Lift Entry Wheelchair Vans

Lifts are an increasingly common component of wheelchair accessible vans.   Lifts are designed to move a wheelchair and its user in and out of a vehicle safely.

Most lifts are in the shape of a square and are operated via a wench that can effectively raise and lower the weight-bearing platform.   If a wench jams or experiences other problems, they lift will be inoperable until it is repaired or replaced.

One reason for the popularity of lifts is the fact that the allow the wheelchair user to get in and out of the van without third party assistance.   The lift does the work that may otherwise be reserved for an friend, family member or assistant.

The lift can be located either in the rear of the van or the side of the van, based on user preferences.   Both options are available for sale in both new and used models.

Lifts do take up a great deal of space.   One side effect of that is the fact that the wheelchair user will generally be limited to staying on or near the lift platform once in the van.   Locking mechanisms or other safety options will lock the wheelchair into place during travel.

Lift Entry Brands

There are hundreds of wheelchair van makes, models and styles on the market.   A significant percentage of those are well-suited for lift-entry conversion.   Here are a few of the more popular wheelchair van types that are frequently set up for lift entry:

    • Ford E250
    • Ford E350
    • Dodge Caravan SXT
    • Dodge Grand Caravan SE
    • Chrysler Town and Country Touring Edition
    • Plymouth Grand Voyager
    • Honda Element
    • GMC Savannah

As noted, this is not a comprehensive list.   Many other makes and models of vans can be used with a lift.

Lift Entry Challenges

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The primary problem with lift entry is the specter of mechanical malfunction.   A jammed lift can’t be resolved immediately and will necessitate professional repair.   Lifts can fail during use, creating dangerous situations for the wheelchair user, as well.

These problems don’t de-justify lift use, however.   Smart shopping for top of the line lifts, vigilance regarding their condition and preventive maintenance will dramatically reduce the likelihood of those troublesome incidents.


Lift Entry Parking

Parking can be a problem with side-mounted lifts. Not all handicapped spots are van accessible, which means that some are quite small, making it difficult to open the doors without cars parked on either side of the van. Mounting lifts to the rear of a vehicle increases one’s flexibility with respect to parking.