Monday, February 18, 2013

New Mobility Van!!!

Take a look at our new mini-van.

One of the struggles that was a continuing problem for our family was the transportation of William to the weekly physician visits. We were not equipped with a vehicle that allowed for easy transportation of our kids.

The problem has been solved.  With the help of Grandpa Jim, Grandpa Brian and the State of Illinois, we have purchased a new Chrysler Town and Country equipped with a fold out ramp!!!!

The process of buying a mobility van is more difficult that one may realize.  First, vehicle manufacturers do not make these type of vans.  The ramps are installed separately by third party companies. 

You can purchase the van in one of two ways; first, you can purchase a van from a mobility dealer.  They have some on the lot that have already been converted.  The second method is to buy a van and then have your van converted.

After looking at all of our options, we decided that we wanted a brand new van and to then have that van converted.  For us, this was the best option as it allowed us to get the van we wanted along with some savings on the conversion.  We decided on a brand new van instead of a used van as we felt that we would likely keep this van for a very long time.  The price of the conversion is $16,000.00 so we felt that we should buy a van that will last a very long time as we did not want to put a new conversion in an old van.

We first went out and shopped for different kinds of vans.  We settled on the Town and Country as it has the most interior floor space and they offer a lifetime warranty for the entire van.

A "conversion" is the work done to allow for the entry of a wheelchair.  All conversions require that the floor of the minivan be lowered, the sliding doors are altered, the rear interior is stripped and re-done and finally a ramp is installed.   There are many different levels of conversion.  Some have power ramps that automatically extend when the door is opened, and some allow for the wheelchair to be placed in the front passenger section.   Due to William's condition we went with a Braun Companion Van.  This conversion was the best fit for us as we do not anticipate William sitting in the front, and due to snow conditions, we prefer a manual ramp.  Some have ramps the enter through the rear of the van, but we decided to go with a side entrance as we wanted William to be closer to the driver and the rest of the family.

Chrysler gave us an extraordinary deal on the van and the warranty (it might have been my excellent negotiating skills... I also had help from another skilled litigator... thanks Jim).  We then took the van to have it converted.  The conversion process took about a month.

William loves the van.  It has two DVD screens so Will and Juliet can watch movies while we travel.

I am so happy that this problem is solved.  Next up, new house that has wide walkways to allow Will to drive a power wheelchair throughout the house.

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