How Ford Wheelchair Van Ramps and Lifts Make Life Easier for the Disabled

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Ford currently offers one vehicle line that can be utilized as a wheelchair van. Its E-Series vans are a full-sized option in a marketplace dominated by minivans. Ford ceased production of its own minivan, the Freestar, in order to concentrate on its crossover vehicle, the Flex. At this point Flex conversions are rare at best. However, there are still a large number of Ford Freestars and Windstars (its previous name) in use as wheelchair vans today.

These vehicles all use van ramps and lifts in order to make life easier for the disabled.

Ford Wheelchair Vans With Lifts

ford econoline 2007 wheelchair vanLifts are found on some Windstars and Freestars. However, most of the Ford minivans relied upon ramps to provide access. That’s because the ability to use a lift was significantly limited due to space considerations. The conversions that did involve lifts featured smaller, external variations that mounted to the vehicles’ exteriors. Lifts are frequently found on E-Series full-sized vans. In fact, their ability to readily handle big, powerful lifts by manufacturers like Bruno, Ricon and Braun is often a major selling point to those who plan to use an E-150 or E-350 as a disability vehicle.

Lifts can be a big help for the disabled. They allow an individual and his or her wheelchair to be lifted into the vehicle with minimal effort, are usually quite sturdy and reliable, and can handle a great deal of weight. That makes them a fabulous choice for those who use powerchairs and other motorized assistance devices that may be too heavy for some ramps. Lifts also have a small footprint compared to ramps, which makes them ideal for those who must frequently load or unload in tight conditions.

Ford Wheelchair Vans With Ramps

ford freestar 2004 wheelchair vansYou will find ramps on virtually all Freestars and Windstars. Most of the Ford minivans were set up for side-entry access with a foldout ramp. In many cases, they utilized powered ramps that could be placed into position and then recalled with the push of a single button. In other cases, owners installed spring-assisted ramps or relied on manual versions. You’ll also find ramps on some E-150 and E-350 vans. While lifts are popular with full-sized vehicle owners, they are more expensive than ramps and some people would prefer to avoid utilizing valuable interior space to store a large lift unit.

A variety of factors influences the selection of a ramp. Cost, durability, the ability to handle weight, ease of use and storage are all important considerations. There are many different ramps on the market, which usually means it’s possible for an individual to find a perfect fit.

So What Is the Best Choice – Wheelchair Ramps or Wheelchair Lifts?

You can see that lifts and ramps can both make life easier for Ford wheelchair van users. But what is the best overall choice?

We believe that depends primarily upon the vehicle in questions. We think that it would be a shame to waste the space and capacity of E-Series vans and recommend that buyers of these larger vehicles strongly consider the installation of a powered wheelchair life.

Our advice shifts when applied to Freestar and Windstar users. These minivans are better suited for ramp use. We feel that a power ramp that can extended and retract automatically is the best possible option on these vehicles. Auto ramps meet all fundamental access requirements and can be used in conjunction with other modifications to produce wheelchair vans tat a disabled driver can access and drive without assistance from third parties.

Anyone looking at Ford wheelchair van options will want to consider their personal preferences and situation carefully when making a decision between a lift and a ramp. However, they can rest easy knowing that both options are available for both types of vehicles and that they’ll be able to choose an option that can really make the life of a disabled individual much easier.

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