There are many reasons why one would rent an accessible vehicle. Whether you’re a wheelchair user or caretaker who’s looking to eventually purchase an accessible van and want to test a model out; need a replacement while your vehicle is at the garage, or you or your loved one have suffered an injury and been left temporarily disabled, renting an accessible van can be a necessity.
However, just as with any other transaction of this type, there are requirements and considerations to take into account before renting an accessible vehicle and up next, we go through some of the most important, in order to ensure the best experience possible.
One of the main requirements and considerations before renting an accessible vehicle is the type of wheelchair access needed. Will you need a ramp or lift? Where would the wheelchair user prefer to be seated?
While most accessible vehicle rentals work with minivans with lowered floor conversions, including an automatic or manual ramp, it’s important to take notice of the size of the van and that of the wheelchair user and their wheelchair, as this will help you choose a vehicle in which everyone can travel comfortably and safely.
It will be important to measure the height, length, and width of the wheelchair user while seated in the wheelchair and providing said dimensions to the mobility specialist in charge of renting the vehicle so that they can help you choose one that fits.
Another important thing to consider is whether or not the wheelchair user will be sitting. Will they be driving? Do they want to sit in one of the backseats or in the passenger seat? There are some wheelchair vans with hand controls and particular modifications to allow the wheelchair user to drive. There are also vans that allow a passenger to enter the back with a wheelchair and transfer to a front seat. Therefore, knowing the preferred seat of the wheelchair user and the configuration of the van is extremely important.
Before renting an accessible vehicle it’s important to know how many passengers it will be transporting so that you can be certain there’s enough space for all of them, or, if necessary, for the wheelchair user to maneuver inside the vehicle while sitting in their wheelchair.
Be sure to check the van’s conversion features and take notice of the steepness of the ramp.If it’s too steep the wheelchair user might need help using it. In case you don’t plan to have any help available, it might be best to look for a vehicle with a shallow rising ramp or lift. Lifts should have handrails on either side of them and a platform of 30 to 48 inches, while also being able to handle the weight of the wheelchair and its user together.
Technical Requirements And Vehicle Conditions
Just as you would before renting any other type of vehicle, an important consideration before renting an accessible vehicle is to check the components and conditions of it. This means not only making sure that the ramp or lift function properly but also that you know how to operate them.
If the plan is for the wheelchair user to sit in the back of the vehicle while still in their wheelchair, restraint systems are mandatory. They should consist of 4 to 6 straps mounted to the floor of the van. Be sure to take the time to test them while the vehicle is stationary, as well as understand how to use and adjust them.
Don’t forget to ask the dealer for the history of use and accidents of the vehicle and inspect all of its parts for proper functioning, such as the windows, door, and Air Conditioning system. Also, check the vehicle’s fuel efficiency and calculate accordingly to how many miles you expect to be driving in it, to have an idea of how much money you’ll need to invest in gas.
Another important requirement will be to make sure it’s an easy-to-drive vehicle. If the wheelchair user is expecting to be the driver, it’s important that they understand precisely how all the hand controls and driving systems work before taking the vehicle out of the dealership.
The Bottom Line
At Van Products we want to ensure that our customers have the best driving experience possible when renting an accessible vehicle from us, which is why you should be sure to take all of these considerations and requirements into account. One of our mobility specialists would be happy to help you with this process and go through all of these details and more. We want to ensure everything is clear and you’re renting the right vehicle for your needs.