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Pre-Owned Used Wheelchair Vans May Come With a Warranty

When purchasing a pre-owned accessible vehicle, otherwise known as used handicap vans, we are often asked about the warranty. Just like a non-adaptive automobile or minivan purchased from an auto dealer, converted vehicles also come with the same OEM warranty from the manufacturer on the engine and transmission (i.e. the “power train”). This is typically provided by the chassis manufacturing company such as Toyota, Dodge, Chrysler or Honda. They are typically 5-years or 60,000 miles, whichever comes first.

The conversion itself though, such as the side-entry foldout ramp or in-floor automated ramp and kneeling system, typically also comes with its own 3-year, 36,000 mile warranty – at least for most leading conversion manufacturers like BraunAbility or VMI.

Larger mobility dealers, such as MobilityWorks, can also offer what is called “new/used“, a term that means a vehicle has a brand new conversion on a slightly used minivan, generally with under 40,000 miles. In this scenario, the warranty on the conversion would  begin at the time of purchase (for the full 3 years or 36k miles) and whatever remaining power train warranty on the chassis would still be in effect.

MobilityWorks can also offer extended warranty on vehicles, so long as they meet certain criteria. Check with our finance department or your local Certified Mobility Consultant on the warranty information and whatever options are available to you on your purchase.

SmartFloor™ for Commercial Vans Offers Custom Flexibility for Wheelchair Transport Vehicles

Revolutionary flooring product offered by MobilityWorks now available for Ram ProMaster and Ford Transit commercial van platforms.

SmartFloor™ seating inside a Ram ProMaster van. The vehicle has a BraunAbility Century lift installed in the back.

Whenever someone sees the Transit Works SmartFloor™ product for the first time and begins to grasp the benefits of being able to quickly rearrange the seating, or remove them altogether, there’s always an ‘aha’ moment.

Inside most of the newer MobilityWorks commercial fleet vehicles, the SmartFloor that’s being installed will provide its new owner/operator with more flexibility than they’ve ever had before. That flexibility will result in operational savings and better service to the customer.

Here’s how:

Instead of having all of the seating permanently bolted to the floor, a transportation company or fleet owner now has the option to quickly rearrange the interior layout and re-purpose the vehicle for a different function in literally a matter of minutes.

In the case of a wheelchair transportation provider (such as an assisted living center), there may only be a few occasions every week where they need to have two wheelchair positions available, while the remaining passengers typically being transported need bench seating. If given notice that a second wheelchair passenger is being picked up, they can easily remove the necessary bench seats and re-install them when the trip is completed. This reduces the number of total trips being made. For the wheelchair community, that means better service because providers will be able to quickly adapt to changing needs.

With this type of flexibility, the SmartFloor installed on the Ram ProMaster or the Ford Transit really is a smart decision. The SmartFloor is a patented product available exclusively in North America from Transit-Works and its certified bus, OEM and mobility dealers across America.

For more information on the SmarFloor for Commercial Vans, call Transit Works at 1-855-337-9543.

Microcars for Wheelchairs: Then and Now

Harold Downey’s wheelchair micro-car could reach top speeds of 45 mph.

The Need and Desire for Independence is the Mother of All Mobility Inventions

Most of us have seen the latest Mercedes-Benz ‘Smart Car’ on the road these past few years, but did you know that a wheelchair microcar was invented back in the 1950s? Along with entrepreneurs like Ralph Braun, the founder of today’s BraunAbility minivan conversions, people were simply looking for ways to be independent with whatever means they could. Vans for wheelchair drivers simply weren’t available.

Back in October of 1956, Harold Young of Downey California was featured in a Modern Mechanix magazine article with his three wheel, 10HP wheelchair accessible microcar that he drove on city streets for many years. The hand controls he installed were a push-stop, pull-to-go lever design, similar to the mechanical driving aids being used today. Hooks attached the dashboard were used to secure the wheelchair in place.

Fast Forward to 2015…

The all-electric Kenguru is designed for local community driving with a top speed of 25 mph.

The Kenguru shown above is a Hungarian designed, electric powered micro-vehicle with a top speed of 25 mph. It can travel around 60 miles per day, but is not legal on roads above 35, depending on local restrictions. For practicality purposes, it appears to have more of a golf-cart application, perhaps for getting around in senior living communities, than for actual road use. It has a motorcycle-like handlebar steering design with a throttle for acceleration.

The Kenguru has been reported to be coming to the United States by the efforts of former attorney, now entrepreneur, Stacy Zoern of Austin, TX. Stacey was born with Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) and has been in a wheelchair her entire life. She formed a company call Community Cars based in Texas to manufacture and distribute the vehicles. When it becomes available, the single-passenger wheelchair microcar will cost somewhere around $20-$25k. Community Cars is also designing a model that will be controlled by a joystick or small-diameter steering wheel for those with limited upper body strength. for more information, go to Kenguru.com

Spreekt u Nederlands? (do you speak Dutch?)

The Canta has a top speed of 28 mph.

The “Ride-in Canta” (Inrij Canta) shown above is a wheelchair microcar from the Netherlands developed in 1995 by Waaijenberg, a company that specializes in a variety of smaller vehicles (for disabled and able-bodied customers). Equipped with a rear-entry ramp, the Canta pneumatically raises up off the ground when the engine is started and the driver is ready to move . It comes with a Honda 5-stroke, 160cc engine (200cc optional) and has a top speed of 28 mph. Canta hand controls can be placed on the left or right side, depending on the need.

In the Netherlands, the Canta is legal to be used be used on cycle paths and sidewalks as a mobility aid. A driver’s license is not required. There are no known plans to bring the Canta to the United States.

Editors note: Modern Mechanix magazine’s last published issue was their March/April edition in 2001.

Assisted Living Resident Transportation: Beyond the Occasional Doctor’s Appointment

Multipassenger minibuses like this one have a wheelchair lift for residents in wheelchairs. MobilityWorks sells and services commercial vehicles of all types, including those used by assisted living centers located throughout the country.

Years ago, a trip to the doctor’s office for a senior housing resident in a wheelchair was often the only connection they had to the outside world. That was yesterday. Today’s message is that people living in assisted living centers and retirement communities can and do remain very active. Brochures and websites for elder care facilities now advertise their ability to provide transportation to hairdressers, shopping centers, religious services, outings and many other daily activities, even on short notice. Adequate transportation enables elderly residents to live more independently and prevent feelings of isolation. For this reason, centers are changing the way they manage and organize outside activities, giving residents more choices on what they would like to do on a daily basis.

“Shuttle buses are moving billboards that provide continuous, visual advertisements of the senior living center to the community.”

What differentiates one facility from another in meeting the needs of active senior lifestyles can often be found outside the center, ready to take a group of seniors on the road. It’s the numerous minibuses and wheelchair-accessible vans, in many shapes and sizes, that provide this valuable service. Assisted living centers with an ample fleet of shuttle buses and wheelchair vans are discovering that their vehicles are a noticeable differentiator. Families that help with evaluating assisted living centers often look to transportation services as an indicator of whether their parent or grandparent is going to be able to continue enjoying the activities they’re accustomed to.

From a marketing perspective, shuttle buses are moving billboards that provide continuous, visual advertisements of the senior living center to the community. For operational and medical purposes, they are vital to the services being provided. While many facilities contract for medical ambulatory type trips, the dynamics and importance to customer satisfaction in getting residents to outside activities has changed how organizations view their transport capacity. By increasing their transportation capabilities and marketing appeal with more activity options, a facility has a greater chance of keeping their units filled.

Centers today can have several multipassenger vehicles on the road at any given time, transporting one or a dozen residents to and from various destinations. Almost all of these transport vehicles have a wheelchair lift and space for wheelchair passengers, a necessary feature in providing mobility and freedom for many residents. Some vehicles can accommodate several wheelchairs, while others can only fit one or two at a time. All wheelchair vans have special tie-down systems in place for keeping wheelchairs in place and for passenger safety.

Whether it’s a 12-person minibus with wheelchair accessibility or a traditional van with a fold-out lift, the right combination of vehicles in a fleet can provide a great service for residents and an opportunity for growth. Successful centers are an active participant with its neighboring communities and the senior group events that bring friends together. Wheelchair-accessible buses and vans provide more opportunities for continued community involvement and increased awareness to potential new residents. The ability to be flexible and creative with providing transport services will become increasingly more important for centers in the future.

To learn more about our Commercial Vans for assisted living centers and senior care transportation, go to MobilityWorks Commercial.

This article was originally written by Guy Hanford for ‘Promoting Excellence’ magazine published by the Health Care Association of Michigan (HCAM). The publication is distributed to long-term care professionals throughout the state of Michigan. Mr. Hanford is the Director of Marketing for MobilityWorks.

New Rubberized Floors in Wheelchair Minivans a Noticeable Long-Lasting Feature

New rubberized flooring materials provide for easier wheelchair maneuverability and cleaning.

Advanced Materials Provide a Smoother Transition, Improved Maneuverability and Cleanup

Without proper maintenance, prolonged use of heavier power wheelchairs and scooters can begin taking their toll on a minivan’s carpeted flooring materials. Road salt is also a major concern in cold-weather areas, with salt residue increasing the potential for carpet deterioration. These issues can lead to problems with lifting, carpet tears and general cleanup. For newer van owners, however, those concerns are becoming a thing of the past. In many of our 2013 models, and now almost all new 2014 side entry make and model conversions, rubberized flooring has become one of the more popular options being asked about.

Over the last few years, wheelchair minivan conversion companies, such as Braun and VMI, have been experimenting with alternatives to carpeted flooring. New advanced, longer-lasting rubberized materials have been introduced in most of the newer vans – with great success and appreciation. The response from our clients to this improved feature has been extremely positive. Our repeat van buyers immediately notice the new rubber flooring and recognize its many benefits. With rubberized flooring, L-track for wheelchair tie-downs are also pre-installed for improved durability and a smoother floor. Removable front seat-bases are also more easily rolled in and out of the vehicles. And cleaning the floor is now a breeze.

Rubberized floors are now available (as an option) in 90% of the brand new side-entry and rear-entry accessible minivans being sold at MobilityWorks. Anticipating its popularity, many of our pre-ordered stock units available for sale at our showrooms already have them installed. With newer features and improvements being added every year, including step-up flares (below the front doors), reduced noise, and fold-down foot rests for the rear bench, people with a disability and their families are able to enjoy a more enhanced, perfected vehicle.

Stop In

If you haven’t seen the newer vans lately, stop in at one of our 30 locations for a demonstration. Even if you’re just looking and want to ask questions, we’d love to have you come in and meet with a member of our team. Call us toll-free at 1-877-275-4907 to schedule a demonstration and test ride.

A smoother transition from floor to wheelchair ramp and easier cleanup is a noticeable benefit in many of the newer vans with rubberized flooring at MobilityWorks.

Got Any Improvement Ideas? Get a Free Gift!

Let us know your ideas on improving vehicle conversions so that we can make them better for everyone. Write your ideas to marketing@mobilityworks.com. Please include your name and address so that we can send you progress notes on your suggestion. The first 10 people with realistic suggestions will get a FREE copy of Ralph Braun’s 200-page biographical hard-cover story called “Rise Above”. Ralph Braun (1940-2013) started The Braun Corporation creating wheelchair lifts and van solutions for his own mobility needs after being diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy at a very young age. He was a pioneer in the mobility industry and his story is an inspiration to all Americans, with or without disabilities.

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