What kind of Mobility Vehicle should I purchase?
This is a huge decision for many in the disability world and even more choices than you know what to do with. When we started our journey we needed something that could carry 2 wheelchairs. Nothing really big since we only had manual chairs at the time.
I had been picking both my children up and transferring them to their seats in an older model Dodge Caravan. After transferring both children I then had to break down 2 manual chairs and lift them into the back of the van. This would happen again at every stop. Could you imagine doing this at each and every time you stopped? Children can become heavy and so can wheelchairs, lol.
I was desperate……
I began googling anything to do with mobility vehicles. That’s when I contacted Mobility Works in Marietta, Ga. That was all it took. They were amazing, I didn’t even have to drive to the dealership. I was sent links to view vans online. Our salesman even drove almost 2 hours to my home with a vehicle so he could see how much space I needed and what would work well for us. I was blown away.
Our Salesman arranged everything, the delivery, financing, and we were set to go! It changed our lives. We started going to more places than before. I was able to get in and out of our new van so easily. It was a game changer for the boys and I. My oldest could finally could get the power chair he wanted. I have learned a lot over the last 5 years.
Pros and Cons…….
I will start with Pros of course. Getting in and out of the vehicle with ease. If you have ever had to break down a stroller over and over again you know what I mean. Manual wheelchairs can be very heavy. Picking up 40 to 50 lbs or more over and over can take a toll on your body. Not to mention having to move your child in and out of the vehicle. Dealers have great warranty packages and some even offer roadside assistance for the first year. Insurance typically will cost the same as other larger vehicles.
There are a lot of programs that will help in the purchase of a vehicle. Check your state’s health dept website, ask local organizations, search online for mobility vehicle grants and modifications loans. You don’t have to start with a mobility vehicle. You can modify a vehicle you already own. A lot of local programs can help with this.
Your biggest choice is going to be rear entry vs. side entry. I will say that I prefer side entry. This is only because I need a lot more interior space. I have 2 in chairs and sometimes get an extra chair in there with them. Now parking….. oh my goodness. It has got to be the most frustrating thing ever. I have seen some crazy parking since our first mobility vehicle. Rear entry will solve that problem. You could park anywhere!
A big thing to watch out for is road clearance. Our first van was a life changer but it changed the way we drove. Roads are not built for mobility vehicles. I look at curbs or even the slightest bump like its going to rise up and attack me. Our first van was very low to the ground. Our second van is much higher “thank goodness” but it is something you will still have to be mindful of. There are some places where these vans just will not go. If you drive in areas that have a lot of crazy roads check for road clearance when shopping around.
Mobility vehicles will come standard with manual tie-downs. They will do they job. As with anything manual you will become very tired of dealing with them. If you are able, ask for retractable tie-downs. It will make securing your child that much easier and you will be so glad you have them. Retractable tie downs will cost extra at about $400 a set. Overtime they will be well worth the cost.
I have mentioned them before….. Mobility Works is an awesome place. I may be a little biased, but I have purchased my vans from them and I have no complaints what so ever! A friend of mine has used AMSVans. She loves her van and has had it for years. Always check used car sites and organizations. Many state and local charities will convert a van for you. There are many options. Reach out, do your research, and you will find exactly what you need.