In this article, we explore different access points and types of wheelchair ramps for cars.
When purchasing a wheelchair accessible vehicle you’ll need to ensure it has a safe and easy avenue for entry and exit. How you access your car needs to suit your wheelchair dimensions and type, your parking space at home and away and, of course, you.
Wheelchair ramps for cars should accommodate a person’s height and mobility needs in a way that puts the least amount of strain on them while at the same time providing them with the most support.
Wheelchair lifts vs wheelchair ramps for cars
Besides wheelchair ramps for cars, another common method of accessing a wheelchair accessible vehicle (WAV) in one’s wheelchair is a wheelchair lift. So why choose one over the other? There are pros and cons for each.
For example, wheelchair ramps for cars take up less storage space in the vehicle when compared to lifts, making them convenient for installation in smaller WAVs. After you read this section on wheelchair ramps, find out more about wheelchair lifts for cars here.
Which you decide on will depend on several factors, such as your physical needs, where you park, the size and type of wheelchair you use, your budget and vehicle type.
The chosen method of accessing your vehicle can affect the base vehicle you decide to buy. This is why, if possible, it’s good to try out a variety of wheelchair ramps for cars before buying a base vehicle. Find out about buying wheelchair accessible vehicles here.
Side and rear entry wheelchair ramps for cars
Ramps can be installed in rear or side entry WAVs. They’re available in three types: portable, mounted (non-powered) and powered.
|Portable ramps||These are stowed in the vehicle and need to be lifted into position for each use. When not in use, portable ramps should be stored carefully to ensure they’re not a hazard in an accident.|
|Non-powered mounted ramps||These attach permanently to the vehicle but need to be manually lifted up and down when in use. If choosing a portable or non-powered mounted ramp, make sure you or your carer have the strength and agility to use them.|
|Powered ramps||Powered ramps are also attached to the vehicle but include an electric lifting system that moves the ramp into position at the touch of a button. They’re generally more expensive than non-powered though are much easier to use and don’t require any lifting.|
Watch this video to see an example of a powered ramp:
Questions to ask before you buy
If this is your first time buying a ramp, we suggest you speak with a specialist occupational therapist who has experience working with limited mobility and transport solutions. They can help you find suppliers, try out ramps and ensure you get one that’s suitable for your vehicle and your needs.
Read about driving with disability to see how a driver trained occupational therapist can help you fulfil driving your goals. There are a number of things to discuss with your occupational therapist and supplier when choosing a ramp. These include:
|Strength||Is the ramp strong enough to hold the weight of you and your mobility equipment?|
|Safety||Does it have non-slip surfaces and edge barriers? Are there controls to stop it folding when in use?|
|Motor failure||Does your powered ramp have a manual backup mechanism in case of motor failure?|
|Storage||Can the ramp be safely locked away when not in use?|
|Compliance||Does the ramp comply with Australian Standards?|
Pros and cons of wheelchair ramps for cars
Your ramp should always be safe and manageable. If you use a manual wheelchair, make sure either you, or if applicable your carer, are strong enough to push you up the ramp in your wheelchair. Or alternatively, that you use a powered wheelchair.
Buying a car is a long-term investment, so consider whether your strength or weight is likely to change over the next 10 years. And while you’re at it, read about choosing a wheelchair ramp for different environments like your home or office.
Protect your WAV and its contents
Your wheelchair accessible vehicle, assistive technology (like wheelchair ramps for cars) and your wheelchair are valuable to your mobility. To say the least! Not only are they priceless possessions that give you freedom and independence, they also cost a pretty penny.
It’s crucial to safeguard them with quality, reliable and insurance that will help cover the cost of replacement or repair if they’re stolen or damaged.
Did you know we offer up to 25% off car insurance for wheelchair accessible vehicles and disability converted cars? This covers assistive technology – like wheelchair ramps – that you keep in your car, provided you list them in your policy. You can also get quality affordable and reliable mobility scooter insurance and wheelchair insurance.
Contact us today to get a free quote.