According to reports, up to 3.6 million individuals in the American population can not leave their homes due to disabilities.
Thankfully, technology is rapidly solving the problem and lessening the need for relocating to assisted living and care centers. Today, you or your kin can easily travel in any vehicle despite their physical orientation.
A vehicle lift enables users to move in and out of their cars quickly. But the best choice depends on several factors. These include the vehicle and wheelchair model, make, year, travel lifestyles, and weight requirements.
Getting functional and efficient equipment depends on knowing about these tools. This article gives a comprehensive guide on choosing vehicle wheelchair lifts that meet your needs and other necessary factors.
How to Choose a Vehicle Lift
The market booms with lifts for all types of vehicles. But not every kind in the market will serve you sufficiently and be compatible with your vehicle. Thus, you need first to understand your car’s make, model, and year.
Different types of vehicle lifts function well with various mobility equipment. Establishing this fact enables you to get an alternative compatible with your wheelchair. Also, you should understand the specifications of your wheelchair (make and model).
Alongside vehicle and wheelchair details, the perfect lift also depends on your specific needs and how you intend to use and transport the device. Here are some types of vehicle lifts depending on the various factors.
The weight requirements of the user and wheelchair will determine the right choice of lift for you. Depending on the combined weight, you may consider a dual or single/sliding arm lift.
A single/sliding arm vehicle lift comes with either a single stationary arm or one fixed and one sliding arm. These types of lifts can accommodate up to 600 pounds of weight.
On the other hand, a dual-arm lift comes with two arms and has more weight capacity (up to 800 pounds).
After weight, the next set of vehicle lifts depends on how you intend to be transporting the equipment. Cargo space in your automobile, your preferences, and any special needs will determine the lift for your auto.
Considering the mode of transportation, you may settle on outside, inside, or hybrid lifts.
Outside Vehicle Lifts
Outside vehicle lifts are the best choice if you have limited cargo space. They allow you to carry the wheelchair outside the vehicle, saving cargo space. Also, they connect to almost all types of vehicles, regardless of the size.
However, these types of lifts expose your wheelchair to harsh weather and highway hazards. Thus, they may compromise your mobility equipment’s durability.
The outside vehicle lifts mount to a trailer hitch located at the back of the car.
Consider inside lifts if you have enough cargo space since you’ll need to install them inside the car. They’re most familiar with users driving in vans and SUVs.
Whether you need an inside or outside vehicle lift doesn’t only rely on your preferences.
Internal lifts require a higher level of coordination and agility from the user. Also, they aren’t the best option for patients suffering from joint disorders and arthritis.
Talk to your physician to establish whether you can use this type of lift with your rehab medical equipment.
Hybrid lifts mount in your vehicle’s cargo area like their inside counterparts. Thus, they’re also familiar with van and SUV users, considering the space requirement. The best feature about hybrid lifts is their drive-on platform.
This character enables hybrid lift users to move onto the lift independently. Afterward, the device’s mechanical system performs the rest of the functions, including raising and lowering the mobility equipment in and out of the auto.
Inside and hybrid auto lifts are the best option if you are concerned about the effects of highway hazards and weather on your wheelchair.
Another element to consider when buying a vehicle lift is how the device mounts on your auto. Internally-mounted lifts are the best option if you’re thinking of easy maintenance and service. Additionally, these lifts are typically lower priced.
However, depending on the model, internal lifts take up more space and may bar the entrance to the front passenger seat. An under-vehicle lift offers a better alternative if you’re concerned about space and higher weight capacity. Nonetheless, they will cost you more.
An outside or hitch-mount lift attaches at the rear of your auto. They are easy-to-use and functional for many types of vehicles. When you are not using them, they hinge up and consume very little space at the back of your car.
What to Consider During a Vehicle Lift Buying
An auto lift is a significant purchase. You need to remember a few factors when pursuing the purchase process. These include budget, safety, and size.
The cost of auto lifts varies significantly, depending on the type of lift, safety features, size, and more. Ensure you find an option that falls within your budget but offers the best functionality and efficiency.
Safety is another significant factor to consider when purchasing a wheelchair lift. Some of the features to look out for include a non-skid platform, which ensures your mobility equipment doesn’t slide around easily when on the lift.
Similarly, consider a system with under-platform obstruction sensors. This feature prevents accidents resulting from underneath obstruction. A battery backup system also ensures that your lift remains functional even with a power outage.
Some insurances cover the cost of auto wheelchair lifts. You need to consider if your insurer has it under their coverage. It’s worth mentioning that the traditional federal Medicare doesn’t include lifts in their range.
But programs like the Medicare Advantage (MA) may cover the devices. If your insurer doesn’t include it, you may also check with federal and nonprofit organizations that support the needs of seniors within your locality.
Check the programs’ eligibility requirements on the Eldercare Locator website.
Buying a Vehicle Lift in Roanoke
The best vehicle lifts for your needs and specifications depend on several factors. But it’s worth noting that some autos may not be compatible with any vehicle lift. That’s why it’s imperative to work with an expert dealer to help you choose an option that fits your needs.
Freedom Mobility Center is a seasonal expert in providing complex rehab power wheelchairs and motion equipment. Contact us to let one of our experts guide you on the right choice of Roanoke vehicle lifts.