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Transfer Seats are One of Many Options for Wheelchair Drivers

Wheelchair Transfer SeatPeople who use a wheelchair will often times have to lift themselves into another chair or over to a car seat. For those who drive with hand controls, totally removing the front seat to make room for the wheelchair is sometimes not a practical solution. The confines of an accessible minivan however make it difficult to pull the wheelchair close enough to transfer over to the front driver’s seat, not to mention that it’s in a fixed position facing forward.

So what’s the answer? Transfer seats allow for the person in the wheelchair to transfer from the wheelchair in the center area of a van to the front seat of an automobile. With a few easy-to-use controls, the electronically controlled seat can be moved back from the standard forward position by as much as 20 inches. The transfer seat can then be turned 90 degrees sideways, allowing for complete accessibility. After transferring over, rotating and moving forward, it can then be raised or lowered to a comfortable driving position. This type of functionality is referred to as a six-way seat: forward; backward; rotate left; rotate right; up and down.

Wheelchair Transfer Seat BaseFor new vans, transfer seat bases can be ordered and installed by MobilityWorks for either the driver or passenger side front seats. The original OEM seat may be used with the new base. If you happen to come across pre-owned (used) wheelchair vans for sale with a transfer seat already installed, it’s worth an extra look for the additional convenience this device can offer.

Additional Seating Options

Many wheelchair van models are now manufactured with rollaway seat bases, which mean that they can easily be taken out of the van with some able-bodied assistance to make room for a wheelchair in the forward area. All that is needed is tie-downs and the proper mounting track secured to the floor. A more permanent docking type device that locks the wheelchair in place can also be installed. Other custom seating solutions are available for helping drivers or passengers to get in and out of a vehicle using the front doors, such as lift-up seats and turning automotive seats (TAS by Bruno). These can be ordered and installed in almost any type of vehicle, including pickup trucks and SUVs. So what’s right for you? Ask your local Certified Mobility Consultant about transfer seats, lift-up seating, rollaway front seats and TAS seats that can be a valuable time-saver and convenient addition to your minivan.

Wheelchair and Scooter Lifts: A Great Way to Enhance Your Mobility and Freedom

You may have heard the terms “wheelchair lifts” or “scooter lifts.” In fact, you may even have heard these items referred to as “wheelchair hoists” or “stowage lifts.” However, did you know that these items can also be called “freedom-enhancing products” because of their ease and convenience? To begin, let’s take a look at the two types of wheelchair lifts: occupied wheelchair lifts and unoccupied wheelchair lifts.

Occupied Wheelchair Lifts

Full-Size Vehicle with Occupied Wheelchair Lift

Full-Size Vehicle with
Occupied Wheelchair Lift

Occupied wheelchair lifts are designed to lift people while they are seated in their wheelchair or scooter. We will be covering these types of lifts in more detail in a future issue. In the meantime, you can find more information on occupied wheelchair lifts on our website. You can also feel free to contact one of our experienced Mobility Consultants for more information.


Unoccupied Wheelchair Lifts

Bruno Joey VSL-4000 Lift

Bruno Joey VSL-4000 Lift

Bruno Curbsider Lift

Bruno Curbsider Lift

Unoccupied wheelchair lifts are also referred to as “scooter lifts” or “stowage lifts.” Essentially, unoccupied wheelchair lifts are designed to lift and stow a wheelchair or scooter only.

Is an Unoccupied Wheelchair Lift Right for You?

Many people need to use a wheelchair or scooter to get around, although they still have the ability to transfer from their mobility device into a vehicle seat—either on their own or with assistance from a companion. For these people, a wheelchair or scooter lift may be just the option they need to give them greater freedom to travel with their personal mobility device.

What Lifts Are Available?

Internal Platform Internal “Crane” Style External Hitch Mount
Summary • Best lift available
• Easy to use
• High lifting capacity
• Secure storage
• Strong
• Storable lifts keep scooters inside the vehicle.
• Lift swings to the side when not in use.
• Inexpensive
• Does not take up any interior vehicle space.
• Best for warmer, drier climates!
Higher Lifting Capacity (251-450 pounds) • Joey VSL 4000 • Curbsider VSL 6900
• Curbsider VSL-6000
• Big Lifter VSL 570
• Scooter Lift VSL-400
• Outsider Meridian ASL-250
• Out Rider PUL-1100
• Pow’r Topper PCL-1900
Medium Lifting Capacity (151-250 pounds) N/A • Scooter Lift ASL 400
• Scooter Lift II VSL 900
• Space Saver ASL-325
• Offset Fold-Away ASL-450
• Space-Saver ASL 350
Lower Lifting Capacity (Up to 150 pounds) N/A • Cab-Sider PUL-1700
• Wheelchair Lifter AWL-150
• Back Saver AWL 1600
• Out-Sider Micro Scooter Lift ASL 225
Chassis Options Minivans only:
• Dodge Grand Caravan
• Chrysler Town & Country
• Honda Odyssey
• Toyota Sienna
• Depends on style and capacity.
• Minivans and SUVs are needed for the largest wheelchair/scooter options.
• Smaller chairs can work with many medium–large sedans.
• Can fit any chassis that can support the prescribed trailer hitch specifications.
Bruno Outrider PUL-1100 Lift

Bruno Outrider PUL-1100 Lift

Bruno Cab-Sider PUL-1700 Lift

Bruno Cab-Sider PUL-1700 Lift

Choosing the Right Wheelchair/Scooter Lift — A Three-Step Process

Once you determine that a wheelchair/scooter lift may meet your needs, how do you choose the right one? As with many other mobility solutions, the solution is like putting together a puzzle. We have found that if you go through the process correctly, you are most likely to succeed in the end.

Step 1: Assess Your Needs

The most important items to consider when you are assessing your situation/needs are the following:

  1. What are the make and model of the wheelchair or scooter you will use? The size, weight, and dimensions of the wheelchair/scooter will have a huge influence on your options.
  2. What are the make, model, and year of the vehicle you are currently driving? Would you like to continue to drive it?
  3. How fit/strong/healthy are you or the person who will help you use the wheelchair/scooter lift? Your answer to this question will influence the type of lift that will be easiest to operate and whether or not you will be able to use a less expensive lift that has fewer power features.
  4. How many total passengers will you need to transport in addition to the wheelchair user and the mobility device? What other items will you need to transport in the vehicle?
  5. What is your budget? As with all things, there is a range of prices, and both new and used models of wheelchair/scooter lifts are available.

Step 2: Develop Options

Once the information above is gathered, we will work with our manufacturers to assemble a list of possible combinations of vehicles and wheelchair lift models that will work for you. If you and your wheelchair/scooter are not particularly large nor do you need to transport a lot of people in your vehicle, then you may have many options to choose from. Conversely, as people get larger—both in size and number—and the size of mobility devices become larger, then options will narrow considerably.

Step 3: Evaluate the Options

Each option will have its pros and cons, and making the right choice is all about trade-offs. Will you need to purchase a new vehicle? Will certain options eliminate additional seating? Are the best options beyond your means? An experienced Mobility Consultant will help you understand each combination as well as the benefits and limitations they present.

4 Helpful Reminders!

  1. Don’t buy a car or wheelchair lift without talking with us first! Too often, people buy a new vehicle expecting to equip it with a wheelchair lift, only to find out later that it won’t work. Other times, people buy a used wheelchair lift on the Internet or from a friend, again only to find out that it won’t work with their car or wheelchair. Take your time, and hold on to your money until you are sure you have the right solution—it will save you in the long run!
  2. Don’t buy less than you need. While wheelchair and scooter lifts make transporting your device easier, they may be difficult for elderly people or individuals who have trouble bending or standing. If you have a hard time using a more manual lift, you will not use it as much, and your mobility/independence will be limited. Also, you could be risking injury if you have a hard time handling a more manual wheelchair lift. Since you will be making a financial investment in a wheelchair lift you’ll hope to have for a long time, make sure you get the best solution for you.
  3. Avoid exterior lifts. We recommend that you avoid investing in an exterior wheelchair lift, if possible—and especially in northern climates. Exterior lifts are the least expensive and take up no space inside the vehicle. However, your mobility device is exposed to the elements even if it is covered. In addition, having a 3- or 4-foot lift hanging off the back of your car is a hazard, and many people damage the lift and mobility device (as well as other people’s cars, mailboxes, etc.) while backing up. You will find that buying a more expensive lift is better than paying for repairs!
  4. Plan for the future. If the condition of the wheelchair user or companion is likely to result in additional mobility loss or loss of strength, be sure to take this into consideration. You may be better off buying a better lift or even going straight to a wheelchair van rather than taking an interim step. Your Mobility Consultant can help you to make this determination.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I move my wheelchair lift to a new vehicle later?
If you stay with the same style of vehicle, you will most likely be able to transfer your wheelchair lift. You may need to acquire a new mounting kit in order to transfer. Again, ask us first! If you are changing vehicle types then you may not be able to use the same lift in your new car. With a quick phone call, we can answer this question for you.

What if I get a new wheelchair or scooter? Do I have to get a new lift?
You will most likely not need a new wheelchair lift, but you probably will need some new mounting hardware to accommodate the new wheelchair or scooter. Again, it is better to be safe than sorry, so give us a call with the new make and model of your wheelchair/scooter, and we will give you the correct answer.

What if I want to sell my car? Can the wheelchair lift be removed? Will it leave marks?
In most cases, the wheelchair lift can be removed, and with some minor repairs, only minimal damage or wear will be visible.

As with any major mobility purchase, we encourage you to do your research and to consult with an experienced Mobility Consultant. The team at VCI Mobility is ready and willing to help you in any way that we can…contact us today.

Automatic Wheelchair Locking Devices

What Is an Automatic Wheelchair Locking Device?

QStraint Wheelchair Locking System

Automatic wheelchair locking devices are products designed to secure an occupied wheelchair during transport. What makes them automatic is that the wheelchair user only needs to move the chair into position for the locking device to engage. When it is time to release, the push of a button disengages the lock, and the wheelchair user can then easily exit the vehicle.

Compare this to manual or retractable tie-down straps. For strap systems, each of the four straps must be placed on the wheelchair and tightened down individually by hand. The person doing this usually needs to get down on the floor and reach over or behind the wheelchair to make this happen, which can be challenging and tedious–especially if it needs to be done several times a day!

What Are the Components of an Automatic Wheelchair Locking Device?

QStraint Wheelchair Locking System

QStraint Wheelchair Locking System

EZ Lock Bracket

EZ Lock Bracket

EZ Lock Floor Mount

EZ Lock Floor Mount

An automatic wheelchair locking device, such as those manufactured by EZ Lock or QStraint, has two primary parts: a bracket and a floor mount.

The bracket is a pin or bolt-like piece that is attached to the bottom of a wheelchair. The floor mount is a “box” that is bolted to the floor of the wheelchair van. The bolt then slides into the v-shaped slot in the floor mount, and the lock snaps onto the bracket.

In addition, there is a control switch typically mounted on the dashboard of the vehicle that lets the user release the lock when exiting the wheelchair van.

Automatic wheelchair locking devices are popular because they make the tedious chore of securing a wheelchair not only easier, but also more “accurate.” While automatic wheelchair locking devices are more expensive, our customers who use them will tell you that they are a good investment because of their convenience.

Are You Looking to Sell Your Used Wheelchair Van?

We Buy Used Wheelchair VansWhether you’re upgrading to a new wheelchair van or no longer need the one you currently have, you should know that VCI Mobility is always looking to buy good-condition used lift- or ramp-equipped wheelchair vans. VCI Mobility will help make the process of selling your vehicle a convenient, efficient, and hassle-free experience.

How Does the Process Work?

If you’re interested in selling your used wheelchair van, just give us a call! In many cases, we can give an estimate over the phone based on your vehicle’s year, make, model, mileage, and wheelchair-accessible conversion type.

We will make a final price offer after we’ve had the chance to inspect your wheelchair van and have our in-house technicians evaluate it more thoroughly.

The VCI Mobility Consignment Program — An Alternate Way to Sell Your Wheelchair Van

As an alternate way to sell your wheelchair van, VCI Mobility also offers an excellent consignment program. Within the VCI Mobility Consignment Program, your vehicle is placed on our lot and is shown to consumers by our Professional Sales Representatives. Within the consignment program, you continue to maintain ownership of your accessible vehicle until it is sold. At the time that your vehicle is sold, a consignment fee is paid to VCI Mobility from the proceeds of the vehicle sale.

Please note that a stipulation of the VCI Mobility Consignment Program is that you will be responsible for any repairs or modifications, vehicle detailing, etc., that may be required in order to bring your vehicle to an optimal selling condition.

How Do You Start?

If you’d like to consider selling your wheelchair van to VCI Mobility – or working with us through our consignment program – please fill out our online form or contact Tim Liebig at 610-666-7724.

Simulated Driver Testing and On-Road Training is Available

Overcoming a Traumatic Injury or a Disabling Medical Condition is Compounded with the Loss of Driving Capabilities. Programs are Available That Assess Whether Driving Hand Controls Can be Used — and Help to Get a Patient Back on the Road.

Think about how many times you use your car in a week — and then imagine that it’s gone. You suddenly find yourself needing to rely on friends and family every time you need to go to the store or to run a simple errand. For people who have suffered a disabling event in their lives and can no longer use their vehicle, this is the reality they must face every day.

DTS Driver Traing SimulatorFortunately for many of our clients, there are dedicated physical therapists and driver-rehabilitation specialists that are trained to help people with getting back their independence. One of the many tools being used in rehab training is the use of a driver simulator that specialists use to train patients on the use of hand controls. After the simulator training is completed, they will then decide if the person can continue with an on-road assessment with a specially fitted car that has hand control equipment installed. Once a program is completed and the referring physician approves of the specialist’s adaptive equipment recommendations, hand controls and other sophisticated devices can be installed on almost any type of vehicle to make that happen.

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