Buying a wheelchair accessible car, van or truck can be a big investment, but if you’re willing to put in the time and do the research, it’s possible to find a good quality used handicap vehicle. The key is finding one that’s suitable for your needs.

The first place to start is with a reputable wheelchair accessible vehicle dealer. Dealers have trained specialists on staff who know and are familiar with the specialized equipment and systems installed on a wheelchair accessible vehicle. Everyone’s needs are different and it’s essential that you find the best solution for you. Choosing to buy from a private party may have serious ramifications, so always exercise caution if considering this option.

If the wheelchair occupant will be driving, it’s recommended they be evaluated by a qualified specialist through the Association for Driver Rehabilitation Specialists, or ADED. This expert will determine what specific needs, limitations, seating requirements or appropriate equipment should be taken into account with the adapted vehicle you’re considering.

Browsing inventory of wheelchair accessible vans, car and trucks can be overwhelming. Here are some additional things to keep in mind when buying a wheelchair accessible vehicle that will help you narrow your search:

•    List the features and options you need and want so you can compare price differences.
•    Is the vehicle going to be used to transport the entire family?
•    It’s important to consider interior height when shopping for a wheelchair accessible vehicle. Make sure the vehicle can accommodate your needs without any modifications.
•    Once you’ve found a vehicle that works for you, have the body and mechanical parts checked out by your own mechanic. Don’t just take the seller at their word.
•    Does the type of wheelchair van lift on the vehicle work with the wheelchair you’re using? Think about where and how you’ll be getting in and out of the vehicle.

To start your search go to nmeda.com and click on “dealer locator” to find a NMEDA dealer near you.

The National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA) is an advocate for mobility and accessibility for drivers with disabilities. If you need help with converting or buying a handicap accessible car, truck or van, please consider one of our mobility equipment dealers.

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