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How to Make a Van Wheelchair Accessible

In this article, you'll learn 3 steps you can take to make a van wheelchair accessible.
MoveMobility van conversion build process

Maybe you’re a family with a child in a wheelchair. Maybe you’re an Adult Day Program. Or, maybe you’re an organization that wants to provide accessible transportation for your remote community. And you are wondering how to make a van wheelchair accessible.

You need a wheelchair van. But, can you alter your current van, or do you need to buy a whole new van and convert that one? 

If you’ve ever had any of these questions, then this article is for you. After reading, you will know: 


    At MoveMobilty, we’ve learned through more than 10 years of experience what necessary alterations have to be made to a vehicle for it to be accessible and what van models are the most successful when converted. So, read on to learn from industry experts. 

    What makes a van wheelchair accessible?

    A wheelchair accessible van must be able to achieve one thing: allow a wheelchair user to enter and exit a vehicle with ease. This is done by installing a wheelchair ramp or lift to the side or back of the van. 

    Converting a vehicle to become wheelchair accessible can include up to 40 alterations depending on the type of ramp or lift required, and if the vehicle is a side entry or rear entry vehicle. 

    Now that you know what exactly makes a van wheelchair accessible, you’re likely wondering how the van is made that way. Read on to find out.

    How to make a van wheelchair accessible (3 steps)

    Listed below are the 3 basic steps technician experts typically go through to convert a standard van into a wheelchair accessible van. 

    1. Lower the floor (on some models)

    For some vans, the van has to be lowered so that the wheelchair user has enough room between their head and the van roof (we call this headroom). Other times, the van floor is lowered to decrease the ramp angle. This makes it easier for wheelchair users to get in and out of the van. 

    2. Install a ramp or a lift

    Installing a ramp is as you’d expect: you install a ramp in the vehicle, which when deployed provides a slope for the wheelchair user to get from the ground to inside the vehicle. 

    P Series ultimate conversion Ram Promaster


    Patent pending

    Sometimes, the van floor has to be lowered to make the ramp less steep. 

    A lift is installed by mounting the lift platform to the vehicle. The platform will then lift a wheelchair user vertically from the ground until they are level with the vehicle floor.

    ford transit with doors open for wheelchair entry


    Wheelchair accessible van lift

     With a lift, the van floor doesn’t have to be lowered. 

    3. Install safety securements to make sure the wheelchair user is secure while the van is in motion

    The most important step of making a van wheelchair accessible is ensuring the safety of the wheelchair occupant while the vehicle is in motion. 

    The main way to achieve this is to secure the wheelchair to the inside of the van through a self-tightening wheelchair securement system

    Now that you know the 3 steps you must take to make a van wheelchair accessible, you may be wondering if your current van can be converted. 

    Which vans can be made wheelchair accessible

    At MoveMobility, we have 4 different kinds of vans that can be made wheelchair accessible:


        • Ford Transit

        • Dodge Grand Caravan

        • Chrysler Grand Caravan

      Each of these models were chosen by MoveMobility technician experts because they are the most successful vans when undergoing a conversion.

      These models also receive a big check mark when it comes to the list of qualities your van needs to have to be able to be converted:


          • Able to have a ramp or a lift

          • Large enough space for at least 1 wheelchair

          • Efficient and safe to convert, meaning that the vehicle is able to have extensive work/alterations done to it. The frame can handle the conversion, and the vehicle still runs just as well and doesn’t break down quicker

        Now that you know which vans can be made into wheelchair vans, you may be wondering what alterations we can make to your van. Read on to find out!

        What alterations can we make to your van? 

        How to make a van wheelchair accessible conversion process

        Below is a list of the alterations we can make to your van when converting it to be wheelchair accessible. 

        Strip the vans interior

        This means we remove the interior finishing such as any seats, carpet, flooring, sidewalls, etc.

        Modify the van

        These are the modifications we can make to your van: 


            • Floor can be lowered (minivans)

            • Ramp system can be installed (full size vans)

            • Any door systems can be installed

            • Add insulation

            • Install AutoFloor (full size vans)

            • Install lift/ramp as applicable

            • Electrical wiring

          Finish the interior

          Essentially, put the van back together!

          We install all interior paneling, lights, ceiling, seats, wheelchair restraints, stickers, emergency equipment, and everything else!.

          Now that you know what alterations we can make to your van, you may be wondering what the process of making a van wheelchair accessible looks like with MoveMobility. Read on to find out. 

          How to make a van wheelchair accessible: what the process looks like with MoveMobility (6 steps)

          When you decide to go with MoveMobility for your accessible van conversion, the process you’ll go through will have 6 steps: 

          Step 1: You reach out to us

          Step 2: We provide you with a custom “needs analysis” (our sales team will ask you a bunch of questions such as “How many passengers will you be transporting every day?” or “Do your passengers have manual wheelchairs or powered wheelchairs?”)

          Step 3: You will decide on a model with the guiding hand of our product information and “needs analysis” 

          Step 4: You provide us with a deposit, sign paperwork, and then we put your van into production

          Step 5: We build your van

          Step 6: You make your final payment to us and we deliver the van to you

          Take your next steps to making a van wheelchair accessible

          You came to this article to learn how to make a van accessible. 

          Now, you know:


              • What makes a van wheelchair accessible

              • The alterations you have to make for your van to be wheelchair accessible

              • Which vans can be made wheelchair accessible

              • What the process of making a van wheelchair accessible looks like with MoveMobility

            Curious to know which of our vehicles are in stock? Talk to a MoveMobility expert today. 

            Or, continue on your research journey by checking out these related articles: 




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              What happens if you submit the form?

              We understand that you don’t want to receive multiple phone calls, emails or spam. You just want to speak to a commercial mobility specialist who can answer your questions about accessible and mobile medical vans.

              If you submit the form or request more information from us, here’s what will happen:

              • Within one business day, you’ll receive a phone call from one of our commercial mobility specialists at the phone number you provide. Click here to Meet the Team.
              • If we miss you on the phone, you’ll receive a voice message to call us back. You’ll also get an email to let you know we tried to connect but missed you.
              • Once we’ve connected, your commercial mobility specialist will have a few questions for you to understand what type of vehicle you’re looking for help with.
              If at any point during the process you feel we’re just not the right fit for your community or organization, just let us know. 


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