Wheelchair Lift Vans

Written by Patricia Tunstall
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Wheelchair lift vans either already have the lift installed, if they are used handicapped vans, or are van conversions that can accommodate a lift. Either way, an adequate door opening and interior space are critical. If stock vans are to be converted to wheelchair lift vans, consideration must also be given to such concerns as whether there is enough remaining space for passengers and other equipment.

Professional evaluators for disabled people can help assess the transportation needs of each individual to make sure that person purchases the right vehicle for the circumstances. If an existing van is to be converted, the disabled person can consult with an aftermarket mobility equipment installer, and the manufacturer of the van, such as General Motors.

Wheelchair Lift Vans and Braun Lifts

Braun introduced its innovative Vangater in 1977; this fold-in-half lift was a major breakthrough in adaptive equipment for vans. Aside from the obvious advantage of a power lift for the disabled, this Vangater was and is so compact and well-designed that it created more usable interior space and a clearer side view. This is an all-electric design, which means it is clean and quiet.

There is a manual override control and an auxiliary electric override to ensure that the disabled driver will not be left in the lurch if the van loses power. If this or any other lift is to be installed on an already-owned van, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends finding a qualified dealer to do the work. Ask for credentials, experience, and references; find out what kind of training their employees receive, and what kind of warranty comes with the work on wheelchair lift vans.

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