Wheelchair Accessible Van/SUVs - Has anyone shopped for these?

1,042 Views | 12 Replies | Last: 21 days ago by Uncle Bug
Uncle Bug
How long do you want to ignore this user?
AG
I'm leery about asking on here, but I'm not sure where to research without encountering someone wanting to sell me something or make a big deal of it. II'm looking for info on the nut/bolts of shopping for them, not necessarily a reference to salesman or dealership

Wife in/out of wheelchair for last five years - I'm not optimistic we're looking at her driving again. Many medical appointments throughout the week. I'm retired and can do her transfers and load up the chair/legs in trunk. I'm pretty beat-up myself (disabled vet - handicap plate is for me) but I still try to be her superstar.

This is the part where someone recommends Brazos Transit. However,...

My parents are up in Robertson County (Calvert). Mom uses a walker and Dad is non-ambulatory. Loading/unloading them is adventurous. Brazos Transit does not go up there.

I would like to help wife and parents with a vehicle that has a ramp.

I started looking at small wheelchair vehicles and wanted so see if there is anyone that has recently done this and can share lessons learned. These vehicles are "not inexpensive," and assess I'll have to get creative to make it happen.

Of note the VA said I am not eligible for assistance since both of my legs are intact and recommended I reach out to a church for help. I love our church and am not going to do that. No biggie - the VA has its hands more than full. I'm just looking to navigate this "new to me" mission and not ....get taken for a ride. Thanks in advance for any pointers!
scatron
How long do you want to ignore this user?
AG
Uncle Bug said:

I'm leery about asking on here, but I'm not sure where to research without encountering someone wanting to sell me something or make a big deal of it. II'm looking for info on the nut/bolts of shopping for them, not necessarily a reference to salesman or dealership

Wife in/out of wheelchair for last five years - I'm not optimistic we're looking at her driving again. Many medical appointments throughout the week. I'm retired and can do her transfers and load up the chair/legs in trunk. I'm pretty beat-up myself (disabled vet - handicap plate is for me) but I still try to be her superstar.

This is the part where someone recommends Brazos Transit. However,...

My parents are up in Robertson County (Calvert). Mom uses a walker and Dad is non-ambulatory. Loading/unloading them is adventurous. Brazos Transit does not go up there.

I would like to help wife and parents with a vehicle that has a ramp.

I started looking at small wheelchair vehicles and wanted so see if there is anyone that has recently done this and can share lessons learned. These vehicles are "not inexpensive," and assess I'll have to get creative to make it happen.

Of note the VA said I am not eligible for assistance since both of my legs are intact and recommended I reach out to a church for help. I love our church and am not going to do that. No biggie - the VA has its hands more than full. I'm just looking to navigate this "new to me" mission and not ....get taken for a ride. Thanks in advance for any pointers!
Have you contacted Adaptive Driving Access? They are located off highway 6 in Bryan. We used them for work to maintain some of our vehicles. They have some vans for sale, but they may also have other info for you when looking for specific things and how to finance it.
Uncle Bug
How long do you want to ignore this user?
AG
Thank you Scatron - I will give them a ring.

WR/
Bug
wai3gotgoats
How long do you want to ignore this user?
AG
I personally have experience, can share my thoughts. PM here or email my username at gmail.

Edit to correct typo.
TexAg1987
How long do you want to ignore this user?
Looks like they sell used units too. I see one for under $30K.

Good luck.
agnerd
How long do you want to ignore this user?
AG
Used, used, used. I like the ones that you roll into the back most. More comfortable for the disabled person to ride forwards than sideways on the side-entry ones. Maybe slightly bumpier though. example below:

https://www.mobilityworks.com/wheelchair-vans-for-sale/2019-dodge-grand-caravan-driverge-2c4rdgeg9kr534813/
techno-ag
How long do you want to ignore this user?
AG
Go straight at the light North from the Tabor Rd exit just past the Spanish church to find the place right off the access road.

Depending on the type of wheelchair, the vans can be set up without a driver's seat. The wheelchair rolls in and latches into place. You'll want hand controls installed if the disabled person will be driving. Also note there's no sales tax on vehicles licensed for handicap use IIRC, so that helps with the price a little.

You'll find the Dodge models are often cheaper than the Toyota ones. Do yourself a favor and stick with the Toyotas.
Climate change is natural.
Uncle Bug
How long do you want to ignore this user?
AG
Email sent - Thank you!
Uncle Bug
How long do you want to ignore this user?
AG
Thank you for that advice Techno-Ag!
Uncle Bug
How long do you want to ignore this user?
AG
Oh that is useful advice, Agnerd - Thank you! My gut told me the rear loading ones seemed to be both easier to load/unload as well as strap down and ride in comfort.
Uncle Bug
How long do you want to ignore this user?
AG
For the digital archives, here's my amateur SEPT 2021 two week follow-up/Lessons learned so far:

FACTS:
1) As with ANY vehicles (in particular niche vehicles), inventory is extremely low - sellers market.
2) These are NOT inexpensive. For any financing, most banks will only lend amount for vehicle (NEW top-of-line van is around $55k), but not the wheelchair up-fit (which is an additional $35-40k). For new, your looking at $70-82k. Takeaways:
A) Older vehicles can be found for less than $30k. Expect a run out motor and little warranty. Expect either all cash or financing with large down payment.
B) Newer used vehicles (<6 y/o) can be found with fewer miles, warranties on both vehicle AND wheelchair up fit, and specialty dealers have means to finance the whole package (I do not know what the rates are, but I imagine it is more along the lines of RV rates vs auto rates).
3) Your odds of finding a wheelchair-accessible Class B RV without selling your home are equivalent to winning the lotto. There seems to be about 4-5 firms in the US that can up-fit a cargo van if you have lots of liquid laying around.
4) Vets: The VA can provide financial assistance (I think up to ~$22k) if you are missing a limb or no longer have use of one of your extremities.

OPINIONS:
1) Side vs rear-loading:
While rear loading might appear easier upon first glance, they also place the rider in the back 1/3 of vehicle - which to me seems somewhat isolating and can make the disabled person feel more like cargo as opposed to a loved one (at least in my eyes).

I have found in-floor side-loading (not fold-out rattle boxes) to be impressive. With side loading, you have the option of removing either front seat for the disabled person to ride (or drive with added equipment) up front, making interaction/conversation easier and bringing back a little respect & dignity. This means you can have two disabled people plus a passenger or two (Important to my mission).

Notable - There are swing out front seat options to facilitate transfer from wheelchair to driver/Pax seat outside of the vehicle. My impression is that, if solo, one would do well to have plenty of upper body strength to get that wheelchair loaded up after sliding in to that bucket seat (?).

2) Brands:
A) Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna outshine the others for utility, safety, quality, and upkeep. Sienna is now hybrid (35-45 MPG) but with the CVT - not the greatest for passing or in the mountains. Sienna also has my standard features that require upgrade in the Odyssey. However, the Odyssey 'feels' a little better onto road and (to me) feels better in the drivers seat. I'm not impressed with the MOPAR offerings
B) Braunability and VMI Northstar seem to be the standard for mini van up fitters (both have the vehicle lowering ("squatting") mechanism to lower the ramp angle. VMI also installs sensors on the side door that generate a pleasant alarm voice if someone parks too close, which requests them to move.

I've received a couple of insightful and encouraging messages (non-salesmen) through this forum so far and am very grateful - The journey continues!

ATB/
Uncle Bug
UmustBKidding
How long do you want to ignore this user?
https://texags.com/forums/46/topics/3024515
Uncle Bug
How long do you want to ignore this user?
AG
UmustBKidding said:

https://texags.com/forums/46/topics/3024515

Thanks UMBK! Say, that foldaway electric chair referenced in the thread seems pretty nifty BTW!
Refresh
Page 1 of 1
 
×
subscribe Verify your student status
See Subscription Benefits
Trial only available to users who have never subscribed or participated in a previous trial.