Wheelchair accessible vehicles, more commonly known as WAVs, are cars and vehicles that are specifically tailored so that a wheelchair user does not have to deal with the awkward and uncomfortable task of being transferred out of their wheelchair. You probably already know that though, so we’re here to help you with the next questions: how do I look for the right one and how do I get it? That is why we have put this guide together, to help you through the process so that you’ve got all the facts in front of you.
No two people are the same, and, as such, no two people’s experiences are the same either. When it comes to used wheelchair accessible vehicles, everyone will have different needs and wants when deciding what the ideal mobility car is for them. As such, there are different types and sizes of mobility vehicles. You can get small, medium or large WAV vehicles. There are good reasons for the applicability of each one. While small WAVs don’t offer as much space, they are significantly cheaper than larger WAVs. They’re suited for a maximum of four people, including the wheelchair user. Medium WAVs are suited for up to seven people and are good if you want some storage space for mobility aids or maybe luggage. Larger WAVs resemble the wheelchair accessible taxis; you will experience optimal visibility and offer up a large amount of space. Not every WAV sees the wheelchair user as a backseat passenger either; some WAVs can be accommodated to have the wheelchair user beside the driver (also known as ‘up-front WAVs’) and even as a driver (also known as DFW – Drive from Wheelchair). However, both of these latter options cost much more. Needless to say, every WAV is different in some way; but what is the WAV for you?
Search by wheelchair accessible vehicle type
With so many different WAV cars available, you’ve got to whittle them down to a more manageable shortlist. So you’re probably wondering what you should be looking for in a WAV car. Well, don’t ask us just yet, ask yourself first. What do you need? Does your condition, or the condition of a loved one, require you to consider particular needs? Is the wheelchair rather large? Could it fit in a small WAV? Or would it be too big or heavy? There are so many considerations when it comes to looking for applicable wheelchair vehicles, and many can rely on physical requirements of the wheelchair user. However, there are other considerations too. For example, WAV cars mostly come with ramps yet some have lifts. Perhaps the wheelchair user, carer or partner does not have the strength to push the wheelchair user up the ramp. In this instance, a lift could be extremely helpful, or a mechanised winch of some kind. And then there are considerations for the car’s purpose too. Is it just for short journeys to the shops? Or will it be used in going to work every day? Or will it be used for vacations? When you stop and think about what your needs are, your shortlist will whittle down quite quickly.
After you’ve decided on a few applicable wheelchair cars or even a particular type of WAV, there’s no need for you to seek wheelchair car hire first to see if it suits. A WAV supplier can give you a completely free demonstration of the car before you commit. During these demonstrations, you are under no obligation to do a deal, so don’t feel rushed into anything. In this demonstration, which can be done at your home, you will get to go out for a test drive in the WAV to see how you like it. It’s a good idea to bring other people along who you would probably be driving with, such as a carer, partner or family members. It is likely, if it is not a drive-from wheelchair set-up, that one or two of these people will be your designated driver(s). By having them there, they can give you feedback on what they think. However, it’s a good way to test things like whether or not people can hear each other well enough from different parts of the vehicle. You can also practice working the features too, such as the ramp, so that you can work out if it has everything you need and want from a car now and in the future.
Now that you’ve decided on which of the models you like best, you’ve got a further consideration: do you go with new or used wheelchair accessible vehicles? It’s important to remember that, despite the differences to more everyday road cars, there are still a lot of parallels between factory-made road vehicles and wheelchair accessible vehicles. They rack up mileage, they take on wear and tear, and they can have problems. While going for a new car does seem to guarantee that your WAV will be around for longer, there’s no reason a used WAV can’t give you just as much but at a reduced price. It’s commonly known that once a car leaves the factory, it instantly loses a fifth of its value. So the choice is yours. However, there is a third option. When going through the Motability scheme and using any allowances you may have, you can also opt for a Nearly New WAV. This is a WAV that has only been on the road for somewhere in the region of a year to three years. At the Automotive Group, we have a great selection of new, used and nearly new WAVs for you to have a look at. Our friendly team can even give you a demonstration at your home – anywhere within mainland United Kingdom.
No matter what type of WAV you’ve decided on, you’re going to want wheelchair accessible vehicles that are high in quality and low in price. At the Automotive Group, we strive for both with our range from top-end manufacturers such as Citroen, Nissan, Volkswagen and Vauxhall. We’ve been in the business for over 30 years, and there’s a reason for that: because we’re trusted as one of the top UK WAV suppliers. So what are you waiting for? Get in touch and we can help guide you to the car that will tick all your boxes. Contact us, phone us at 0800 121 66 22 or email us at [email protected] for more info.