How Wheelchair Vans Auto Kneel Lowers Disability Entry Angle

For years, there was a common theme to all of the tools people use to get in and out of wheelchair vans.   They all relied on moving the chair up or down, as the situation dictated.   Now, there is another component to the process.   Instead of just moving the chair in and out of the vehicle, the van itself can move to make the process easier.

It is called an auto kneel and here is how it works:   The van’s rear suspension lowers upon command.   That reduces the difference between the point of entrance/exit and the ground.

These auto kneel setups do not eliminate the need for a ramp.   You cannot make your van “kneel” to ground level in a way that allows you to move in and out without additional support.

The goal is to reduce the required level of incline for the ramp.   That makes it easier to get in and out of the vehicle and it decreases the chance of accident.

Those with wheelchair vans who have an auto kneel conversion appreciate the increased ease it provides and generally report a satisfactory experience.   However, they are paying for that improvement.   Installing an adjustable rear suspension in place of the one that comes with the van as it rolls off the assembly line is a major undertaking facilitated by trained conversion experts.   It is not cheap.

Auto kneel is only used in situations where the they van is set up for ramp use.   It has no utility in situations where a lift is used.   It is also worth noting that those who use auto kneel systems are required to use ramps on the rear of the van.   At this point, few, if any, commercially available conversions will allow a van to lilt to one side to create an easier means of entering and exiting a vehicle.

If you struggle with the incline of standard ramps or feel that you are not experiencing the kind of safety you need to feel comfortable, an auto kneel may be just what you need.   It is not going to be cheap, but it may be worthwhile.