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    Vans vs Cars - which do you prefer

    I like my car. But it's a pain to dissemble/assemble the wheelchair every time I get in/out of the car. A van would solve that problem as I could roll in with the wheelchair in one piece. It even offers the option to eliminate the transfer and drive while in the wheelchair. But how about the parking? Van ramps require 8' clearance whereas most HP spots have 5' clearance for car doors.

    That means finding accessible parking is far more difficult for a van driver than a car driver. The trade off is ease of the van vs the parking access of the car. What do you do?
    Last edited by August West; 22 Nov 2016, 5:09 AM.

    #2
    Save your shoulder at all cost. wheelchairs can be replace.....your shoulder cannot. Medicare would save a lot more money if they thought this way. But they hope you get tired and do away with yourself.
    Art

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      #3
      Hello!
      Hubby and I are both paralyzed and have used a full sized van for years. We are older, and in younger years used cars. Yes, the handling of the wheelchair storage was cumbersome, but the shoulders were strong then and we didn't think of preserving them. Now we must baby our shoulders every day, and although we have pain, we have not yet had to resort to surgery. We both have had times when we had to go through weeks of Physical Therapy, and it helped a lot.
      We use a full size van, as mini-vans are too tight for two wheelchairs and the cost of modifying them seems like about double that of a full size van. We can transfer ok, so we have two 6-way power seats, hand controls, power door openers and lift. (If you go with full size van it's nice to have power passenger seat for times you may not be the driver.)
      Some paralyzed people see full sized vans or mini vans as "not cool", at least it seems that way. Yes, I'd much rather be tooling around in a Mustang or a sports car, but it's not gonna happen.
      As for parking, we live in a semi-rural area and rarely have a problem finding spots. At handicapped spots we park very close to the white line at the left of the van, leaving most space for deploying our lift on the right side. In some situations a person may want a rear-entry lift - we tried that once but it was awkward for entry of two wheelchairs. With rear-entry it would enable one to park in non-handicapped spots.
      In the past we carried two handcycles (in addition to our two wheelchairs) in our van. Lots of space, if you need it.
      If you will garage your vehicle, suggest some thought to space available for transfers to car, or lift space needed for a van.
      Let us know how it goes!

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        #4
        Originally posted by Art454 View Post
        Save your shoulder at all cost. wheelchairs can be replace.....your shoulder cannot. Medicare would save a lot more money if they thought this way. But they hope you get tired and do away with yourself.
        Huh? Post in the wrong topic?

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by August West View Post
          I like my car. But it's a pain to dissemble/assemble the wheelchair every time I get in/out of the car. A van would solve that problem as I could roll in with the wheelchair in one piece. It even offers the option to eliminate the transfer and drive while in the wheelchair. But how about the parking? Van ramps require 8' clearance whereas most HP spots have 5' clearance for car doors.

          That means finding accessible parking is far more difficult for a van driver than a car driver. The trade off is ease of the van vs the parking access of the car. What do you do?

          After owning both, I prefer my truck over all. With a van, you always are looking for a parking spot and it never saved me anytime outside the vehicle. I can get in a car anywhere, disassemble or assemble my chair in the same or less amount of time you wait for a lift or ramp to come down.

          I would never want to drive from my wheelchair though, I'd rather get a seat base that allows you to turn the drivers seat around so you can transfer to it inside the van.

          I have it even easier with a Silverado 4 door (not quad cab) truck. I can leave my chair fully assembled and with the back seat out, I can pull the chair in behind my seat.

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            #6
            C5-6 quad here, drove cars for 26 years then went to full size van, wish I had done it 10 yrs prior. the transfer is stupid easy. minivans are just to small imo, no issues parking at all. we haull my handcycle, my wifes bike and luggage with tons of room to spare. we did transfer seats both driver and passenger. I like to ride shotgun and she likes to drive.

            I was a bonehead for too long, tore rotator cuff and bicep transferring into my car over the years
            Bike-on.com rep
            John@bike-on.com
            c4/5 inc funtioning c6. 28 yrs post.
            sponsored handcycle racer

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              #7
              Originally posted by pacrossbow View Post
              Huh? Post in the wrong topic?

              No, this post is in the right topic. Anything you can do to save your shoulders will provide dividends in the long term. If using a van versus using a car means you will transfer less frequently then your shoulders will be saved wear and tear.
              Tom

              "Blessed are the pessimists, for they hath made backups." Exasperated 20:12

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                #8
                Also type of car can make a big difference in strain to get in/out and wheelchair stowage. I know my Challenger is a ton easier to work with than my winter heap Crown Vic. Lifting the frame into Challenger is quite easier due to the superior body mechanics afforded with the room available with 2 doors. The Crown Vic is just terrible in comparison with 4 doors. Shoulder strain getting in and out of cars seem to be no more substantial, possibly less, than some of the transfers I do though out the day. But I use a long transfer board for car transfers to make things easier than super-crip no board transfers, safer too this way on questionable parking surfaces.

                If you are looking for what might be an ideal solution to transportation...take a peek at the current-gen Ford Transit Connect long wheelbase version. Transfer similar to a car, nice ergos in the drivers seat, and you can roll/lift the chair assembled into the side door behind the drivers seat. Might be the speed record holder for ingress/egress for wheelchair users with enough practice. I was contemplating getting one, but I'm just too much of a gearhead to actually go though with that idea.

                Driving from a wheelchair...scary thought to me. I like having body support in turns and such.

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                  #9
                  duplicate post

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                    #10
                    Originally posted by TomRL View Post
                    No, this post is in the right topic. Anything you can do to save your shoulders will provide dividends in the long term. If using a van versus using a car means you will transfer less frequently then your shoulders will be saved wear and tear.
                    Really? honestly, I think you guys need to learn to transfer better if it wears on your shoulders.

                    Unless you are driving from your chair, you still have a transfer inside the van. You are still pushing up the vans ramp if you go that route.

                    What does Medicare have to do with van vs car? How does Medicare want to do you away?

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by Andy View Post
                      Also type of car can make a big difference in strain to get in/out and wheelchair stowage. I know my Challenger is a ton easier to work with than my winter heap Crown Vic. Lifting the frame into Challenger is quite easier due to the superior body mechanics afforded with the room available with 2 doors. The Crown Vic is just terrible in comparison with 4 doors. Shoulder strain getting in and out of cars seem to be no more substantial, possibly less, than some of the transfers I do though out the day. But I use a long transfer board for car transfers to make things easier than super-crip no board transfers, safer too this way on questionable parking surfaces.

                      If you are looking for what might be an ideal solution to transportation...take a peek at the current-gen Ford Transit Connect long wheelbase version. Transfer similar to a car, nice ergos in the drivers seat, and you can roll/lift the chair assembled into the side door behind the drivers seat. Might be the speed record holder for ingress/egress for wheelchair users with enough practice. I was contemplating getting one, but I'm just too much of a gearhead to actually go though with that idea.

                      Driving from a wheelchair...scary thought to me. I like having body support in turns and such.

                      I agree on the type of car part. My other vehicle, a Wrangler, is a little more difficult than my truck only because you have a smaller door opening.

                      My old car, a Civic, was as easy as transferring inside the van I had (GMC Safari with a lift and 4 way power seat).

                      I know 2 people who use vans with drivers side power doors where they pull their entire chair inside. Very simple to do for them and no expense of modifying an entire van.

                      I don't know why anyone would drive from a manual wheelchair...can't imagine what would happen if one was in an acciident.

                      I'm a C6-7 quad and have zero shoulder issues from transfers. If you have limited function preventing transfers, the van route is better.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by pacrossbow View Post
                        After owning both, I prefer my truck over all. With a van, you always are looking for a parking spot and it never saved me anytime outside the vehicle. I can get in a car anywhere, disassemble or assemble my chair in the same or less amount of time you wait for a lift or ramp to come down.

                        I would never want to drive from my wheelchair though, I'd rather get a seat base that allows you to turn the drivers seat around so you can transfer to it inside the van.

                        I have it even easier with a Silverado 4 door (not quad cab) truck. I can leave my chair fully assembled and with the back seat out, I can pull the chair in behind my seat.
                        This seems good if it's doable for me. The truck is high off the ground. How do you get in? How do you pull the wheelchair in?

                        Comment


                          #13
                          I miss the quiet ride, good gas mileage of my old car. Rehab sent me out in a low back, manual, lightweight rigid chair. After flipping over backwards going up a ramp while looking at a van, a power chair was the best solution for me. Mini van with ramp has worked very well. I drive from the wheelchair.
                          "Never turn your back on fear. It should always be in front of you, like a thing that might have to be killed." - Hunter Thompson
                          T5/6 complete

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by Art454 View Post
                            Save your shoulder at all cost. wheelchairs can be replace.....your shoulder cannot. Medicare would save a lot more money if they thought this way. But they hope you get tired and do away with yourself.
                            Originally posted by pacrossbow View Post
                            Huh? Post in the wrong topic?
                            Originally posted by pacrossbow View Post
                            Really? honestly, I think you guys need to learn to transfer better if it wears on your shoulders.

                            Unless you are driving from your chair, you still have a transfer inside the van. You are still pushing up the vans ramp if you go that route.

                            What does Medicare have to do with van vs car? How does Medicare want to do you away?
                            I think what "Art54" is advocating is that Medicare should pay for wheelchair vans, which may help preserve shoulder health, instead of paying for shoulder care and treatment once damage to the shoulders occurs. Sort of the ounce of prevention/pound of cure argument.

                            Something to keep in mind is that all spinal cord injuries are different. What one person can achieve at any given level of injury isn't necessarily what another person can achieve at the same level of injury. Many of us have been injured for 40, 50, 60 years. In the beginning we used manual chairs (not light weight ones that are available today, power chairs weren't as good or readily available as they are today) and wrecked our shoulders early on. Our shoulder injuries have impacted every part of activities of daily living, making everything more difficult and painful. Learning to transfer with a better or different technique may not help when shoulders are already badly injured from years and years of use beyond which shoulders were meant to bear.

                            All the best,
                            GJ
                            Last edited by gjnl; 22 Nov 2016, 4:25 PM.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by August West View Post
                              I like my car. But it's a pain to dissemble/assemble the wheelchair every time I get in/out of the car. A van would solve that problem as I could roll in with the wheelchair in one piece. It even offers the option to eliminate the transfer and drive while in the wheelchair. But how about the parking? Van ramps require 8' clearance whereas most HP spots have 5' clearance for car doors.

                              That means finding accessible parking is far more difficult for a van driver than a car driver. The trade off is ease of the van vs the parking access of the car. What do you do?
                              From the beginning I have had vans. During rehab and for a short time after I was released, I used a car, but at my C6/7 complete injury level, I was unable to transfer myself, let alone haul the chair in behind me. NL did the transfer in and out of the car (in those days it was a 2 door land yacht with the widest, heaviest doors ever) and then break down the chair and put it in the trunk. For my little 110 lb. wonder, this was just too much. Not to mention having to transfer in rainy, cold, windy weather. Thankfully we didn't have snow where we lived, not to say that NL hasn't done that a time or two while on business trips to NY, NJ, and Chicago.

                              Our first van was a Ford Econoline 150. At the time, the ADA had not been passed and there were few underground parking garages that had adequate head clearance to accommodate the van. For that reason, the next one we got was a Dodge Caravan, minivan. Since, we've own a Ford Windstar and now a Honda Odyssey. We miss the ride and quite of a quality car, especially on long road trips, but the minivan accommodates all the stuff we have to take with us and has served us well. By the by, minivan conversions to have a "kneel" feature that makes the ramp less steep if you are worried about tipping backward, when you use the ramp at the regular road height deployment.

                              All the best,
                              GJ

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