They can be pricey, but don’t give up on getting that accessible vehicle you need. Pre-owned vans are a very affordable option. If it is not already converted, most of them can be retrofitted with the adaptive equipment you need.
Many pre-owned vans offer all the options available or needed on new vehicles at a fraction of the cost. Plus, a late-model used accessible van can have the same features without that instant drive-it-off-the-lot drop in value.
But where do you find a real deal?
- Start by looking for a National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA) Quality Assurance Program (QAP) dealer near you. NMEDA is the authority on mobility equipment safety, and a dealership that cares about its customers will strive to meet the high standards set by the NMEDA. Find one near you at http://www.nmeda.com/locate-a-dealer/ and type on your zip code or find your state.
- Find a dealership that sells both new and used vans/vehicles with wheelchair conversions.
- A pre-owned accessible van or vehicle should be less than five years old – because some repair places won’t normally stock older replacement parts and technicians may not be as knowledgeable on older vehicles. Plus, a wheelchair vehicle should last around 10 years.
- Watch for dealer sales, specials, and incentives. Government and charitable programs can also provide financing for the purchase of a van.
- You want to be able to see the equipment you need, whether it has an extended power folding wheelchair ramp or spring-loaded manual operation ramp; side-entry or rear entry; docking system or tie-down straps; removable passenger seats or jump seats for extra passengers.
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.