Honing My Driving Skills

Tips For Choosing A Wheelchair Conversion Van

A wheelchair conversion van is a significant investment. You want to be sure that you're making the right selection in order to ensure it's what you need and that it's easy to use. Here are just some of the factors to consider to ensure you're making the right selection.

Door Access

Consider what your access needs are. You want to choose a van that will be accommodating in this area. Consider where you primarily plan to load the wheelchair into the van. For example, will you be loading up the wheelchair in a garage or a driveway.

Most garages aren't very deep, so there likely will only be a small amount of space between the garage door and the rear of the van. In this case, a rear-entry door would likely be problematic, as there would be too little space to open it. A side-entry door would offer a better solution. However, for driveway loading and unloading, both would likely work.

Ramp Operation

Ramps are available in manual, inverted, and power options. Which one is right for you depends on your specific needs. Manual ramps require the greatest effort as you have to manually extend, retract and position the ramp. Performing these steps often can be a lot of work.

Inverted ramps are also technically manual ramps, but they are housed just under the floor of the vehicle and simply require that you pull them out to use them and roll them back in place when down. They cost a little more than standard manual ramps but come with less effort. The costliest and most convenient option is a power ramp. Operating these ramps is as simple as pushing a button to extend and retract the ramp, resulting in zero effort on your behalf.


It's also important to consider height. The height of most wheelchairs is generally the same; however, the level at which the person sits in the chair can vary as some chairs have an elevated seat platform. Make sure you consider this to ensure the van is accommodating of any height restrictions.

Conversion vans generally come with standard or elevated height options. For an average height person sitting in a chair with an elevated platform a standard height van would probably be sufficient. However, for a taller person on an elevated platform, you will probably need the extra clearance provided by a van with elevated ceilings.

Wheelchair conversion vans are all about safety, comfort and accessibility. Make sure you are making the right decision.