What to Know Before Purchasing a Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle
NMEDA’s network of mobility equipment dealers and industry professionals is dedicated to ensuring the journey to a new accessible van or car is a smooth and worry-free process. The following answers some of the most frequent questions we receive regarding our services, mobility solutions and the purchasing process.
Who is NMEDA?
NMEDA is a non-profit trade association. Our members are the folks who make and sell wheelchair accessible vehicles and all the cool adaptive equipment that goes inside (or outside).
How do I know if a vehicle conversion is safe? Especially if I’m thinking of buying online?
Step one, no matter where you buy the vehicle, is to check the Safety-Reviewed Vehicles resource and make sure the vehicle is listed. If it is not, that could raise a serious red flag about the crashworthiness of the vehicle.
What are the steps to purchasing a wheelchair accessible vehicle?
- Locate a NMEDA Dealer. Working with a mobility industry professional from the beginning will significantly and positively impact your entire purchasing process.
- Consult with a Certified Driver Rehabilitation Specialist for a personal evaluation.
- Make a final purchase decision with the help of a NMEDA dealer.
- Receive training on how to use the mobility equipment.
- When available, apply for mobility reimbursements.
Visit our Getting Started page for more details on the process for buying a wheelchair accessible vehicle.
How do I find a mobility dealer near me?
Visit our NMEDA Dealer Locator, enter your zip or postal code and click on find. The locator will display the NMEDA mobility dealers nearest you.
How do I know if a mobility vehicle is right for me?
When it comes to choosing the right size mobility vehicle, vans have always been a popular option. Besides their larger size able to accommodate additional equipment and family members, vans are often easier on the body over a long period of time. A minivan or full sized mobility van is very practical for individuals in a wheelchair as they do not need to transfer from their chair to a car seat if they don’t want to. Most accessible van conversions allow users to drive from their wheelchair or from a transfer seat. To find out more about choosing the right size vehicle for your needs, be sure to talk to your NMEDA dealer to help better determine what would work best for you.
Are there any mobility-challenged customers who would be better served by a sedan or truck?
Yes, a sedan or truck can work for individuals with disabilities; however, you must do your research. Start with a mobility dealer, specifically a NMEDA Quality Assurance Program™ (QAP) dealer. They can connect individuals to a certified driver rehabilitation specialist (CDRS) who will determine the specific equipment needed for someone to drive. The dealer then uses this information to complete the necessary modifications to the vehicle. Also, the dealer can direct buyers to information on funding options, and they provide the proper facilities to maintain and repair the vehicle. They even offer 24-hour mechanical service.
What factors influence the cost of a wheelchair accessible vehicle?
The influences impacting the price of a vehicle are far and wide, even down to whether you’re buying new or used vehicles, side or rear entry ramp or even the type of hand controls. For current pricing or new and used wheelchair accessible vehicles, please contact a NMEDA Dealer near you.
What kind of maintenance is required with mobility vehicles?
We recommend a service inspection every six months by a qualified professional, but to keep the warranties intact, every piece of equipment requires actual maintenance at different times. All equipment needs to be inspected for damage, alignment and proper operation. Electrical wiring checks include frayed wires and loose connections. It all needs to be cleaned, adjusted and lubricated. Please know the maintenance requirements, and ensure that routine maintenance is performed on time or the manufacturer may not honor the warranty.
How do I know if a product is safe?
NMEDA does its best to review test compliance documentation from manufacturer members to ensure that are in compliance for the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) put out by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). To find out more information about specific products, read through our Compliance Review Program. NMEDA only displays those products that have submitted documentation and are found to be in compliance with FMVSS by a panel of independent engineers.
Does NMEDA independently perform product testing?
NMEDA does have a Compliance Review Program that reviews testing documentation on certain products through a panel of independent engineers to determine compliance to Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards.
What is QAP?
The Quality Assurance Program (QAP) is the only nationally recognized accreditation program for the Adaptive Mobility Equipment Industry. It is based on the principle that in order to satisfy customers consistently, companies must have a systematic and documented approach to quality. The program was developed to elevate the level of dealer performance to reliably meet consumers’ transportation needs in the safest manner possible. The Quality Assurance Program was developed to promote quality, safety and reliable transportation. All NMEDA Dealer Members must be in compliance with QAP to be a NMEDA member. To read more about QAP, read our documentation on the program and its benefits.
Where can I get information about NMEDA member manufacturers?
Within our What to Buy guide, we’ve included links to the manufacturers of specific mobility equipment solutions. Each product category link on our What to Buy page will take to a page that lists the Manufacturers.
- You can explore our manufacturer members and other non-dealer members who operate in the auto mobility space via our Industry Directory.
What can I do if I have a complaint against one of your members?
NMEDA’s first priority is to ensure the safety and satisfaction of each of our clients. If you are unhappy with your mobility purchase and would like to file a formal complaint, our Mediation guide outlines our process for mediating a complaint against a NMEDA member. If you have any questions with regard to the process, please feel free to contact the NMEDA office.