Wheelchair Accessible Vans

The Wheelchair Accessible Vans section spotlights wheelchair vans in the news. We’ll explain the handicap vehicle laws and regulations behind handicap parking placards, handicap parking spaces, handicap parking permits, and other topics pertaining to accessible vans and their users. Look for illumination on new wheelchair vans, used accessible vans and information about converting existing vans into handicap accessible vans.

flat tire with jack

Items to Keep in Your Vehicle in Case of an Emergency

We can’t always predict what is going to happen, but we can take some steps to prepare for an emergency or unexpected situation. While you might already have your vehicle’s owner’s manual and insurance information available, adding a few more essential items in your vehicle goes a long way in making an emergency manageable, safer and more comfortable for all involved.

Let’s look at a few of those essential items you should always keep in your vehicle to be safe:

First Aid Kit

You can either purchase a prepackaged one or assemble your own first aid kit. If you choose to assemble your own kit, make sure you include bandages in various sizes, sanitary gloves, antibiotic cream, pain relievers, gauze, cotton swabs, as well as a hand sanitizer. Also, consider including a thermometer, heating pad, and medications you feel you might need.

Warning Devices

In case you are stuck on a busy road or in traffic, having an emergency signal or road flare will warn other motorists that your car is stalled. While some are foldable and can fit in your glove box, avoid storing your flares there or in any part of your car that gets very warm. It might also help to read up on the proper and safe way of lighting a road flare.

Map

Most people are so comfortable these days relying on their phones for navigation, that they don’t think to keep a map in their vehicle. It’s a good idea though, so you can find your way if your phone or other GPS device fails.

map

 

Spare Tire and Jumper Cables

They both can provide makeshift solutions to the most common issues you will experience with your vehicle. If you can find room in your vehicle, the spare tire will be useful when replacing a flat, while the jumper cables can be utilized to jump-start your vehicle in case of a dead battery. Even if you’re not able to use these things, having them handy will still help if a fellow motorists stops to lend a hand.

Tire Iron, Jack, and Tire Wedges

Having the proper tools to fix a flat tire is also a good idea. Whether it will be someone else changing the flat tire or you will be the one doing it yourself, having the right tools is the first key step. The tire wedges help keep your vehicle from rolling.

Flashlight

Though you might be tempted to use your phone as a source of light, it is best to save your battery, especially if you won’t be able to charge your phone. A flashlight is a better option – and offers brighter light, too. It will make it possible for you to analyze the extent of the emergency at night, and even signal someone for help. Remember always to have spare batteries.

Warm Clothes and Blanket

Keeping warm clothes and a blanket is essential, especially when temperatures drop, and your heater doesn’t work. Consider storing a thermal sleeping bag or a fleece blanket. Clothes like gloves, hats, and an extra sweater will be sure to keep you warm if you get stranded in cold places. Even during warmer months, temperatures can drop at night.

desert road

Food and Water

Store a few bottles of drinking water for drinking, and extra jugs for cooling your engine, in your trunk. Consider keeping some packets of electrolyte powered to add to your water to help you stay hydrated. Non-perishable food items and high-protein snack foods are also good to keep on hand in case you become stranded for a lengthy period of time. Energy bars are a great choice and last a while.

Chargers

Our phones play an important role in our lives, from communication to telling the time to our navigation. So, if your phone dies, your emergency situation could get more challenging. To be proactive, try to keep an extra phone charger in your vehicle at all times.

If you use a power wheelchair or another medical device that requires power, be sure to carry extra chargers for those in your vehicle, as well.

Towel and/or Cleaning Wipes

Depending on the type of situation you find yourself in, a towel or cleaning wipes may come in handy. You could need to clean up a spill in the vehicle or wipe your hands off.

These are just a few items that could go along way to making your unfortunate situation a little easier. So, grab a duffle bag or plastic storage tub and keep all these items somewhere accessible for a rainy day!

Peace of Mind with VMI Assurance

If you do find yourself on the side of the road, you won’t have to be there long with VMI Assurance. No one likes getting stranded in a broken-down vehicle, but we know that for a driver or passenger with mobility challenges, that situation can be much more than an inconvenience. Unfortunately, most roadside service or repair companies aren’t typically equipped to assist with getting accessible vehicles back on the road, and they’re especially not prepared to transport individuals with mobility challenges. Well, at VMI, we’re all about fixing problems for our customers. That’s why we partnered with Mobility Roadside Assistance™ (MRA) and At-Home Service™ provided by Wrench, Inc. to deliver the VMI Assurance program—an exclusive solution offered by VMI.

informative graphic about VMI Assurance program

Through our VMI Assurance program, we will provide one year of complimentary roadside assistance for customers who purchase a new or used vehicle with a new conversion from AMS Vans. What makes this different from other roadside services is that in addition to taking care of the vehicle, Mobility Roadside Assistance (MRA) will also assist the driver and passengers with paratransit service, ensuring they don’t end up stranded on the side of the road!

Contact us to learn more today!

road sign that says are you covered

Tips on Getting the Best Insurance Coverage for Your Accessible Vehicle

In case you are wondering if car insurance works differently for accessible vehicles, you are not alone. Luckily, we’re here to offer some tips on the process.

If you are a driver with a disability, the focus of your insurance is substantially similar to that of standard car insurance; accidents. The protection afforded to your wheelchair van mainly varies according to the coverage you select.

Points to Note hand holding a car in a bubble to represent car insurance

The only stipulation needed to drive in public is that you can drive safely, regardless of disability; and if you passed your driver’s test, then the state considers it safe for you to drive. Before looking at premiums, it helps to know what insurance companies base those premiums on.

Insurance companies are not allowed to base their premiums on a driver’s disability. They do, however; base their premiums on several other factors, including the following.

  • Risk analysis – Moody’s Risk Analysis is a tool some companies use to measure the level of risk among drivers and determine insurance rates.
  • Credit history – This helps companies determine whether the driver can pay their premiums on time while also estimate the likelihood of the driver dropping their policy.
  • Driving record – Your driving record is vital for determining your risk while on the road.
  • Marriage status – Your marital status might be another factor insurance companies look at while determining your rates.
  • Age – On average, people aged between 18 and 25 often have high rates, so if you are within this age bracket, don’t be surprised if your rates are a bit high.
  • Criminal record – Some companies might run a criminal background if they feel it necessary.

The best thing to do when getting insurance for your accessible vehicle is to research and compare options, and consult insurance representatives. It is not necessary for you to share your disability, but doing so gives them more information about your current status and might enable them to recommend better quotes for you.

According to the Americans with Disabilities Act enacted in 1990, it is illegal for anyone to discriminate in any way, against persons with disabilities; this includes car insurance companies that charge higher rates due to disabilities. Click To Tweet

When Applying

When applying for insurance, be sure to disclose your vehicle’s modifications because different types of changes can differently affect your rates. Be sure you get coverage for the adaptive equipment so it’s covered in case of an accident.

It is crucial that you request the details regarding the coverage you intend to apply for. When applying, also try to be as thorough as possible and ask all the questions, including the following. calculator, a pen and a list of numbers on a paper

Tips for the Best Insurance

Keeping this in mind, here are a few tips that will be sure to help you get the best insurance provider for your accessible vehicle.

  1. Look into the minimum requirements for your state.
  2. Keep your financial situation in mind; get a premium that is affordable and one that gives you adequate coverage.
  3. Review your driving record.
  4. If you have coverage already, look at how much you are paying and what is covered.
  5. Make a list of companies that interests you and get quotes from their websites or representatives.
  6. Contact them for further details about the coverage they offer.
  7. Ask about possible discounts and consider using the same company to combine coverage on multiple items (home, boat, etc.).
  8. Evaluate their reliability; read reviews, visit the website of your state’s insurance department. You could also talk to friends and family.
  9. After the last step, you probably have a shorter list; make one final review and pick the policy best for you.
  10. If you were previously covered, don’t forget to cancel your old policy.

Conclusion

Hopefully, this article has been helpful and will make getting insurance for your wheelchair van a lot less stressful. For more on accessible vehicles, feel free to visit our website.

Did you know that AMS Vans now offers one year of complimentary roadside assistance (including paratransit service) with the purchase of a mobility vehicle?! Learn more!

Synthetic Motor Oil vs Regular Motor Oil: Which Should I Use?

Hand mechanic in repairing car,change the synthetic motor oil close up selective focus

Motor oils are primarily responsible for keeping the engine from premature wear. When you find the right oil, your engine will serve you for longer. Choosing the right oil for your vehicle might seem like a simple job. However, engines are designed with a specific type in mind, and the more complex the engines become, so are the oils they require.

Choosing the right oil can become challenging when you begin examining the vast array of options available. But, we’ve come to the rescue! A little education goes along way. Understanding the basics of synthetic motor oil can help you make the right choice for your vehicle’s needs.

The API Symbols

API uses two symbols; the “Donut” and the Certification “Starburst.”

The “Donut.” This symbol, shaped like the sweet treat, has three parts. The top half describes performance levels, the center identifies viscosity, and the bottom informs you about the oil’s energy conserving potential. Performance levels are shown with an ‘S’ (which stands for Service) for gas engines and a ‘C’ (which stands for Commercial) for diesel engines.

Viscosity is all about temperature. It determines how well the oil flows at 0 degrees Fahrenheit and 212 degrees Fahrenheit. This is used for the oil’s designation; 5W-20, 5W-30, 10W-30 and 0W-30. It’s important to follow your vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations on SAE oil viscosity, which can be found under the hood or in your owner’s manual.

The “Starburst.” This certification shows that an oil displaying this mark meets the current engine protection standard and fuel economy requirements of the International Lubricant Specification Advisory Committee (ILSAC), a joint effort of U.S. and Japanese automobile manufacturers, according to API.org

motor oil certification and service symbols

What’s the Difference between Regular and Synthetic Oil?

There are a lot of differences between synthetic and regular motor oils. Synthetic oils being more refined and distilled means they have no impurities. The refinement also allows the oil to be tailored to the specific demands of modern engines. How do you determine whether regular or synthetic is the right type of oil for your vehicle?

There are two main differences between synthetic and regular motor oils. The first difference is in how they are made. Second, their functionality and how they affect your car. When it comes to performance, synthetic motor oil is better. Synthetic oil engines perform 47% better than engines using regular motor oil. Synthetic oil’s low level of friction protects the engine while the additives help clean engine deposits.

Further benefits of synthetic motor oils include; fewer emissions, longer oil change intervals, reduced engine drag, better all-weather protection, and a quicker engine start time.

Your manual should be the first reference point if you want to know what type of oil is right for your vehicle. Some advise the use of regular motor oils while others specify the use of synthetic motor oils. Click To Tweet

Other Factors to Consider

Although synthetic motor oils can often provide better performance while helping your engine maintain a longer life-span, that’s not always the case. Some older engines run better on conventional or regular oil. Other factors affect the efficiency of motor oil in use, including the following.

External Conditions

External conditions such as weather and driving habits and distance play a role in determining how efficient your motor oil will be. Low temperatures affect the start time of your engine while high temperatures cause motor oils to break down or even evaporate which exposes your engine to wear.

Longer driving distance means a prolonged running engine. This prolongs the exposure of heat your motor oil will have to endure. Longer distances also imply longer running time which could increase the amount of sludge deposited in your engine.

Still not sure which oil is best for your accessible vehicle? Check out this comparison from idrivesafely.com.

AMS Vans side-entry wheelchair accessible van

Budget

Also, with synthetic motor oil being six to ten times the cost of regular oils, budget is also essential to consider. If you can afford it, and it’s right for you vehicle, go for synthetic motor oils. If full synthetic motor oils are out of your price range, and you have the option to choose something else, consider going with a high-quality regular oil. Visit our site for varied accessible vehicles with different motor oil needs. We will help you identify the right oil for your vehicle engine.

Need service on your AMS Van? We offer nationwide service and repair!

7 Spring Maintenance Tips for Your Accessible Vehicle

For most people, the arrival of spring means merely taking off their snow tires. It is, however, much more than that. A harsh winter can take its toll on your vehicle. Here are just a few tips on how to not only get your accessible vehicle ready for spring but also repair the damage that might have been done by the harsh winter conditions.

Minibus accessible vehicle for physically disabled people.

Minibus with wheelchair accessibility.

1. Vehicle Spring Cleaning

Winter can be tough on all vehicles. Your vehicle has been through a lot. From salt and brine to the potholes. Road salt helps against ice, but it causes a lot of damage to cars. It can even cause brake failures. Salt-filled brine coats your vehicle’s underbody, and if left unattended, it will begin to erode. It is therefore recommended to take your car for an undercarriage wash.

2. Check Accessible Features

Pay attention to the door, ramp, and kneeler. Ensure the sliding door is free of debris. Fix any exposed, frayed, or damaged wiring on the sliding door. If your vehicle has a folding ramp or an in-floor ramp, spray hinges with a silicon-based lubricant. Ensure you can operate them without any issue. Contact AMS Vans service department to find out how to have your ramp, hand controls, and other accessible features serviced.

3. Check the Brakes and Tires

During winter, the vehicle usually deals with a lot of slippery conditions. In addition to that, the bumps from snow and ice will cause vibrations that loosen the alignment over time. Wheel alignment extends your tires’ life, steering control, vehicle performance and improves fuel efficiency.

When removing your snow tires, also check for feathering. If the feathering is too bad, it may require replacing of your tires. Ensure proper inflation of your warm weather tires. The impurities picked up from gritted roads might clog the brakes. Abrasions that usually appear in winter could lead to bodywork rust. Ensure you have your chassis checked during service.

4. Check A/C

To get ready for the heat, you should double check the air conditioning as well. Turn the AC on and make sure that max chill effect is achieved. Look out for any strange odors or noises coming from the system.

5. Check Windshield and Wipers

Winter conditions can damage your windshield and wiper blades. Repair the wiper blades if you notice they are frayed or torn. Run them across your windshield, looking out for streaking or other signs of malfunction. To avoid a complete windshield replacement, repair the chips that might appear on your windscreen. Lastly, top up the washer fluid whose levels might be a bit low after a winter of clearing away the grime and salt deposits from your windshield.

6. Check Engine and All Fluids

Start the engine and listen for any abnormal noises; rattling, grinding or clicking. Check to make sure your oil level is topped up. Take the accessible vehicle for an oil change if you feel it’s necessary. Look at your coolant and brake fluid. If your brake fluid is low, it is a sign the brake pads could be worn down.

7. Check the Battery

Check the battery for corrosion on the terminals. Clean them off with a toothbrush, a little baking soda, and elbow grease. Disconnect it first. Checking the shape is more complicated since it requires a battery tester. Take the car to a garage to find out if the battery needs recharging or replacement.

Find More Tips for Your Accessible Vehicle

The better you take care of your car, the longer it will last. AMS Vans is committed to supporting our customers throughout the process. However, if you feel that it’s time for a new look for a new season, we’ve got you covered! Why not trade in your accessible vehicle for a newer model? We offer a wide range of new and used cars. Browse our inventory here.