Tag Archives: six way power seat base

Un-Converted Senior-Friendly Vehicles

Are you looking for comfortable seating, a roomy driving position, safety, good visibility and wide doors with high entries/lowered floors so you don’t have to struggle to get in and out? In a vehicle with style, of course! Well now most automakers are designing cars with features that are more senior-friendly.

What to look for:

  • Sliding rear doors that require little strength or even better, power sliding doors. Power anything is a plus.
  • Brighter instrument displays and larger type.
  • Doors that open wider.
  • Navigation screens closer to eye level and not at arm’s length.
  • Large side mirrors.

AAA recommends that drivers look for vehicles with features that address their specific health issues/mobility needs:

  • For hip, knee or leg problems, a 6-way adjustable power seat is easier for drivers to enter and exit. Also look for seat heights that hit the driver between mid-thigh and lower buttocks.
  • Arthritic hands, painful or stiff fingers benefit from four-door models, thick steering wheels, keyless entry and ignition, power mirrors and seats and larger dashboard controls.
  • Those with diminished vision should look for extendable sun visors, large audio and climate controls and easy-to-read displays with contrasting text. And less glare. (Blue-green instrument lighting is easier to read than red.)
  • A roomy trunk that can fit a walker or wheelchair.

If you can’t find one car that has it all, remember that there are many different types of adaptive equipment that could work for you. Adaptive equipment options vary from the ability to control secondary functions like turn signals and wipers with a touchscreen or voice control to pedal extenders, swivel seats and much more.

Mobility Seating and Restraints

Power Seat Bases
There are two popular power seat bases available for conversions; the four-way and six-way power seat bases.

  1. The four-way power seat base has a motorized action for the back and forth adjustment. This aids in transferring from or two the wheelchair or the van seat and it provides motorized rotation and forward or back movement. Some seat bases even provide up and down movement for height adjustment.
  2. The six-way power seat base includes all of the functions of the four-way power seat base, plus a motorized swivel. This seat base is used by individuals with limited muscle control in the upper extremities.

Removable Seat Base
This is a detachable seat, usually mounted on wheels or coasters.  It allows for easy conversion of the driver’s station for a wheelchair driver.  It stores in the rear of the van when not in use.

Power Pan
The power pan is designed to accommodate the disabled driver who cannot transfer from wheelchair to seat without assistance and must drive from a wheelchair.  It allows the driver who sits high in his or her wheelchair to lower the line of vision 2 ½ – 6″ (6 – 15 cm) by automatically lowering the vehicle floor in the driver’s station.

Wheel Wells
These channels are installed in a vehicle floor to lower the wheelchair driver thereby correcting visibility problems caused by excess height of the wheelchair when placed on the normal floorboard of the vehicle.

There are two types of restraints that can be used to transport a wheelchair, manual and electric:

  1. Manual Restraint (“Tie-Down”)
    A system that cannot be operated from a wheelchair – it is operated by an attendant. When purchasing a tie-down, it is recommended that safety be considered. The most popular manual tie-down systems are the four point tie-downs; which are secured at four points of the wheelchair, thus making it a safer restraint.
  2. Electric Restraint (or Power Restraint)
    Designed for individual who are unable to fasten the manual systems, the electric system has one device mounted on the floor of the van and one mounted on the bottom of the wheelchair. When the device on the wheelchair is properly fitted into the one on the floor there is an audible click. This means that the chair is safely locked in place. The electric models also have a buzzer and/or light to indicate safe locking.

Torso Restraints
When driving a van from a wheelchair, chest harness and/or lateral trunk supports may be used together with lap belts and wheelchair restraints for those with diminished trunk musculature and balance.

Note: A seat belt and/or shoulder restraint should always be used with any tie-down system. Never depend on wheelchair locks (brakes) alone for safety when driving or being transported!