Buying a Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle: What You Need to Know
If you or someone in your life suffers from limited mobility, then a wheelchair accessible vehicle (or WAV) is a must-have for maximum independence and freedom. But before you go out and make any purchasing decisions, there are a few questions you might want to ask, so we’ve gone ahead and answered them ahead of time. You’re welcome.
Where Can I Buy One?
Though you can occasionally find them at used car dealerships and websites, your best bet when shopping for a WAV is to go through a specialised dealer like Allied Mobility. That way, even if you are looking to save some money by buying a pre-owned vehicle, you’ll still have the widest possible range of choices, and the staff you deal with will be experts in WAVs in particular, which means they’ll be able to help you make the best possible decision to suit your needs.
What Kind Do I Need?
While the team at any specialised WAV dealership will be able to help you while you’re shopping around, its still good to have some idea of what you’re looking for ahead of time.
Size is an important factor. Like when buying any other car, you need to think about how many passengers the car will have to carry at a time, but you also want to factor in the weight and dimensions of the wheelchair that it needs to accommodate, and any other equipment that might need to be brought on trips.
Most WAVs have ramps or lifts at the back or side to load passengers in wheelchairs, but there are also models adapted for wheelchair-bound drivers. These are a little more unusual but provide an extra measure of independence, so are worth considering.
What If I Can’t Afford One?
Specialised vehicles are often fairly expensive. Fortunately specialist dealers often carry both used and new models, and whichever you go for there are initiatives in place to make them more affordable.
The Motability scheme, run by an independent non-profit organisation, provides contract hire and hire purchase financing for WAVs. You can also apply to the government for an exemption from VAT on the vehicle, and funding through the Access to Work scheme if the vehicle is to help the user continue or enter employment.