With winter upon us, let’s face it: it is the longest season, and our harsh climate creates some challenges when it comes to vehicle operation. Wheelchair accessible vehicles are no exception. We’ve compiled a list of seven things to keep in your wheelchair accessible vehicle so it continues running smoothly during the winter months. Your wheelchair vehicle will be readily prepared for -30 degrees Celsius!
1. Safety Kit
If you don’t have one, get one. It’s easy to organize and store under the driver’s seat or inside the storage compartment when it’s needed. Throw in a couple of blankets too.
2. Jumper Cables
Forgot to check the charge on your vehicle battery? A vehicle battery losing its charge in the winter is a dreadful experience. Make sure you can start the vehicle by having jumper cables on hand, to avoid having to wait hours waiting for a service truck for a boost. Remember, your passengers will be stuck inside the vehicle so always be prepared.
3. Lubricate & Adjust Lift/Ramp
Before the system is exposed to harsh elements, make sure the wheelchair lift/ramp is operating at full capacity. Bring it to a Mobility Service Provider in your area at least twice a year, or quarterly if you drive extensively. The inspection will be performed to ensure the ramp/lift won’t rust, the door and entry/exit points are cleaned, and a 20-point safety inspection is conducted to ensure proper operation during cold temperatures.
4. Broom or Shovel
Keep your wheelchair ramp or lift and walkway clear of snow, ice rocks and salt by sweeping it off to avoid having any stalls, jams or rust. Use a plastic shovel to remove any snow (avoid using a metal shovel that will cause the metal-on-metal effect such as scrapes and dents.)
5. Non-Corrosive Ice Melt
Your ramp/lift is an investment, so keep a non-corrosive ice melt in your vehicle to use on the next snow fall to avoid long term damage caused by rust to your ramp/lift.
6. De-Icer Spray
Avoid being late for your travel plans by keeping a de-icer spray in your storage compartment for when you have frozen doors/key locks!
7. Tire Pressure Reader
Storing your wheelchair vehicle outside? Keep that reader with you. It’s sometimes difficult to tell if your winter tires need to be filled when the temperature fluctuates. Therefore, avoid a flat tire by occasionally testing the tire pressure.