Handicap vans come in full-sized vans, often loaded with features, and mini-vans that manage to meet the needs of the individual. Choosing between these two options can be an important decision and there are several things to keep in mind when choosing the handicap van for you.
There are several good reasons to choose a full-sized converted handicap van. First off, there is more headroom in a full-sized van. Many people in a wheelchair will feel cramped in a mini-van and those who are either taller or sit in a taller chair may even find themselves bending their neck awkwardly to avoid hitting their head. Additionally if the van will be used for long distance travel or just used a lot in general a full-sized van will be more comfortable. It will also offer more storage, great features, lots of space, and even more stability. The full-sized van can also carry more weight. They are also ideal if you will be transporting two wheelchairs, a wheelchair and a mobility scooter, or even a larger family.
On the other hand, there are also great reasons to buy a mini-van converted handicap van. One of the biggest reasons people choose a mini-van over a full sized van is the better fuel efficiency. Gas prices are expensive and getting more miles per gallon is often very helpful. Mini-vans can also be easier to park, easier to maneuver and drive, and take up less space in the driveway. Additionally there are is a greater selection of mini-vans available and often mini-vans can be purchased at a cheaper rate.
A full-sized van is easier to convert into a handicap van. This is because the size of the van aids in the conversion. To provide more space within the full-sized van the floor can be lowered or the roof raised. On the other hand, the floor of the mini-van must be lowered. This forces the gas tank to be relocated, which is often time consuming and expensive. For both conversions, the ramp or lift needs to be added, as does the tie downs and the roll bar.
To purchase a converted handicap van in either size you will want to go to a mobility dealership. These dealerships sell only converted vans and mobility equipment. If you want to buy a van, it is important that you buy from dealers that are members of the NMEDA and ADA to make sure you are getting quality care, service and products. Good quality equipment brands include Braun, VMI and El Dorado. Quality should always be considered when buying handicap vans.
There are several things to consider when buying a converted van. You will want to decide how much you will use it, for what, and what features do you have to have. Also consider gas mileage and the original cost of the van and conversion.