Rear entry wheelchair vans can get a bad rap from the public. In our experience, this usually has to do with poor information being shared about them as well as the lack of information on the Internet about how great rear entry vans really are. As a local supplier of wheelchair vans in Winnipeg, we are dedicated to only providing quality wheelchair van options for our clients. Earlier last year, I wrote a blog post dedicated to the advantages of rear entry wheelchair vans called the Top Five Benefits To Choosing a Rear Entry Wheelchair Van.
The rear entry van has been our number one accessible van for many years and the customers who use them, love them. To quickly summarize why you should want to own a rear entry van, here are the Top Five Benefits:
Benefit #1 – More Affordable Than A Side Entry Van
Rear entry vans tend to run $15,000-$20,000 less than your typical side entry van.
Benefit #2 – Better Ground Clearance Than A Side Entry Van
Rear entry wheelchair vans tend to be a few inches higher than a side entry van. In the summer months this isn’t a big deal but in the winter (and especially if you live in a place where there is a lot of snow), the lower the vehicle is to the ground, the greater the chance it can get stuck in the snow.
Benefit #3 – Easy Entrance
Rear entry vans allow for easy entrance and exit. There are only two directions you can go -forward or backward. When you get into the wheelchair van, you are already in position to be secured. Whereas in a side entry van, you need to pivot yourself a bunch of times to get into the right position before having the wheelchair get restrained.
Benefit #4 – Easy to Park
Rear entry wheelchair vans allow you to park virtually anywhere since you don’t need a lot of clearance on either side of the wheelchair accessible vehicle to get the wheelchair out. This is great when going to shopping malls or the grocery store where accessible parking tends to be limited. You can pull up to virtually any spot and come out of the van.
Benefit #5 – Canadian Made
Right now with the Canadian dollar is trading so low, this is a major benefit to those in the market for a wheelchair van. With the majority of side entry vans manufactured in the United States, you are paying a premium to get one. Just as of this morning, the exchange rate was $1.34. For a side entry, you are automatically paying 34% more right now.
So What Are The 5 Big Misconceptions About Rear Entry Vans?
Misconception: There is a misconception out there saying rear entry vans have a poor ride in comparison to side entry vans.
Fact: The vans ride is similar to a factory vehicle. The reason the van rides so well is the modification done to the chassis (the van), is small in comparison to a side entry van. In a side entry van, they are removing the entire factory floor and replacing it with their own lowered floor. In a rear entry van, the factory floor is cut into and welded. This keeps the factory floor strong and sturdy. In fact, our rear entry van floor is stronger after the conversion is done than the original factory floor. The springs used in the rear entry conversion are longer and this allows for a smoother ride. The springs used are longer than the springs that come from the factory.
Another area to make mention of which contributes to the ride of the vehicle is road noise. Side entry vans tend to be quite loud as any road debris that hits underneath the vehicle makes for loud pinging noises. In our conversion, the bottom is undercoated to reduce road noise.
Hard to Park
Misconception: The misconception is rear entry vans are hard to park.
Fact: Rear entry wheelchair vans are extremely versatile when it comes to how you can park them. Since the person coming out doesn’t need a ton of room to get in and out of the vehicle, you can park virtually anywhere. All you need to do is lift up the back hatch and you are out or in. When you are in a parking lot, you are not limited to where you can park. As well, at home, if you have a single garage, that is not a huge issue as you have room to back onto the driveway. Compared to a side entry van, parking can be quite the challenge. You are limited to either wheelchair accessible spaces or primary traffic areas. As well, for at home, you need to have a double garage or if your garage is small, let out onto the sidewalk or grass before the wheelchair accessible vehicle can be parked.
Lack of Seating
Misconception: The misconception is there are a lot more seating options with a side entry van.
Fact: Rear entry vans allow for the most seats and the most options for customizations. You can view the blog post ‘6 Seating Configurations for the Rear Entry Dodge Grand Caravan” on seating configurations here.
Not D409 compliant
Misconception: There is a major misconception that rear entry vans cannot be D409 compliant. This is simply not true.
Fact: Rear entry vans are D409 compliant. They meet all the height and width requirements. The ramp provides easy access with 56″ of height clearance, 91″ pan length, 31″ pan width and 23.5″ clearance between the mid row seating. As well, all the on-board safety equipment is included for the conversion when it is needed.
Rear entry vans are hard to get into.
Misconception: The big misconception is rear entry vans are hard to enter and exit compared to a side entry van.
Fact: You are able to go straight in and straight out in a rear entry van. It takes very little time to secure the wheelchair in place.
In a side entry van, you are required to do a lot of turning to get into the right position. We have heard stories in certain transportation situations where the drivers are keeping people in a sideways position which is illegal and unsafe.
The next time you hear people talking about rear entry wheelchair vans and they mention some of these misconceptions, you can very easily let them know the truth on how great rear entry vans really are.
Ready to find the perfect rear-entry wheelchair van in Winnipeg? Contact our team today and we will assist you in finding the right choice for your needs.