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Vehicle Shopping with a Twist

Below is an article originally written by Fran Joyce for her blog This Awful-Awesome Life where she discusses her wheelchair van buying experience with our MobilityWorks team in Pittsburgh.

By Fran Joyce
Getting a new car is exciting. After 14 years of nursing my adapted minivan along, it was time for a new one. For anyone who is physically challenged or lives with a physically challenged family member, the decision to buy a vehicle or replace an existing one can seem daunting. I’m using the term “handicapped” in this article because I will be discussing parking and other considerations for purchasing a vehicle. I dislike labels, and I apologize to anyone who may be offended.

The type of conversion you need is dependent on whether the person with physical challenges will be a driver or passenger.

In my case, I have a son in a power wheelchair who will be a passenger not a driver. With a power chair, there are height requirements for the converted vehicle that may not apply to manual chairs. Head room is a safety issue when entering and exiting the vehicle. For this reason, a manual ramp which is least expensive might not be the best option.

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Finding the Perfect Accessible Vehicle


Roy Gordon is the type of buyer who does his homework. He researched every wheelchair van manufacturer, store, and checked Craigslist regularly. Recently, his wife Kelly’s mobility has become restricted, and Roy wanted to make sure they found the best vehicle for their needs. Last month, they found the right wheelchair accessible solution at MobilityWorks in Saginaw, Michigan.

Throughout his search process, Roy had been in touch with Dale Bills, General Manager of MobilityWorks, on a regular basis. Roy wanted to make sure that he had done all of the necessary research to ensure he was going to find a safe and reliable vehicle at the right price. One of the conditions he had, was that the van had to be a Dodge or Chrysler, due to the fact that Roy’s brother worked there for many years.

In April, Dale reached out to Roy with news that MobilityWorks would soon be receiving vehicles that he thought would be perfect the Gordons. These particular accessible vans are pre-owned vehicles, but with a brand new wheelchair ramp. After coming into look at the 2017 Dodge Grand Caravan with a side entry power conversion, they knew this was the right vehicle for their needs and budget.

One of Kelly’s favorite features about the van is the power locking system. She loves the simplicity of being able to roll her wheelchair right into the passenger seat, and the fact that it doesn’t require any extra straps or tie-downs. They were also very happy that the van came with a 3-year warranty on the conversion. Roy claimed that was one of his main reservations when considering purchasing on Craigslist.

Now that they have brought their van home, Kelly and Roy are looking forward to many adventures. They have been married for 13 years, and their passion is to travel the country and experience as many new things as possible. This month they will be taking a trip to the Smokey Mountains, one of their favorite places in the world. Roy and Kelly are also planning to drive up the New England coast this fall, and eat lobster on the beach in Maine.

Safe travels Roy and Kelly!

San Francisco on Wheels – Hannah Soyer

Hannah Soyer Travels to San Francisco

Last month, our friend Hannah Soyer traveled to San Francisco to explore the Bay Area. Hannah is an activist for the community, published author, and Ms. Wheelchair Iowa 2017. You can read about her adventure below, and receive 10% off accessible rentals from MobilityWorks Burlingame, Oakland and San Jose locations, for the entire month of June.
 

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