Minivan Conversions | Full Size Conversion Van | Handicapped Vans
Information on Minivans Conversions, Handicapped Vans, and Wheelchair Accessible Adaptive Equipment
The main feature to look for is that the towing vehicle has sufficient capacity to safely handle the combined weight of the wheelchair or scooter and the external platform lift. The more the better in my opinion but sufficient capacity is enough. Please refer to webpage XXX.
To have sufficient capacity, the vehicle may require a towing package as tongue load rating is directly tied to a car's towing capacity. This has to come installed on the car and is not an aftermarket addition. The towing package may include any of the following: heavy duty radiator system, alternator, suspension, and brakes, as well as an engine-oil cooler, transmission-oil cooler, wiring harness, specific axle ratio, and special wheels and tires.
You should also check that a readily available trailer hitch to meet the requirements of the external platform lift is available for your car.
All the mechanics of the car should be in good working order, regularly inspected and maintained. Your car must have a good set of tires with plenty of tread, good alignment, and a good suspension to support the additional load.
Please refer to your vehicle's owner's manual, consult with the wheelchair hitch lift manufacturer, and see the webpage XXX for more information on how much load your vehicle can safely handle.
Example 1: Can a 2006 Chrysler PT Cruiser safely handle a wheelchair hitch lift?
As an example. let's look at a 2006 Chrysler PT Cruiser. The owner's manual says the vehicle has a maximum gross trailer weight GTW of 1,000lbs and a maximum tongue load of 110lbs. Without going into all the technical details of how to calculate this, since the combined weight of most hitch lifts and mobility devices is in the 200+ lb range, I'll say no, your vehicle cannot safely handle a wheelchair hitch lift. Find a towing vehicle that is more appropriate for carrying an external platform lift.
To use a wheelchair trailer, the user or attendant will need to be strong enough to:
Some factors that will determine the specific hitch lift model that is installed:
The trailer towing industry has a system that classifies hitches according to their tongue load rating. You'll need to ensure that the hitch installed on your vehicle at a minimum has the tongue load rating to handle your loaded wheelchair or scooter hitch lift. Often the hitch will have more tongue load rating than is required by the wheelchair hitch lift. If the maximum tongue load rating of the vehicle falls between the maximum tongue load rating of two hitches, the larger hitch should be installed with the understanding that the maximum tongue load that your car can safely handle is determined by the vehicle and not the hitch. Please see the webpage XXX for more information.
There are different products that might assist in keeping the vehicle with the hitch lift level and from sagging in the rear. Newer brake systems also have a rear height sensor that looks for load on the rear axle and adjusts the car's brakes based on the loading condition. By keeping the vehicle level when it really should sag in the rear when loaded with a wheelchair hitch lift, you are in effect tricking the height sensor and not allowing the brakes to operate according to the manufacturer's specifications. You need to be careful in choosing to install suspension supports. Since the car's maximum tongue load and GAWR Gross Axle Weight Ratings are determined by the vehicle manufacturer and these are third-party products, they do not increase the car's loading capabilities. The load of a wheelchair hitch lift, before and after installing these products, is still the same and is ultimately still carried by the rear axle. You need to be careful in choosing to install suspension supports. If you think your car needs a suspension support system to safely carry a hitch lift then you really probably need a different car with a higher tongue load capacity or come up with another way to safely transport your wheelchair.
Air is being used to either replace or assist the existing rear metal spring suspension components on your car. Air has the advantage over solid metal of being adjustable. These air components are manually charged or discharged depending on loading conditions and must be maintained, checked, and adjusted by the vehicle operator. You will need to do this either by going to a gas station or buying your own compressor.
How can I determine how much hitch or tongue load my car can safely carry? Please see the webpage XXX for more information for determining how much hitch or tongue load your car can safely carry.
Before choosing a hitch lift, do I need to be evaluated? I'd recommend going to an authorized dealer of wheelchair hitch lifts. They should be able to perform a demonstration whereby you can show that you have or don't have the ability to operate the wheelchair hitch lift independently.
Home | Wheelchair Van - Minivan Conversions | Wheelchair Van - Full Size Conversion Van | Wheelchair Transport Options | Vehicle Modifier | Wheelchair Safety | Driving Evaluator | Hand Controls | Handicapped Lifts | Riding in a Wheelchair | High Tech Electronic Driving Controls | Secondary Controls | Elderly Driving | Definitions | Frequently Asked Questions | Air bags | Towing Capacity | Wheelchair Trailer Towing | Hitch Lifts
BlueRobot CSS formats