A wheelchair lift or wheelchair carrier is a device that enhances the mobility of the wheelchair user. A lift on a vehicle allows the wheelchair user to move from one location to another easily. There are various models and vendors of wheelchair lifts and carriers to choose from. But before purchasing one, keep in mind the following:
First, confirm the model and brand of wheelchair that you use. Some wheelchairs require special docking device for them to be lifted onto a vehicle.
Confirm the exact make, model, and year of the vehicle that where the wheelchair lift will be fitted to. These details are especially important if a lift that installs inside the vehicle is being considered. As for external lifts and carriers, a Class II or III trailer tow bar has to be installede. A Class II bar usually has a 350-lb weight capability while Class III has 500-lb. Compute the weight of the wheelchair plus the weight of the lift. The sum should be at least 10% below the recommended capacity of the bar.
An external lift is preferable when there is not enough room for the wheelchair inside the vehicle. Manual lifts are less expensive because no motor is required to lift the wheelchair. However, the person who is loading or unloading the wheelchair requires upper body strength.
An internal lift, on the other hand, employs a motor to raise the wheelchair and stows it inside the vehicle. This type is recommended for large vehicles such as vans.
There are many variations of wheelchair lifts to choose from. To maximize the mobility of the wheelchair user, careful selection of a wheelchair lift ensures the suitability of the unit to the users daily needs.
In a platform wheelchair lift, the solid platform folds for storage in the vehicle. These come in automatic and semi-automatic models. The automatic wheelchair lift folds and unfolds, as well as raises and lowers the wheelchair with a switch. With semi-automatic models, the platform is manually folded and unfolded but a switch raises and lowers the lift itself.
Rotary wheelchair lifts raises/lowers the wheelchair and swings it inside/outside the vehicle. Obviously, it is more convenient than the platform lift.
When considering an electric wheelchair lift, a model with an emergency manual system is best as it will ensure continued use even when the electric system malfunctions.
Having a lift installed in a vehicle is worth the expense considering that it allows the wheelchair user to travel much further afield thus increasing sense of independence and individualism.