A Weighty Question About Wheelchair Vans
Like all humanity, people in wheelchairs run the gamut of shapes and sizes, and their wheelchairs come in a variety of sizes, too. If you're shopping for a handicap van, it's important for you to know that your weight combined with the weight of your wheelchair determines which van or vehicle style will suit your needs best. Do you know the combined weight of you and your mobility device?
For most people in wheelchairs, a wheelchair accessible minivan is the more cost-effective way to have mobility independence. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) mandates that the ramps on wheelchair vans must support at least 600 pounds--which includes the individual, the wheelchair, and any accompanying accessories like an oxygen tank or portable respirator--and conversion-van manufacturers whose designs include ramps typically comply.
Beyond the Limit
In some cases, the conversion manufacturer goes beyond the ADA requirement. For example, the ramps on the AMS brand conversions can handle 800 pounds safely. That said, some power chairs (unoccupied) can weigh as much as 500 lbs., limiting the weight of the user to 300 lbs. or less.
Those with a combined weight (wheelchair user and the wheelchair) that exceeds 800 lbs. can still gain enhanced mobility with a wheelchair accessible vehicle, though an adapted minivan will not be the best solution.
A full size handicap van would be the vehicle of choice, with an 800-1000 lb.-capacity wheelchair lift. The most expeditious solution for accommodating your needs might be to consider purchasing a full-size van new or used, and have the van modified for wheelchair use according to your specifications. It is possible, however, to find a used, already-modified full size van with a high-capacity lift. Some online research and a few phone calls or emails to reputable, online wheelchair van dealerships or local dealerships will help you locate full size used wheelchair vans for sale that meet your requirements.
It's all about quality of life, and mobility solutions for people in wheelchairs will get you where you want to go.