Motability Car Adaptations
Firstly, you may not always need an adaptation to your vehicle. At Sandicliffe, we have a large range of New vehicles for you to test-drive and some of them feature the most up to date car technology such as “Push to Start” buttons and Voice Activation Technology, all of which can help assist with day to day driving. However, this is sometimes not enough and you may need extra adaptations adding to the vehicle to suit your needs. Motability adaptations have been designed to help ease driving and travelling for over 40,000 customers on the Motability Scheme. As you can imagine, there's a very wide range of adaptations available all created with the customer in mind, however it can be tricky to know exactly which adaptation is suitable for you. Most of the adaptations generally fall in to one of three categories.
- What are Driving Adaptations? - These are solutions designed to improve driving comfort, safety and experience. These sorts of adaptations are normally orientated around steering with hand controls, remote controls and accelorator and/or pedal modifications.
- What are Stowage Adaptations? - For Motability customers that require a scooter or wheelchair often have problems with storing them in a standard car, whether it be space or the ability to lift the aids. Stowage adaptions allows the driver to easily store a wheelchair or scooter in or on the car through rooftop stowage, car boot hoists or internal vehicle modifications.
- What are Access Adaptations? - These are adaptations that enable you to get in and out of the car easier, these include transfer plates, electirc hoists and swivel seats.
If you do require an adaptation, it's important that you have as much information as possible before ordering your car as not every adaptation is suitable for every vehicle. It would be useful for you to speak with one of our Motability Specialists beforehand to clarify which cars would be most suitable for your chosen adaptations. Here at Sandicliffe we want you to have the best driving experience possible! So to help you decide, here's some more information on all the different types of adaptations available…
Steering aids are perfect for you if you have difficulty using your hands, for example; if you struggle to hold or turn the wheel. Not only do they make a huge improvement for people that need them but they are also simple enough for the wheel to be used normally by drivers that don't require help, ensuring the vehicle can be shared.
One of the most common and often essential adaptations is the Steering Ball. This is definitely recommended if you require the use of hand controls. The detachable Steering Ball is easily attached to the front of the wheel and is roughly the same size and shape of a regular door knob. It works by the driver holding onto the ball that can turn 360 degrees allowing for the wheel to be turned in both directions using a one handed movement. The hand remains in the same position for comfort as the ball is pulled to the left or right. This adaptation frees up the other hand for different driving needs, such as hand controls. Simple, yet effective.
We understand that braking and accelerating using standard vehicle pedals can be difficult for some drivers. A solution to this problem is using Hand Controls. It's an alternative way of controlling the speed of your car without using your legs.
One of the most popular devices used to aid this is what is called a ‘Push/Pull Device' and it's as simple as pulling or pushing onto a lever to accelerate or brake. Once installed the device that you hold onto is often at the right hand side of the wheel for easy access and comfortable driving. Of course, there are different variations of this device depending on the manufacturer of car and also for the level of assistance needed. They range from basic mechanical models to ones fitted with air compression technology or electrics. It really does depend on your needs, however the function of the device generally remains the same.
If you feel that hand controls are for you then we would also advise looking at Automatic vehicles when choosing your car.
An alternative to the Push/Pull Device there are a number of Electronic Accelerators. Again, they are suitable for people with restricted mobility in their legs but they offer drivers a more comfortable way of controlling their speed. These devices don't require as much effort as the Push/Pull Device as they are electronically operated. We offer a variety of different options such as;
- Trigger Accelerator - A small device at the side of the wheel that can be pulled by your finger to accelerate and push to brake
- Over Ring Accelerator - A smaller raised ring fitted on to the face of the wheel that can be pushed down to accelerate
- Under Ring Accelerator - A ring the same size as the steering wheel is fitted behind it. It can be pulled towards yourself to accelerate
- Ghost Ring Accelerator - Has the same placement has the under ring accelerator however rather than being pulled towards you to accelerate the ring is moved side to side
Take a look at this video to see the difference.
Remote Control Devices
Designed mainly for people with restricted upper body movement and possibly people with only one hand, the remote control device creates an easy way to control the cars standard functions all from a single panel. The detachable device can be mounted onto the front of the steering wheel for easy use and can control things such as the indicators, window wipers and headlights. This device can also incorporate the Steering Ball to make steering and controlling functions of the car operational with one hand. There are a range of different wireless keypads available. Generally, they have two main designs
- Lollipop Grip - Allows driver to grip the handle and operate using their thumb
- Steering Ball Grip - Allowing driver to grasp with their hand and operate the functions using thumb or fore-finger at the side
They both achieve the same things however depending on your needs there are different variations of product. They can range from having 7 – 13 different functionalities. Take a look at how to easily use the Remote Control devices here:
It's understandable that due to certain circumstances some drivers may not be able to reach the standard foot pedals regardless of how close you sit to the wheel. For safety and comfort it is recommended to have the pedals extended. Detachable foot pedal extensions can be a simple solution to ease any discomfort in trying to reach for the pedals whilst driving, and would overall improve the control you have over the car. For some drivers however, it may only be the right leg affected in which case a Left Foot accelerator is a popular alternative.
- Left Foot Accelerators - Perfect for drivers with limited mobility in their right leg this adaption enables the driver to control the acceleration from a left foot accelerator. Of course this can be unusual for first time users so we would advise speaking with on our Motability Specialists for advice before ordering. There are to leading designs.
- Twin Flip Accelerator - A second pedal fitted to the left side of the brake pedal. This allows for you to use your left foot to accelerate. The original and new acceleration pedals can be folded up out of the way. This is perfect if the car is used by anyone else not needing this adaption.
- Floor Mounted Accelerator - A device mounted to the floor with an accelerator pedal to the left of the brake. There is also a pedal guard in front of the original pedal.
Watch this video for a demonstration of how they work:
Car Boot Hoists
A hoist has been designed to help transfer your wheelchair or scooter in and out of the boot with the touch of a button. Tie downs are included in the hoist-package to keep the wheelchair or scooter secure whilst driving. The hoists are mounted inside the boot and an extendable arm helps you guide your product into the boot. It’s important when choosing a hoist package that you have visited your local branch with your product as they can advise you which hoist would be most suitable for your chair or scooter. Our Motability specialists are fully trained to help advise which hoist package will be suitable for you but to give you a better idea, here’s some more information on the two types of hoists available.
- 2-Way Hoist - Generally used for lighter wheelchairs. They can only operate up and down so once it has lifted the chair or scooter it would have to be manually pushed into the vehicle.
- 4-Way Hoist - Perfect for heavier items. This hoist will lift your chair scooter up and in / out and down with a little guidance from you.
Adding a car boot hoist could be an alternative to a Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle (WAV). We would suggest discussing this with your adaption installer first. Here’s a short video of the hoist being used:
Car Rooftop Stowage
Rooftop stowage can be a great solution if your boot is needed for other storage. It’s an adaptation that allows you to store a folded wheelchair on the roof of your car, it wouldn’t be ideal for larger, heavier items such as a scooter. Being concealed in a box this would protect the chair from weather conditions and keep it secure on any journey. An electric hoist is activated by the touch of a button and will lower down allowing you to attach the chair. It is then pulled back up and manoeuvred into the stowage box. The box can usually be fitted to the driver’s side or passengers side for convenience. Before ordering a Rooftop Stowage adaptation, consider that this could cause restrictions for parking due to some parking units having height restrictions. For more information on this our Motability Specialist’s would be happy to advise.
Here is a short video demonstrating the simple stowage solution:
Generally, people who rely on a wheelchair or scooter for mobility often look for Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles (WAV) only. This isn’t the only option and here at Sandicliffe we are more than happy to arrange a no-obligation appointment to demonstrate the different options available to you. There are a number of adaptations that can be installed to improve the accessibility of any standard car. There are three different options that could help you and they are;
Fitted to the side of your seat it creates a surface from your seat to the wheelchair. This helps you transfer to and from the seats. Once in the car the plate can be folded out of the way to ensure comfortable driving. The plates can be manually or electrically controlled however the electric plates are more expensive. When considering your options, please understand to use the plates you must have the upper body strength to be able to move yourself from the plate to seat and vice versa.
Electric Person Hoist
A permanent hoist will be mounted into the car. Three sections are then clipped together to create a frame that’s able to lift a person entirely into the vehicle electrically. A canvas has been specially designed for this purpose. Once seated parts of the frame can be detached and stored in the boot however the sling would remain with you as it’s then easier to be put back into your wheelchair at the end of the journey. Some people see this as an alternative to WAV vehicles as they are then able to ride in the front seat with the driver rather than in the back in their wheel chair, making it a more comfortable and enjoyable experience.
A permanent Swivel Seat can turn, lower and tip to make getting in and out of the car easier. The seats can be manual or electrical depending on what is preferable to you. Wheelchair Swivel Seats can also be installed into your vehicle. Due to a specifically designed car seat the wheelchair base allows for it to be connected so that the seat can be turned and pulled out of the car completely by sliding onto the wheelchair frame.