Wheelchair-accessible vehicles or WAVs are cars, vans, and trucks that have been modified to accommodate people who use wheelchairs. Multi-Purpose Vehicles (MPVs) are often utilized because they are the perfect size for wheelchair access and passenger comfort, while yet being manageable for day-to-day family life.

Therefore, what exactly are “WAVs,” as they are often abbreviated to, then? While it may seem self-evident, it is always important to make sure everyone is on the same page. Automobiles that are wheelchair accessible have been designed or modified so that people in wheelchairs may enter and exit the vehicle without having to get out of their chairs.

The first of the four basic categories of WAVs is a passenger-only vehicle, which serves people who use wheelchairs but are not the driver and who do not want to or are unable to reach the vehicle’s steering wheel. There is a wide range of sizes, from single seaters to buses, and even more variety in terms of passenger preferences, such as whether to sit up front or farther back in the vehicle.

The choice between a rear-entry wheelchair ramp and a side-entry wheelchair ramp is a crucial one when searching for a wheelchair-accessible car. You need to carefully weigh all your options before making such a significant purchase. There are benefits and drawbacks to both methods of entrance.

Best WAV Vehicles

Accessible Vehicles for People Who Use Wheelchairs

The side-entry automobile is the preferred choice. Wheelchair access is improved because of the reduced floor and more headroom. Wheelchair users may either ride as a passenger in the front of a side-entry vehicle or take the wheel themselves. They can store foldable ramps, elevators, or the in-floor ramp (https://nmeda.org/floor-vs-fold-ramps-mobility-vehicles/), and can be converted to a centre-cut for a side entrance. The cost of this conversion is often higher than that of the rear-entry method.

Investigating the Rear-Entry Wheelchair Van

The wheelchair-accessible car includes a foldable ramp and a lower cut-out in the vehicle’s centre to make entering and exiting easier. This provides extra room on the inside, making it possible to accommodate even the largest wheelchairs. In any case, the wheelchair will not allow access to the driver’s or front passenger’s seats, so that option is out. Ramps and elevators, both manual and mechanical, may be used for any method of access. One of the two conversions, the rear entry is often the cheaper option.

WAV Vehicle

What to Consider When Buying a Wheelchair Van

Discuss the pros and cons of both entrance methods with your mobility dealer to determine which is best for your needs. Questions of significance include:

  • Would I be able to bring my wheelchair inside the vehicle?
  • In what orientation should the wheelchair be placed inside the car?
  • Will the person using the wheelchair be the driver?
  • While the vehicle is in operation, will someone be available to assist the wheelchair user?
  • While shopping for WAV vehicles & mobility cars from SMV, what should you anticipate?

It’s a novel procedure, and it might be intimidating to first-timers.

Learn About Your Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle Choices.

Accessible transportation modifications may be as simple as installing a ramp or as complex as installing a wheelchair lift, both of which can be used to help people with mobility issues get about more freely and independently. Because of the wide range of factors involved with disability (e.g., age, dexterity, and presence of a caregiver), it is important to first determine your immediate and future requirements.

Use the Knowledge of Your Local Wheelchair Van Retailer.

Do not be shy about questioning them; they are your resident mobility gurus. Do not hide your impairment or your requirements. A local mobility dealer is the best place to start when looking for a suitable mobility solution.

Find a dealer who has been approved to sell wheelchair vans.

They should be part of a group that works to ensure that accessible car modifications are both effective and safe.   If you go with a certified dealer, you’ll have access to emergency assistance from highly qualified professionals around the clock, every day of the week.

Think About the Wheelchair Van Guarantee.

The warranties offered by the manufacturers of new accessible cars are usually matched by the top firms who provide them. There is often a warranty covering three years or 36,000 miles.

Get a Proper Fit.

Many factors, such as the number of passengers and the dimensions of the wheelchair, must be considered while shopping for a wheelchair van or SUV. If you only sometimes have passengers, a wheelchair-accessible SUV may be the right vehicle for you. Whereas others might be better served by a van with a more flexible interior.

Choose Whether You Need a Side-Entry Handicap Van or a Rear-Entry Wheelchair Van.

Both the rear and the side doors may be adjusted to accommodate wheelchairs and other mobility aids in accessible cars. While the back and centre of the car are accessible, the front seats are off-limits in rear-entry automobiles. Access to the centre and front parts is easier with a side-entry car, however, this alteration is often less desirable due to limited parking space. Talk to your neighbourhood retailer about the benefits and drawbacks of each choice.

Getting a Wheelchair-Accessible Van vs. Having Another Car Adapted

There are several advantages to buying a wheelchair-accessible car, or a vehicle that has been adapted by the manufacturer to accommodate a wheelchair. To wit, the ease of doing business and the possibility of seeing the final goods before purchasing. Depending on the vehicle’s age and mileage, it may be possible to send it back to the manufacturer for customization. When purchasing a car, you should inquire with the dealer as to which models are modifiable by the manufacturer.

Understand that the procedure is much more time-consuming than shopping for an un-adapted vehicle and will be an in-depth process. Your dealer knows that and is willing to invest the time to ensure the right vehicle for you.

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