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Thread: Vans vs Cars - which do you prefer

  1. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Andy View Post
    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.

    I agree on the type of car part. My other vehicle, a Wrangler, is a little more difficult than my truck only because you have a smaller door opening.

    My old car, a Civic, was as easy as transferring inside the van I had (GMC Safari with a lift and 4 way power seat).

    I know 2 people who use vans with drivers side power doors where they pull their entire chair inside. Very simple to do for them and no expense of modifying an entire van.

    I don't know why anyone would drive from a manual wheelchair...can't imagine what would happen if one was in an acciident.

    I'm a C6-7 quad and have zero shoulder issues from transfers. If you have limited function preventing transfers, the van route is better.

  2. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by pacrossbow View Post
    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.
    This seems good if it's doable for me. The truck is high off the ground. How do you get in? How do you pull the wheelchair in?

  3. #13
    I miss the quiet ride, good gas mileage of my old car. Rehab sent me out in a low back, manual, lightweight rigid chair. After flipping over backwards going up a ramp while looking at a van, a power chair was the best solution for me. Mini van with ramp has worked very well. I drive from the wheelchair.
    "Never turn your back on fear. It should always be in front of you, like a thing that might have to be killed." - Hunter Thompson
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  4. #14
    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.
    Quote Originally Posted by pacrossbow View Post
    Huh? Post in the wrong topic?
    Quote Originally Posted by pacrossbow View Post
    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?
    I think what "Art54" is advocating is that Medicare should pay for wheelchair vans, which may help preserve shoulder health, instead of paying for shoulder care and treatment once damage to the shoulders occurs. Sort of the ounce of prevention/pound of cure argument.

    Something to keep in mind is that all spinal cord injuries are different. What one person can achieve at any given level of injury isn't necessarily what another person can achieve at the same level of injury. Many of us have been injured for 40, 50, 60 years. In the beginning we used manual chairs (not light weight ones that are available today, power chairs weren't as good or readily available as they are today) and wrecked our shoulders early on. Our shoulder injuries have impacted every part of activities of daily living, making everything more difficult and painful. Learning to transfer with a better or different technique may not help when shoulders are already badly injured from years and years of use beyond which shoulders were meant to bear.

    All the best,
    GJ
    Last edited by gjnl; 11-22-2016 at 04:25 PM.

  5. #15
    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?
    From the beginning I have had vans. During rehab and for a short time after I was released, I used a car, but at my C6/7 complete injury level, I was unable to transfer myself, let alone haul the chair in behind me. NL did the transfer in and out of the car (in those days it was a 2 door land yacht with the widest, heaviest doors ever) and then break down the chair and put it in the trunk. For my little 110 lb. wonder, this was just too much. Not to mention having to transfer in rainy, cold, windy weather. Thankfully we didn't have snow where we lived, not to say that NL hasn't done that a time or two while on business trips to NY, NJ, and Chicago.

    Our first van was a Ford Econoline 150. At the time, the ADA had not been passed and there were few underground parking garages that had adequate head clearance to accommodate the van. For that reason, the next one we got was a Dodge Caravan, minivan. Since, we've own a Ford Windstar and now a Honda Odyssey. We miss the ride and quite of a quality car, especially on long road trips, but the minivan accommodates all the stuff we have to take with us and has served us well. By the by, minivan conversions to have a "kneel" feature that makes the ramp less steep if you are worried about tipping backward, when you use the ramp at the regular road height deployment.

    All the best,
    GJ

  6. #16
    The reason I am considering a van is because of my shoulder. The transfer is just one issue. Of course, I could use a transfer board. But I still have to break down the wheelchair and move it. The wheelchair is only 20 lbs. But when you hang 20 lbs off a 2ft lever (extended arm), it acts like 40 lbs of torque. That adds up. Because of having to do this, I think twice before leaving the house. I am sure I would get out more if I didn't have to break down the wheelchair. Where I live, the van parking spots are located closest to the building. That means they are usually the first ones taken. Therefore, I am thinking of alternate solutions.

    Maybe I should increase my shoulder strength and stick with a car.

    I like the idea of a truck with minimum modifications, only a power door and removing the back seat. But are these for people with incomplete injuries who can hop up into it? Can someone elaborate on this solution, maybe a video? The Truck access videos I have seen on YouTube all have lifts.

    What do you think about a full size van with a lift rather than a mini van with a ramp? If it's less expensive and doesn't require the wider parking spot, that may be the way to go.
    Last edited by August West; 11-22-2016 at 06:22 PM.

  7. #17
    Senior Member lynnifer's Avatar
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    Go with the car as long as you can. Vans are a helluva lot less dependable and more expensive!
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  8. #18
    Suspended Andy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by August West View Post
    . But I still have to break down the wheelchair and move it. The wheelchair is only 20 lbs. But when you hang 20 lbs off a 2ft lever (extended arm), it acts like 40 lbs of torque. That adds up.

    What do you think about a full size van with a lift rather than a mini van with a ramp? If it's less expensive and doesn't require the wider parking spot, that may be the way to go.
    What sort of car do you have now? I know my 4 door is a shoulder lift, and at times I feel it. My 2 door is a bicep arm curl, super easy.

    Re the van with lift...you still need room for the lift to deploy and get on it. Not a speedy setup either from what I watched, and the mentioned reliability aspects fall into play also. And about 8 to the gallon...

  9. #19
    What is your injury level? Here is a C6/7 quad transferring to a truck. Two videos show the transfer in and transfer out. Looks like it takes about 11-1/2 minutes. What do you do if it is raining, snowing, just plain cold, if you are dressed up (wheels and casters get very dirty/wet and you're going to get very dirty/wet too), in the dark, etc.? I don't know about parking spaces where you live, but in N. Calif. most regular spaces don't allow you to open the truck/car door as wide as you need to get the chair in place, and compact spaces are taking over parking lots everywhere.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rG48lLrMe8M
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kRQbyhxqSKA

    All the best,
    GJ

  10. #20
    exactly, I think hanging 1 armed out of my cars for all those years were as bad on my shoulders as the transfer, I used a board, no triceps.
    as for mini v full size- I found the ramp to be iffy for me to push up in perfect conditions let alone in rain/snow and to small for our needs. no mods in full size except lift either. do whatever works best for you, no one could have ever convinced me to give up driving car/station wagon. if I had did it 5 yrs sooner I likely wouldn't have a tore shoulder, but hey we all live and learn.

    BUT, I LOVE OUR VAN AND SO DOES MY WIFE.
    HERE is a vid I think from 2005 doing it in my intrepid 4 door. pre bicep tear and shoulder tear, no grey hair either. 2nd one is our van.





    Quote Originally Posted by August West View Post
    The reason I am considering a van is because of my shoulder. The transfer is just one issue. Of course, I could use a transfer board. But I still have to break down the wheelchair and move it. The wheelchair is only 20 lbs. But when you hang 20 lbs off a 2ft lever (extended arm), it acts like 40 lbs of torque. That adds up. Because of having to do this, I think twice before leaving the house. I am sure I would get out more if I didn't have to break down the wheelchair. Where I live, the van parking spots are located closest to the building. That means they are usually the first ones taken. Therefore, I am thinking of alternate solutions.

    Maybe I should increase my shoulder strength and stick with a car.

    I like the idea of a truck with minimum modifications, only a power door and removing the back seat. But are these for people with incomplete injuries who can hop up into it? Can someone elaborate on this solution, maybe a video? The Truck access videos I have seen on YouTube all have lifts.

    What do you think about a full size van with a lift rather than a mini van with a ramp? If it's less expensive and doesn't require the wider parking spot, that may be the way to go.
    Last edited by fuentejps; 11-22-2016 at 08:16 PM.
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