For many people, a wheelchair is their primary means of movement due to a disability that they may have. This means accessibility is vital. Not only within their home but outside as well.
This is where a vehicle wheelchair lift comes into play.
There are several types; some fit inside of the car, and others on the outside. So, in this article, we’ll attempt to shed light on this topic.
Deciding Factors for Choosing a Vehicle Wheelchair Lift
A wheelchair lift will allow you to transport your means of mobility in your car. It can undeniably open up possibilities, because you’ll be able to get around no matter where you’re traveling. You’ll no longer have limited access to places.
Depending on the size and type of vehicle you have, you can transport the wheelchair inside your car. There is an option to travel with the gear secured outside too.
The most important thing to remember is to match your vehicle with your needs and capabilities. Consider consulting professionals to gather all the relevant information.
There are various ways to categorize wheelchair lifts. They can be platform or arm lifts.
With platform lifts, you can wheel your gear onto the designated platform. It’s then raised and placed inside the car. The person can even stay seated. They are secured by a guardrail to keep the wheelchair from sliding around.
Arm lifts are mostly used if you want to store your wheelchair inside the car. They pick up the chair and can be electronic or manual. Arm lifts can be compatible with many different vehicles.
This type of lift is secured to the outside of the vehicle. A trailer hitch receiver is mounted at the rear of the car, so the wheelchair can be transported without taking up space in the car.
It means that outside lifts can be fastened on any vehicle, regardless of size or measurements. Also, if you ever need to transfer the wheelchair from one car to another, outside lifts accommodate this action.
One person can manage the outside lift. You’ll need to stand upright for several minutes while the lift operates.
To secure your wheelchair, you will have to use straps to tie it down. Additional covers could be used to protect the gear while in transit.
It’s recommended that the person operating it can push the wheelchair onto the platform.
There’s also an option to drive the mobility device on the platform. However, to control the lift, you will need to be out of the wheelchair and comfortable with minimal movement.
Power lifts are a type of outside lifts. They fold against the car automatically when they’re not in use. It can save up space, as well as provide practicality. They don’t obstruct access to the trunk either.
Power lifts also give users maximum capacity, and power isn’t an issue. These lifts can either be connected to the car battery, or a separate battery pack.
This vehicle wheelchair lift is generally more suited for vans or SUVs. The elevator is installed in the cargo area of the car. For this reason, there should be suitable space inside the vehicle.
Much like with an outside lift, a person can drive onto the lift’s platform. The lift has a mechanical system that will raise or lower the wheelchair automatically.
When using hybrid lifts, you should still secure your wheelchair with straps. Many of these lifts also have automated features that help to keep the wheelchair in place during transit. The hybrid lift should be used with assistance.
These can also be called indoor lifts. As the name suggests, these lifts are installed inside the vehicle. Like hybrid lifts, they’re settled in the cargo area. The lift pushes outward and fits the wheelchair inside the car.
The setup is compact and can fit in cars where space might be an issue. However, mobility and ease of usage are lesser than hybrid lifts. Mostly, it lacks automation that other versions of vehicle wheelchair lift have.
More manual labor is involved with this type of lift. A person needs coordination, dexterity, and a certain level of physicality to operate it properly. Inside lifts may also have hoists.
Because of the required manual effort involved, it is not recommended for people who have more severe conditions. Due to the lack of automation, inside lifts might be hard to control alone.
Carrier or Lift?
If you consider transporting your wheelchair outside of your car, you can choose an outside lift or a carrier. A carrier acts similar to the lift. It is less automated and has a ramp that the wheelchair can be driven up to.
Both of the means will require you to secure your wheelchair by tying it down. Exterior travels can damage the gear, so consider that before picking a proper method.
Consider the Weight
When selecting the best option, you have to consider how much it weighs. Vehicle wheelchair lifts should be able to lift more than the minimum weight of your gear. Additionally, the lift should match the car you are using.
In case you have several wheelchairs, pick according to the measurements and specifications of the bulkier ones.
Call a Pro
You should always contact professionals when installing a vehicle wheelchair lift. To properly set up a lift of any kind, you need to understand measurements of the vehicle, and what aspects might contradict each other, such as opening a trunk or rear car doors.