wheelchair being put into car with a vehicle lift

Do You Need a Wheelchair Lift or a Ramp for Your Vehicle?

Necessary errands, trips to the doctor’s office, and social visits are all normal parts of life. But these tasks can be very difficult for individuals who have mobility disabilities. The process of getting into and out of a vehicle poses serious safety risks without the proper equipment in place.

That’s why we’re taking a moment today to compare wheelchair lifts and ramps, with a focus on installing them into vehicles. Read on to learn more and decide which option is best for you or your loved one.

Wheelchair Lift for Car and Van Options

Wheelchair lifts can be installed onto the outside of a vehicle so that you can wheel yourself onto a platform and be raised into the vehicle. There are also wheelchair lift for car options for individuals who can transfer themselves onto a car seat, walk to the front of the vehicle, and stow the wheelchair in the back with a hoist. Hydraulic lifts are very popular because of their sturdy construction and high lift capacity.

Wheelchair lifts are commonly used in full-sized vans. But our wide selection of Bruno products includes lifts of minivans, SUVs, pickup trucks, and sedans as well. If you’re looking for a scooter or wheelchair lift for car transport, we recommend the Chariot, Out-Sider Micro, Lifter, Back-Saver, or Space-Saver lift models.

ADA Wheelchair Lift Requirements

For the safety of wheelchair users who use vehicles, there are certain ADA wheelchair lift requirements that should be met. For example, disability lifts must have a 30-inch by 48-inch platform, two handrails, barriers, and back-up pumps. It is also necessary that the clearance between the lift platform and the top of the vehicle door opening be at least 56 inches.

Cars and all vehicles that are less than 22 feet long should have a wheelchair securement system, but the wheelchair can be secured facing to the front or the back of the car. Meanwhile, handrails should be 1.25 to 1.5 inches in diameter to help disabled people grab them from the outside of the vehicle while entering and exiting.

Ramps for Vans and Cars

There are a few different options to choose from when you’re looking at ramps for vans and cars as well. Ramps can be portable, motorized, or manual, with portable versions typically being the least expensive and easiest to install. While motorized ramps are generally costlier, they add an extra convenience and degree of autonomy for disabled individuals.

Manual ramps may be too difficult for disabled people to extend and retract on their own, so a caregiver will likely need to be present during their use. Ramps are designed for side entry and rear entry, with rear entry ramps usually requiring fewer vehicle modifications.

Ramp Requirements for Safety

There are also ramp requirements in place to ensure the safety of disabled individuals. For example, similar to wheelchair lifts, the overhead clearance between the highest point of a ramp and the door opening must be at least 56 inches. Safety belts must be provided and accessible for wheelchair users using ramps, but these devices should not be used in place of a specific device that secures the wheelchair itself. Doorways used for installation should be illuminated for easy visibility, and all handrails should provide at least 1.5 feet of knuckle clearance from the closest adjacent surface.

At Dermer Stairlifts, we understand that keeping yourself or your loved one safe is the top priority when choosing a vehicle lift or ramp. That’s why we provide professional installation for all of our products and promptly respond to service requests and calls for routine maintenance. All of our installers are factory-certified, and our rapid install program provides 24-hour turnaround time on many products. So, give us a call and stop putting off your errands and vacations that require car travel!