A Guide To Accessible Freedom and Independence
Finding the right wheelchair van is both an art and science. Being able to find the right fit for your need and balancing comfort & convenience- can be a demanding project, if you haven’t done proper research. Knowledge is power, and being educated in how versatile conversion vans can be, will pay off in the long haul. While wheelchair vans can be completely customized based on additional mobility equipment like hand controls, needs in interior space, and the fine points in assistive technology, for this chapter, we want to focus on the wide range of conversion possibilities in wheelchair vans. With both side and rear access points, a variety of ramp options, and the ability to choose between either a power or manual deployment system, this overview will give insight on what each conversion is built for and what you’ll need to take into consideration before making your next move.
Deciding between a rear and side entry wheelchair van, will be inclined by what you’re looking to get out of your vehicle. A side-entry access point will more than likely accommodate 360-degree maneuverability. A feature, that heavily weighs in on your purchasing decision. With extra room and a lowered floor, this access point allows wheelchair users to drive the van and/or be a first- row passenger. Interchangeable seating is typically paired with the newer conversion vans for this possibility. Along with 360- degree accessibility, widened interior space, and driving capabilities, another feature of side entry points, include more cargo space behind the third row. One thing to keep in mind with side entry wheelchair vans, more space is required for ramp deployment when parking.
A rear entry access point will have less expensive conversion costs than side entry accessible vans- an economic ‘pro’ in this case. An upside to the rear entry conversion vans, no additional space is required for ramp deployment and can be entered and exited in more narrow parking conditions- such as your garage. In rear-entry wheelchair vans, a channel is installed in the middle of the floor, from the second door, to the trunk of the van. Engineered to be obstacle-free as possible.
Known for the “quick and easy” nature of these fold-out ramps in wheelchair vans, the convenient access may be all the convincing you’ll need. And can be readily accessed by just pulling right onto a curb. With maximum strength and durability, fold-out ramps are also great options for wheelchair users with a budget-conscious price point. With high side rails for navigation, and robust design, this type of wheelchair van conversion has the ramp sitting on the floor, against the door, that extends outward into a folding motion when deployed.
Given the name, these ramps are stowed under the floor of wheelchair accessible vans. Giving wheelchair users more interior space for 360-degree maneuverability. Some features include an obstacle free doorway for access in and out of the van, lowered floor angles, more cargo storage, cleaner interior and a quieter ride. Along with the added benefits to in-floor ramp conversions, these wheelchair vans provide additional safety features.
Being the most cost-effective in any situation, manual ramps are available in both side and rear entry accessible vans. Ideal for the ones who are always on the road and travel frequently with a companion, the manual ramp deployment system can be easily accessed in a moment’s notice.
With automation at your finger-tips with a press of a button on either the interior dash or key fob, power ramps easily open the door to your wheelchair accessible van, deploy the ramp, and lower the vehicle- all simultaneously. Eliminating the need for a companion and/or caregiver to manually raise or lower the ramps, and easing the overall physical labor of your actions with time.
Now that you have brushed up on how versatile wheelchair vans can be, you should be more confident in your search for a new or used wheelchair van. With knowledge of entry points, ramp stows, and deployment systems, this guide is a great point of reference.
If you would like to learn more, request information, or schedule a test drive on any of our new and used wheelchair vans- please call: 1-800-918-7433 or fill out our form here.