Getting into a new or used handicap van can be a time filled with both excitement and anxiety.
If this is your first time converting your van into one that is wheelchair accessible, there are several things that you can do to make your vehicle more wheelchair accessible. Below, we outline several tips.
Mobility Options for Making a Vehicle Handicap Accessible
At Van Products, we are your mobility experts. Whether you own a handicap van and are looking to add mobility options to it – or you own a regular minivan that you’re interested in converting – we can help!
#1 – Prep your van by removing the seats.
Depending on the type of wheelchair ramp you plan to use, you may need to remove all or some of the seats. For example, if you want your van to have a side-entry wheelchair ramp, you’ll want to remove the center row of seats. If you plan to have a rear-entry wheelchair van, you’ll want to remove the rear row of seats to allow enough space for the rear entry ramp.
#2 – Measure the height of your minivan.
You may not be aware of it initially, but the height of your minivan matters. Take your measurements from the ground, and be sure to include the width of the door(s) to your minivan (side and back).
These measurements will allow you to speak to a mobility specialist about getting a side or rear-entry wheelchair ramp that meets the specific measurements of your vehicle.
#3 – Installing Wheelchair Tie-Downs
Wheelchair tie-downs are a type of securement for wheelchairs that are used throughout the industry. This allows persons in wheelchairs to travel safely when inside of a moving vehicle. At Van Products, we offer several different types of wheelchair tie-downs including:
Among the different brands of wheelchair tie-downs, there are two types of wheelchair tie-downs that are commonly used.
4-Point Tie Downs
The 4-point system is the most common type of wheelchair tie-down. It is a manual tie-down method that consists of four straps that attach to the wheelchair. These straps secure the wheelchair to the floor of the van and are tightened using a ratchet.
Electric Wheelchair Restraints
If you use an electric wheelchair, electric wheelchair restraints allow for more independent use. This type of wheelchair tie-down consists of a connecting component that is attached to the bottom of the wheelchair and connects to an anchored device that is mounted to the floor of the vehicle.
When the two components meet, there is an audible ‘click’ indicating that the wheelchair is now securely in place.
#4 – Automotive Seating
If you plan to operate your handicap van independently, one of the most important components is making sure you have the right kind of automotive seating.
Van Products offers a range of innovative and customizable automotive seating for physically disabled drivers.
Contact Van Products Today
For additional information about converting your minivan into a handicap accessible van, contact Van Products today. We also offer a full inventory of new and pre-owned handicap vans. Call us today to speak with one of our mobility specialists: 919-238-4597.
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