Listed below are a selection of questions we get asked on a regular basis. If you have any other questions that are not listed and you would like an answer, don’t hesitate to call.
Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles (WAVs) are cars that have been converted to carry passengers travelling in their wheelchair or for those who wish to drive from their wheelchair. Based on standard models, WAVs include features such as an access ramp or lifts on larger vehicles, wheelchair tie-downs and seat belts for wheelchair users.
There are two types of WAV: A passenger WAV, which allow for one or more wheelchair users to be secured in the vehicle whilst travelling. The second is a WAV that a wheelchair user is able drive. If you would like to drive from your wheelchair, you will typically need to have the WAV fitted with custom controls and other features to enable you to drive independently.
To enable the wheelchair user to have access and space to remain in their wheelchair, WAVs will either have a high roof or a lowered floor. Lewis Reed are able to offer both solutions.
The conversion of a standard vehicle into a vehicle with enough space to carry a wheelchair user is a complex process. Depending on the conversion, many aspects of the original vehicle may need to be altered. Common alterations include, changing the exhaust system and fuel tank, wiring in new electrics, fitting a ramp or lift, fitting and safety testing wheelchair tie down pins and fitting a seat belt restraint system for the wheelchair user.
If you find transferring from your wheelchair into a standard vehicle and storing your wheelchair difficult, then a WAV may be the perfect solution. A WAV allows you to access the vehicle via a ramp or lift whilst remaining in your wheelchair. Some more complex conversions allow the wheelchair user to drive the vehicle completely independently.
Seating configurations vary between each WAV. You need to think about which configuration would be best for you. Wherever you sit, being able to see out clearly is very important. The size of the windows, the slope of the floor and whether the vehicle has been lowered or not will all make a difference. You also need to sit comfortably within the vehicle and ensure there is enough head room when secured in position. The best way to find out which configuration will suit your needs is to book a free home demonstration.
Test drives are the only way to check if a WAV will meet your individual requirements. Customer experience tells us that there’s no comparison to having a test drive to see how one WAV compares to another.
It’s important to involve your partner, carer or whoever will be driving the WAV. They need to be happy with driving the vehicle and confident that they will be able to operate all the features such as the ramp and wheelchair restraints.
Take along any equipment, mobility aids or child seats that you often use to ensure the vehicle is able to accommodate them. Try driving along the routes you are likely to use or normally take, this way you will feel comfortable with your surroundings and be able to focus on the driving experience. Don’t worry about how long this might take, Lewis Reed understands that the test drive needs to be thorough to enable you to decide whether the vehicle will meet your requirements.
Many WAVs have automatic transmission and all have power-assisted steering. With some vehicles you can choose a higher specification, but if you use the Motability scheme this will mean that your advance payment will be higher. You can also order optional extras, such as parking sensors, air conditioning, privacy or limo glass.
Now comes the exciting part, ordering your new WAV. On average, delivery of your WAV can take between 12-16 weeks after placing your order. It can take considerably longer for the delivery of a WAV that has been converted for a wheelchair user to drive.
If you use the Motability scheme, the advance payment price of a WAV is often higher than that of a regular vehicle. This is due to the lease of a WAV being longer, typically five years, and the vehicle itself costs more to convert. But don’t forget that servicing and maintenance costs, breakdown cover and insurance are all included as part of your Motability lease package. Your new WAV will be an important part of your life for the next five years. Investing a little more upfront to get the perfect match for your needs may be beneficial.
When you’ve invested in a wheelchair accessible or specially adapted vehicle you’re going to want to make sure you are well protected. You don’t want to be left out of pocket should the vehicle be damaged or stolen.
But don’t worry, we are delighted to announce that Lewis Reed have teamed up with Fish Insurance to ensure our customers can enjoy discounts of up to 35% on car insurance designed for people with disabilities, limited mobility or for those that drive for disabled people.
For more details or a quote, call Fish Insurance on: 0800 046 9860 and don’t forget to mention us here at Lewis Reed and simply quote reference 2484. Or why not visit the official Fish Insurance website.
If you are unsure how to use some of the features of your WAV or are generally having trouble, call a Lewis Reed Sales Advisor. By speaking to the team, they will be able to advise you on how to use the features of your WAV correctly so that you can get the most out of your vehicle.