Wheelchair lifts for cars vary and need to be carefully selected based on your vehicle type, available cargo area, size of wheelchair, and individual requirements.
There are two basic configurations for wheelchair lifts or carriers: "Outside Lifts" and "Inside Lifts."
As the name suggests, outside lifts for cars carry your wheelchair or scooter externally on a lift platform, which is attached to a hitch that is located on the back of your vehicle.
Some models require manual effort to raise, tilt and lower the lift platform when you are loading or unloading your wheelchair for transport. Power models are also available and work with a simple push of a button. Outside lifts are foldable or retractable when not in use to allow for easy tailgate access.
Conversely, inside or internal lift models are designed to raise your mobility chair from the ground into the trunk of your car or cargo area of your sports utility vehicle.
The lift mechanism is installed inside the car and operates like a hoist or mini-crane to elevate and rotate your wheelchair or scooter from the ground into your vehicle. As with outside lifts, you can choose between manual and power controls.
Before making your purchase, it is advisable to consult with a mobility specialist who is knowledgeable about adaptive vehicle modifications. He or she can assist you in choosing the best lift options for your car and budget, while taking into account safety and reconfiguration of vehicle parts.
To find a qualified expert in your area, contact the Association for Driver Rehabilitation Specialists (www.aded.net) at 866-672-9466 or sending an email from the website.
For more information on lifts for manual wheelchairs, scooters and power chairs, please see the article links below.
Types of Mobility Chairs
Wheelchair Sports Activities
Helpful Resource Organizations
Mobility Scooter Buying Tips
Portable Ramp Options