Helping you become a savvy wheelchair van shopper is the purpose of this article! When looking to purchase a wheelchair accessible vehicle, there are many questions you should ask to be sure you’re set up for success. There are five factors in particular that you should not miss looking into:
- Safety and compliance. How can you know if the van is safe?
- Quality. How can you make sure you’re buying a quality product?
- Pricing and transparency. How can you know you’re getting a fair deal?
- Expert shopping support. How can you know if you’re getting expert help?
- Post-sale support. How can you be sure that you’re being set up for success for the long haul?
We answer each of those crucial questions below.
Safety and Compliance
Given how invasive the conversion process is, it is vital that a customer purchase from a reputable conversion company. The floor, frame, and powertrain are all altered by the conversion process. Because of this, we re-crash test all our vehicles, which, surprisingly, isn’t a mandated requirement, so many conversion companies don’t make the effort or investment into re-crash testing. We do all major tests required for NHTSA approval, which include “pull testing,” which pulls on seat fixtures to ensure that the seats and seatbelts are properly secured in the case of an accident. Given how important the safety of a vehicle is, you need to be direct with any company you purchase from in asking if that product is NHTSA crash test approved.
Wheelchair users depend on their wheelchair van more than the average person, meaning they can’t just call a ride-share to come get them if their wheelchair van breaks down. Because of that, you want to be sure that the conversion on your vehicle has been done with the utmost quality and dependability. An important consideration for conversion quality is the amount of interaction the converter has with the original manufacturers, such as Toyota, Chrysler, and Honda. As a long-time wheelchair van converter, Vantage Mobility is an official conversion partner of all three and one of only two official conversion partners of Toyota. As original minivans become more advanced (the all-new Hybrid Sienna, for example), it’s crucial to work with a company who has deep experience and partnership with the original manufacturers to ensure that your product will reliably work as intended. Vantage Mobility conversions come with a warranty to match the original warranty—3yr/36,000 miles, plus the industry’s longest rust-through corrosion warranty of 7 years/∞ miles because we use advanced galvanized, e-coated steel that mitigates rust from the core.
Pricing and transparency
When shopping for a wheelchair van, it is crucial to work with a company that will not overcharge you. Rapid inflation in the automotive industry has been the perfect stage for many dealers and distributors to add fees and up-charges to maximize profits. As the manufacturer, we will publicly show the MSRP on our website. When shopping for your wheelchair accessible van, be sure to cross-compare the price you’re offered with the MSRP on our website. Many dealers will put “Call For Price” on their inventory instead of transparently showing the price. This is a tactic used to make the phone ring and gives dealers more pricing power and leverage when you’re trying to negotiate a deal with them. Don’t worry, there are several dealers who are transparent about their prices. As a general good practice, it’s beneficial to work with companies who aren’t trying to hide prices from their customers.
Expert Shopping Support
Purchasing a wheelchair van can feel much more complex than buying a traditional vehicle, but it doesn’t have to be. Finding a dealer that cares about your needs, has vast product knowledge, and fair pricing can be the difference between a great and poor wheelchair van shopping experience. Particularly experienced sales representatives will be familiar enough with the dimensions and features of a product and how well you’ll fit, that they’ll be a great support to you either in person or remotely. You’ll also want to work with a company that isn’t overly biased to just one type of wheelchair van. There are so many great options available for wheelchair users that a sales rep that doesn’t try to understand your needs and make at least a couple different suggestions is doing you a disservice. At the end of the day, you want someone who a) cares about you and your situation, and b) genuinely wants to provide fair pricing on the best products for your needs.
Purchasing the right wheelchair van is one thing, ensuring you’ll have ample support for the long-haul is another important one. Some technicians specialize in conversions. Others specialize in original vehicles. Some get ample training in both. When purchasing a wheelchair van, whether in person or remotely, it’s important to learn what your service options are after you drive your new van off the lot. Your salesperson should have a good idea of where you can get service in your area. Vantage Mobility also provides customer service support. When you call us, we’ll direct you to the nearest location where you can get support, and we’ll partner with them to make sure they’re prepared for you. You can also give us a call if you have issues or concerns with diagnostics or outcomes you get from your local shop. We have hundreds of service locations nationwide. If necessary, we have the capability to train new service providers in your area to make it easy for you to find continuous support. As one of the industry’s longest converters of mobility vans, most experienced technicians know how to service Vantage Mobility products.
Being a savvy wheelchair van shopper can make all the difference between a poor and fantastic purchasing experience. You deserve a great vehicle at a fair price. As the manufacturer, we commit to providing the great vehicle. We trust our dealer partners to work with you to offer the fair price. Be sure to do your due diligence to ensure you’ve chosen the best dealer and product for your needs.