Used handicapped vans, also referred to as accessible vans, provide independence without the hefty price tag associated with brand new vans. Yet, when you buy a used model, researching your options is critical to ensure the vehicle fully meets your individual needs
From full-size vans to mini vans, there are a variety of models to consider. However, van conversions and adaptions vary from vehicle to vehicle so begin your search with an thorough understanding of the type of equipment and features you need.
To help identify your requirements for an accessible van, consider hiring a driver rehabilitation specialist. A driver rehabilitation specialist is an occupational therapist who has extensive knowledge of wheelchair vans. He or she will meet with you, assess your driving skills and provide a written description of the vehicle adaptations and features you require for safe, comfortable driving.
Where to Buy Used Handicapped Vans
To find used wheelchair vans that are in good shape, shop at a mobility vehicle dealership that is a member of National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA - www.nmeda.com). These dealers adhere to strict safety standards and only sell vans that have passed rigorous tests. Furthermore, dealers that are members of the NMEDA are typically better qualified to answer your wheelchair van-related questions.
If there are no used handicapped van dealers in your immediate area, you can look in the classifieds section of your local newspaper to see if you can find a private seller. The internet is also a resource for finding adaptive vehicles. Yet, you need to personally inspect and test drive the van before making a purchasing.
The advantage of buying from private sellers is that they are often more flexible on price. The downside is that the vans do not come with warranties or servicing options. Plus, you have no way of determining the reliability of the conversion equipment.
Handicapped Van Inspection
As noted above, be sure to visit the seller or dealer in person in order to take the van for a drive and test all the conversion equipment to ensure it's fully operable.
Carefully inspect the interior and exterior condition of the vehicle to get an idea of whether the van has been well cared for.
Ask about the van's maintenance history and whether any major repairs have been done. See if there is any warranty left a inquire about where the van has been serviced.
If possible, hire an independent mechanic to inspect the parts for you. Even purchasing a used van is a significant investment, so you want to be thorough when making your decision and take steps to ensure that the van you choose is the right choice at the right price for your situation.
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