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Thread: Vans vs Cars - which do you prefer

  1. #1

    Vans vs Cars - which do you prefer

    I like my car. But it's a pain to dissemble/assemble the wheelchair every time I get in/out of the car. A van would solve that problem as I could roll in with the wheelchair in one piece. It even offers the option to eliminate the transfer and drive while in the wheelchair. But how about the parking? Van ramps require 8' clearance whereas most HP spots have 5' clearance for car doors.

    That means finding accessible parking is far more difficult for a van driver than a car driver. The trade off is ease of the van vs the parking access of the car. What do you do?
    Last edited by August West; 11-22-2016 at 05:09 AM.

  2. #2
    Save your shoulder at all cost. wheelchairs can be replace.....your shoulder cannot. Medicare would save a lot more money if they thought this way. But they hope you get tired and do away with yourself.
    Art

  3. #3
    Hello!
    Hubby and I are both paralyzed and have used a full sized van for years. We are older, and in younger years used cars. Yes, the handling of the wheelchair storage was cumbersome, but the shoulders were strong then and we didn't think of preserving them. Now we must baby our shoulders every day, and although we have pain, we have not yet had to resort to surgery. We both have had times when we had to go through weeks of Physical Therapy, and it helped a lot.
    We use a full size van, as mini-vans are too tight for two wheelchairs and the cost of modifying them seems like about double that of a full size van. We can transfer ok, so we have two 6-way power seats, hand controls, power door openers and lift. (If you go with full size van it's nice to have power passenger seat for times you may not be the driver.)
    Some paralyzed people see full sized vans or mini vans as "not cool", at least it seems that way. Yes, I'd much rather be tooling around in a Mustang or a sports car, but it's not gonna happen.
    As for parking, we live in a semi-rural area and rarely have a problem finding spots. At handicapped spots we park very close to the white line at the left of the van, leaving most space for deploying our lift on the right side. In some situations a person may want a rear-entry lift - we tried that once but it was awkward for entry of two wheelchairs. With rear-entry it would enable one to park in non-handicapped spots.
    In the past we carried two handcycles (in addition to our two wheelchairs) in our van. Lots of space, if you need it.
    If you will garage your vehicle, suggest some thought to space available for transfers to car, or lift space needed for a van.
    Let us know how it goes!

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Art454 View Post
    Save your shoulder at all cost. wheelchairs can be replace.....your shoulder cannot. Medicare would save a lot more money if they thought this way. But they hope you get tired and do away with yourself.
    Huh? Post in the wrong topic?

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by August West View Post
    I like my car. But it's a pain to dissemble/assemble the wheelchair every time I get in/out of the car. A van would solve that problem as I could roll in with the wheelchair in one piece. It even offers the option to eliminate the transfer and drive while in the wheelchair. But how about the parking? Van ramps require 8' clearance whereas most HP spots have 5' clearance for car doors.

    That means finding accessible parking is far more difficult for a van driver than a car driver. The trade off is ease of the van vs the parking access of the car. What do you do?

    After owning both, I prefer my truck over all. With a van, you always are looking for a parking spot and it never saved me anytime outside the vehicle. I can get in a car anywhere, disassemble or assemble my chair in the same or less amount of time you wait for a lift or ramp to come down.

    I would never want to drive from my wheelchair though, I'd rather get a seat base that allows you to turn the drivers seat around so you can transfer to it inside the van.

    I have it even easier with a Silverado 4 door (not quad cab) truck. I can leave my chair fully assembled and with the back seat out, I can pull the chair in behind my seat.

  6. #6
    C5-6 quad here, drove cars for 26 years then went to full size van, wish I had done it 10 yrs prior. the transfer is stupid easy. minivans are just to small imo, no issues parking at all. we haull my handcycle, my wifes bike and luggage with tons of room to spare. we did transfer seats both driver and passenger. I like to ride shotgun and she likes to drive.

    I was a bonehead for too long, tore rotator cuff and bicep transferring into my car over the years
    Bike-on.com rep
    John@bike-on.com
    c4/5 inc funtioning c6. 28 yrs post.
    sponsored handcycle racer

  7. #7
    Senior Member TomRL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pacrossbow View Post
    Huh? Post in the wrong topic?

    No, this post is in the right topic. Anything you can do to save your shoulders will provide dividends in the long term. If using a van versus using a car means you will transfer less frequently then your shoulders will be saved wear and tear.
    Tom

    "Blessed are the pessimists, for they hath made backups." Exasperated 20:12

  8. #8
    Suspended Andy's Avatar
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    Also type of car can make a big difference in strain to get in/out and wheelchair stowage. I know my Challenger is a ton easier to work with than my winter heap Crown Vic. Lifting the frame into Challenger is quite easier due to the superior body mechanics afforded with the room available with 2 doors. The Crown Vic is just terrible in comparison with 4 doors. Shoulder strain getting in and out of cars seem to be no more substantial, possibly less, than some of the transfers I do though out the day. But I use a long transfer board for car transfers to make things easier than super-crip no board transfers, safer too this way on questionable parking surfaces.

    If you are looking for what might be an ideal solution to transportation...take a peek at the current-gen Ford Transit Connect long wheelbase version. Transfer similar to a car, nice ergos in the drivers seat, and you can roll/lift the chair assembled into the side door behind the drivers seat. Might be the speed record holder for ingress/egress for wheelchair users with enough practice. I was contemplating getting one, but I'm just too much of a gearhead to actually go though with that idea.

    Driving from a wheelchair...scary thought to me. I like having body support in turns and such.

  9. #9

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by TomRL View Post
    No, this post is in the right topic. Anything you can do to save your shoulders will provide dividends in the long term. If using a van versus using a car means you will transfer less frequently then your shoulders will be saved wear and tear.
    Really? honestly, I think you guys need to learn to transfer better if it wears on your shoulders.

    Unless you are driving from your chair, you still have a transfer inside the van. You are still pushing up the vans ramp if you go that route.

    What does Medicare have to do with van vs car? How does Medicare want to do you away?

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