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5 Top Tips for Buying Your First Mobility Vehicle

by Carlton Whtifield. Published Thu 07 Mar 2019 10:39

Buying your first mobility vehicle is an exciting time; if you make the right choice, it could open the door to a new world of convenience, possibilities, and freedom. On the other hand, there are so many manufacturers and models to choose from that settling on a single choice can be daunting.

Each will have advantages and disadvantages, but it’s important not to let yourself get overwhelmed by the options or a flashy sales pitch and simply focus on your needs. Follow these simple tips for when buying a mobility vehicle and make sure you get the right vehicle with minimal stress.

1. Assess What You Need

It’s not an impulse buy, it’s a long-term investment, so there’s no need to rush your selection process. The best place to start is with good old pen and paper. Make a list of all the functionality and features your vehicle must have in order to meet your lifestyle demands now and in the future. By focusing on the things that really matter you’ll find that you can exclude a lot of options and make your decision easier.
Factors you’ll want to consider may include whether or not a wheelchair user or a caregiver will be driving, how many people will be traveling in the vehicle, how much height, space and weight capacity do you need for wheelchair storage, do you want to enter from the rear or the side and do you want a sliding or folding ramp?

2. Compare Key Features

When you’ve answered these questions, you’ll have a list of the most important features to compare. Lift options are a good place to start when you’re trying to narrow down your choices in the first instance.

• Lowered floor conversion: This ramp enables a wheelchair user to enter the vehicle in an upright position as the floor of the vehicle has been lowered. This often means there is more height inside the vehicle for a caregiver to provide assistance.

• Foldout ramp: A foldout ramp can be either manually operated or powered and sits along the inside of the closed sliding door when not being used.

• In-floor ramp: This ramp is stored under the vehicle floor, so the ramp doesn’t need to be in use all the time.

In-floor ramps offer more flexibility, but fold-up ramps are usually less expensive and provide a lower ramp angle.
You’ll also need to decide whether you want the ramp to be manually operated or powered. Powered ramps offer a lot more convenience, but manual ramps are cheaper and require less maintenance.

To get started you might want to check out this wheelchair vehicle selector tool which will offer recommendations based on what you need.

3. Work Out Your Budget

Mobility vehicles will, of course, vary in price as any other vehicle would. You’ll need to work out what you can afford to spend and then research dealerships which fit your price range. If you find that your budget can’t stretch to a vehicle with all the features you need, there are some high-quality used vehicles on the market. Alternatively, you may want to look at financing options or loans to help you with the purchase of your vehicle rather than compromise. You can find out more in How to Get a Car Loan in 6 Easy Steps.

4. Research Manufacturers

Each mobility vehicle manufacturer will have its own strengths and weaknesses when it comes to mobility vehicle design, i.e., how they convert their vehicles into mobility vehicles. Online car reviews are a great way to identify the best brands from the driver’s point of view. You may feel more comfortable sticking with a make that you know well, but don’t discount other options straight away.

5. Take a Test Drive

Before you commit to buying a vehicle, you need to test it out. Whether that’s you driving it yourself or your caregiver taking the wheel, everyone who will be using the vehicle needs to be happy with the choice. If you’ve done your research, when you walk into the dealership, you’ll already have a shortlist of vehicles you’re interested in, so take your time to explore each for as long as you like.

This is an important decision and an investment into your future, so don’t let anyone rush you or try and persuade you that you need something you don’t. Listen your gut, stick to your original list of must-have features, and you’ll be returning home with your dream vehicle in no time at all.


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