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Pros and Cons of Wheelchair and Handicap Vans

Image by Norma Mortenson from Pixabay

The pros and cons of wheelchairs and handicap vans are not always the same. For example, side-entry configurations require good side clearance, while the floorplan may impact the vehicle’s space. Also, parking spaces may be limited or not designed for wheelchair users. Additionally, you need to consider the number of wheelchair passengers you plan to transport. There are also considerations to consider, such as cost and convenience.

Side-entry configurations

Side-entry configurations of wheelchairs and handicapped vans make entry and exit from the van easier for wheelchair users. In addition, these vans have a removable driver’s seat, which allows wheelchair users to enter and exit the van safely. Driver seats are also available with power transfers and hand controls.

These vans are designed to accommodate wheelchairs and powered chairs or scooters. They have a low floor, making parallel parking easy and helpful for those living in areas with limited driveways. Some wheelchair-accessible vans have an extra bench seat in the back.

Side-entry vans also have greater resale value. Because they are more common than rear-entry vans, selling them is easy. However, this lower cost comes with trade-offs. Rear-entry vans are more expensive to purchase and convert than side-entry vans. Certain motor companies offer this type of van. In addition, you can check in wheelchair & handicap vans for sale.

Image by Michael Gaida from Pixabay

Safety features of wheelchair lifts

Wheelchair lifts can be installed in a handicapped van’s interior to provide easy access to the front passenger. There are several types of wheelchair lifts available. One type is a single-arm lift, which stows in the vehicle’s undercarriage when not in use. However, single-arm lifts have a smaller lifting capacity than dual-post lifts, which are not a good choice for people who need a larger wheelchair.

Wheelchair lifts in handicapped vans should be equipped with safety features. First, lifts should be equipped with a safety interlock to prevent them from operating in an unsafe environment. This system prevents the wheelchair from shifting into drive and sounds an alarm if it is in a dangerous position. The interlock will also prevent the wheelchair user from falling from the vehicle.

Another important safety feature is obstacle detection. This safety feature is especially important for vertical platform wheelchair lifts. They should have an obstacle detection system to avoid causing injury to the wheelchair user or van staff.


When considering the cost of wheelchairs and handicapped vans, you’ll want to look at the van’s interior. While there are many different ways to customize the interior, the most common van conversion involves lowering the floor to accommodate a wheelchair. This process can include installing a rear or side entry ramp. Side entry ramps are better for driving than rear entry ramps, allowing the driver to park in parallel parking spaces easily.

Before you purchase a wheelchair or handicapped van, consider your insurance coverage. Medicare, which covers most health care for people 65 and older, may partially cover the cost of a wheelchair. You can contact your Medicare health plan provider to determine if your insurance will cover the cost. In addition, other insurance plans may offer partial coverage for wheelchair vans.

If you’re on a tight budget, check out local Assisted Technology Exchanges. Some of these organizations have wheelchair vans for free or at low prices. 

white and black mercedes benz van parked on gray concrete
Photo by Stephen Leonardi on Unsplash


Wheelchairs and handicap vans are designed to accommodate people in wheelchairs. Many vans feature side entry ramps, which make it easier for wheelchair users to get in and out of the vehicle. In addition, the vehicles are equipped with power or manual ramps, and some even have fold-out and in-floor ramps.

Often, a smaller vehicle does not have enough space to accommodate a wheelchair. On the other hand, a wheelchair-accessible van is built with ramps and lifts so that wheelchair users can easily enter and exit the vehicle. They are also equipped with raised floors and high-side rails for navigation.

The seating configuration of a wheelchair-accessible van is based on the size and weight of the wheelchair. Some vans feature a rear entry wheelchair docking system, which allows a wheelchair to be pushed up the ramp and dock directly at the vehicle’s docking system. Another option is a portable/removable front passenger seat. Note, however, that there are state-imposed weight limits on a child who uses a wheelchair riding in the front passenger seat. A child must weigh at least 50 pounds and withstand an airbag to ride in the front seat. A wheelchair-accessible van should also have a mid-cabin seating location for children.