Wheelchair accessible vehicles (WAVs) are used by many people across the UK who are either living with a disability or who are loved ones of a disabled person. While the vast majority of these people will be happy to make use of the Motability scheme, there are others who seek alternatives. One of these alternatives is choosing from a selection of used mobility vehicles.
Today, the government-funded Motability scheme offers worry-free leases for new and ‘nearly new’ WAVs (used wheelchair accessible vehicles with very little mileage). While all costs are taken care of outside of fuel (such as maintenance and insurance) as part of the scheme, there are certain restrictions on such a lease. Your Motability vehicle cannot be used for a purpose other than benefiting the person who receives the funding. In this case of WAVs, it is the person in a wheelchair who would stand to benefit from having access to such a vehicle. While this doesn’t mean that the wheelchair user would need to be present on every journey with the car, it does mean that the vehicle cannot be used for just any reason. For example, let’s say you are caring for a child who is a wheelchair user. You can use the vehicle to do shopping that would include items which can be used for the benefit of your child. So the likes of food, clothing or even toys can cover this provision. But you cannot use the vehicle if you, say, drive you and some friends to a restaurant. Or for any commercial purposes. None of these things directly benefit the wheelchair user. While you don’t need to worry much about the upkeep costs of running a mobility vehicle, there are other issues it can cause.
For example, driveway space can be an issue. As it is likely that a family will need to keep a second vehicle for purposes that wouldn’t benefit the wheelchair user, this can cause problems. But all of the above can be remedied if used mobility vehicles are purchased instead. Buying used wheelchair friendly cars is the same as buying any other used cars. Once you purchase a used WAV, it is yours to own. With the Motability scheme, you will return your ‘nearly new’ WAV after 3 years. This requires you to sign up to another lease and get another car. This can take time to sort out and modifications may be required to suit particular situations. A used car can be bought and can have all of the modifications fitted to suit the wheelchair user’s needs. The car is yours to own and keep so nobody can ask for it back. It also means that the car can be used for purposes that don’t need to directly benefit the wheelchair user. This makes it far more flexible and ensures you can’t be in breach of any lease.
So if you have the ability to pay for and modify used mobility vehicles to suit your situation, you should do so. However, if money is an issue, you can still lease through the Motability scheme and end up with a really great mobility car. So there’s no good or bad way to secure a WAV, but for those who would like an asset instead of a lease, definitely consider used WAVs.