Recommendations/suggestions for wheelchair-able car


#1

My husband uses a wheelchair - one of the folding transport kinds - that I clean-and-jerk into the back of our little ol’ station wagon. Knowing that my wonderful car is not likely to live forever, I’ve begun eyeballing other cars that are available.



At some point, I’m going to load up the wheelchair and go car shopping but, in the meantime, I’m researching and gathering information about what’s available.



What I’d like:



Conventional rear door

Large/wide opening to get the wheelchair in and out easily

Low deck in back (the wheelchair isn’t that heavy but my back isn’t that good anymore either)

A sun/moonroof would be treasured



Suggestions? Ideas? Good jokes?


#2

Do you have a van conversion shop in town? I would have a talk with them first.


#3

What about something like this:

http://www.braunability.com/ppc/chair-topper-wheelchair-carrier.cfm?gclid=CImGisaXlqMCFREhDQodlF5Bqg

Then you could get any car you wanted.

They also make hitch-mounted carriers, which will also go on any vehicle.

If you don’t like either of those, then I’d follow Joseph’s advice and get an accessible van.


#4

Heck, I used to put my mom’s wheelchair into the truck of my '91 Camry all the time. I suspect most sedan trunks today will easily take a chair.

One thing I did was got an all aluminum chair for her. They’re far lighter, and I found it far easier to put in the trunk. Easier to roll up hills, too. I looked everywhere and found mine as a used chair from a place that rents wheelchairs. It was about 75% less than buying one new, and it was just as good.


#5

Can he stand and enter the car on his own? If so, you have many more options. Small SUVs, like the Honda CR-V, allow the passenger to slide into the seat instead of sitting down. This also means that the passenger slides out and does not have to push or pull themselves up. These smaller SUVs are basically station wagons. If the ergonomics are right your your husband, you two might take one for a test drive.


#6

The folded wheelchair will store vertically in a Pontiac Vibe or a PT Cruiser. Many cars will require that the chair lay flat in the trunk. Load and unload the chair in both types of vehicles to decide which stowed chair position is better for your back. A car salesman should be eager to help with this as a sale is possible. There may be others that will store the chair vertically.

When stowing the chair vertically make sure that chair parts do not impact the vehicle’s rear window when accelerating. This could break the window or damage the defroster grid. You can hold the chair away from the window with stretch cords.


#7

Funny, I keep coming back to the Honda Element even though I don’t own one and probably never would. But a couple of friends of mine have them and it strikes me as a great car for someone who needs a wheelchair capable vehicle.

Here at the JAG office we have a Mercedes Vito. I don’t know if they sell them in the States, but it turned out to be a great wheelchair-ready vehicle. We used it to transport a wheelchair bound witness. Dude had a motorized wheelchair that weighed about 500lbs. We just took out the middle row of seats Then we parked as close to the curb as we could, bridged the gap with a couple of boards and he drive right in the side door. Then he scooted into a seat and belted in, slick as snot.


#8

No Vito here in the states, and a Mercedes is rather expensive no matter what you get.
What Mr. Meehan suggested in the first post is pretty much what you’ve described, but they automate the whole process, and they’re setup probably locks the wheelchair in place.