Choosing a Wheelchair Lift for Your Van

Model 1 | December 4, 2020

A van with a wheelchair lift in the back.

If you’re looking to modify a personal van to become wheelchair accessible, one of the first upgrades to consider is a wheelchair lift. Somehow, the wheelchair and the person using it needs to be able to get in the van relatively quickly and efficiently. A wheelchair lift may be a perfect choice to help achieve this. Choosing the right wheelchair lift is vital, so check out the tips we here at Creative Bus Sales have provided to help make this process easier. We’re also available to answer any questions when you contact one of our many locations across the United States, contact us today!

Why a Wheelchair Lift?

Wheelchair lifts aren’t the only option out there, but they can provide some unique advantages. First and foremost, they take up less space. Ramps often have to be quite long to make it easy to ascend them and be ADA compliant. Alternatively, a lift only requires the space needed to support the wheelchair. Additionally, by requiring the same amount of strength the wheelchair user would need to operate the equipment, wheelchair lifts require less effort than ramps. Finally, they can be a little easier to hide by working the storage into the van itself, as opposed to trying to squeeze a ramp between seats.

Size and Weight

One of the most important considerations when looking around at options is size. More than anything else, the lift should accommodate and support both the person with a disability and the wheelchair. But of course, the wheelchair lift shouldn’t be so big that it’s cumbersome for the van.

When it comes to weight, there are generally two options: single-arm and dual-arm lifts. Single-arm lifts are compact but tend to accommodate a maximum of 600 pounds. Dual-arm lifts are often more stable and can support up to 800 pounds, although they’re bulkier and may even limit the amount of space for passengers. Consider your needs and choose the option that provides maximum safety and comfort for all.

If the lift is for a transport business, consider looking into commercial options that will provide you maximum stability and support.

Brand Name

With this many moving parts, brand name matters. Finding a name that provides historically good performance with a plethora of great reviews should be a priority. These will likely be the more expensive options as well, but it’s better to invest a little more money now and not have to pay for a replacement than to shell out gobs of cash on repairs and have to mess with an unreliable lift.

Internal Mechanisms

For some, how the lift gets the job done can influence the final decision. Some models utilize hydraulics, while others use an electrical setup, and each comes with its benefits. For example, the hydraulic lift is less prone to electrical failure, while an electric option is easy to maintain and often more affordable. Before making your final decision, be informed about how each option operates and its advantages and challenges.

These are just a few ways to make it easier to find the right wheelchair lift, but at the end of the day, it’s often best to ask for help. When it’s time to get serious about modifying your van, contact Creative Bus Sales and let one of our associates help you find the right option for your needs.