Purchasing and modifying a car or van is an involved process. Since vehicle modifications can be expensive, it is well worth your time to be prepared and to research all options:
- Have your needs evaluated by a professional, such as your doctor, physical therapist, or occupational therapist. They can recommend types of adaptations would best suit your needs.
- Select a vehicle that will meet your needs. One of the best resources is other families. They will be able to provide you with valuable tips and ideas. Check with companies that do vehicle accommodations to see what they recommend.
- Once you have chosen the type of vehicle that you would like to purchase, choose a reliable dealer who either has experience in adapting vehicles or who has a relationship with companies that do modifications.
- Research funding options. There are various funding resources that may be available, including grants from non-profit organizations, car manufacturer rebate programs, private insurance, Medicaid and funding through your county board of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities. Check with your bank or credit union to see what special loan options are available.
Information on modifications and wheelchair accessible vans, including adapted equipment and financing, is available from the following resources:
- Access Unlimited specializes in creating products that allow easy access to any vehicle including cars, trucks, vans and SUVs.
- AMS Vans, Inc. sells wheelchair accessible conversion minivans and offer nationwide delivery.
- Automotive Safety Issues for Persons with Disabilities provides information about current regulations and standards, as well as access to reports and other consumer information.
- Avis rents vehicles that can be adapted for children and adults with special healthcare needs.
- Disabled Dealer provides an internet listing of used wheelchair accessible vans for sale by geographical area.
- First Hand Foundation provides grants for eligible children whose clinical, health care needs are not adequately covered by insurance and state aid. They can assist with vehicle modifications including expenses associated with lifts, ramps and transfer boards. The child must be 18 years of age or younger (a child 18 – 21 can be considered if under the care of a pediatrician and in a child-like state) and the family must meet financial guidelines.
- Ford Motor Company Mobility Motoring offers financial assistance of up to $1,000 for the installation of adaptive equipment, and up to $200 on alerting devices for hearing impairments, lumbar seats and running boards on new Ford Motor Company vehicle purchases or leases.
- M.C. Mobility sells and rents customized wheelchair accessible vans and offers a wide variety of products to modify your existing vehicle.
- Ability Van Rentals is their wheelchair accessible van rental division in Ohio. They frequently have discount packages available.
- MobilityWorks provides a wide range of services including the purchase of new or used conversion vans, adaptation of a currently owned vehicle and financial counseling. MobilityWorks delivers nationwide and has local representatives.