Important Considerations for Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles

Important Considerations for Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles

If you or a loved one is unable to walk, you’ll need to think carefully about buying a car that they can use to get around easily. Since wheelchairs can be fairly bulky, you’ll need an automobile that can accommodate this extra item while still leaving plenty of room for the driver. These wheelchair accessible vehicles (WAVs) can be quite expensive if you make the wrong decision however. Fortunately, all that you need is a little forethought and planning to make the right choice when it comes to obtaining a decent car.


Used or New


The first choice will be to work out whether to buy a second-hand WAV or one that is brand new. If you can afford it, buying a new vehicle will help you avoid potential mechanical failures, especially if you work with a specialist on these unique automobiles. For those without the money, there are also cheaper used cars as well. The most cost effective option is to buy a used WAV that is already converted. In this case though, you’ll need to double check whether the vehicle is roadworthy and that it is really worth the money you’re about to spend on it. Buying second-hand always comes with a few risks that you should be aware of beforehand.


Think About Size


This applies to both the inside and the outside of the vehicle you are interested in. Take a look at the exterior measurements and the layout of the interior, and take the following considerations into account:


Will it fit in your garage and still leave enough space for the ramp?

How easy will it be to drive around your neighbourhood?

Is there enough interior space for usual passengers and bags?

If you go on a trip, will you have enough room for additional luggage?



The cabin should also be spacious enough so you can easily get in and out. After all, you’ll be driving this car on a regular basis so you should ensure that you can enter and exit the vehicle without too much fuss and hassle.


Safety & Reliability


Since this car will have to hold your wheelchair, it will need to contain a few extra features. Dealers like sell used and new WAVs which come with additional safety measures to look after all passengers in basically any emergency situation. Some of the most important are listed for your information below:


In-floor or fold-out ramps

Powered seat bases

Straps, hooks & buckles


In the case of the vehicle breaking down, you will also need to think about how you can exit the cabin. If the electronic ramps stop working, is there a backup plan that facilitates getting out of the car? Enquire about manual overrides that can help you maintain control even though the vehicle’s circuits are completely inoperable.


Local Standards


Depending on where you are, all wheelchair accessible vehicles have to be built to certain standards. Thus, you’ll need to check in with your local government authority and then find out whether the dealer you’re interested in actually follows those regulations. In the UK, WAVCA and BSI are creating a new standard for WAVs that are either built or converted. Keep up to date with these legal developments and you should then be able to find a decent vehicle that meets your needs while still remaining safe and secure according to government standards.


Environmental Concerns


Like any automobile, WAVs will also have a carbon footprint that you may want to reduce. In particular, you should look at the fuel consumption and the CO2 emission figures and determine whether they are to your liking or not. If you’ve purchased a converted automobile, remember that the fuel tank may be a bit smaller than normal as added space has had to be included in the cabin. Thus, you’ll need to work out how far you can travel before having to pop into your local petrol station.


With all of these concerns in mind, you are now ready to go out and buy your very own wheelchair accessible vehicle. Good luck and we hope that you find a used or new car that suits all of your needs in the best possible manner.

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