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Thread: Is a minivan worth it?

  1. #1

    Is a minivan worth it?

    Does it really help you if you have one thinking about it .. Is it worth getting one feel like it would give me more problems or would it do good

  2. #2
    To answer your question it is all about what you want and how difficult it is for you to transfer and deal with your chair as far as getting it in and out of your vehicle. I actually went totally backwards when I decided to drive again. I started out with a full size van with a lift, after I had my first child. The van was great because I could wheel on to the lift with child on my lap and stow them in their car seat and transfer into drivers seat and go. I did have problems with maintenance with keeping the van and lift functioning, which required a 45 min drive every time the lift would have a problem or the chain on the door needed repaired. Once the kids got older and they were self-sufficient, I got a minivan with a ramp and again had a lot of headaches with keeping every thing working properly. I now drive a Volvo V70 and like the freedom of only having to keep the hand controls maintained, which is a lot easier for me. I have been in a wheelchair for 32 years and am getting stiffer as I age and have at times told my husband that it would be a lot easier to go back to a minivan, because I do get tired of taking my chair in and out of the car. One thing I do like about driving the car is that you have more options when it comes to parking and you don't have to worry about people not leaving you enough room to accommodate the ramp or lift. It just amazes me that people just do not get that the lined off spaces are not parking spots, but are there for a purpose. Good luck with your decision and either way I don't think you can make a bad chose once you weigh out your options.

  3. #3
    Senior Member tooley's Avatar
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    the less stuff to break, the better. It snows where you live. Do yourself a favor and find some middle ground (assuming you use a manual chair and are not caring for children in car seats as LisaMae4 above was). I have a Mazda5 with the passenger seat behind the driver seat removed (4 bolts). I pull my 16"x16" chair into that spot completely assembled after transferring. No mucky wheelchair wheels removed and floating about messy up the vehicle interior or my clothes. I get where I need to be, pull my chair out and hop in. Easy peezy, beautiful covergirl.

    edit to add: oh yeah, built a hook out of a brass rod to pull the side door shut after pulling the chair in. (BTW, a Mazda5 is basically a mini-minivan if you are unfamiliar. Great little cars, built on the mazda3 platform)

  4. #4
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    I have a toyota Sienna AWD. IT is a tank in the snow. Great vehicle. I remove the bucket seat behind the drivers and pull my chair right up in. Don't have to break it down and their an easy vehicle to pull into the drivers seat. If your not strong enough to pull yourself up into the drivers seat, I have a Glide-N-Go seat I will sell you really cheap.

  5. #5
    Senior Member tooley's Avatar
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    I have an acquaintance down east who owns both a new Sienna and a 2008 Mazda5 with the 5-speed automatic. Says the (non-AWD) Toyota gets better gas mileage than the 4-banger Mazda. I actually do like the looks of the Sienna as well, if you can get over the fact it is a soccer mom milf-mobile.

  6. #6
    My engineering van at work is a 2011 Toyota Sienna with the AMS lowered floor conversion. It gets better fuel mileage than our morning man's Mazda5. And it has been uber comfortable and reliable. I have been driving it occasionally when I have been spastic for non work use (since the business deduction is gone). I'll likely wind up with it for my own use down the road when the company retires it. Plus room for Erik and Bjorn and their chairs and my own chair when I have them on the weekends.

  7. #7
    Is there a transferboard that I could buy to help someone get me inside the car ?

  8. #8
    the v70 and v60 are the ultimate wheeler cars. we pack a ton of sports gear in ours. love it

    Quote Originally Posted by lisamae4 View Post
    To answer your question it is all about what you want and how difficult it is for you to transfer and deal with your chair as far as getting it in and out of your vehicle. I actually went totally backwards when I decided to drive again. I started out with a full size van with a lift, after I had my first child. The van was great because I could wheel on to the lift with child on my lap and stow them in their car seat and transfer into drivers seat and go. I did have problems with maintenance with keeping the van and lift functioning, which required a 45 min drive every time the lift would have a problem or the chain on the door needed repaired. Once the kids got older and they were self-sufficient, I got a minivan with a ramp and again had a lot of headaches with keeping every thing working properly. I now drive a Volvo V70 and like the freedom of only having to keep the hand controls maintained, which is a lot easier for me. I have been in a wheelchair for 32 years and am getting stiffer as I age and have at times told my husband that it would be a lot easier to go back to a minivan, because I do get tired of taking my chair in and out of the car. One thing I do like about driving the car is that you have more options when it comes to parking and you don't have to worry about people not leaving you enough room to accommodate the ramp or lift. It just amazes me that people just do not get that the lined off spaces are not parking spots, but are there for a purpose. Good luck with your decision and either way I don't think you can make a bad chose once you weigh out your options.
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  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Lumsta View Post
    Is there a transferboard that I could buy to help someone get me inside the car ?
    Longer slide boards work well for LEVEL transfers into or out of a vehicle, but are not really useful if the seat in the vehicle is really a lot higher than your wheelchair seat, esp. for transfers into the vehicle.

    http://www.ultraslick.com/ultraslick...fer-board.html

    (KLD)

  10. #10
    We have used full sized vans for 40 years. Our 1st a 73 Ford we installed a side rotary lift, had a folding bed in back made, installed a portable toilet and traveled across USA camping with our dog and cat. We kept getting full sized because we are both chair users and we carried race chairs in van for training and races. Later we were frequently loading 2 handcycles for recreation. Once we started using rigid chairs we learned that rear entry lifts no longer worked unless the 1st person in removed both wheels and stowed the chair. Once we experimented with a Volkswagen Eurovan but the seats were so close together for transfers even with power seats that we were glad to go back to full sized. Now that Ford no longer makes full sized vans that will accommodate today's lifts we plan to purchase a Chevy van next. We see little interest on the part of mobility dealers to work on mods for the Ford Transit Connects or Sprinters as all they want to sell are minivans. We find our current full sized vans w Braun Trifold Lifts fairly bulletproof. There is nothing like the ease of using a full sized van w power transfer seats when you have 6 errands to run and no ABs to count on. You can also put a bed in back for transfers with a full sized van and fabricate toileting facilities in a full sized if needed. Consider a full sized van.

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