Best Wheelchair Vans for Caregivers

wheelchair vans for caregivers

According to the CDC, there are approximately 61 million disabled adults in the U.S., with 12.1% of this population experiencing serious ambulatory difficulties. These stark figures highlight the need for accessible transportation solutions. 

Wheelchair vans are one mode of transportation that is not only valuable for individuals with mobility challenges but also indispensable for caregivers who have the responsibility of driving their loved ones to doctor’s appointments, malls, restaurants, social events, or other errands. 

But any old van won’t suffice. It has to be dependable, adaptable, and meet the specific needs of the person who’ll be using it. To ease your search, we’ve listed the top wheelchair-accessible vans for caregivers, explored customization options, and outlined key considerations for choosing the right vehicle that promises a comfortable travel experience. 

Different Types of Wheelchair Vans

At Clock Mobility, we have a diverse selection of wheelchair vans that are suited for both disabled individuals and their caregivers, such as: 

  • Full-sized Vans: These are larger vehicles with raised roofs and spacious interiors, making them beneficial for those who require more room for their wheelchair or are traveling with other family members.
  • Minivans: Clock Mobility’s minivans for caregivers, such as the Toyota Sienna and Chrysler Pacifica, are popular for their efficiency and ease of use. These WAVs have sliding doors and low ground clearance, making the ramp gradient less steep for effortless boarding. These spacious yet compact vehicles make them easier to maneuver and park. They are generally more fuel-efficient than their full-sized counterparts, making them a cost-effective choice for everyday use.
  • Ride-Up-Front Vans: Want to ride shotgun or take the wheel yourself? WAVs with transfer seats allow you to enjoy the view right next to your fellow passengers. Instead of traditional back seat modification, most of these vehicles are fitted with advanced transfer seats, like Braun Turny Evo, that swivel effortlessly, so you can transition to the front seat without uncomfortable transfer methods or time-consuming physical lifts. 

Essential Wheelchair Van Features for Caregivers

wheelchair vans for caregiversThe features of a wheelchair-accessible van can make or break the travel experience for both the passenger and the caregiver. If the vehicle does not have the necessary modifications, caregivers have to load the wheelchair manually, make frequent adjustments, and keep an eye on both the passenger and traffic conditions. This not only puts physical strain on the caregiver but also increases the risk of accidents due to divided attention.

When modifying your vehicle for wheelchair accessibility, one primary consideration should be the ease of access when moving the individual in and out of the van. Automatic ramps or lifts are a great option. They provide a hassle-free, smooth transition from the ground to the vehicle’s interior with just a press of a button. However, if you’re on a budget, manual ramps might be a more viable option. These require the caregiver to handle physical deployment and retracting of the ramp but are quite cost-effective. 

Modern wheelchair vans include various safety features for caregivers, such as wheelchair locks and tie-downs that secure the wheelchair to prevent sudden jolts and unwanted movement during transit. Additionally, you can opt for a climate control feature to adjust the temperature according to how chilly or scorching it is outside, GPS navigation for efficient route planning and real-time traffic updates, and backup cameras for safe parking. 

The van should be spacious enough for the caregiver to move easily and assist without awkward twists and turns. While these vans are equipped with helpful technology, investing in accessible driving controls is not necessary when a caregiver is primarily at the wheel.

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Top Wheelchair Vans for Caregivers

When shortlisting wheelchair-accessible vehicles for nurses and caregivers, we focused on ease of use, comfort, safety features, price, and technological convenience. Below are some of the top choices on the market:

BraunAbility CompanionVan

wheelchair vans for caregiversThe BraunAbility CompanionVan is available in multiple base vehicle options, including Chrysler Pacifica/Voyager and Dodge Grand Caravan SXT/SE. The CompanionVan offers side entry, allowing for less complex parking and positioning scenarios. 

It incorporates a manually operated bi-fold ramp that can withstand 1000 pounds, making it suitable for both manual and power wheelchairs. Plus, you have the option to upgrade it with a power ramp. 

While the front row can’t be altered, the middle row offers flexible seating configurations, which can be easily adjusted or removed to make room for up to two wheelchairs or extra passengers.

VMI Northstar Vans

If you opt for the VMI Northstar conversion, you have the option to choose between the Chrysler Pacifica/Voyager and Toyota Sienna. These chassis feature a power in-floor ramp with a kneeling system that creates an unobstructed entry and exit space while reducing manual effort.   

In any VMI Northstar, the front seat can be easily removed and made accessible with secure tie-downs, offering wheelchair users the unique opportunity to ride in the front passenger seat. Besides these accessible conveniences, this mobility van for caregivers is also equipped with safety features such as lane departure alerts, parking assistance systems, and blind spot detection, providing a pleasant driving experience. 

Buying Guide for Wheelchair Vans

When buying a wheelchair van, it’s important to keep the following points in mind:

  • Wheelchair-accessible vehicles are available in both new and used conditions. New models usually offer the latest features and typically come with a comprehensive warranty but are more expensive. If you’re shopping on a budget, you can opt for a pre-owned van; just make sure to factor in any potential repairs or modifications that would add to the cost. Regardless of the model you choose, you can rest assured knowing Clock Mobility’s vehicles are crash-tested for maximum safety.
  • Wheelchair-friendly vehicles can be expensive, with prices going all the way up to $95,000. If you can’t make a large down payment or are looking for ways to ease the financial burden, talk to Clock Mobility’s financial specialists. They may be able to guide you through various financing options and inform you about grants and other funding possibilities that could significantly lower your expenses.
  • Before buying, check the applicable warranties and review service contracts closely. Make sure all the modifications are covered under warranty. 
  • When in doubt, take the wheelchair van for a test drive before purchase. Test drives also offer the opportunity to assess the van’s handling, acceleration, and overall suitability for the intended user and caregiver.

Find Your Perfect Wheelchair Van with Clock Mobility

At Clock Mobility, we understand that purchasing a wheelchair-accessible vehicle for caregivers is a significant investment. That’s why we maintain a diverse inventory with the latest new vehicles and cost-effective used models.

Not sure which one is right for you? Take advantage of our try-before-you-buy rental option to select your dream car. For more information, feel free to contact us at  (866) 380-3326 or visit our locations in Michigan. Your key to more freedom is just a conversation away!


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