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Wheelchair Converted Vehicles vs Converted Cars: Which One Do I Need?

Women tests different wheelchair converted vehicles and converted cars for usability

In this article we look at the different types of disability vehicles. From wheelchair converted vehicles to converted cars, find out which one best suits your driving needs and disability.

As you are very likely already aware there are a wide range of vehicles and vehicle modifications available for drivers and passengers with disabilities. Wheelchair converted vehicles are only one type, and even those vary greatly.

The type of car and modifications you need depends on your individual mobility needs, driving goals and lifestyle. You may need a wheelchair accessible vehicle, converted car or a combination of the two.

Let’s look at each type of vehicle in more detail to help your decision making process – something an occupational therapist can also help you with (more on this later).

Wheelchair converted vehicles or converted cars?

There are two main types of disability car that are modified for drivers or passengers living with different abilities. These are wheelchair modified vehicles (typically called wheelchair accessible vehicles or WAVs) and disability converted vehicles.

Each fulfils different practical needs to help support people with limited mobility.

Vehicle TypeDescription
Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle (WAV)A WAV is a structurally modified vehicle that allows you to enter and exit the vehicle in your wheelchair.
Converted CarA converted car uses adaptive controls to allow you to transfer driving functions, so you can drive with limited mobility. No structural modifications are needed.
examples of wheelchair converted vehicles vs converted cars

Wheelchair accessible vehicle and converted car costs

When it comes to getting a WAV or converted car, there is no one size fits all. You’ll need to look at your car plus the modifications you need and the labour involved with that, then cost all of those out before arriving at the final dollar figure.

Here are some examples of costs to consider:

Base vehicle

The cost of your base vehicle is standalone and is separate from the modifications you choose.

Driving controls

A spinner knob for a converted vehicle may cost you a couple of hundred dollars or more and depending on your individual needs this could be just one component of your modifications. Read about these 12 car modifications for disabled drivers to think about which ones can provide you with the best support.

wheelchair converted car
Wheelchair accessible vehicle

Structural changes to wheelchair converted vehicles could start at anything from $25,000.

In addition to transferring while remaining in your wheelchair, wheelchair accessible vehicles can be designed to accommodate driving in your wheelchair. There are many options to consider, from choosing wheelchair lifts and wheelchair ramps for cars through to a swivel seat and mobility storage options.

Also read about the ins and outs of buying imported or second hand wheelchair accessible vehicles.

Driver trained occupational therapist

Working with a driver trained occupational therapist (OT) can help you to get the right vehicle that’s compatible with the modifications you need for your individual mobility requirements. They can also help to source suppliers and quotes, identifying the costs before you make a final decision.

Your OT will help you decide whether wheelchair converted vehicles or converted cars better suit your lifestyle and mobility needs.

Woman gets lessons with modified car controls
Additional costs

Depending on how you manage your finances you may want to incorporate into your total cost the fees for working with an occupational therapist, having driving lessons with your selected modifications, getting licenced and certifying and registering your vehicle.

Choosing what’s right for you

Ultimately, your choice will be about what’s best for your physical needs, lifestyle and budget.

The more research you do beforehand, and the more time you spend trialling different driving modifications, the better the solution will be. Find out more in the A-Z Guide on Disability Converted Cars.

Wheelchair converted vehicles and converted car insurance

It may seem like a long road to securing the perfect car and modifications, we get it. But once you do, driving that road should be smooth sailing. Just be sure to safeguard your freedom to get where you want to when you want to. Our discounted car insurance for wheelchair accessible vehicles and disability converted cars can help greatly with that.

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