Tag Archives: wheelchair accessible

How to Choose the Right Type of Accessible Van

How to Choose the Right Type of Accessible Van

A wheelchair-accessible van has modifications that enhance the mobility of people with disabilities. Such vehicles have general conversion steps that make them suitable for individuals in wheelchairs. However, different people have different requirements, and some are more specific than others. If you are a person who likes tailored options, then you need some criteria when choosing your next wheelchair-accessible van. Here is more insight into selecting the best accessible van that covers all your needs.

Type of Wheelchair Van

Manufacturers adjust the accessible van depending on whether the individual in a wheelchair is the passenger or the driver. If you intend to drive the wheelchair van, you should opt for one with a full floor side entry. You can easily modify a side-entry wheelchair van. It works well with parallel parking. Such a design enables you to access the driver seat quickly without needing extra help.

If you are sure about never having to drive, you can choose a rear-entry van. Rear-entry vans can only accommodate little modification. They are suitable for perpendicular parking.

Look at the Dimensions

Considering the fit of the wheelchair-accessible van is essential for providing the appropriate amount of space for any of its occupants. Keep in mind the measurement of your wheelchair when deciding on the width of the van. For instance, a wide wheelchair requires wider ramps than regular. When you pay attention to such measurements, you can avoid buying an extra-large vehicle that surpasses your budget or a narrow one that doesn’t give you enough room.

Budget

Exploring choices that are strictly within your budget is necessary for avoiding extra costs. Before making a purchase that strains your pocket, be sure to check out all the vehicles you can afford. You can request quotes from several sellers then analyze all of them. Ensure that the features are worth your money.

Which Brand Should You Choose?

There are different models of wheelchair-accessible vans in the market. Below you’ll find some high-quality options.

Dodge Grand Caravan

One of the earliest wheelchair-accessible vehicles is the Dodge Grand Caravan. It gives users more accessibility for different wheelchair positions. Also, the latest models have a power ramp system and a low-lying floor to ease entry into the van. Some Dodge Grand Conversions are the AMS Legend, AMS Edge, and AMS Edge II. Depending on the seller, prices range from $43,179 to around $55,000 for both rear-entry and side-entry models.

Chrysler Pacifica

This wheelchair-accessible van comes from one of the most trusted car manufacturers. Chrysler’s conversions use the most recent technology to offer luxury with their adequate interior space and high accessibility quality. The VMI Chrysler Pacifica provides 360 degrees of maneuverability, a stylish in-floor ramp, and interchangeable front seats. Models include the Touring Plus, Touring L, and Touring L Plus with prices starting from $50,480.

Toyota Sienna

The Toyota Sienna van is convenient for anyone who needs advanced mobility.  You can enjoy the removable seats, extra head space, and keyless remote control. If you decide to go with the Toyota Sienna, you can choose either a side-entry or rear-entry model to serve your desires. There are several conversions of Toyota Sienna wheelchair vans, including the Toyota Power In-floor, Toyota Power Foldout XT, and Toyota Rear-Entry Manual. The conversions have a price starting from $58,535.

Learn More About Wheelchair AccessibleVans

With the right wheelchair-accessible van, you can stay mobile and enjoy your wellbeing. Ensure that you test drive or practice how you can access the vehicle to determine if you are comfortable. The van you choose should have most, if not all, the features in your list. For top-notch consultation and advisory on how to choose the right type of accessible van, contact us, and we will be more than willing to assist.

Should I Get a Used or New Wheelchair Van?

Should I Get a Used or New Wheelchair Van?

Buying a wheelchair van is essential to getting around with mobility limitations. With the right van, any handicap parking area or open pavement is a place you can deploy from. For the adventurous and very busy, you may spend a great deal of time in your van traveling from mission to mission. Your van can become a home base, a road trip vessel, or your personal tour bus to enjoy the city depending on how you configure and use it.

One of the most important choices whether to by a new or used wheelchair van. This choice will guide your further selections. In fact, there are five aspects to this choice. We’ll explore the pros and cons of each one.

New Wheelchair Van

  • The latest guaranteed, warranted, off-the-line van.
  • A new van on a lot manufactured some time in the last three year

Used Wheelchair Van

  • Certified pre-owned, like-new van
  • Pre-modified wheelchair van, used with perks
  • A used van that can be modified

Brand New Van

If budget is no object, you can order the latest model of your favorite type of wheelchair van. You can order it with your favorite trim and features or pick a nice standard model and finish the modifications yourself.

A brand new wheelchair van comes with a lot of pros. The quality and performance is guaranteed, and it likely comes with a very nice warranted for the first few years. The downside is also clear. A brand new wheelchair van will be your most expensive option and has the second-most requirement for personalization to make it right for your lifestyle.

New Wheelchair Van Off the Lot

Your next option is to pick an available wheelchair van off a new vehicle lot. These new vans will have been manufactured sometime in the last 3 years, including the most common models and colors. Off-the-lot vehicles, especially from previous years, are more likely to come at a lower price and cycle through available discounts. If you have your eye on a specific model or color, look around at dealerships in your surrounding area and let them know of your interest. Dealerships eager to sell can sometimes source you what you’re looking for.

New vans off the lot are usually high-quality, guaranteed performance, and come with fair to exceptional warrantees. But they can have small defects (and discounts) due to lot events like bad weather or a year in the sun. These vans are the most likely to need modification (no special trim) but are more reasonably priced than the latest models.

Certified Preowned Wheelchair Van

If you’re buying a used wheelchair van, the best place to start is with certified pre-owned vehicles. These have been checked out by certified mechanics, often repaired and touched-up before they are sold to a new driver. Certified pre-owns tend to have lower mileage than other used vehicles and are guaranteed not to be lemons.

A certified pre-owned van will be like-new with maybe a few fades, scuffs, or missing floormats. The benefit is that the price will be significantly lower, by a few thousand at least, and the quality will be just as good. Most dealerships that sell certified pre-owned also offer good warrantees for the first few years of ownership.

Used & Pre-Modified Wheelchair Van

An interesting and affordable alternative is to buy a used wheelchair van from someone who has already modified it for their optimal use. If your driving or riding styles are similar, you could reap the benefits of a pre-modified wheelchair van. These vans tend to have more miles on them, but they can also be more comfortable, easier to use, and include personal innovations that no new van would have.

There are many used wheelchair vans on the market because needs and lifestyles change and there’s always someone looking to buy. Both the discount and the modifications can be beneficial, but it’s also a personal choice whether you’d rather a new unmodified van instead.

Used Van to Modify

The final option is a used van that might not be ideal, but can be modified. Whether you’re on a shoestring budget or can’t find the right wheelchair van, remember that you don’t have to start with the perfect design. It’s okay to think outside the box when it comes to used wheelchair vans. In fact, if you have a unique idea for your wheelchair van, it’s sometimes easier to start with a cleaner slate, like an empty cargo van with the right kind of doors. If this is your goal, you can save a bundle by broadening your used van search criteria for the best body at the lowest cost.

Learn More About a Used vs New Wheelchair Van

Should you buy a new or used wheelchair van? The answer will come down to your budget, your plans, and the vans available in your area. New and certified preowned vans come with guaranteed performance and warranties. At the same time, used wheelchair vans are easily modifiable and in a more comfortable price range. The choice is yours.

dog taking a treat from a person's hand

Giving Thanks Series: Mobility For Our Furry Friends

a dog walking with the help of his wheelchairOur pets can be a source of unconditional love and endless joy. It can be heartbreaking when something hinders them from being active and playful. However, just like assistive technology that give humans mobility freedom, there are also devices for pets!

November is all about giving thanks. We wanted to start off our four-part Giving Thanks series by showing some appreciation for our furry friends. Below is an overview of some cool and creative assistive devices that can help our pets live their best lives.

Pet Wheelchairs

In the past, it wasn’t easy to find furry friends with mobility issues the help they needed, but now pet wheelchairs are widely available from a variety of retailers. And it’s all thanks to a pioneering WWII vet turned veterinarian, Lincoln Parkes. In the 1960’s wheelchairs for animals just weren’t available. Parkes, driven by a passion for animals, set about creating a simple device. It was made out of planks of wood and toy wagon wheels. These prototypes for his first dog wheelchairs evolved into the more advanced wheelchairs that we see today. These wheelchairs are now lighter, more comfortable, and more mobile than ever, and available for not only dogs, but cats, goats, pigs and chickens.

cat with a wheelchair

Photo: handidappedpets.com

Pet wheelchairs come in two basic types, rear wheelchairs which have two wheels, and quad wheelchairs, which have four wheels for added support. Wheelchairs are designed to be adjustable for to fit a variety of sizes, but can also be custom made for individual pets. The list of available attachments is growing, with slings for belly and back support, slings for leg and foot support, and even ski attachments for pets that live where it snows.

You don’t have to look very far to find heartwarming stories about pets that have been given a second chance by caring humans that find or build them the wheelchairs they need. Check out these adorable and resilient animals that are making strides in their carts and wheelchairs.

Braces and Splints

white dog wearing a splint on back leg

Photo: handicappedpets.com

Sometimes our pets just need a little extra support for a portion of a limb or a joint. That’s where braces and splints come in. If a pet has a temporary injury or needs long-term support, braces are a great solution. Quality pet braces are made with strong plastics and non-porous foam lining so that bacteria will not be a problem. Pet braces are most often designed for the lower part of an animal’s legs. Though, there are designs that aid the elbow joints as well. Finding the proper brace can be a little complicated but veterinarians are a great resource to help and My Pet’s Brace has made this handy guide for a little more information about the different types of braces.

Prosthetics

Prosthetic limbs are available for dogs and other pets as well and require the most customization and care of the devices. A snug and comfortable fit allows for proper weight distribution so walking can be easy and painless. Prosthetics come in different sizes, shapes, and colors and can even be found in the cheetah leg design similar to those worn by famous athletes such as Aimee Mullins and Kim De Roy for pets that really like to stay on move.

Conclusion

Whether walking on paws, hooves, or wheels, pets can be an amazing source of love, devotion, and just plain fun. For the disability community, sometimes pets are more than just companionship – they actually aid in their owner’s independence. When something happens to our animals, helping them regain mobility freedom and a happy life is the least we can do to repay all they do for us.

Like what you’re reading? Check out our blog for more great articles! And you can view our large selection of wheelchair accessible vehicles here.

bright orange pumpkins in a pumpkin patch

10 Creative Halloween Costume Ideas for Wheelchair-Users

It’s hard to believe that Halloween is almost here and will kick off the holiday season. This first fall holiday is all about having fun – dressing up for trick-or-treating, costume parades, sweet snacks, scary movies and parties are common pastimes. If you’re incorporating a wheelchair into your costume, it’s an opportunity to bring some extra creativity. Many creative kids and inventive adults have truly taken this task to the next level.

If you’re still trying to decide on your costume or helping out a loved one, check out these cool costumes.

Master of the Seas

Building a ship around a wheelchair for Halloween gives way to all sorts of fun costume ideas. Dressing up as a generic pirate is a classic costume, but other options include more specific choices, such as Captain Jack Sparrow, Blackbeard, the famous female pirate Anne Bonny, Prince Eric from The Little Mermaid or, for kids, Moana is a great option.

Supplies:

  • Cardboard for ship
  • Tall stick and sheet-flag
  • Markers and paint
little girls in power chair dressed up as Moana

Photo: thislittlemiggy.com

I Am Batman

Over many decades, boys, girls and adults have adored the popular Batman franchise whose heroic characters may lack superpowers but have gadgets galore including the infamous Batmobile. Parents of eleven-year-old Gavin truly enjoyed going all out building Batman’s ride to transport their son around their neighborhood in style on Halloween. You can try to build something similar to them, or create a less-complex version with cardboard. One thing’s for sure – this would be a costume to remember!

Cruising in a Kayak

boy incorporating his wheelchair into a halloween costume of him riding in a kayakSpeaking of water, the creative minds over at the Fine Craft Guild have showcased a boy riding inside his rowing vessel with the namesake “Toddler Tour Kayaks.” This watercraft Halloween costume almost completely encompasses the tiny tot’s wheelchair and comes complete with oars as trim. Paint any name you want on the side!

Supplies:

  • Large pieces of cardboard
  • Paint
  • Clear packing tape
  • Straps or zip-ties to attach the “kayak” to the chair
  • Small oars for props

Princess Power

Little girls have been dreaming about being Disney princesses for decades. Thus, a four-year-old from Minneapolis made headlines with her Princess Sophia-inspired carriage complete with lights and trim. Kudos to the design team behind this transformed a motorized wheelchair. All you need is a princess outfit, then decide how elaborate you want to decorate the “thrown.” You could go all out by attaching cardboard or just tie some cool streamers and bows onto the chair to make it fancy.

 

Seated on The Game of Thrones

Adults can get in on the Halloween fun, too!  If you’re willing to put some time and energy into a bit more of an elaborate costume – and if you’re a fan of the show – this Game of Thrones-inspired throne could be a perfect choice. Although “winter is coming,” the person who shows up in his costume should get more than a warm welcome this Halloween.

guy in a power chair in a game of thrones halloween costume

 

Super Smart Mario Kart

Super Mario and all the related games are iconic across generations. Mario Kart is a fun and creative option for a Halloween costume incorporating a wheelchair. Standard supplies are below, but images and full instructions for re-creating Mario’s Kart can be found on the blog from Wheelchair Costumes. Just pick your favorite Super Mario character costume to top it all off!

Supplies:

  • Cardboard Vehicle Frame
  • Styrofoam Booster Jets
  • Tissue Paper Flames
  • Paint

Rocking and Rolling

boy in a wheelchair with a halloween costume that looks like he is playing the drumsAnother fun costume idea from Fine Craft Guild, is a rock star. While the drummer is commonly seated at the back of the band, with this costume, percussion takes center stage. With a little imagination, this musician is seated behind a sweet bass drum and smaller drums, and symbols, too. Throw on some rock star attire, and this costume is ready to roll!

Supplies:

  • A hula hoop
  • Cardboard
  • Solid-colored gift wrap (shiny for more effect)
  • 2 coffee cans
  • 2 disposable pie tins
  • A stick or pole for the symbols (pie tins)
  • Drum sticks for props

Race Car Driver (or other cool car)

For those who like to go fast, there are so many possible designs to turn a wheelchair into a super cool fast car. From an Indie 500 car to the Delorean, to your favorite sports car, there are lots of options. Similar to Mario Kart, all you need is cardboard and paint, plus a helmet for the full effect. You could even attach some battery-powered LED lights on the front for a cool effect!

Life on the Farm

Another creative costume for kids and adults involves transforming the wheelchair into a tractor! With similar supplies as we’ve mentioned above, and a little green or yellow paint, it’s easy to become a full-fledged farmer this Halloween. Grab a cowboy hat, a bandana and a piece of straw to chew on, and you’re all set! Yee-haw, ya’ll!

little boy in a wheelchair with a tractor costume

 

 

If you’re in the market for a new wheelchair accessible vehicle or need a rental to make this Halloween special, be sure to check out our huge inventory of new and used vans. From all of us here at AMS Vans, we hope that all who celebrate enjoy safe and happy Halloween festivities! If Halloween’s not your thing, then we wish you a Happy Fall!