Used Handicapped Vans: Tips


If you are looking to buy a used handicapped van doing your homework first can save you money and keep you driving safely. We all know that buying a used handicap van is expensive. The conversion equipment comes with a price tag and so does the vehicle. But, shopping for price or a "too good a deal" can be a danger to your safety. Shop for quality and price -- and you're on track.

To get started, keep in mind that your end goal: " buying the van" is soon to come. Before charging forward, educate yourself by browsing resourceful websites, like NMEDA, designed to inform the disabled consumer about nationwide, quality mobility dealers.

By dealing with NMEDA member dealerships, you can eliminate the guess-work about whether you are working with a trustworthy, quality dealership. Through them you can find mobility dealers that sell used handicapped vans. Some, like NMEDA member, Rideaway.com, located in the Northeast, maintain a large inventory of both new and used handicap vans. Their selection, along with many other U.S. mobiltiy dealers, includes both pre-owned, full sized lift vans as well as used miniramp vans. Popular models include: Ford, Plymouth, Chrysler, Dodge, GMC, Toyota

Used handicap vans, buying tips:

  • Do: Consider buying from a trusted mobility dealership.
  • Don't: Consider buying from a shop that uses inferior conversion equipment.
  • Do: Consider buy from a NMEDA member dealer. They are required to adhere to the safety standards of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NTSA) and to follow strict guidelines.
  • Do: Have you heard of Auto Trader Magazine? Well... Disabled Dealer Magazine (see disableddealer.com) is similar. This is a nice resource, with good articles to keep you up to speed with information relating to handicap conversion vans. Learn more before buying.

Also, to find the good deals, and avoid the scams, especially if shopping remotely, online. Here is a checklist to follow.

Checklist:

  • 1. Is the mobility dealer a NMEDA member?

  • 2. Read testimonials or call referrals from those who have purchased a used wheelchair van from this mobility dealer. Are they positive?

  • 3. Use Car Fax to check the history of your van before you buy. This will uncover if the van has been in any accidents, a flood, or had any insurance claims

  • 4. Use Car Fax or an independent company to inspect your van for you to provide actual diagnostic before you buy

  • 5. Be sure the van is the right size before you buy

People may be drawn to a handicap van based on the type (e.g., a person likes Toyota). However, for a wheelchair user, if buying used, make sure that you know that you will fit into the van. The measurement of your height in chair, (width also) must be known as well as the height of the van's interior to determine whether you will fit. Also, keep in mind that many adaptive equipment manufacturers, such as Braun, will not allow modifications to a regular van (chassis) more than 3 years old or 30,000 miles.

What are the Best Used Minivans according to 2008 Consumer Reports "Best and Worst Used Cars?"

This review is something to keep in mind when shopping for a used wheelchair van because what we're talking about here is reliability. Two of the used vans that made it on the "best of the best list" were the Honda Odyssey and the Toyota Sienna. Both are minivans and both are top rated for performing well in the road test and also having several years of better-than-average reliablility.

Used Van Price without Conversion Equipment installed?

According to Consumer Reports Magazine here's what you can expect to pay for the above mentioned vans:

Toyota Sienna '04 for $16,000 to $18,000
Honda Odyssey '04 for $14,000 to 16,000

Used Handicap Vans: Buying One Can Save you Money

Buying a used handicap van versus one that is new can offer you incredible savings. (Remember... depreciation) Part of the reason for this is that a new car costs a lot. Take for example the above mentioned Honda Odyssey. To buy this V6 engine minvan new you can expect to pay between $25,000 - $41,000. But if you bought the '04 model you pay half that amount or an even greater savings. Of course than there is the cost of the equipment.

Here are a few examples of what you might find when shopping online for a used wheelchair van:

1) 2006 HONDA ODYSSEY
Viewpoint Mobility (Manual)
Rear Entry Lowered floor Minivan

2) 2003 FORD ECONOLINE E150 (full-sized van)
High top Conversion van Rincon Lift

3) 2007 CHRYSLER TOWN and COUNTRY
ROLLX fold out conversion, Lowered floor, Power door, Power ramp, Kneel, 6 way driver seat

read more about:
Handicap vans
Info about wheelchair lift vans