Choose a Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle

Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles are an integral aspect of independence and improved quality of life for people with physical disabilities. Required when the act of getting out of their wheelchair and into a standard car seat becomes impossible or difficult, wheelchair accessible vehicles — or WAVs — can make for a difficult purchase. Unlike traditional motor vehicles, you won't find dealers in every city or town in the country, making it hard to compare the vehicle you intend to buy with others of the sort. To help alleviate some of the confusion, and to ensure you buy a WAV that is right for you, follow our guide on how to choose a wheelchair accessible vehicle.


  1. Ensure it has the features you need. This includes the system for getting the disabled person into the vehicle and the size of the wheelchair space inside. Before you buy, ensure that the disabled person can easily and safely access the vehicle and that it has enough room to accommodate their wheelchair. There are a multitude of different loading options available, including lift and ramp, so don’t settle for something that only does half the job.
  2. Make sure there's enough room for everyone. When purchasing a wheelchair accessible vehicles, it can be easy to be tempted by the features, mileage and price of the vehicle, but before signing your name on the dotted sign, take a step back. If you are a caregiver to others, have children, or need to transport other people in the car, ensure you have enough seats. Dependent on the car model, the number of seats differ, so look around if you can’t fit everybody in.
  3. Try before you buy. While a WAV is bought specifically for a person unable to travel in a standard car, the driver must still be considered. They should be comfortable with the position, controls and handling of the vehicle, not least because a wheelchair accessible vehicle is often larger than most commonly owned cars.
  4. Find a comfortable wheelchair position. When a wheelchair accessible vehicle is created, they are converted by private manufactures from a standard vehicle. As a result, WAVs can vary in design and structure, with the wheelchair position being different from car-to-car. Some may be further forwards or backwards, at an ascending or descending angle or twisted to one side of the vehicle or the other. While this doesn’t necessarily make a difference to safety, it can make all the difference to comfort.
  5. Don’t leave without a warranty. Just like any other car, wheelchair accessible vehicles are not impervious to wear and damage. As these types of vehicles are relied heavily upon by their users, a warranty means that unforeseen costs don’t hinder your ability to get it back on the road.


  • Ask around on mobility forums to find out what the most popular models for wheelchair accessible vehicles are.
  • If you need to monitor the disabled person, find a car in which you can watch them in the rear view mirror.
  • Shop around online and get a general idea of the price of the vehicle you are looking for.
  • If you are unable to get the disabled person to the dealership, ensure you take measurements of their wheelchair/mobility transport before you go.


  • Avoid buying brand new, as the cost of converting a standard vehicle to a wheelchair accessible one is very high.
  • Don’t buy online without first viewing the vehicle, even if meets your needs.