How To Buy A Used Wheelchair Van & Be Confident In Your Decision
Have you been thinking about buying a used wheelchair accessible van in Winnipeg lately? Buying a used wheelchair van is a great option but there are definitely some questions that need to be asked before buying a vehicle. Buying a used wheelchair van is a bit different than buying a typical used vehicle as you not only have to be concerned about the vehicle but also need to consider the wheelchair van conversion. There is always the fear that the vehicle you are going to buy will be a lemon or turn out to be something else other than what you bought.
To help you out, I have put together a list of 10 questions to ask the next time you are looking at buying a used wheelchair van. They will help you get the information you need to make a choice you are confident in.
- How many kilometres are on the vehicle?
Knowing the number of kilometeres on the wheelchair van is extremely important. This will tell you more about the used wheelchair van than just the year itself. The year of the vehicle can be important as there may be warranty still on the vehicle. The kilometres will tell you how much wear and tear are on the vehicle. If possible when talking to the dealer, ask if they know what kind of kilometres are on the vehicle? In other words, are they highway or city? Most people will tell you highway kilometres are the better type to be put on the vehicle. The reason for this is highway miles are more efficient on the engine than city driving. Without getting into a lot of detail, the engine runs at lower RPM’s and steady motoring speeds. The start and stop of city driving affect the transmission, brakes, suspension, engine and so on.
- What is the van equipped with?
Another way to ask this question is what model is the wheelchair van? What kind of bells and whistles does it come with? Knowing the features of the used wheelchair van can make the buying decision really easy. For example, a little while ago, we had a 2013 RAV II Dodge Grand Caravan Crew in stock. The van sold for $40,000. It had almost everything in it for features minus sunroof and leather seats. The kilometeres were fairly low as well. Comparably a brand new version of the same type of conversion on a base Dodge Grand Caravan SE+ sells for the same amount. Even though the van was slightly older, the number of features and comforts it came equipped with, outweighed the benefits of buying new.
- What condition is the van in?
The next question you need to ask is getting a general sense of the condition the wheelchair accessible vehicle is in. This is your opportunity to let the dealer talk about the used wheelchair van you are interested in and let them tell you about it. You can listen for different items that may interest or concern you and ask further questions.
- How about the body and interior?
If it didn’t come up when you asked the last question, this is your reminder to make sure you ask about the body and interior. Questions to ask about the body would be are there any dings or scratches? Is there any rust? Are there any stains in the carpet? Any scratches in the dash? Are there any holes in the seats? It’s okay to get nitty gritty with the questions you are asking. If this vehicle is of interest to you, you will want to make sure it is a wheelchair van you feel confident and comfortable driving.
- Has it been in an accident?
Just like buying any used vehicle, you want to know if the used wheelchair van has ever been in an accident. The dealer may know right away if it has. If not, they can provide you with a report from CarProof. This report will provide any accident information on a vehicle as well as any other critical information about the vehicle’s history. If you want to learn more about what is included in a CarProof report, you can visit their website here.
- Do you have the service records?
If possible, see if the dealer can provide you with a service history on the vehicle. This may not always be possible to get, however. Most of the time the used vehicles coming in, come from wheelchair vans which have been traded in. From time to time for example, we convert used vans and it does become easier to get some history on the vehicle. All used wheelchair vans are required to get a safety done to them.
- Has the van ever been recalled?
It’s important to know if the van has ever had to have safety recall work on it. This history should be accessible through the dealer. It’s important to note when the safety recall work was completed.
- What kind of conversion has been done to the van?
Changing focus from the wheelchair van to the conversion, you want to know what type of conversion has been done. It is important to know if it is a side or rear entry conversion but also find out who did the original conversion. There are multiple wheelchair conversion companies and each conversion is slightly different. Each conversion type has its pluses and minuses so it is important to know as much as you can about the conversion.
- How does the conversion work?
Part two to the question above is to know how the conversion works. For example, if it is a power conversion, does the ramp go up and down or in and out smoothly still or is it jerky? Do all the mechanical parts on it work properly? Is the conversion a new conversion or is it existing with the wheelchair van? Similar to wanting to know how the van works mechanically, you want to make sure the used wheelchair van ramp works well. Again, this is something you will be owning and using on a regular basis and you want to make sure this vital part of the vehicle is to your standards.
- Has there been any challenges with the type of conversion done on the van?
Similar to wanting to know about safety recalls and overall conversion performance, it’s important to know the reputation of the conversion of the vehicle. Just like any other brand, there are those that have a great reputation and quality product and there are those whose product is just meets requirements.
Knowing and asking these 10 questions will save you time, grief and help you find the right used wheelchair van for you. If you need help in finding the right used wheelchair van, please don’t hesitate to check us out for help. If you are in the market right now for a used wheelchair van, you can check out our latest inventory here.