Category Archives: Handicap Accessible Van

What to Know About Trading in a Wheelchair Van

imageYou may be considering trading in your wheelchair van for any one of several reasons. Is it getting older and you’re ready for an upgrade? Is your family growing and you need a bigger vehicle? Did your physical needs change and a new vehicle will fit your needs better? Or do you just have your eye on the latest-and-greatest stylish or functional model?
These are all common reasons that individuals decide to trade in their accessible vehicles. But when it comes time to actually making the switch, is it better to make the trade at a dealership or sell the vehicle yourself? Below we discuss a few of the best benefits to trading in your mobility or non-converted vehicle at a certified dealer.
 

  1. Trading in a vehicle gives you tax savings. For instance, if there’s an 8% sales tax on a $50,000 vehicle, which you trade in for $20,000, you now pay that 8% sales tax on just $30,000. That’s savings in your pockets that you can’t get when you sell your vehicle yourself.
  2. It’s easier than selling your own van. You don’t have to worry about coordinating times for potential buyers to look at your vehicle. Also, if you’re selling a converted mobility van, the selling difficulty goes up. And then there’s a safety issue. Do you really want strangers going to your home to look at the vehicle?
  3. Be careful of getting a quote solely over the phone. We often hear from people who called a company and were told they could trade in for $20,000. But when they got there, everything changed. It’s important to take your vehicle into a knowledgeable mobility dealer. We put it up on the vehicle lift, identify any potential problems, and then make an appropriate trade-in offer.
  4. You get the latest-and-greatest. Mobility vehicle manufacturers have teams of engineers working on new and better ways to make driving easier for people living with disabilities. When you trade in, you get a vehicle with the most up-to-date advancements and conveniences.
  5. Trade in early. As a vehicle gets older, its value drops. Try to time it so that you trade in your vehicle early enough that it still has good value and you can cash in on the equity it has. The sweet spot is usually 3-5 years old. Once the vehicle hits the 7-year mark, it loses a lot of value. If you’re thinking of trading in, remember that the auto shop at Bussani Mobility is always looking for used vehicles in good shape that we can put into our inventory for people who don’t have the financial means to buy a new wheelchair accessible van.

 
The most common reason that people trade in their mobility van — instead of selling it themselves — is to use it as a downpayment on a new van.
First, we try to align on the value and eligibility of the vehicle for purchase. We evaluate the vehicle well prior to the transaction, so there are no surprises for anyone at the last minute. And if you’re looking for a new vehicle, it’s important to note that Bussani Mobility refurbishes all vans to a roadworthy, warrantable condition so our clients can always drive worry-free.
Some customers like to have a vehicle service contract, to give them the greatest peace of mind.
If you have any questions or concerns about the wheelchair van trade-in process, give us a call or stop by Bussani Mobility on Long Island or in Westchester.

How Often Does My Accessible Vehicle Need Maintenance?

wheelchair accessible van
Owning a wheelchair accessible van helps to give you mobility and independence. In order to protect that ability to move about freely, it’s so important to have regular inspections and maintenance done on your vehicle. That way, you can drive with confidence, knowing that your vehicle is secure and you are safe.
A lot of our customers ask how often they should have their accessible vehicle serviced. The answer is every six months, by a certified mobility technician. Most standard auto shops do not understand the intricacies of conversion equipment.
By scheduling regular maintenance appointments with your local mobility dealer, you’ll do a lot to prolong the lifespan of your vehicle. Regular six-month checkups can detect any small issues that you might not notice on a daily basis, before they become a problem.  
If something needs to be repaired, our certified mobility service technicians are trained to determine if it’s the original parts of your vehicle or the conversion kit that needs to be tweaked. And they can tell you if you’re still under warranty.
No matter what comes up, our technicians know how to take care of your vehicle and get you safely back on the road as quickly as possible. We understand how important your accessible vehicle is to your daily life.  
Bussani Mobility can help you find the right mobility vehicle, and protect your investment by handling all of your vehicle service needs. You can call us or schedule your service appointment online any time.

One Bussani Customer Gives a Van to Another This Holiday Season

During this season of giving, a beautiful thing happened at Bussani Mobility. One customer gifted another with an accessible vehicle. And a Merry Christmas it will be!
[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IIfND4UU6tI[/embedyt]
The first customer, who wishes to remain anonymous, walked in Bussani’s Smithtown location one day, in the market for a new wheelchair accessible van. He generously told Mobility Specialist Michael Garramone that he wanted to donate his current van to someone who needed it.
Long-time customer, Anthony Di Blanda, immediately popped into Mike’s mind. Tony had been in an accident over the summer on the way to church, at one of those Long Island intersections that truly needs a stop light. He made it through the accident with only some bumps and bruises, but his converted, 12-year-old Dodge with fold-out ramp was totaled. The family didn’t have collision insurance.
For six months, he and his family struggled with his transportation needs. His wife, AnnMarie, and his son had to lift him and his scooter in and out of their other SUV whenever they wanted to go anywhere. They often asked others for help.
handicap accessible van
“Tony has always been a person of positivity, radiating happiness. But that accident really got him down,” Bussani Mobility’s Michael Garramone said. “He was not happy because that vehicle was his independence. It was his way to drive and get out.”
Recounting the day Tony got the call from Bussani offering the vehicle, he said, “I remember that day. I said ‘thank you, thank you, thank you.’ The way they looked out for me was like family. It was truly amazing!”
The team at Bussani Mobility got to work fitting the donated 2007 Honda Odyssey with push-pull hand controls for Tony. It already had an in-floor, automatic power ramp installed. Don’s Hand Carwash of Smithtown also provided a free detail. And Branch Auto Care of Smithtown donated a free NY State inspection.
On Friday, December 8, the vehicle was ready and Mike handed the keys over to Tony and AnnMarie. When we asked where they’ll go first, Tony said with a beaming smile, “I’m going to wheel up the ramp in my scooter, sit in the back, and let my wife drive us to lunch!”
He went on to say, “She’s the real hero, the way she helps me, takes care of the kids, puts up the Christmas lights with a drill.”
The love between these two incredible people is palpable. Married for 25 years, they have three kids, now ages 13, 17 and 19. Just seven months after getting married, Tony was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis when he was 30. As the disease progressed, Tony began using a cane, then crutches, and then a scooter.
“In the beginning, I was so down about what happened to me,” Tony said. “I didn’t even want to bother trying to do things. But now there’s so much technology. At one time, it looked like I couldn’t even get into a vehicle. But now I can even drive. A life that looked closed is now open again.”
handicap accessible van
When Tony drives, he parks his scooter in the passenger seat area and transfers over. “It gives freedom to me and my family. It allows me to be there for them. It makes you feel better that you can take other people places. I can go to Costco, you can go to Costco, we can go to Costco together.”
Before life with MS, Tony was a chiropractor and a biochemist. He then started teaching science. Now he helps out with the school’s alumni outreach program. He said, “Now, I’ll be able to get back to the school and see all the alumni faces again.”
AnnMarie added, “The vehicle makes life doable. It opens up the opportunity to continue to live a normal life together.”

Bussani Mobility’s Next Generation Management Team

L to R Dan Walsh, Dan Bussani, Stephn Wilmer, John Bussani

Left to right: Dan Walsh, Dan Bussani, Stephen Wilmer, and           John Bussani

With the recent retirement of founder John Bussani, the 42-year old Bussani Mobility Team has undergone a restructure and installation of a three-man executive team. According to the company’s new Chief Executive Officer Dan Bussani who formerly served as vice president under his father’s leadership, the company was purchased by himself and two partners who have been long-time employees.
Bussani teamed up with Gen. Mgr. Dan Walsh and Accountant Stephen Wilmer to make the purchase. When a larger company made an offer to John Bussani to buy his business, the three came together. According to John Bussani the employees’ offer was accepted in order to keep the “personal customer experience.”
Small Business Feel
“We want to keep the small business feel,” said Dan Bussani. “I think people like to do business with small companies. We don’t want the customer to become just a number. None of us want to get so big that it gets to that point.”
Newly named Chief Operating Officer Dan Walsh sees focus as the key. “Each one of us knows the other person’s goals,” he said. “Our roles are clearly defined now and it helps us to work together efficiently and it also helps the customer.”
“My dad never thought his business would grow to what it is today,” said the younger Bussani. The company now has three locations – two on Long Island and one in Westchester. “We want the business to grow in the area. We know of a couple of locations where we feel we’ll be doing a good job for our community,” he continued.
Expanding
“We want to keep the personal touch,” said the new Chief Financial Officer Stephen Wilmer. “Although we want to expand, we don’t want it to get so big that we lose the individualized service that was always part of the company.”
Part of their expansion includes adding an enhanced service department. “I noticed clients would buy their vehicles from us and were going to dealerships and automotive facilities for service,” said Walsh. “They were either getting taken advantage of or refused. I started bringing in local repair shops. We would do mobility work and they would do automotive. After a while we started doing full service in house for customers who choose to have their work done in one place.”
Dan Bussani, 41, who lives with his wife and two daughters in Seaford grew up in the company. Although he had other jobs while in school, he has been a part of the Bussani team all his life and has worked hand-in-hand with this father as the roles gradually reversed and he took over much of the day-to-day operation as John Bussani neared retirement.
Forty-eight-year-old Dan Walsh has been on the team for 13 years. He lives in Seaford with his wife and two daughters. After learning about business by working in the restaurant and plumbing businesses and his family’s auto body company Walsh learned from Dan Bussani about the plan to expand the service department in the Bethpage location. “At the time they were only working on converting vehicles,” said Walsh. “I came in to take a look and I fell in love with it — the people, the atmosphere and the customers.”
“Accountability is the word we’re using continuously,” said Dan Bussani. “We’re accountable to each other and especially to the customer.”
Stephen Wilmer, 37, has been with the Bussani team for nine years. A month after graduating from college he filled a need. The company had just lost its bookkeeper and the Bussanis realizing their need was for more than a bookkeeper offered Wilmer the position. He handles the financial needs of the company as well as working with the regulatory aspects of the New York state Department of Motor Vehicles and the Department of taxation. “You have to do everything right,” he said. Wilmer lives in Lindenhurst with his wife and his two daughters.
“I am confident that the new leadership will continue to service the disabled community with the same care and compassion that has been the hallmark of the Bussani ‘family’, “ said John Bussani.
This article appeared in Able News – Volume 26 – Number 7 – January 2017

John Bussani Retires From Mobility Business

John BussaniOne of the local pioneers of the mobility industry, John Bussani, has passed the torch to the next generation. John, who founded Bussani Mobility 42 years ago, recently announced his retirement.
Bussani remembers riding on a train in the dark with the sounds of war blaring all around, as his mother held him below the window to protect him. At five years of age, he and his mother were fleeing Yugoslavia to join his father who had defected to Italy to make a better life for them.
He had his first glimpse of the Statue of Liberty, at age 11, from the ship that brought his family to America. They settled in Hoboken, N.J. and then moved to Freeport, N.Y.
Bussani served in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War. While hospitalized with a broken arm in Germany, he watched as disabled soldiers returned from the war, and he wondered how he could help.
After the war, he worked as a draftsman and then started repairing automobile transmissions. While having dinner with friends one night, he was introduced to a polio survivor. They discussed what types of vehicle modifications would be needed for people with disabilities. He learned about a man in New Jersey who was installing hand controls in cars. He met with Alan Ruprecht of Drive Master, who showed him how to do the installations — and that was the beginning of a journey that spanned over four decades and touched thousands of people.
Bussani traveled around Long Island working out of the trunk of his car to give independence to people who were unable to use their feet and legs to drive. The word spread and people started asking Bussani for help with their vehicles. Eventually, he bought a building in Baldwin, N.Y., where he did modifications, then moved the growing business to Freeport and later Bethpage, which is now the headquarters for Bussani Mobility. The company continued to grow and now has locations in Smithtown in Suffolk County and in Mamaroneck in Westchester County.
Over the years, Bussani became well known in his field. He lectured at occupational therapy classes at SUNY Farmingdale, Touro College, and Stony Brook University. He opened his facility to students on a regular basis and actively participated in NMEDA (National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association), the Adaptive Driving Alliance and other leading industry organizations. In particular, he became an advocate of higher safety standards in vehicle modifications.
The mobility industry continued to develop as manufacturers like BraunAbility began mass-producing wheelchair accessible vehicles and advanced technologies became available. Bussani Mobility expanded accordingly, keeping quality workmanship and integrity in the forefront of daily operations.
One thing tL to R Dan Walsh, Dan Bussani, Stephn Wilmer, John Bussanihat has not changed at Bussani Mobility according to Bussani which is his original vision — to help people living with physical disabilities get mobile and to enjoy full and complete lives.
John’s son Dan has been involved in the business his entire life. “I even remember driving my toy car around the parking lot as a child while Dad was changing peoples’ lives for the good,” said Dan Bussani. Dan has now taken over the business as Co-Owner and CEO. Long-time employee Dan Walsh is also a Co-Owner and COO. Stephen Wilmer completes the team as the third Co-Owner and CFO.
John Bussani was an only child. He was married to Barbara for nearly 40 years when she passed 10 years ago. He has two sons – Daniel and John Christopher (J.C.) who is an engineer. John is spending time enjoying his grandchildren.

Photo Left to Right: Dan Walsh, Dan Bussani,
Stephen Wilmer, and John Bussani

The Industry Says…

John is a true pioneer in the mobility industry. Those of us with mobility needs have had our lives transformed by his vision, determination and creativity. He has given me, and many others, a means to regain lost independence and lifechanging freedom. Thank you for everything John…enjoy your retirement.
-Tony Amorello, customer & friend

John’s development of his business and his hand in the nurturing of the vehicle modification industry, setting the standards to what it has become nationally, has advanced the lives of individuals with disabilities throughout our country making people mobile and, most importantly, independent. Where would we be without John’s vision and hard work? Thank you John Bussani.
-Robert Pipia, Nassau County district court Judge customer & friend

John and the Drive-Master family go back at least 48 years when my dad Alan Ruprecht and John met. John started buying his hand controls. We have had a wonderful friendship since then, and will continue. To fish and call the nurse for libations. Congratulations on your retirement, you have certainly built a lasting legacy. Lv Ya man, Peter.”
-Peter Ruprecht president, Drive-Master Co., Inc.

When I was a green horn in the industry 14 years ago, I tucked myself under John’s wing and said ‘teach me.’ He was so willing to help, a great mentor, and we’ve been friends ever since.
-Greg Kiser, vice president of consumer sales, BraunAbility

John Bussani represents the very best in the accessiblemobility industry from his warm and welcoming personality to the products and services he delivers to his customers. It has been an honor for me to do business with JB.
-Brendan Healy, Eastern Regional sales manager, Q’Straint

This article appeared in Able Newspaper – Volume 26 – Number 5 – November 2016

WWII Vet Receives Accessible Van on 92nd Birthday


Yesterday, State Farm sponsored the donation of a wheelchair accessible van to WWII Veteran Sidney Germanski. We were so happy to be able to host the ceremony at the Bussani Mobility Team’s Mamaroneck, NY location, and provide the mobility conversion.

WATCH FIOS1 NEWS COVERAGE OF THE CEREMONY.

After learning of a local Mamaroneck Veteran’s struggle with daily transportation, State Farm coordinated with Bussani Mobility Team to secure a van and worked with Star Body Collision to have it equipped to meet his needs. The 2007 Dodge Caravan is a wheelchair conversion with fold-out ramp and wheelchair tie-downs.
92-year old Sidney Germanski is legally blind, paralyzed and uses a wheelchair. He depends on his wife and the local Veteran’s Affairs office for his daily transportation needs. “It has been a daily struggle and hardship to get me where I need to be,” commented Mr. Germanski. “This new van will
change my and my wife’s life significantly, and we are so grateful.”
Monday’s vehicle donation ceremony happened to be Mr. Germanski’s birthday. “I couldn’t ask for a better birthday present,” he said.  Mr. Germanski plans to use the new vehicle to travel to the White House where he will be presented with a Medal of Honor for his military service. “One of the most important days of my life,” he said.
Photos courtesy of Risa Hoag.

Elegant Chrysler Pacific Coming Soon

Car and Driver
A new mobility minivan, the Chrysler Pacifica, has officially been unveiled. The vehicle is so elegant that Car and Driver calls it “one of the best-looking van bodies ever plopped atop four wheels.” BraunAbility has designed conversions for people living with physical disabilities. Features vary somewhat, but here’s a look at what you can expect when you get behind the wheel.
The Pacifica offers power side-entry with in-floor ramp and interchangeable front seats. There is slightly more space than in its Town & Country counterpart. The interior styling is reminiscent of a Chrysler 300 sedan, and the luxurious two-tone leather and wood accents will make both driver and passengers feel pampered. In addition to style, the Pacifica boasts better handling and noise control.
The minivan also comes with great technology, with UConnect, a second-row entertainment system filled with games and perfect for long car rides. Chrysler is also working to make a hands-free door option not just for the rear tailgate, but for the sliding doors on either side available as well. Now caregivers and wheelchair users can operate the door/ramp/kneel system entirely by passing a foot (or footrest) beneath the frame of the van. And for anyone wanting to extend that new car look as long as possible, the Pacifica comes with a Stow n Vac, making quick clean-ups convenient and easy. A panoramic sunroof and rear park assist with stop technology are the cherries on top of the cake.
Bussani Mobility will start taking advance orders for the Chrysler Pacifica this month.

Top Tips for Wheelchair Accessible Vans

The changing of the season is always a good time to do a maintenance check on your vehicle. With Spring now upon us, the technicians at our full-service auto shop have these tips to help keep your wheelchair accessible van in tip-top shape.
1. Use It – Letting a vehicle sit around can be just as harmful as excessive use. For instance, a three year-old wheelchair van with under 10,000 miles will often need new tires or hoses or gaskets, all due to dry rot.
2. Regular Maintenance – Keeping up with scheduled maintenance is as important with a converted vehicle as oil is to the engine. That includes proper lubricants, alignment, and most important, upgrades.
3. Find a Service Facility You Trust – Be sure to take the vehicle to an auto shop that knows how to work on conversions.
4. Understand Your Manual Overrides – Wheelchair accessible vans are equipped with manual overrides to allow the driver to deploy the ramp if there is a mechanical problem or accident. Knowing how to use these systems is essential to one’s safety.
5. Trade It –One way to maintain the value of the vehicle is to trade it in for a newer one while the value is still high, instead of driving it into the ground and then looking to trade.
At Bussani Mobility Team, we sell, service and rent wheelchair accessible vans. Our certified technicians know all the ins-and-outs of adaptive vehicles. Brakes, tune-ups, tires, auto body, glass repair, and more. We service vans regardless of where they were purchased and help people living with physical disabilities safely go the distance in their accessible vehicles. If you ever have a question about your van, give us a call at 888-379-4709.

Save Yourself From the Salt!

winter drivingSALT…it helps keep us safe on the snowy roads here in the Northeast. But it also wreaks havoc on our vehicles. Now with winter in full force, we want to remind you how important it is to clear salt and dirt from your wheelchair accessible van…and keep your undercarriage clean. When salt is left on the outside of your vehicle, you can easily see the damage it does to the paint finish. Well imagine what it’s doing to the unseen, forgotten, underside of your van throughout the whole winter. It can cause major body and undercarriage damage. When the salt build-up is left there for too long, rust and corrosion can set in. Metal parts like fuel lines can break, leading to costly repairs.
But this is easy to prevent. Just keep your undercarriage clean. Take your vehicle to the car wash or detailing shop regularly, especially in the winter months, and always order the undercarriage wash. Or if you’re coming into a Bussani Mobility auto shop for a general maintenance check, our service technicians will be happy to spray out the whole undercarriage for you.
Remember that Bussani Mobility runs a full-service, one-stop auto shop. As a valued customer, you have easy access to complete automotive services including general auto upkeep (like oil changes, tune-ups, coolant flushing, and tire alignment) as well as collision and repair work. Plus our knowledgeable technicians are standing by to answer any questions you have about your specialty vehicle and to pass along tried-and-true advice about any automotive concern you have.

Southside Hospital Helps People with Disabilities Get Mobile

CEU Southside 2
Southside Hospital has teamed up with
Bussani Mobility
to train healthcare professionals in the latest automotive mobility options that help people with disabilities get back on the road – and regain their independence.
CEU Southside 1
More than 20 physical therapists gathered during a lunchtime presentation at Southside Hospital to learn about wheelchair accessible vans (with raised roofs, lowered floors, ramps, and/or wheelchair lifts), adaptive driving equipment (such as hand or foot controls), and other mobility products (including scooter lifts and power seat lifts). These customized vehicles and products make everyday life easier for people who use wheelchairs or scooters, people who just need some help getting in and out of a vehicle, and caregivers of those living with disabilities.
CEU Southside 3
Other topics discussed at the training included: information about industry associations like NMEDA, how to work with driver evaluators, and how to help patients get financial assistance. Attendees received CEUs (Continuing Education Units) for participating in the complimentary training.
“We are always striving to partner with our vendors to provide the latest technology to our patients in order to assist them in being as independent as possible,” said Valerie Kruszon, PT, MS, Administrative Director Rehabilitation Services at Southside Hospital. “The Southside rehabilitation department thanks Bussani Mobility for assisting us in achieving that goal.”
CEU Southside 4
Daniel Bussani, Vice President at Bussani Mobility, added: “We were so pleased with the turnout at Southside Hospital and the reaction from the staff. Through these trainings, we’re providing medical doctors and physical therapists with the most up-to-date information about automotive mobility products so they can best help their patients who become disabled from an injury or illness. Our shared goal is to safely get people mobile as soon as possible, and help them regain their freedom and independence.”
 Bussani Mobility Team
(
www.bussanimobility.com
and
www.bussanicommercial.com
) is a leading provider of automotive mobility products and services for people with disabilities. The company helps people with disabilities regain the freedom and independence to go where they want to go and do what they want to do. Established in 1974 with headquarters in Bethpage, NY (Nassau County) and with offices in Smithtown (Suffolk County), Mamaroneck (Westchester County) and Sunnyside (Queens), Bussani Mobility Team is a market leader in the Tri-State (NY, NJ, CT) area. The company’s team of experts offers: a complete line of wheelchair vans and mobility equipment from top manufacturers available for purchase or rental, wheelchair accessible taxis, a full-service automotive shop, 24-hour emergency service, special financing options, insurance services, educational opportunities, and in-store consultants who are dedicated to meeting their customers’ every need with a highly personal touch.
Southside Hospital
a member of North Shore-LIJ Health System – and only the second tertiary hospital within Suffolk County – offers centers of excellence in cardiology, orthopedics and neurosciences as well as women’s health services. Southside offers North Shore-LIJ’s cardiac surgery program with a state of the art hybrid operating room. The Cushing Neuroscience Institute at Southside includes a comprehensive Spine Center, an Epilepsy Center and a state-designated, Gold Plus Award Stroke Center. The North Shore-LIJ Orthopaedic Institute at Southside Hospital specializes in multidisciplinary orthopedic care for the entire spectrum of musculoskeletal disorders. Southside Hospital is the only Long Island hospital that has received accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) for four rehabilitation programs including inpatient, stroke, brain injury and outpatient rehabilitation. Among these programs is the highly respected Regional Center for Brain Injury Rehabilitation.