Wheelchair lifts, as their name states, are used to lift a seated wheelchair user into a wheelchair accessible vehicle. The options available in wheelchair lifts for vans are quite varied, so choosing a wheelchair lift for your van can become a little overwhelming but made much easier with the tips outlined in this post.
The most important things to consider when choosing a wheelchair lift for your van are the equipment’s functionality and user-friendly characteristics. Up next we outline some tips on how to choose a wheelchair lift for your van based on your specific needs, budget and preferences.
#1 Choosing The Right Type Of Wheelchair Lift
There are three main types of wheelchair lifts, each one with its own advantages and disadvantages.
A power lift is mounted on the outside of your vehicle. This is a great choice when space is limited since they automatically fold against the car when not in use. This type of wheelchair lift preserves maximum cargo room and allow passengers to use their car without any obstructions.
The manual wheelchair lift is usually the cheapest, however, they do require some effort to release the ramp, meaning a person with limited dexterity or strength won’t find them convenient.
Lastly, a hybrid lift is designed to have the chair loaded outside your vehicle, and then carry it inside. If worried about the effects of the weather or highway hazards on your mobility equipment, this seems like a good option to consider.
#2 Platform or arm wheelchair lift?
Platform and arm lifts are two different types of wheelchair lifts for your van. Platform lifts are designed to allow you to wheelchair onto a platform. The wheelchair lift is then raised to place the equipment inside the vehicle and secure it with a guardrail so it won’t move while the car is in motion.
A wheelchair platform lift allows the user to stay seated in their wheelchair while being placed inside the car. It can be installed both at the back or on the sides of it, meaning a side mounted wheelchair platform lift will give you more room within the vehicle, but at the cost of a larger parking space, while those installed at the rear of the vehicle are good for parking in smaller spaces but may limit the vehicle’s in-storage space.
Platform lifts, also known as double arm lifts, have a capacity for heavier weight, resisting up to 800 pounds.
The arm lift, on the other hand, is a great choice for someone who is interested in storing their wheelchair or scooter inside the car. They are run by electric motor or by hand, which makes them compatible with a wide range of vehicles. They are also designed to take up less interior space, leaving the passenger entry open. Also known as single arm lifts, arm lifts can lift up to 600 pounds and are used only in side-entry applications.
#3 Internally Mounted Or Under Vehicle Mounted Wheelchair Lifts
When looking for something more budget friendly, internally mounted wheelchair lifts are generally less expensive, and finding maintenance and service is more accessible. However, they take up large space inside of your van, while some models can limit the mobility of the front passenger seat and even block the entrance.
Under-vehicle lifts however, can be more expensive but are completely out of the way, meaning they won’t take any space inside your car and are more appropriate for heavier weight. However, since it’s housed in a special cartridge underneath your vehicle, accessing and maintaining it can be a little more difficult.
Taking these issues into consideration, as well as your own personal needs and capacities can make the process of choosing a wheelchair lift for your van much easier, however, don’t hesitate to contact Van Products in Raleigh, NC for assistance. Our team of experts will assess your situation and help you decide what best adjusts to you and the requirements of your day to day.