For most people, a wheelchair accessible van is a major family investment. Getting the most for your money is often a top priority. Here are 5 things to consider in getting a great value.
Convert a Used Minivan
Some manufacturers will convert a gently used minivan. Since cars depreciate value the most in the first year, buying a van that is 2 or 3 years old can save money. Be careful to look at the mileage and using a service like Carfax, you can check the history of the vehicle. Be sure to check in advance with Silver Cross Automotive on what models can be converted before you buy the van.
Rear Entry or Short Floor Side Entry
If you don’t need to be in the front row and the wheelchair user can sit behind the front row, a rear entry van or short floor side entry van are less
expensive than a full floor side entry. There is less structural modification to the rear or short floor designs which means they are less costly to manufacture. Both of these conversions will be less than $20,000 for the modification.
Where It’s Made
With the declining Canadian dollar, US-made van conversion prices have been rising substantially in recent months. Canadian manufacturers such as Savaria may prove to be a better value.
The Base Vehicle
Van conversions are made on the most popular minivan models including Dodge Caravan, Toyota Sienna and Honda Odyssey. If funds are tight, the Dodge Caravan is less expensive at time of
purchase than the import models and it is much easier to find a used one.
For wheelchair drivers, options such as a power folding ramp may be very important. But if you do not need a power option, you will save money. Well engineered manual folding or manual in floor ramps are not overly heavy to lift and are generally very easy to maintain over the lifetime of a vehicle. Keeping it simple keeps costs down.
Wherever you choose to save money, don’t skimp on safety. Choose only crash-tested designs sold by a NMEDA QAP dealer and use certified restraint systems and seating tested by the mobility or conversion manufacturer.