The Basic Features of Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles

If you are a person with a disability, there are some salient aspects of a wheelchair-accessible vehicle that one should know. The most basic features of these vehicles include personalization or customization, safety restraints, and cost. Keep reading to find out more! This article will discuss the benefits of Side-entry wheelchair-accessible vans. If you are not disabled, you can also learn about a wheelchair-accessible van’s essential functions and added features.

Side-entry wheelchair accessible vans

Side-entry wheelchair-accessible vans feature one of four types of ramp systems. Picking out which type of ramp is right for your vehicle is critical. Manual fold-out wheelchair ramps are often found in wheelchair vans with dedicated caregivers. When not deployed, the ramp blocks access to the vehicle. To deploy it, a caregiver must pull the ramp manually to the floor. Manual fold-out wheelchair ramps have fewer moving parts and no electronics, meaning lower conversion costs.

Rear-entry wheelchair vans are often cheaper, but are less functional. Side-entry wheelchair vans require more vehicle needed modifications than rear-entry vans. Rear-entry conversions require more extensive vehicle modifications, including lowering the floor across the vehicle’s entire length, as well as adjusting sliding doors and front seats. Although side-entry wheelchair vans have higher costs, they are more functional and easier to maneuver.


Currently, there are a few main benefits of wheelchair accessible vehicles. These vehicles can be customized to accommodate the needs of the individual and can be purchased or rented. Depending on your preferences and needs, you can choose between a new or refurbished wheelchair accessible vehicle. These vehicles can be refurbished to reduce overall pricing, which is sure to increase demand. Customization is also beneficial for short-term or temporary disability situations.

If you need to have a wheelchair-accessible vehicle installed quickly, a pre-owned vehicle may be a good option. These vehicles are usually comfortable and already have a lot of financial investment. By adding a wheelchair-accessible option, you will not have to replace the vehicle, but you will need to wait for a lead time, which can delay your driving experience. However, if you do need a customized vehicle, you can choose a pre-owned vehicle to modify according to your needs and wants.

Safety restraints

The seatbelt system in a wheelchair accessible vehicle should be designed to accommodate the specific needs of wheelchair users. It should include frontal airbags and seat belts. This is particularly important as wheelchair models do not have the same side impact protection as standard vehicles. The restraints should provide occupant protection to the same level as the seat belts. Generally, wheelchairs with seat belts should have a lower seatback than nonwheelchair vehicles.

A lap and shoulder belt that extends past the steering wheel should be designed to provide a side-view lap belt angle of 30 to 75 degrees. A 45-degree angle is preferred. Seatbelts designed for wheelchairs are commonly found aftermarket. They often require some modifications to fit into OEM or shared seating positions. If they are used, they should come with instructions for installation. A successful installation is crucial for compliance.


The cost of wheelchair accessible vehicles can vary greatly. There are few vehicles which are more expensive than others, but the federal government does offer rebate programs to cover the costs. For example, the City of Charlottetown recently announced a $5,000 rebate program for Islanders who need transportation with a disability. Ultimately, this money will help pay for wheelchair accessible vehicles and equipment. But how do you know which program is right for you? Here are a few things to consider before you apply for a rebate.

The cost of a wheelchair van varies widely. You might qualify for a government rebate or qualify for veteran assistance to offset the costs. Another option is to take out an auto loan for an accessible vehicle. This way, you can avoid paying out-of-pocket for repairs and maintenance while still getting the vehicle you need. You should also check if your state has any assistance programs for disabled drivers. Typically, wheelchair vans cost anywhere from $35,000 to over $60,000.

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