We’ve provided wheelchair vans for every disability. Today we’ll discuss what assumptions and mistakes people make when buying a wheelchair van. This is anecdotal from customers as well as from our own extensive experience providing these solutions.
1. Not understanding what they really need in a Van
People think wheelchair vans are all the same. They couldn’t be more wrong. Not only are there different makes and sizes of vehicles to choose from but, more importantly, there’s also different wheelchair features within these options.
The problem is they don’t know what they don’t know. When they go to a small wheelchair van dealer they often have a very limited selection and, being salespeople, they will try and sell you something they have.
The other problem is that people will then buy the first or second vehicle they see still not knowing there were potentially much better options available. Ultimately they may do themselves a massive disservice as a sloper van may have been a better option than a transfer chair, or a self-drive better than a sloper etc. Unfortunately the person selling the van isn’t going to take the time to educate them – especially if they can’t provide the best fitting solution.
So the first rule to ensure you don’t end up with the wrong, or almost right, wheelchair van is to look at all types of wheelchair modification features available and then make an educated decision that’s right for you – not for the person selling the vehicle.
2. People think price is everything
Whether you pay a little or a lot, money has little to do with wheelchair vehicles. Remember the vehicle is simply the instrument to house the wheelchair access modification and that’s the most important element. If a person sees a car with less km’s they automatically think it’s better than the same priced car with higher km’s. THIS IS A HUGE MISTAKE. The money is in how elaborate the wheelchair feature is. A wheelchair modification in one car could be worth as much as 2.5 times that of another.
So the person who buys the lower km version thinks they did the right thing. However, by spending the same money they could have got a fully electric modification worth twice as much that benefits them for their access and egress from the vehicle. Over the life of their ownership this is a massive benefit to them which they have forgone.
With your budget in mind, look for the best wheelchair feature for your needs and work backwards. If you know you want, or need, a fully electric hydraulic sloper van then look for a model in your price range. Remember, the car is a secondary, albeit still important consideration.
3. They think that more than 100,000km is too much
Remember that these wheelchair vans, especially brands like Toyota, are designed and engineered to do 500,000+ km. When you see a car with 100,000km on the clock it’s nothing in the life of this vehicle (providing there is service log books and supporting documentation so you know the km’s are genuine and the car has been looked after).
So back to point 2 for a second. You’re better to buy a 130,000km car with the right wheelchair feature access modification than a low km version with a cheaper modification for the same money.
The other thing is most customers who own wheelchair vans don’t put as many km’s on them as normal cars. Unless you’re operating a car facility and using them daily, they tend to be driven a lot less than the normal annual motoring km average. Plus, they’re driving a wheelchair access van not a sports car so invariably they are driven a lot gentler than normal cars too. So typically the km’s are less and the driving life is much easier. Starts to make that 130,000km car seem a whole lot better doesn’t it.
Put all that together with a higher km vehicle and it can spell BARGAIN. These type of vehicles are ones shrew customers actively look for not avoid. Also cars with slightly higher km’s have already experienced massive depreciation and the previous owner are the ones that have taken the financial hit….not you. That’s also better for future resale should you need to dispose of the car.
So PLEASE REMEMBER, don’t assume you know which wheelchair modification is right for you before you try them all. Also, BUY THE BEST WHEELCHAIR MODIFICATION VEHICLE FEATURE you can afford. And a car with higher km’s can be very good buying if you have the full service history and the car presents in excellent condition.
We wish you good investigating, and good buying.
Here’s a couple of things you should ask the person you are buying the wheelchair access van from:
1 Has the vehicle been in an accident?
2 Can I get the vehicle independently inspected?
3 Is it a factory wheelchair modification or aftermarket one?
4 Do you have a full service history (shows genuine km’s on the clock)?
5 Is the vehicle under finance (PPSR report)?
6 Does the vehicle have an engineering certificate if from Japan and all the necessary de-registration and export paperwork?
7 If you’re receiving an NDIS benefit is the dealer and NDIS registered participant?
8 Can you use your own wheelchair or only the one that comes with the vehicle?