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Thread: Ideal vehicle for manual wheelchair plus dog

  1. #21
    Even a secured crate is unlikely to merit much protection in the event of a vehicle collision. The best and safest method of securing your service dog in a vehicle is to connect their harness to a seatbelt. This is how I transport my service dog. (80 lb male golden retriever--he's a big boy.) He and my 17x17 Zra fit comfortably into the back seat of my mid-size sedan. Yes, I have to break my chair down. Just saying, though. This is safest for your dog. An idea for doing this without breaking down your chair would require an accessible vehicle via ramp or lift, say a minivan, for you to wheel your chair into, and have your dog sit in the back seat of the van (the one van I've been in had regular 3rd seats behind the wheelchair area.) and buckle him in, and transfer to the driver's seat....if this is applicable/possible to your situation. It looks like you're either gonna hafta break down your chair, or get an accessible vehicle. Another option would be getting a four door truck, where your SD can sit in the back seat, and having a chair lift in the truck bed that will lift and store your empty chair under a bed cover. I've seen one like that, used by a high level para, she transfered to some sort of swivel out driver's seat and then clipped her chair to the lift's strap, hit the button for it to lift it into the truck bed and the bed cover automatically closed, she did the seat so she could get in, and she was off.
    Last edited by voxina; 04-23-2013 at 03:50 PM.

  2. #22
    Senior Member Axle's Avatar
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    I have seen people get their wheelchairs into a van without a ramp and without breaking it down. They sit in the driver seat, open the rear side door (automatic is nice), pull the front wheels of the wheelchair onto the rear side footrest, reach behind the driver seat, and pull the wheelchair in behind them. Of course, you have to remove the seat behind the driver seat to do this. That wouldn't hurt my shoulder. I find that as long as I keep my elbow low, my shoulder doesn't hurt.

    So, I know that it can be done. I was just looking for some other ideas. Ramps take up too much space, cost too much, and may break (at the worst possible time, I'm sure).

    By the way how do you deal with breaking down the wheelchair in a sedan? No matter how large the car is, the doors are smaller (too small) than on a 2 door car. Plus the jam between the front and rear seats interferes. Perhaps you have an incomplete injury that gives you more mobility to get around this.

  3. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by Axle View Post
    By the way how do you deal with breaking down the wheelchair in a sedan? No matter how large the car is, the doors are smaller (too small) than on a 2 door car. Plus the jam between the front and rear seats interferes. Perhaps you have an incomplete injury that gives you more mobility to get around this.
    Depends on the car and the chair. Accessories like armrests, anti-tippers, push handles, etc, all get in the way. I don't use 'em.

    I'm in/out of a 4dr Subaru Outback ('05 – the new ones are bigger) multiple times per day, and I'm a quad with half my back fused (C5-7, T2-10). The doors aren't large, but they're certainly not too small. Wheels pop off & get tossed in the back seat, and the frame gets lifted over my lap to the passenger seat. Reclining the drivers seat some during this process helps. It takes me about 2min.

    If I'm with someone, the chair fits fully assembled in the rear, with the backrest folded.

  4. #24
    Senior Member Axle's Avatar
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    I know it can be done. I have done it many times when driving a rental car. But you gotta admit, the larger door makes it not only a bit easier, but much easier. I suppose you get used to anything. Then you don't realize what a pain it is any more.

  5. #25
    Again, it depends on the car. I went from a 2dr BMW 3-series to the Subaru. The BMW was easier, but not that much easier. The extra height of the Subaru is a bigger deal than door size.

    For what it's worth, I love the idea of a vehicle that doesn't require taking a chair apart without the complexity and reliability issues of a ramp/lift system.

  6. #26
    Senior Member Axle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by -scott- View Post
    The extra height of the Subaru is a bigger deal than door size.
    I know what you mean. But for me a 2dr is not just a bit easier. It's a lot easier. Maybe you have a better system than I do. The problem that I have with the smaller door opening of 4 drs is that my left arm elbow hits the door jam while reaching for the outside wheel. What a pain. I suppose I could modify my routine. But I have never had to. Perhaps it's time to reinvent the wheel if it opens doors (puns intended).

  7. #27
    Ab coworker just got one traded in her Honda element just loves the golf

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