to Floor – 29.5″
  • Measured Down from Front Edge of Steering Wheel to Front Kick-Up – 16.25

Standard Features

  • Power Folding Wheelchair Ramp with Non-Skid Surface
  • Power Sliding Door with Easy Manual Operation
  • Maximum Interior Headroom
  • Undercoating and Complete Rust Proofing
  • Manual Backup Ramp Operation
  • Warranty – Mobility Conversion Van
  • Fully Crash Tested
  • Remote Control Activation
  • 600 Pound Load Rating for Handicap Ramp
  • 9.7 Degree Handicap Ramp Angle

Optional Features

  • Rubberized Flooring

Dodge Grand Caravan With VMI Summit Conversion – Information

Dodge Grand Caravan With VMI Summit Conversion

The Summit conversion is an economical choice compared to the popular Northstar in-floor ramp conversion. It utilizes side rails that are 2” tall. This is especially important for those with a hard time navigating an incline.

Passengers can easily use the Dodge handle for the sliding door and switches because the handicapped ramp is not covering them. Second, users in wheelchairs have more room to move on and off the ramp when other vehicles park too close.

Chrysler Town and Country With VMI Summit Conversion – More Information

Chrysler Town & Country Mobility Vehicle Conversion
The VMI Summit mobility vehicle conversion on a Chrysler Town & Country minivan offers more interior space than other folding wheelchair ramp vans. This is due to an innovative design which powers the folding handicap ramp system from under the floor.

For extra safety, two inch side rails make sure the wheelchair or scooter stays on the mobility ramp. To reduce the incline while entering the wheelchair conversion van, Power Kneel lowers the minivan chassis closer to the ground. In maximizing the design of this handicap minivan conversion, VMI has put considerable space between ourselves and their competition.

VMI Summit Wheelchair Conversion Vehicle
The Chrysler Town & Country with VMI Summit wheelchair conversion has been a staple in the lineup of Vantage Mobility International handicap conversion vans for a long time. And with good reason, as it is an extremely practical and user-friendly means of disability transportation.

Available on the Chrysler Town & Country LS, Touring, Touring-L, and Limited models, these minivans offers some unique advantages over competing mobility conversion vehicles. Whatever your needs or preferences are in a handicap conversion vehicle, the Chrysler Town & Country with a VMI Summit deserves strong consideration.

Many aspects of the wheelchair van conversion have been optimized. The 11 inch lowered floor means an amazing 54″ of headroom while entering through the side passenger sliding door. The front seating area has also been maximized to allow for greatest wheelchair maneuverability.

Good Looks and Performance
VMI Summit mobility van conversions look as good as they perform. Optional rubberized flooring keeps floors looking brand-new, interior plastic panels have been matched with the original interior, and sleek ground effects mask the wheelchair vehicle conversion. For more information on the VMI Summit on a Chrysler Town & Country minivan, visit a VMI Mobility Dealer today.

Chrysler Town and Country With VMI Summit Conversion – Specifications

Chrysler Town & Country With VMI Summit Conversion - Specifications

Description
Chrysler Town & Country with VMI Summit Only

  • When entering/exiting the handicap vehicle, 2″ side rails keep disabled individuals on the wheelchair ramp
  • 48” handicap ramp means more room to move around when other vehicles park too close
  • Ramp can be deployed manually for a quick exit with a simple push outward
  • Accessible ramp with slats in it lets dirt fall through before it is carried into the interior of the mobility vehicle
  • Ramp is fitted with a mechanism to reduce rattling
  • 600lb. ramp weight limit

Chrysler Town & Country with VMI Northstar AND Summit

  • All-electric conversion (including the ramp)
  • 11” lowered FLEX Floor increases maneuverability of a wheelchair due to increased interior space and headroom
  • Total rust proofing and undercoating
  • To reduce the incline of the handicap ramp, PowerKneel system lowers the minivan closer to the ground
  • Complete integration with Chrysler computer systems reduces hiccups
  • Handicapped van conversion is activated through interior sliding-door switches and Chrysler keyfob and
  • Quick-out front driver and passenger seat bases
  • Anti-skid wheelchair ramp
  • Compliant with all government safety standards and completely crash-tested
  • 3-year/36,000-mile warranty

Specifications

  • Maximum Floor Drop – 11″
  • Handicap Vehicle Ground Clearance – 5.5″
  • Door Opening Height – 54.25″
  • Wheelchair Ramp Length – 50.25″
  • Usable Handicap Ramp Width – 28.75″
  • Overall Floor Length – 85.5″
  • Length from Back of Seats to Kickplate – 58″
  • Floor Width at Doors – 61″
  • Interior Height at Center Position – 58.5″
  • Interior Height at Drivers & Passengers Position (Without Sunroof) – 57.25″
  • Steering Wheel Bottom to Floor – 29.5″
  • Measured Down from Front Edge of Steering Wheel to Front Kick-Up – 16.25

Standard Features

  • Power Folding Mobility Ramp with Non-Skid Surface
  • Power Sliding Door with Easy Manual Operation
  • Maximum Interior Headroom
  • Manual Backup Ramp Operation
  • Undercoating and Complete Rust Proofing
  • Fully Crash Tested
  • Remote Control Activation
  • Warranty – Mobility Conversion Van
  • 600 Pound Load Rating for Handicap Ramp
  • 9.7 Degree Mobility Ramp Angle

Optional Features

  • Rubberized Flooring

Chrysler Town and Country With VMI Summit Conversion – Information

Chrysler Town & Country With VMI Summit Conversion - Information

The Summit handicap van conversion on a Chrysler Town & Country is an affordable and simpler substitute to the Northstar. Folding ramps stretch outwards when in use, and stow inside the vehicle when it’s not. These ramps work well for people who experience difficulty getting up a ramp because it has 2″ side rails.

Passengers have full access to the Chrysler switches and sliding door handle because the wheelchair ramp does not block them. Wheelchair users also have more space to maneuver get in and out of the mobility vehicle when others park too close.

Tips on purchasing your first mobility van or wheelchair accessible vehicles

You’re a first time wheelchair van buyer, and like many other customers have questions about handicap vans, or how or where they are built, and what kind of prices to expect. This portion of our website will assist you to find answers to your questions and provide creative mobility product solutions. We encourage you to gather as much information as possible, but the best education of needs and options is done through a consultation with a Mobility Consultant. Our staff knows the inside and out of Adaptive Equipment and can custom fit and recommend the perfect wheelchair accessible vehicle transportation for friends, family, and most importantly you!

There are many different options and possibilities with handicap accessible vehicles; the most common option is a wheelchair accessible minivan. A wheelchair accessible van is modified to allow a wheelchair or scooter user to drive their mobility equipment directly into the handicap accessible vehicle with no assistance. Featuring a 10-11″ dropped floor for easy entry and exist (with headroom up to 58″!) and removable front seats that allow the user to ride safely in the front passenger area or even drive from their wheelchair.

TIPS TO BUYING A WHEELCHAIR ACCESSIBLE VEHICLE:

  • Create a list of features you want and need, so you can accurately access the cost differences.
  • Take into consideration how you’re going to transport the whole family.
  • Consider the adaptive equipment that needs to be transported. Will it change over time?
  • What is the age of the user and caregivers?
  • Have a budget. Check with a Mobility Consultant to obtain all information including 10-year financing options and rebates available.
  • Talk with a Certified Mobility Consultant to explain features and benefits, and guide you through the wheelchair van conversion buying process.
  • Purchasing your new or used wheelchair van from Ability Center provides a piece-of-mind because we are a Certified Mobility Dealer that is part of NMEDA and is QAP certified.
  • Rent and try before you buy. Ability Center will apply your handicap van rental costs to the purchase of a new or previously-owned handicap accessible vehicle.
  • Buy for today, and tomorrow! It’s a big investment that should last you many years.

HERE ARE SOME OF THE MOST COMMON QUESTIONS AND THEIR ANSWERS:

  • Do you convert the mobility vans there? No. Vans with new ramp conversions are converted in three locations: Indiana, Michigan, and Arizona. We obtain them complete. We install external or internal lifts, and any adaptive equipment necessary to custom fit the driver to their van.
  • What vans are being converted? Currently, the manufacturers are converting the Dodge/Chrysler minivans, Toyota Sienna, Honda Odyssey Chevrolet/Buick minivans, and Ford E-Series vans & Transit Connects.
  • I want to carry two wheelchairs. Can I? Most handicap van conversions make carrying two wheelchairs a breeze, but that depends on the style of chair or scooter. Talk to our Mobility Specialist they’ll know what will work for you.
  • I can’t make it down to your store. Can you come out? Yes. We love in-home demonstrations. It gives you the chance to have your whole family there and try the new or used handicap van in your own environment. Just pick a van, and we’ll bring it out to you at no-charge.
  • How do I secure my wheelchair? Depending on the model, there are several ways to secure your equipment. Three typical ways are: 4-piont manual strapping system that comes with every van; optional 4-point retractable straps; and the EZ-Lock bracket system. Please check with your Mobility Specialist to see if a bracket designed for your equipment. There are some popular wheelchairs on the market that do not have a bracket.
  • I want to save more money. What do you have? Besides taking advantage of any and all rebates out there, consider a manual ramp version or the very popular used van with a new conversion. A pre-owned conversion van may be the way to go if you are considering a budget. You can save thousands on a pre-owned van.
  • Why is the price set the way it is? The final price is a combined cost of the van AND the mobility conversion. What will determine the overall price is what you want out of the van and options (i.e.: Toyota Sienna Limited versus Dodge Grand Caravan SE). The conversions are priced very closely and do not generally affect overall price.
  • Can I trade in my non-converted vehicle? YES! Bring it by and we’ll give you the best deal on non-converted or converted vehicles. We’ll take the stress out of selling the vehicle on the market.
  • Can I try the van first? Absolutely you can test drive the vehicle to see if it going to work for you and  your family!
  • I want to buy my van at the dealer; they’ve been nice to me. Depending on the manufacturer and conversion, that could be done. You will not take physical possession of the van, but your relationship with them will be continued. Before you do, talk to our Mobility Specialists and they’ll let you know if that van can be purchased through your favorite dealer. We have a great working relationship with most dealers, so we know how to work with the auto dealers in your town.
  • Do you offer financing for handicap vans? Yes. We work with banks that finance mobility vans up to 10 years, or on terms that fit your needs. Our rates are comparable to what is on the market.
  • Can I use my own bank? Certainly. But be cautious, you must let them know that it is a van converted for wheelchair access. Some private or national banks will not finance the total cost of the mobility van, and only finance up to 120% of the value of the van prior to conversion. Call your Mobility Specialist before you go to your bank, it may be helpful to assist you with your bank by letting them know of your intentions.
  • Does Medicare pay for vans? No. Due to Medicare guidelines and policy the vehicle conversion is a “deluxe item” only to be used outside the home, for which that equipment Medicare does not deem “medically necessary.”
  • Who will assist with funds for me? Depending on where you live, your state could have funds set aside for financial assistance. These funds are available upon application and approval of your case and if the state has funds available. Sometimes this can take up to 6 months or longer. Call our Mobility Specialist; they will know where to direct you to start the process.
  • I am a disabled Veteran. How do I obtain a mobility van? If the VA has provided you with a wheelchair or scooter, you are entitled to a lift for your existing vehicle or a mobility conversion to transport that equipment. Depending on your diagnosis or if your disability is service connected or not, either will be provided. Call us; we’ll work with your local VA to help you start the process. We are very experienced with Veterans policy and procedures.
  • Can I convert my own van? The handicap vans we offer are complete, but you could convert your own. This is a very rare circumstance, but if it absolutely needs to be done your vehicle needs to fit the manufacturer’s criteria for converting a customer-owned van. In just about all cases, because of the time and additional expenses, it is more beneficial and cost effective to the customer to purchase a van post-converted to take advantage of rebates. Conversions cannot be financed on their own.

Buying a Wheelchair Van For the First Time

Buying a Wheelchair For The First Time
Purchasing a wheelchair van for personal use is not the kind of activity many prepare for in their lives. But then, if you or someone in your family has recently become wheelchair-bound, your life is full of new issues and concerns you probably never thought you’d have to deal with.

Transportation is important though, for work, doctor’s appointments and just being a part of the world. Since so many families end up using a lift-equipped van as the primary family vehicle, you have to consider multiple aspects to make your purchase.

If you are getting ready to buy your first wheelchair van, keep reading to find out how to make your decision.

What do you need from a lift?
If you are trying to determine whether a used van or a new purchase better suits your needs, you have to consider not only the immediate cost, but the long term costs, as well. Beyond that, though, you need to think about your lift needs.

Most companies that sell wheelchair accessible vans both new and used offer products that already have lifts installed. Because this is the case, you have to look at the size of the wheelchair you’ll be transporting.

Some wheelchairs, specifically electric ones and those constructed for people with more serious muscular issues, may be wider or taller than the standard, and clearance has to be considered in these situations in order to avoid injuries.

If the wheelchair is standard-sized, any lift will probably work well, but if you are dealing with a custom-made wheelchair, you’ll want to take plenty of good measurements to make sure to avoid injuries.

You also want to consider how the lift is controlled. Will the wheelchair-bound person be operating the lift? If so, controls need to be accessible and reachable either through proper door mounting or a remote control.

Who else will be riding in the van?
Companies sell both fill-sized wheelchair vans and wheelchair minivans because they address different sets of needs. For day-to-day travel involving just one or two people, a minivan may be a slightly less expensive option. If you’re planning for your wheelchair van to be your primary family transportation, though, you’ll want to seriously consider going with a full-sized wheelchair van.

You can usually fit a wheelchair into a full-sized van comfortably by removing only the second row of seating, for example, leaving the back row available to transport a larger family. This is not always the case, of course, but the smaller your wheelchair van, the more likely the lift will be installed in the back with all of the rear seating removed.

Other wheelchair van considerations
As mentioned above, different vans will have the lifts installed in different locations. Some designated handicapped parking spaces, for example, are wider in order to accommodate the lowering of a side lift. In other locations, parking may be such that a rear lift is more convenient.

Consider the places you will be going most often and, if possible, go survey the parking situation there. Use what you learn in your survey along with the consideration of how many passengers you need to transport to determine whether a full-sized wheelchair van or wheelchair minivan is a better option.

If you take into account comfort, clearance, lift accessibility and number of passengers, you should be able to build a list of requirements that will help you make the right wheelchair van purchase.

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.

Things Parents Should Know About Accessible Vans

Things Parents should know about Wheelchair van shopping

As with any product that’s been around a while, wheelchair vans have evolved in a number of ways, with a variety of conversion designs and peripheral equipment like wheelchair tie-downs, portable/removable seats, and powered ramps with manual override. Overall, today’s accessible vans are more reliable, easier than ever to use, and safer.

If your child’s disability requires a wheelchair, and you’re in the market for accessible transportation, here are some important guidelines to help you shop:

One Size Doesn’t Fit All
A wheelchair van, whether it’s transporting an adult or a child, is tailored as much as possible to the physical requirements of the wheelchair user, with family lifestyle and budget taken into consideration as well.

You can always start your search for wheelchair vans online but will want to visit a local Mobility Center, you’ll work with a mobility consultant, whose expertise will guide you through the process, pointing out the technical differences between rear entry access and side entry access, the variety of wheelchair positions inside the cabin, ramp deployment possibilities, and special seating options.

The Child’s Size
A consultant at a reputable online dealership or local dealership will be incredibly thorough in compiling the details (like wheelchair width and height, your child’s height while sitting in the wheelchair, and other essential information), which should help identify the perfect van for your family.

Your child’s age and size are factors, too. If your child is a tall, brawny teenager with a permanent sports injury, a rear entry wheelchair accessible minivan should work better because of its wider and higher opening.

The Family’s Size
Consider the size of your family. A big family (5-7 children) might need the extra room provided by a full-size van. For smaller families, an adapted minivan should work beautifully, and both vehicle styles can be equipped for wheelchair accessibility. Keep in mind that even an only child will have friends who will join you for an occasional outing. With the right seating configuration, a side-entry minivan can transport up to seven (7) passengers (assuming two or three are youngsters).

The Child’s Condition
Along with wheelchair size, your child’s condition has tremendous bearing on vehicle selection. When a child with limited mobility travels with a ventilator or feeding tube, the vehicle must accommodate it. In such situations, rear entry access is often the better option.

Side entry vans require the wheelchair user to maneuver into position; an operating ventilator or feeding tube on an independent portable stand can easily make positioning awkward. Rear entry access eliminates the need to maneuver–the wheelchair and ancillary equipment roll directly into position from the back of the van.

Make sure the above determinants—wheelchair dimensions, your child’s specific physical attributes, family size and lifestyle—are addressed by the mobility consultant to zero in on the best-suited van.

Seating That Makes Sense
The van’s seating configuration should be based on the condition of your child and how you’d prefer to interact while in the van.

Seating For a Caretaker
If you or a caretaker needs to assist him or her, it would be helpful to have a seat right next to the wheelchair, as the front passenger seat can make interaction awkward.

The Front Passenger Seat
Now is a good time to talk about the front-passenger seat, which can be adapted for portability, so you can remove it completely. With a wheelchair docking system installed, the coveted front-passenger position is wheelchair-ready.

That said, size definitely matters here. The laws in some states restrict the size of a child riding in that position, with a typical recommendation of 50 lbs.+ and the ability to tolerate the force of a deployed airbag. A child with a frail or sensitive physical condition should be seated in the middle of the cabin for safety. Make sure to familiarize yourself with your state’s seat-belt laws for wheelchair passengers.

Part of the Fun
When there are several passengers in the van, middle seating in the cabin would put your child at the center of attention and always part of the fun. The side entry accessible van has an array of configuration possibilities, including jump seats and the potential for passenger seating in front, alongside, and behind the guest of honor in any accessible van.

Focus on the Future
As you explore the different wheelchair van conversions, plan for the future. How old is your child, and is he or she still growing? You’ll want to prolong the serviceability of this particular investment for many years, with as few—if any—adjustments as possible as your child grows.

At some point, your child will be eligible to ride in the front-passenger position, so you might want to arrange for a portable/removable front-passenger seat at the time of purchase. Consider the changes that may come over time, and discuss them with your mobility consultant.

You’re now better prepared to choose the ideal wheelchair van for your child and family, with essential features to research and questions to ask your mobility consultant. Go forth and shop!

Paying for Toyota Wheelchair Vans

2013 Toyota Sienna VMI Summit Silver VMi New England35
Toyota Wheelchair Van Payment Considerations
You’ve found the perfect Sienna. Now you need to think about how you’re going to pay for your Toyota wheelchair van. Different situations call for different actions. Here are some tips that can help you make the payment process easier whether you’re working with a dealer, an individual seller or need to pay for additional wheelchair van modifications.

When purchasing from a Toyota mobility dealer, you want to take smart actions that will protect you against paying too much for your wheelchair van. Here are a few ideas:

Buy at the right time.
Did you know that you can get the best deals during the last few weeks of the year and during the months of July through September? Prices tend to be lower during those periods.

Resist the extras.

Your Toyota dealer will undoubtedly offer you extra features and protections. Some may be great investments. Others may be unnecessary. Be smart and resist sales pitches for the extras you don’t need.

Know the market.
Investigate what other dealers are doing and what is happening overall in the marketplace. Knowledge is power. That information will protect you from paying too much and can help you negotiate the best possible deal.

When purchasing your Toyota wheelchair van from a private seller, you’ll want to use a cashier’s check from your bank or a money order. This protects both parties and avoids risks associated with the three most common alternatives.

Sellers don’t want your personal check. You’re not the only person who will want to make paying for your Toyota wheelchair van safe and convenient. The seller will be interested in protecting himself or herself, too. A personal check requires a leap of faith on the part of the seller. He or she probably won’t take it.

Cash is too risky.
You don’t want to pay for your vehicle in cash. It doesn’t create a paper trail and it’s simply unsafe to visit someone you don’t really know with a large quantity of cash on your person.

Moneygrams and Western Union are not a good idea. These services exist so that people who know one another can send money in a pinch. They’re poorly designed for transactions like this. Additionally, these services are frequently used by those who are less interested in getting you a nice Sienna and more interested in robbing you!

Paying for your Toyota wheelchair van may be only part of a bigger picture. You may also need to pay for conversions to the vehicle in order to make it a perfect wheelchair van for you. Here are a few considerations to keep in mind when paying for conversions.

Look for “free” money.
Before you spend your own money on conversions, find out if you’re eligible for any government assistance. You should also check with your health insurance or worker’s compensation insurance to find out if your situation will compel them to pick up part of the overall modification bill.

Work with the dealer.
In many cases, your Toyota dealer can include the costs associated with wheelchair van modifications into your auto loan. That leaves you with only one monthly payment and may allow you to finance equipment and conversion services at a lower interest rate.

Visit your doctor. See your doctor and find out if you can get a written prescription for your wheelchair adaptations. If you have a prescription, you may be exempt from paying sales tax on your conversion.

Following recommendations like these can make paying for your Toyota less expensive and more convenient.

Adaptive Driving Aids: Reduced Effort Modifications

Experienced users of adaptive driving aids, as well as those who have just been introduced to them, will appreciate the depth of experience and the number of options available to them here at VMi New England Mobility Center and Automotive Innovations, Inc.

Adaptive driving aids are as diverse as the people who use them, but they do fall into several distinct categories; basic driving aids, reduced effort modifications and advanced driving controls.

Reduced Effort Modifications

Reduced Effort Steering
Reduced effort modifications are used in conjunction with hand controls and other adaptations to reduce the physical strength required to perform the operations of braking and steering. Reduced effort braking and reduced effort steering are modification packages that make the steering wheel or brake pedal easier to turn or push. The level of assistance or “reduced-effort” is adjusted to the level prescribed by the driving rehabilitation specialist, based on the strength of the driver.

  • Drive-Master’s low effort and no effort braking modifications significantly reduces the required pressure needed to press down on a pedal to brake.
  • Drive-Master’s reduced effort steering modification reduces the amount of effort it takes to move a steering wheel. There is low effort to no effort available depending on the model of car and tire size.

Funding Your Wheelchair Van with a Grant


Mobility beyond the wheelchair is out there, but so often, it’s out of reach financially for individuals with disabilities who have spent thousands on medical care. There are several avenues that lead to funds for a wheelchair accessible vehicle or adaptive equipment for driving, like loans, government assistance, mobility rebates and grants. So what’s great about grants?

Grant money doesn’t need to be repaid, which makes it especially attractive. What’s more, grant opportunities are plentiful; relevant grant-making organizations and foundations will supply partial or complete funding on wheelchair accessible vans for sale or assistive equipment; and you can combine funds from several sources to purchase the freedom and independence an accessible vehicle provides. Obtaining a grant to fund an accessible vehicle requires patience, perseverance and a detailed application process. Though it sounds daunting, these tips will help you navigate the process:

  • Be Patient

Grant providers don’t work in your time frame. They process thousands of applications just like yours, so you may wait longer than you’d like for a response. Expressing your aggravation to the grant provider might be counterproductive. Lowering your expectations will also lower your level of frustration during your quest for grant money. If you’re prepared for progress to move slowly, you’ll be thrilled if it takes less time than you expect.

  • Be Prepared with Necessary Information

With the likelihood you’ll want to apply to several granting institutions, it simply makes sense to have your basic information gathered and quickly accessible, so you can begin filling out an application as soon as you’ve identified another potential grant opportunity. Though the requirements on grant applications vary, you’ll need personal information on all of them, such as your Social Security Number, driver’s license number (if you have one), marital status, financial information and personal background details. It’s all about expediting the application process on your end. Keep in mind that funding organizations have different policies and requirements, so you’ll need to be flexible.

  • Line up Medical Records and References

Granting institutions will want to see your medical records. Your physician can provide you with a copy. Some physicians prefer to send your records directly to the granting institution. Either way, be sure your physician understands why you need your medical records. While you’re at it, ask your physician to write a letter of recommendation. It’s not necessary, but a letter from your physician, written on letterhead stationery, can often be helpful when applying for a grant. Ask that the letter be addressed to a generic individual (“Dear Sir or Madam” or “To Whom It May Concern”), so you can include a copy with each application.

Now’s the time to get references to support your efforts – ask close friends, neighbors, colleagues, church members and anyone who you believe will provide convincing, compelling input about your character and disability. Funding organizations want their personal perspective about your accomplishments, your attitude and how you manage your disability on a daily basis. Your references can also comment on how grant money to buy a wheelchair accessible vehicle would improve your present lifestyle.

  • Make Your Case

Your mission is to help the funding organization understand your personal history, your challenges and the impact any hardships have had on your life. Be honest and persuasive in telling your story to the grant provider (including an articulate, straightforward narrative, 1-2 pages in length), describing your plans for the funding and its potential positive effect on your future. Focus on setting yourself apart from other applicants with an emotional, inspiring account. You’re in competition for a limited amount of money, so this is important.

  • Research and Identify Appropriate Granting Institutions

You now have the necessary documents and backing to begin applying for grants. Start your research with these handicap van grants, sorted by location, medical need, veterans, special needs children and others to find one or more grants for your specific situation. If you search the Internet, use “disability grant providers,” “disability grants” and other relevant keyword phrases to find foundations and organizations. If you’re a disabled veteran, check with the Veterans Administration. Remember, you can combine sources to amass as much money as possible for your wheelchair van or adaptive equipment.

Organizations that support specific conditions often provide grants to people living with that disorder. Examples include United Cerebral Palsy, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA).

When you’ve identified a potential granting organization, read their mission statement and get an application form. Craft a cover letter in which you align your needs with the organization’s goals to demonstrate how you can help achieve the provider’s objectives. This is essential information for the funding organization.

  • Contact the Grant Providers

If at all possible, speak or write to the person in charge when you begin the application process to fund your handicap van. Typically, assistance programs will assign a project officer or contact person to help you through the details. Always be polite and thank them for their time. Through this direct line of communication, you can have your questions and concerns addressed. Get a contact name, phone number and email address for every organization to obtain status updates on your application. Request information on their timeline for choosing a candidate for the funding opportunity.

  • Stay Organized and Aware

With multiple applications at different stages in the process, it’s essential to keep track of your documents and deadlines. You should be able to put your hands on documents and paperwork at any given moment. Devise a system to remind yourself of important dates and deadlines, and be sure everything is submitted on time. Stand out from other applicants by demonstrating your desire to earn their financial assistance – meet all deadlines and stay up-to-date on the status of your applications.

Keep copies of all of your applications (electronic or paper copies, or both), and save any confirmation numbers or application numbers you may receive in a safe, readily accessible place. You may be asked for them at some point.

It may take time and effort to get the funding you need for a wheelchair van or adaptive equipment, but it’s absolutely worth it to gain the freedom and independence that can change your life.

How Car Insurance Fees Can Be Lowered For Handicapped Drivers

DSC_4322
One common misconception about car insurance is that handicapped drivers pay more for coverage than non-handicapped drivers. This simply is not true. Federal law prevents car insurance companies from discriminating against handicapped drivers due to their disabilities. Many states have additional laws on the books, and even if car insurance companies were allowed to discriminate, they would likely discriminate in favor of handicapped drivers; statistically speaking, they are more careful than non-handicapped drivers and much less likely to be involved in accidents. Nevertheless, handicapped drivers need the lowest possible rates on car insurance just as much as all other drivers, and it is worthwhile to know a few ways that they can cut their car insurance fees.

Handicapped drivers should first look for safety discounts because this is one of the fastest ways to change premium rates without adjusting the coverage levels. Many car insurance companies offer safety discounts for any drivers who have vehicles with special safety features like side airbags and anti-lock brakes. You can find out whether your car insurance company offers these discounts by studying your policy contract or simply by calling your car insurance agent and asking about available options. If your car is already outfitted with safety features, you are wasting money by not asking for discounts, and if your car is not outfitted, you might look into having some low-cost safety measures installed to keep your car insurance fees low. Ask whether modifications that you have made to a car for your handicap qualify for discounts; even something like oversized mirrors can often have a positive effect on premiums. Other discounts will apply to handicapped drivers who take road safety courses, students, and even drivers who have simply kept their insurance coverage up for a specified length of time. The key is to ask-you will often be surprised at how quickly your car insurance fees will drop.

Online car insurance websites can also help handicapped drivers to find lower rates. Reputable websites will not ask about a driver’s handicap or even inquire as to the handicap status of the driver. Instead, car insurance websites will ask questions about your vehicle and driving record to determine how much of an insurance risk that you pose, and this information will be submitted to car insurance companies in order to return a few quotes. These websites make it easy to look at your insurance options, which in turn, can help a driver to find a better policy than what he or she currently has. Always take the time to compare car insurance quotes. Handicapped drivers and all other drivers can benefit from this, as it is the best possible way to keep rates down.

How Honda Wheelchair Van Insurance Really Works

If your ever in a accident in your wheelchair van and have insurance questions or need your to have repairs made contact the experts at the Mobility Center in Bridgewater, MA with your questions 508-697-6006

2012 Honda Odyssey  CB024644 Front Left Side View

We all know that we need to carry insurance on our Honda wheelchair vans. We understand that it’s a legal requirement and we recognize the value of being properly insured in case of an accident. Most of us are not insurance experts, though. In fact, some aspects of vehicle insurance confuse many of us. Let’s look at how wheelchair van insurance really works.

What Are You Buying?
When you insure your Odyssey or Element, what are you actually buying? “Insurance” actually consists of many different elements. Your policy may or may not have provisions covering all of them. They include:

  • Bodily Injury Liability: This covers you if your Honda hurts or kills someone in an accident.
  • Comprehensive: This covers damage to your Honda from non-accident sources like weather and vandalism.
  • Property Damage Liability: This is legally required everywhere. It’s the portion of your insurance that covers damage to the other party’s vehicle after an accident.
  • Collision: This covers damage to your Honda if it’s involved in an accident.
  • Medical Payment: This provides coverage for you and/or your passengers for medical expenses related to an accident.
  • Uninsured Motorist: If someone who doesn’t have insurance injures you, this will cover you.

The limits of your coverage and your deductibles for each element of your policy will vary based upon what you’ve purchased from your insurance company.

What Determines Your Rates?
How do insurance companies decide how much to charge you for that coverage? They look at a variety of factors.

Your actual vehicle is an important part of the puzzle. The value of your Odyssey or Element will have an impact on the price of your policy, because the cost of covering replacement and repair vary based upon the vehicle.

There’s more to it than that, though. Insurance companies also look at the vehicle type to help determine how likely you will be to utilize your insurance coverage. That’s why it’s cheaper to insure an Odyssey than an Element–minivans tend to have fewer significant claims than do small SUVs.

You can also expect the modifications you’ve made to your Honda wheelchair van to influence policy pricing. You may be an excellent driver, but the fact that modified vehicles tend to be involved in a relatively high number of claims is reason enough for insurance companies to increase premiums on wheelchair vans, in most cases.

You are part of the pricing equation, too. Your personal driving record, age, gender and any license restrictions you may have will influence the price of insurance. Non-driving related factors such as home ownership, credit rating, and where you live will also influence pricing. Insurance companies look at multiple variables to determine your probable level of risk.

Finally, the policy limits and coverage you select will influence your insurance pricing. If you’re only purchasing the minimum requirement of liability insurance in an effort to “stay legal,” you’ll spend a lot less than you would for full coverage with all available protections.

Purchasing insurance is always a process of balancing the best possible coverage with affordability. The levels of coverage you need and the amount you can spend will, obviously, vary based on a series of individual factors. The most important thing to remember is to be certain you have adequate coverage to meet both the legal requirements and your personal needs.

You’ll also want to consider insuring your mobility aids, vehicle modifications and equipment. Most vehicle policies will cover your Odyssey or Element, but they won’t cover your lift or ramp. They’ll replace your bumper if you get in an accident, but they won’t necessarily pay to fix your low-effort steering system if it’s damaged.

Insuring a Honda wheelchair van isn’t really a complicated procedure. When you understand the different kinds of coverage and how rates are set, the process is even easier to understand.

Wheelchair Van Fundraiser

Keep Newey Mobile Campaign

Keep Newey Mobile The Keep Newey Mobile Campaign is a fundraising effort for Josh Newey of Bridgewater, MA. This was created to raise funds to replace his current mobility van; a rusty and unreliable ’99 Caravan with 210,000 miles! We welcome your participation through online donations, or by attending our event.

Make a donation towards Josh’s new wheelchair accessible van here!

The next event for the Keep Newey Mobile Campaign is  a Craft and Vendor Fair organized by the Bridgewater Community Lions Cub which is being held at our Mobility Center!

Bridgewater Lions Club

Start your holiday shopping a little early and help support The Keep Newey Mobile Campaign! All proceeds go toward a new wheelchair accessible van for Josh!

When:
Saturday, October 19, 2013
10 AM -3 PM

Where:
VMi New England Mobility Center
1000 Main Street
Bridgewater, MA

Vendors:
Silpada, Tastefully Simple, Mary Kay, Lia Sophia, Thirty- One, Pampered Chef, and Scentsy. There will also be various crafters.

 

Keep Newey Mobile!

Join us at our Mobility Center this Saturday to help Keep Newey Mobile

Keep Newey Mobile - VMi New England

This event – a Craft and Vendor Fair is being held by the Bridgewater Community Lions Club to benefit the Keep Newey Mobile Campaign.

The Keep Newey Mobile Campaign is a fundraising effort for Josh Newey of Bridgewater, MA. This was created to raise funds to replace his current mobility van; a rusty and unreliable ’99 Caravan with 210,000 miles! We welcome your participation by attending this event, and/or through online donations.


Bridgewater Lions Club
When:
Saturday, October 19, 2013
10 AM -3 PM

Where:
VMi New England Mobility Center
1000 Main Street
Bridgewater, MA


Vendors:

Silpada, Tastefully Simple, Mary Kay, Lia Sophia, Thirty- One, Pampered Chef, and Scentsy.
There will also be various crafters.

_________________________________________________

Josh’s Story

Growing up in a rural town in western Massachusetts, Josh always loved adventure and the outdoors. He was an active member of the Boy Scouts and a motorsports enthusiast. Josh couldn’t get enough of go-karts, snowmobiles, dirt-bikes, radio controlled toys, tractors, trucks, and anything else with a motor! Some of Josh’s favorite projects as a child and teen included rebuilding small engines and restoring snowmobiles. Josh attended a vocational-agricultural high school and was planning a career in equipment operation, maintenance and repair.

January 11th 1997 is the day Josh describes as the “best and worst day of his life”. Josh was 19 years old and in northern Vermont doing one of his favorite activities, snowmobiling with friends. As nighttime approached and the weather turned poor, visibility was low. Unfamiliar with the trails, and trying to maintain pace with the others in the group Josh came to a bend in the trail and was not able to make the turn quickly enough. He went off the trail and his head collided with a tree branch, breaking his neck and compromising his spinal cord. Josh also suffered a severe compound leg fracture. Josh’s accident was far out in the woods and although he never lost consciousness, it was only because of exhausting efforts by some of the others he was riding with that his life was saved. They knocked on doors seeking a phone to call for emergency help while others stayed behind to stabilize Josh. With the help of good Samaritan locals using a ladder as a backboard, he was carried to the back of a pickup truck, and transported to a location where an ambulance could finally take him to the hospital.

After being diagnosed with a C5/6 incomplete spinal cord injury (SCI), Josh was left a quadriplegic. He has paralysis from the chest down, with limited use of his arms and hands. He spent 4 months in acute rehabilitation learning to care for himself, transfer to and from his wheelchair, and how to embrace this new lifestyle. He moved to the South Shore of MA to live with his father so he could be closer to the medical resources he needed including outpatient therapy. The next several years were spent striving towards living an independent life again. After 3 years and some generous donations, Josh was physically as well as financially ready to drive again with the use of an accessible van and hand controls. The very same van we’re trying to replace with this campaign. (After 13 years & 206,000 miles it has served him well but it is used up!)

Josh attended Bridgewater State College and graduated in 2005 with a bachelor’s degree in Communications. He was a member of the Peer Leadership Program, the Public Relations Student Society of America, and he managed the swim team. He later returned to school for a post-baccalaureate certificate in Graphic and Web Design.

Today,  36-year-old Josh lives on his own in Bridgewater MA., works part-time as a marketing specialist, and strives to lead an active, healthy lifestyle. He is completely independent and a social creature by nature. Josh enjoys live music, traveling, visiting with friends and family, and anything related to motorsports!

Josh is an amazing human being who has overcome so many obstacles while maintaining a positive, upbeat attitude. He takes every day as it comes and his favorite expression is “Let the Good Times Roll”.

Prepare Your Mobility Equipment For the Colder Weather

Cold temperatures not only slow wheelchair users down, but can also slow down their vans and accessible equipment. For example, if you use a hydraulic wheelchair lift, you may have noticed that the colder the weather, the slower the lift reacts. The cold thickens the fluid, making it move slower through hoses, valves and cylinders.

There’s not much you can do about that, but preparing other equipment for cold weather is important to help avoid accidents and breakdowns.

If you live in the New England area · call our Mobility Center today (508) 697-8324 · We’ll rust proof your wheelchair accessible vehicle, give you an oil change, tune-up, and/or semi-annual ramp/lift service and have any other accessible equipment checked before the temperature dips. If you ask we can also check your battery, antifreeze level, heater, brakes, defroster and thermostat.

Do It Yourself:

  • Purchase winter wiper blades that cut through snow and ice.
  • Keep the gas tank at least half full. It reduces condensation and makes your vehicle easier to start on cold mornings.
  • Buy tires that have MS, M+S, M/S or M&S on them, meaning they meet the Rubber Manufacturers Association guidelines and can bite through mud and snow.
  • For better traction and control, rotate tires so the best ones are in the front.
  • Get an electric engine block heater. It warms the engine so the motor can start. It connects to normal AC power overnight or before driving. In extremely cold climates, electrical outlets are sometimes found in public or private parking lots. 
  • Cold weather is tough on accessible van batteries. Buy one with greater starting power, higher cold cranking amps and reserve capacity for energy when the engine isn’t running.
  • Use synthetic oil to make starting a cold engine easier.

Before you drive:

  • Keep rock salt on hand to melt ice off walkways for a safer wheelchair ride.
  • Clean the snow off the roof and hood so it doesn’t “avalanche” onto the windshield and block your vision.
  • Clear the head and tail lights for best visibility.
  • Scrape the ice off mirrors and windows.

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Here at VMi New England Mobility Center and Automotive Innovations we’ll service and repair your wheelchair accessible vehicle and/or equipment even if you didn’t buy it from us! So bring us your mobility van no matter the year (old or new), chassis (Honda, Dodge, Toyota, Ford, Chrysler, excreta..), or conversion (Side Entry, Rear Entry, VMI, Braun, Ricon, Rampvan, Elorado, Amerivan, excreta..)!!

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.

VA Benefits for Veterans – APPLY NOW

VETERANS

salute

If you need a wheelchair van (driver or passenger) you may be eligible for one at little to no out of pocket cost. We, too, are Veterans and understand your needs.

Click here to begin the VA process and receive guidance on getting your benefits.

The Auto Allowance Grant: This benefit provides eligible Veterans with flat rate federal grant of $19,505.00 towards the purchase of a wheelchair accessible vehicle. This grant is paid to the seller of the vehicle and must be approved by the VA before the purchase.
The Automobile Adaptive Equipment Program: This benefit provides eligible Veterans with funding (approximately $25,000) for equipment and training to enter, exit and/or operate a motor vehicle. This equipment includes but not limited to platform wheelchair lifts, kneeling systems, power door openers, lowered floors/raised roofs, raised doors, hand controls and braking and digital driving systems.
Non Service Connected Van Modifications: This benefit provides eligible Veterans with funding (approximately $25,000) for non-operational equipment for entry and exit to the van. Issuance of equipment is considered medical and is not included as part of the Automobile Adaptive Equipment Program.

“U.S. veterans make so many sacrifices for our freedoms,” said Doug Eaton, president of VMI. “We’re indebted for their service and believe our disabled vets should have easier access to mobility vehicles. That’s why we teamed up with Paralyzed Veterans and the VMI Select Dealer Network to establish Operation Independence. Through this national program, we’ll help raise awareness of the federal grant money that is available to our vets to help them purchase a new mobility vehicle. We’ll also explain how the national VMI Select Dealer Network can fast track their purchase of a quality mobility van and provide important vehicle maintenance after the sale.”

Operation Independence is a national program developed by VMI and is supported by the Paralyzed Veterans and The American Wheelchair Van Society. A portion of the program will educate veterans about Federal Grant 21-4502, which is available to disabled U.S. vets and was recently increased from $11,500 to $18,900. In addition to the grant, VMI is offering an additional $1,000 coupon that can be used as cash back from the manufacturer or applied toward a down payment for veterans who qualify for the 21-4502 grant and who have not previously taken advantage of the 21-4502 Auto Allowance Grant. The American Wheelchair Van Society will assist all Veterans through the process.

“We’ve found that a number of important government benefits like the 21-4502 program, which provides a grant towards the purchase of a mobility vehicle of their choice, are under-utilized by eligible veterans,” said Al Kovach, National Senior Vice President of the Paralyzed Veterans of America, and a former Navy SEAL. “This partnership with VMI’s Operation Independence is so important to as it supports Paralyzed Veterans’ Mission: ABLE campaign which enables severely disabled veterans to secure care, benefits and jobs and rebuild their lives. Together, we can leverage our efforts to improve mobility for disabled veterans by connecting them with the vehicles that fit their needs and ultimately help them achieve the independence and dignity they deserve.”

Paralyzed Veterans of America was founded by a group of seriously injured American heroes from the “Greatest Generation” of World War II. They created a nonprofit organization to meet the challenges head that they faced back in the 1940s — from a medical community not ready to treat them, to an inaccessible world. For more than 65 years, Paralyzed Veterans national office and 34 chapters across the nation have been making America a better place for all veterans and people with disabilities. (www.pva.org)

“According to the Dept. of Veterans Affairs, there are nearly 3.5 million veterans who now live with a service-connected disability,” said Doug Eaton, president of Vantage Mobility International. “Many of those disabled veterans struggle to find employment because they don’t have access to reliable transportation. So, in addition to supporting the Paralyzed Veterans of America national tour, we’ve also teamed up with Toyota Motor Sales USA to give all disabled veterans a chance to win a 2013 Toyota Sienna SE with our Access360 In-floor Ramp Conversion. We hope veterans in the Houston area will join us at Adaptive Driving Access in Houston to learn more about our Operation Independence Star Spangled Salute contest.”

‘The Big Push for Progress’ initiative was developed to honor Paralyzed Veterans and help local communities “take a stand for veterans and their families.”

Paralyzed Veterans of America, which is celebrating 67 years this year, is urging all Americans to take a stand for veterans. “Our disabled veterans face an unemployment rate three to eight times higher than average,” said Bill Lawson, U.S. Army veteran and national president of Paralyzed Veterans. “That’s just one reason I’m asking my fellow Americans to help redouble our efforts for positive change. We need everyone to be a part of our big push for progress.”

Click here to begin the VA process and receive guidance on getting your benefits.

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2013 Boston abilities expo – wheelchair vans for all!

2013-boston-abilities-expo-wheelchair-vans-for-all

We had a fabulous three days in Boston meeting new friends and seeing old ones.

We displayed the VMI Toyota Sienna Access360 van, the VMI Honda Odyssey Northstar and Dodge Grand Caravan Northstar.

All vans have multiple configurations for driver, front passenger and/or middle wheelchair riders. From large motorized chairs to small pediatric sizes, we were able to custom fit various people and their chairs to this lineup. The ‘Star’ of the show was the Northstar In-Floor wheelchair ramp system. Combined with a lowered floor, it offered the most interior space and ease of use–everyone LOVED it!

Here is a video put together by Monique McGiveney from photos taken at the expo:

 

A special thank you to the Vantage Mobility and johnmccoshphotography.com who made this event a success for VMi New England:

Come to VMi New England 1000 Main St in Bridgewater, MA where every day is a Abilities Expo.

September has been designated by Congress as National Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Month

september has been designated by congress as national spinal cord injury awareness month newenglandwheelchairvan.com

September has been designated by Congress as National Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Month. Sponsored by Sen. Mark Rubio of Florida, the resolution notes:

  • the estimated 1,275,000 individuals in the United States who live with a spinal cord injury (SCI) cost society billions of dollars in health-care costs and lost wages;
  • an estimated 100,000 of those individuals are veterans who suffered the spinal cord injury while serving as members of the United States Armed Forces;
  • every 48 minutes a person will become paralyzed, underscoring the urgent need to develop new neuroprotection, pharmacological, and regeneration treatments to reduce, prevent, and reverse paralysis; and
  • increased education and investment in research are key factors in improving outcomes for victims of spinal cord injuries, improving the quality of life of victims, and ultimately curing paralysis.

“Paralyzed Veterans of America is passionate about its commitment to increasing awareness, supporting research to find a cure and advocating for exceptional quality of care for patients with spinal cord injury/disorders

Research into treating or finding a way to reverse paralysis from spinal cord injury is often expensive and hard to come by, involving specialized equipment and staff that many hospitals and research centers cannot afford. Government funding and support, as well as that of the private sector, will be crucial in the search for a treatment for paralysis.

Paralyzed Veterans of America has since its inception supported research in spinal cord science as well as educational initiatives to improve the lives of individuals with spinal cord injury—more than $100 million into research that promises new therapies, treatments and potential cures for paralysis. Top researchers supported by Paralyzed Veterans now confidently speak of a cure.

Abilities Expo Boston September 20-22

Abilities Expo  Boston September 20-22

boston abilities expo event for people with abilities september-20-22 vminnewengland.com

BOSTON, August 24, 2013 /VMiNewswire/ — VMi New England’s community of people with disabilities—which also includes families, caregivers, seniors, wounded veterans and healthcare professionals—welcomes the much-anticipated return of the Abilities Expo Boston on September 20-22, 2013 at The Boston Convention & Exhibition Center. Admission is free.

Abilities Expo Boston will take place in Boston, United States Of America for three consecutive days. In this international trade show latest and advanced disAbility products and services will be given supreme importance. The main purpose of this expo is to make the  people aware of the developmental changes which are taking place in this sector. At the same time this event will provide relevant and useful information to the disabled and senior individuals.
Abilities Expo Boston is a must attend event for the caregivers, healthcare professionals and the eminent experts related to this field. In this event they will get a chance to share their knowledge and experience with each other in this trade show.

Boston Abilities Expo September 20-22 2013

Boston Abilities Expo September 20-22

boston abilities expo event for people with abilities september-20-22 vminnewengland.com

For almost as long as we’ve been servicing and selling wheelchair vans , The Abilities Expo has been improving the lives of Americans with disAbilities, their families, caregivers and healthcare professionals. This unique forum features three days of cutting-edge products and services, compelling workshops, fun-for-the-whole-family activities and has become the leading event for the community of people with disabilities (PWDs).

Abilities Expo reaches out to all ages and all sectors of the Community including wounded veterans, persons recovering from immobilizing accidents, seniors with age-related health concerns, children with disabilities, individuals with mobility and spinal issues, people who have vision and hearing impairments, people with developmental disabilities and many more. Whether your challenges are mild or severe, this is your event.

Exhibitor Profile

Automobiles, van/conversions – Assistive technologies – Bathroom equipment – Beds, furnishings & accessories – Chairs & accessories – Clothing & apparel – Daily living aids – Durable medical equipment – Exercise, recreational, sports equipment & services – Home medical equipment & services – Incontinence products – Insurance & insurance services – Legal services – Publications – Ramps/lifts – Rehabilitative care/services – Residential programs – Seating/positioning systems & accessories – Travel & hospitality services – Wheelchairs, scooters & walkers

Boston Abilities Expo– Event for People with Abilities–Makes Boston Debut September 20-22

Abilities Expo–the Nation’s Leading Event for People with Abilities–Boston September 20-22

boston abilities expo event for people with abilities september-20-22 vminnewengland.com

BOSTON, August 22, 2013 /VMiNewswire/ — VMi New England’s community of people with disabilities—which also includes families, caregivers, seniors, wounded veterans and healthcare professionals—welcomes the much-anticipated return of the Abilities Expo Boston on September 20-22, 2013 at The Boston Convention & Exhibition Center. Admission is free.

Abilities Expo has enjoyed tremendous success in bringing life-enhancing products and services, education, resources and fun to people with disabilities in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Houston, Atlanta and San Jose each year.

The Abilities Expo Boston will feature an impressive line-up of exhibits, celebrities, workshops, events and activities to appeal to people of all ages with the full spectrum of disabilities—including physical, learning, developmental and sensory disabilities.

“We are thrilled for the opportunity to bring Abilities Expo to Boston,” said David Korse, president and CEO of Abilities Expo. “We can’t wait help people explore the possibilities and open their eyes to all the things they can do.”

The Latest Products and Services
Attendees will experience cutting-edge products and services for people with a wide range of disabilities. They will find mobility products, devices for people with developmental disabilities, medical equipment, home accessories, essential services, low-cost daily living aids, products for people with sensory impairments and much more.

Relevant Workshops
A series of compelling workshops which address pressing disability issues will be offered free-of-charge to all attendees. Sessions will focus on travel, emergency preparedness, therapeutic recreation, thriving as a parent of a unique child, home accessibility, finding the correct mobility device and that is just for starters.

Sports, Instruction, Dancing and More!
Abilities Expo does not merely inform, it engages and it entertains. Attendees of all levels of ability will learn the latest hip hop dance moves and play a host of adaptive sports like rowing, power soccer and more. And the kids will love the face painting!

Meet the Animals
Animals have become an intrinsic part of the community of people with disabilities. Some are essential to the healing process, while others help their human partners become more independent. Expo-goers will enjoy assistance dog demos, and learn how service monkeys can help people with special needs.

Celebrity Encounters
Meet Chelsie Hill, co-founder of the dance sensation Team Hotwheelz and one of the dynamic divas of Push Girls, Sundance Channel’s award-winning, boundary-breaking docu-series that traces the lives of four women in Hollywood who happen to be in wheelchairs.

Jennifer French, silver medalist for Sailing at the 2012 Paralympian Games and the 2013 Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year, will conduct a workshop and book signing for her new autobiography, On My Feet Again.

Come to VMi New England’s Mobility Center were every day is a Ability Expo

September is National Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Month

WILL YOU STAND UP FOR THOSE WHO CAN’T?

September is National Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Month

september is national spinal cord injury awareness month newenglandwheelchairvan.com

Every 48 minutes someone in the U.S. is paralyzed from a spinal cord injury.  Millions worldwide are living with paralysis as a result and living with the knowledge that there is currently no cure for their injury.

In an effort to raise awareness about the critical need for better treatments and preventive measures, September has been designated National Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Month by the U.S. Senate, the result of a resolution co-sponsored by Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Bill Nelson (D-FL).  To bolster the resolution’s message, we are launching an awareness campaign lasting the entire month of September.

The goal of the campaign is to ask “Will You Stand Up For Those Who Can’t?”  The intent is to create a national conversation about the devastation of paralysis, and to bring this condition to the forefront of public awareness.

“Paralysis does not discriminate.  People need to realize that paralysis can happen to anyone at any time,” said Nick Buoniconti.  “But the reality of today’s statistics can’t be disputed.  Every 48 minutes another person in the U.S. will become paralyzed. That is simply unacceptable. Each of us must do what we can to make a difference.  I am personally asking you, will you stand up for those who can’t and do one or more of the following?”

We are asking our friends and supporters to:

Make a donation in honor of a loved one, caregiver, scientist or organization who is working to improve the life of those injured.  If you would like to host a small fundraising party at your house, please email bfinfo@med.miami.edu and we will send you more information.

“The inspiring work of The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis has touched the lives of millions of young athletes, accident victims and troops in harm’s way and I commend them for it,” said Sen. Rubio. “By designating September as National Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Month, I hope we can further educate the public about how crippling accidents can be prevented while promoting the important work being done to help victims walk again.”

Trade In a Vehicle Towards a Wheelchair Van

boston trade in a vehicle towards a wheelchair van newenglandwheelchairvan.com/

cash paid for your wheelchair van

VMi New England Mobility Center accepts trade-in vehicles toward the purchase of an wheelchair accessible van. Get a trade-in quote with some of the best rates in the mobility industry. Update your current  wheelchair van, or trade in a car, truck, minivan, full-size van, sports car, or accessible vehicle towards a new or used handicap accessible ramp van. We use a variety of modern up to date appraisal tools, including Kelley Blue Book, NADA, and the Manheim Market Report. We will assess your vehicle’s trade-in value and provide you with a great offer towards the purchase of new wheelchair van or a used handicap van with new or used conversion.

Trade In Vehicle Requirements

We will accept virtually all non-modified vehicles that are preferably under 10 years old with odometers at 100,000 miles or less. You can also trade in a converted mobility vehicle from Braun, VMI, Rollx, and, even a AMS converted handicap vans.

Submit Your Vehicle’s Information
The first step is to call or email us about your trade. The basic information you provide helps our mobility consultants create the best trade-in deal possible for you. Be sure you include the correct VIN and mileage, and submit photos of your vehicle.

Trade-in Inspection
A mobility consultant will typically give a trade-in quote as soon as your vehicle is brought in for inspection. After a price is agreed upon, we will write you a check. For nationwide customers, we will pick up your trade-in at the time that we deliver your new or used handicap van.

All trade-in offers are based on a first hand inspection, and if a vehicle isn’t represented accurately, we reserve the right to withdraw the offer once the vehicle is personally inspected by our evaluator.

 

United Spinal Establishes Advisory Committee of Spinal Cord Injury Experts

united-spinal-establishes-advisory-committee-of-spinal-cord-injury-experts newenglandwheelchairvan.com

United Spinal Association has appointed a new Medical and Scientific Advisory Committee (MSAC) to offer guidance and expertise in assisting people living with spinal cord injuries and disorders (SCI/D) locate the very best resources to maximize their quality of life.

The MSAC is comprised of representatives of the multidisciplinary SCI/D health care community including clinicians, scientists, researchers and other professionals.

Committee chairman, Dr. Christine Sang, states, “Our mission is to maximize the quality of life of all people living with SCI/D. We envision a world in which all people living with SCI/D have access to every opportunity that improves health and quality of life.”

The committee will work directly with United Spinal’s membership division, NSCIA and its national resource center.

The goal of the MSAC is threefold:
• Provide information and guidance in medical/other health care-related topics
• Identify and address health care policy issues that impact the SCI/D community
• Inform the SCI/D community of the latest advancements in research relevant to their health and independence

“The MSAC is reflective of United Spinal’s ongoing commitment to actively supporting the highest possible quality of life for persons living with SCI/D,” said Pat Maher, MSAC and United Spinal board member, speaking on behalf of all members of the advisory committee.

“Whether you’re managing a newly acquired injury or diagnosis, or addressing the challenges around aging and SCI, the MSAC is committed to supporting our members and the entire SCI/D community to remain informed on critical health care matters,” he added.

“In the wake of any devastating diagnosis, people and their family members need to know that the information they’re receiving is accurate. We are incredibly fortunate to have the MSAC as a resource for the SCI/D community,” said Paul J. Tobin, president and CEO of United Spinal Association.

United Spinal’s NSCIA national resource center, Spinal Cord Central, provides information and resources to meet the needs of over one million individuals with SCI/D and:

• Their families and friends
• The medical and scientific community
• Service and business professionals
• The media; students; government; elected officials; and the public.

United Spinal and The Buoniconti Fund Team Up to Improve Peer Support for People Living With SCI/D

United Spinal Association and The Buoniconti Fund today announced their plans to create a coordinated national network of peer support groups called the “Spinal Network” that will set higher standards in assisting people living with spinal cord injuries and disorders (SCI/D).

The goal of the Spinal Network is to ensure more peer support groups in cities and towns across the United States are connected to the very best resources to help people with SCI/D maintain independent and active lifestyles.

united-spinal-and-the-buoniconti-fund-team-up-to-improve-peer-support-for-people-living-with-scid

“There are a variety of SCI/D support groups out there, both new and old. Unfortunately, there is very little coordination between them and their standards can be drastically different,” said Paul J. Tobin, president and CEO of United Spinal Association.

“In many cases, a person with SCI/D who has had great peer support may move to a new community with minimal support. Even worse, someone may leave a rehab facility with no support whatsoever and no clear picture of how to overcome new challenges,” added Tobin.

To date, over thirty support groups in 20 states have received funding through grants from The Spinal Network for their commitment to improve the lives of people with SCI/D.

“We believe there is a strong need for greater support for individuals and families that are affected by spinal cord injuries and disorders. The Spinal Network will help bridge that gap between people living with SCI/D and their community so they are able to not only return home, but gain a new understanding and outlook on life,” said Marc A. Buoniconti, president of The Buoniconti Fund and one of the founding members of the Spinal Network.

The Spinal Network will address this issue by establishing a strong national peer-to-peer support base, backed by United Spinal’s membership division, National Spinal Cord Injury Association (NSCIA), and its 70-plus national chapters and extensive resource center.  Guidance will be provided on all facets of living with SCI/D, including employment, affordable housing, transportation, health care, home- and community-based independent living, education, peer support, and leisure and recreation.

Extensive tools and training will also be provided to leaders of each peer support group that joins the Spinal Network to help group participants adjust to SCI/D––from tips to improving social interactions and overcoming day-to-day challenges, to developing new self-management skills.

The Spinal Network is established through a partnership between The Buoniconti Fund; United Spinal Association and its membership program NSCIA; and tremendous support from Founding Corporate Sponsor Hollister, Inc.––a world leader in urological products.

The Spinal Network will offer grant opportunities, which are available to all support groups in the SCI/D community in the United States. Grants will be awarded bi-annually to groups who meet specific criteria.

Additional micro-grants will be awarded bi-annually based upon available funding and will encourage program innovation and outreach efforts to people newly affected by SCI/D.  Finally, the Spinal Network will work to ensure that peers can find out what they need and when they need it, as they move from one area to another.  As every person with SCI/D learns in rehab, one of the most reliable sources of information about living with SCI/D is another person who has been there.  The Spinal Network will help make those connections.

To learn more about the Spinal Network peer mentoring program, go online to: www.spinalnetwork.org or contact the NSCIA’s Resource Center at: peers@spinalcord.org or by phone:  800-962-9629.

cinemAbility disAbility, film, and changing society

If art is a reflection of life, than we should look to film to examine the progress we’ve made and the lessons we’ve learned about inclusion.

CinemAbility   Disability, Film, and Changing Society newenglandwheelchairvan.com

 

That’s exactly what a new documentary titled CinemAbility, which premiered in Los Angeles last week, seeks to do. The film, sponsored by BraunAbility and produced and directed by Jenni Gold, a longtime friend and customer, takes a detailed look at the evolution of disability in entertainment. As a wheelchair user who lives with muscular dystrophy, she was the perfect catalyst to set the project in motion.

She brought a few well-known friends along for help, including celebrities like Jamie Foxx, William H. Macy, Ben Affleck and Beau Bridges. All shared their experiences with disability in film or television and any pre-conceived notions they had about playing such a character.

Unbeknownst to each, the actors and actresses were asked the same question: What is the first portrayal of a disability that you remember in entertainment? Answers ranged from a blind Audrey Hepburn in Wait Until Dark to Daniel Day-Lewis in My Left Foot to Tom Cruise in Born on the 4th of July.

CinemAbility   Disability, Film, and Changing Society newenglandwheelchairvan.com

The common theme among each interview: we need more. We’ve come a long way from the days of black and white Charlie Chaplin films when people with physical disabilities were portrayed as carnival freak show entertainment. Hollywood doesn’t always get it right, however, and many of the industry’s notable actors, actresses and directors are intentionally seeking to change that.

CinemAbility premiered Friday, July 26th, which was, appropriately, the 23rd anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act. For a list of cities that will show the film on its national tour, visit www.cinemability.com or follow CinemAbility on Facebook.

 

Able Flight Brings Wheelchair user to the Sky

able flight brings wheelchair user to the sky boston newenglandwheelchairvan.com

Humanity has always seen flight as one of the most sublime images of freedom in motion. It seems almost unfair that our feathered friends get to move about so quickly to wherever they may please. It seems to be nothing short of magical. Piloting an aircraft was a pipedream for wheelchair users for many a year; that is, until 2006.

Charles Stites founded the non-profit group, Able Flight, for the sole purpose of giving those accustomed to wheels a new pair of wings. Able Flight works to give scholarships to people who have physical disabilities for the purpose of obtaining a Sport Pilot license. Some of the group’s funding goes to purchasing special modified aircraft for people with differing needs to have a plane to fly.

Nothing says it better than the mission statement used by foundation: Able Flight’s mission is to offer people with disabilities a unique way to challenge themselves through flight training, and by doing so, to gain greater self-confidence and self-reliance.

The program received a special boon in 2010 when a partnership with the premiere Purdue University Department of Aviation Technology took place. Able Flight offers a range of scholarships for students to go learn from the world-class flight instructors at Purdue.

Most flight instruction takes place during the months of May and June, for a total of 5 to 6 weeks. This time covers ground-based classwork and in-flight training, all leading up to the check ride tests. Most flight training is now conducted with Able Flight’s joint training program at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. Career training can take place at a number of locations.

The scholarship types range from a full-ride scholarship for those looking to obtain a Sport Pilot license, to those seeking training for a career working on and with Light Sport Aircraft in either maintenance or dispatching. Another scholarship is made available for those who had a pilot’s license and are seeking to get back in the air after an injury.

To see pictures of students in training, and in flight, click here.

The requirements are basic as well. Applicants must be a U.S. citizen seventeen years or older with a disability. Recipients have had disabilities ranging from lost limbs and SCI to congenital birth disorders.

Leonardo Da Vinci captured a strong sentiment for those who admire the sky, Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.

Thanks to Purdue University and Able Flight, being in a wheelchair doesn’t mean just looking into the sky any longer.

The Ralph Braun Foundation enters new Grant Cycle

The Ralph Braun Foundation will be opening a new funding cycle on August 1, 2013.  The two month time period will be operated similarly to the past cycles with the application process closing on September 30th. The grants are awarded to those who have most of their funding secured and just need a little additional help to meet their goal.

The Ralph Braun Foundation has been awarding grants for three years with 12-15 grants being awarded annually.

Ralph Braun

The  entire application process must be completed online. The application must be filled out completely and all attachments sent electronically with the application. We will be funding mobility transportation equipment such as new or used accessible vehicles, wheelchair lifts, car-top wheelchair carriers, scooter lifts, access seats, etc. Eligible products may be funded at 25% of the cost with a grant cap of $5000.

All applicants must be working with a NMEDA (National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association) certified mobility dealer to determine and quote the proper product to meet their needs.

The grant applications will be reviewed after the process closes on September 30, 2013, and grant award letters will be sent on October 15, 2013.  All purchases must be completed and checks sent to dealers by December 15, 2013.  Please read all application rules and fill out applications completely and submit your completed application along with all requested attachments together. We are looking forward to receiving many good applications again this cycle and assisting several people with their purchases.

The Ralph Braun Foundation was created in honor of what Ralph stood for, ability for all. The Ralph Braun Foundation exists as an entity outside of BraunAbility. Funds from the grant can be used towards any mobility need from any manufacturer.

Copies of Ralph’s autobiography, “Rise Above” can be purchased from the foundation. The foundation graciously accepts donations on their site as well.

The application can be found here.

are you looking to trade or sell your wheelchair van?

Used Conversion Vans and

Non-Adaptive Autos Can be Used Toward a Down Payment

are-you-looking-to-trade-or-sell-your-wheelchair-van newenglandwheelchairvan.com

We often get phone calls or e-mails asking if we take trade-ins — or if we’re interested in purchasing a used accessible van. In some cases, the trade-in vehicle is a non-adaptive regular automobile, van, SUV  or truck. The answer in all cases is yes. For trade-ins, we can give you a fair market value for your adaptive and non-adaptive vehicle. The trade-in vehicle can be used toward a down payment on any new or used wheelchair van for sale. We do all the paperwork on your trade-in as part of the financing process. All you need is the title.

If you’re looking to trade in your current wheelchair van or looking to sell one that is no longer being used, contact us online here. We can often have a representative in your area respond within 24 hours. Live on-site inspections and a test drive by one of our technicians may be required before a final assessment and offer can be made.

What If I don’t Live Near One of Your Locations?

If you live outside of our service area and have a converted van for sale, we have national buying specialists who handles all of our out-of-area used vehicle purchases.

vmi to deliver honda odyssey with northstar to local heroes contest winner, steve herbst

vmi-to-deliver-honda-odyssey-with-northstar-to-local-heroes-contest-winner-steve-herbst newenglandwheelchairvan.com

PHOENIX, Ariz. – August 6, 2013 – Vantage Mobility International (VMI), a leader in the manufacturing and distribution of wheelchair accessible, full-size and minivan conversions, will deliver a 2013 Honda Odyssey Touring Edition with VMI Northstar conversion on August 7, 2013, at MobilityWorks in Villa Park, Ill., to Steve Herbst, a winner of the 2013 Local Heroes Contest.

The Local Heroes Contest, which provides an opportunity for people with disabilities to win a wheelchair accessible vehicle, attracted over two million people who submitted and voted for their Local Hero. The contest is a part of National Mobility Awareness Month and championed by the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA).  Herbst, a Palatine, Ill., resident was identified as one of three winners in May.

“Being a part of the Local Heroes Contest is a special way for VMI to help raise awareness of the amazing people in our communities who live with disabilities,” said Monique McGivney, director of corporate communication at VMI. “It also gives us the opportunity to help deserving families, like the Herbsts, enjoy greater independence with a wheelchair accessible van that meets their specific needs.  I’m confident the 2013 Honda Odyssey Touring Edition with VMI Northstar conversion, which has been customized specifically for Steve, will make a positive difference in his life.”

The black 2013 Honda Odyssey Touring Edition with VMI Northstar conversion includes the following standard features:

  • Maximum interior space for wheelchair maneuverability
  • SURE DEPLOY backup system allows users to stow or deploy the mobility ramp van conversion even in the event of complete power failure
  • Wider, usable accessible ramp surface with an ultra-low, 8.0 degree accessible ramp angle with 800lb. wheelchair ramp capacity
  • Easily accessible interior buttons, handles and switches
  • Obstruction-free doorway allows easy entry/exit for able-bodied passengers

“The Local Heroes Contest couldn’t have come at a better time,” said Herbst.  “I lost the ability to drive my previous vehicle shortly before we heard about the contest. Throughout the contest we had tremendous support from friends, family and co-workers.  We received almost 38,000 votes, which is very humbling to think about.  We’re especially grateful to VMI for being a part of this contest and providing us with their Honda Odyssey with their in-floor ramp, which was customized with the hand controls that will allow me to drive again.   VMI’s generosity will help me regain my independence and stay involved in the community, which are very important to me and my family.”

enhancing the client experience wheelchair vans in new england

enhancing-the-client-experience-wheelchair-vans-in-new-england newenglandwheelchairvan.com

VMi New England Mobility Center is always looking for ways to make the client experience more enjoyable – whether it’s coming in for service, purchasing a van or stopping buy to see which van fit the best. Below are some of things we’ve been working on to keep our clients satisfied and coming back. Getting your stamp of approval to recommend us to family and friends is a key ingredient to our success. We hope that your experience with us is always a good one.

Online

Our new website makes it easier for people to find a mobility solution that fits their needs and budget. We’ve added dozens of detailed pages on a variety of adaptive equipment options, such as scooter lifts and hand controls. We’ve recently updated our online van showroom to help visitors find the perfect handicap vans for there needs. We also have a large number of Face Book fans who follow our weekly blogs and postings. “Like Us” and see why more people are visiting every day already have!

In the Showroom

VMi New England Mobility Center has built one of the best showrooms and reception areas in the north east this past year to make our visitors feel more at home. Others are in process or being planned for. Large flatscreen televisions have been put in place.

Fresh brewed coffee is always available for our morning arrivals and comfortable seating areas let people relax while reading a book or magazine. Wireless connectivity allow for working on a laptop or wireless device. When you come to our facility, you will meet friendly people who want to help. Our clients are like family.

Consulting

We’ve added more certified mobility consultants too our staff and continue to train others who want to work in this very fulfilling industry. Consultations to discuss and demonstrate all of our mobility products are always free of charge. For those clients who want to drive with the use of mobility equipment or driving aids, we can bring in a Certified Driver Rehabilitation Specialist (CDRS) to talk about evaluations and training – or put you in contact with one nearby. Selecting the right vehicle and other optional mobility equipment, such as a turning seat, is key to be happy customer.

“Getting good advice from a consultant early in the process is critical to making the right decision. We pride ourselves on customer satisfaction – and that’s where the most important part of being happy with us and the vehicle begins.” Jim Sanders

Wheelchair Vans & Lift Options

We have one of the largest network of mobility manufacturing partners in the industry. We represent nearly every major brand of wheelchair van conversions, specialty seating, securement, scooter lifts and wheelchair lifts available. Our goal is to inform you of every choice available and to consult on which ones meet your physical needs and chair or scooter requirements. We want to enhance your life with a solution that you’re going to be comfortable with for many years to come. Solutions that make it easier for you and your family to enjoy an active life. Additionally the company is run by one of the most experienced people in the country at building High-Tech driving equipment and vans for passengers and individuals who drive from a wheelchair. He offers unmatched practical and theoretical foundation in the application of vehicle modifications for individuals with disabilities. With over 27 years experience, he continues to spearhead new and exciting technological advancements in this growing and emerging market.

In the Community

Our local staff at the VMi New England mobility center is active in various organizations and events around the country. Every week, there is an event going on where we want to participate: Fund raisers; tradeshows; bike rides, motorcycle runs; walks; expos; in-service training; socials; and many other community events. Our blog is full of stories sharing event information and photos of clients and friends. If we can’t participate, we’ll help in other ways, like posting information on our sites including our Linkedin, Face Book page and Twitter pages. If you would like us to come and speak or participate at an event near you, please let us know.

Service

We have put into place new scheduling procedures that allow for the Service Managers to get our clients in and out as quickly as possible. This allows for having the right service bays, parts and technicians ready to work on your vehicle (or lift) at the scheduled date and time you are to arrive. We’ve increased our training requirements and manufacturer communications to make sure the work is done properly with the latest instructions and components. If your van is under its original adaptive equipment warranty, or registered in our extended warranty program, we’ll identify and apply the appropriate coverage so that all costs are minimized.

Client Satisfaction

We utilize an independent survey that follows up with each of our clients – applying satisfaction scores to numerous categories. These surveys are then reviewed by our senior management and store General Managers on a weekly basis. Whether you came in for service, purchased new or used wheelchair vans, or had new hand controls installed, we take your feedback seriously and immediately correct any issues that need attention. We are proud to say our satisfaction scores are very high compared to most industry studies. We will continue working hard to keep your business.

where to buy wheelchair van in boston

where-to-buy-wheelchair-van-in-boston newenglandwheelchairvan.com

Wheelchair Conversion Vans from VMi New England and Automotive Innovations

The Honda Odyssey is known for its reliability and comfort, and it’s one of the most popular minivans on the market today. Because of this, VMI has taken the Odyssey and added its VMI Northstar conversion to create one of the most exciting new lowered floor minivans around. This wheelchair conversion van comes with lots of extra touches for your convenience and comfort, and it drives smoothly. Come test drive the converted Honda Odyssey at our Bridgewater, MA Mobility Center today!

We are your New England source for secondhand handicap accessible vans of all sorts. We offer both used VMI Northstars and Summits as well as many secondhand full size accessible vans. Every used handicap vehicle that we offer comes with the safety essentials like wheelchair tie downs, and you can also upgrade any of our vehicles with optional equipment such as an EZ Lock or handicap vehicle controls.

Celebrating 23 Years of the ADA A Message from the Acting Assistant Attorney General

celebrating-23-years-of-the-ada-a-message-from-the-acting-assistant-attorney-general newenglandwheelchairvan.com

Celebrating 23 Years of the ADA:
A Message from the Acting Assistant Attorney General

Twenty-three years ago this week, our nation committed to a comprehensive mandate to eliminate discrimination against people with disabilities by enacting the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The Civil Rights Division is proud to play a critical role in enforcing the ADA, working towards a future in which all the doors are open to equality of opportunity, full participation, independent living, integration and economic self-sufficiency for persons with disabilities. In honor of the 23rd anniversary of the ADA, each day this week we have celebrated Department of Justice enforcement efforts that have opened gateways to full participation and opportunity for people with disabilities. Visit our ADA Anniversary Week webpage to learn more: http://www.ada.gov/ada-23-anni.htm.

In April 2013, the Civil Rights Division issued a report detailing recent accomplishments in enforcing federal laws that prohibit discrimination and uphold the civil and constitutional rights of all who live in America. As described in the Report, the Division achieved results for people with disabilities in over 1,600 actions under the ADA, including lawsuits, settlement agreements, and successful mediations from 2009-2012. The Report also describes the Division’s extensive ADA technical assistance and outreach program. In the past four years, Division staff helped more than 200,000 people who called our ADA Information Line to learn how the ADA applies to them. In Fiscal Year 2012, the Division answered more than 60,000 calls. Click here for links to the Accomplishments Report pages detailing disability rights enforcement efforts http://www.ada.gov/disability-rights-accomplishments.htm (html) andhttp://www.ada.gov/disability-rights-accomplishments.pdf (pdf).

Equal opportunity for those with disabilities is a vision that the Division hopes will soon extend beyond our nation’s borders. There are over 50 million Americans with disabilities, including 5.5 million veterans living abroad who frequently face barriers when they travel, conduct business, study, live or retire overseas. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities improves protections for persons with disabilities overseas, and allows the full range of U.S. accessibility rights and benefits to spread throughout the world. The Division continues to play an active role in the quest for U.S. ratification of the Convention to ensure additional gateways open for people with disabilities across the globe.

Here at home, we have come a long way in the journey for equal justice under the law for people with disabilities. We are frequently reminded, however, that — in the words of the late Senator Edward Kennedy — “the business of civil rights remains the unfinished business of America.” The Civil Rights Division plays a critical role in helping the nation realize the promise of its founding principles. Over the past 23 years, the Division has continued our nation’s journey toward equal justice. But we have more work to do. Today, on the 23rd anniversary of the ADA, I am happy to reaffirm the Division’s commitment to the promise of equal opportunity for people with disabilities in the months and years to come.

Jocelyn Samuels


ADA Home Page

Wheelchair Van Service Considerations Maine

Wheelchair Van Service Considerations in ME

maine wheelchair-van-service-considerations newenglandwheelchairvan.com

At VMi New England Mobility Center, we believe that the service you receive in Maine after you purchase a wheelchair van is just as important as the service you received during your purchasing process. Our main goal is to keep you and the other passengers in the vehicle as safe as possible, which is why our wheelchair van service offerings are unlike any others in the vehicle modification industry.

Trained Service Technicians

All VMi New England Mobility Center Technicians are certified in the mobility equipment that is sold, installed, and serviced.  We are held to the highest standards in the adaptive vehicle industry.

Some of Longest Warranties in the Vehicle Modification Industry

We want to protect our customers and make sure that we offer the best options for them.

Operational Maintenance Program

For more than 27 years we have implemented and evolved a multi-faceted operational maintenance schedule unavailable at any other facility in the country to assist you in maintaining optimum driving performance while also assessing critical component deterioration before it occurs. Our Service Technicians will provide you with list of all work performed on your wheelchair accessible vehicle and a list of any items that may require future attention. Also, we will inform you of any upcoming maintenance and service you may need done to your wheelchair accessible vehicle in order to make sure your adaptive vehicle is in top condition.

Other dealers want your old vans to rust and fall apart so they can sell you a new one.

Wheelchair van rust not at newenglandwheelchairvan.com if you bring it to us for service
a local mobility dealers idea of taking care of your wheelchair van

Operational Maintenance of Adaptive Mobility Equipment on:

  • Lowered Floor Wheelchair Van (New & Used)
  • Full-Size Wheelchair Vans (New & Used)
  • Primary and Secondary Driving Controls
  • Wheelchair Lifts and Scooter Lifts
  • Wheelchair Securement Systems (automatic and manual)
  • Power Seat Bases
  • Power Door Operators

Special service work or repairs to your Adaptive Equipment

Installation of new Adaptive Equipment on new and used wheelchair vans such as:

  • Hand Controls
  • Wheelchair Lifts and Scooter Lifts
  • Raised Doors
  • Lowered Floors
  • Specialized gas, brake, and steering systems
  • Turning Automotive Seats