Category Archives: Handicap Van

Service Tips for Accessible Vehicles

Did you know there are specific things you need to do to keep your accessible vehicle running smoothly? What are they and how often should you do them?

We have all the answers, and we’ll take you a tour of Bussani Mobility’s auto shop to learn why regular maintenance is so important. It ensures trouble-free conversion operation of an accessible vehicle, and it can increase the life of the vehicle. We look closely at mobility ramps and doors…talk about electrical and cooling systems…tell you what happens during a multi-point inspection…and talk about warranties and extended warranties, as well as our 24-hour emergency service program.

At Bussani Mobility, we have more staff working in our service department than on our sales team. That’s how important our commitment is to safely maintaining your accessible vehicle. To find out more about servicing your vehicle or to make a service appointment, call 833-998-2172 or visit https://www.bussanimobility.com/car-s….


Take a Virtual Tour of the New Chevy Traverse Accessible SUV!

The long-awaited new Chevrolet Traverse Accessible SUV is here! It’s converted with the BraunAbility Power In-Floor ramp and has tons of space. The two front seats can be removed for those who want to get behind the wheel of this awesome new truck. The tow package will handle up to 3500 pounds.

There’s a lot more to see. Check out the video.

And see it in person at any of Bussani Mobility’s three locations (Bethpage and Smithtown on Long Island, and Mamaroneck in Westchester).


Press On & Savor Life … Inspiration From a Vietnam Veteran

You know how some people always have an encouraging word? And they stay upbeat no matter what happens? Well, if you ever need some inspiration, Dario Diaz (a disabled Navy veteran with an E-4 rank) is the guy to talk to. Here’s his story …

After serving in Vietnam, Diaz returned home and started a plumbing business with his dad in the mid-1970s. Life hummed along for quite a few years, and then in 2001, he was in a car accident. A few weeks later, he started to feel a twitch in his leg, and it turned out that the accident had stretched his spinal cord. A private doctor diagnosed him with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), a condition that weakens the nervous system and impacts physical function. He decided to go to the VA (Veterans Affairs) for a second opinion, and the doctor there concurred, marking the diagnosis as “service connected,” which means they attribute the injury to the fact that he was in the military.

Diaz’ condition worsened over the years. Today, he can’t stand without holding onto something, and he uses a scooter to get around.

He was first introduced to the world of accessible vans when he bought one from Bussani Mobility nearly 10 years ago for his mom, who had MS. Eventually, he needed the vehicle for himself as well.

Accessible Van Means Everything
Now, Diaz drives a converted accessible 2017 Toyota Sienna, paid for by the VA. The van has a six-way seat that allows him to easily transfer in and drive from the original seat. And as he says, the vehicle has “a lot of goodies in it.”

Always active in his life, Diaz used to race motorcycles, ride horses, and the like. These days, he goes out with his buddies from the military, most of whom are in their sixties and still going strong.

“If I didn’t have this van, I’d be in trouble,” said Diaz. “My buddies would pick me up and drive me around, but I prefer to do things on my own, like I do and have always done. This van is equivalent to my being able to walk and jump up and down. It means everything to me.”

He went on to explain that, even for a veteran who can’t drive, having an accessible van is so important. It allows their family to get them out of the house, take them to a movie, or out to eat.

And for those family members who may be in their last days, “you want to shower them with as much joy and opportunity as you can,” he said.

Have a Purpose in Life … And See the Good in People
Not only has Diaz found a way to deal with his physical disability, but he has used the happenings in his life to grow personally and find his purpose. Namely, he offers a powerful Christian ministry specifically for men.

About his personal inspiration to start the ministry, he says: “Jesus was a fisherman of men. And I have a ‘heart for men.’ I have an interest to talk to men about the problems all men face. I conquered a lot of things that I used to do, in a Biblical and loving way, so I can talk to men and break through to them. In order to do that, I need my van and my scooter to get me around.

“I’m happier now than when I was moving around before having a disability. And I have a testimony. Everything hinges on the fact that I do have a disability. Thank God that ALS didn’t affect my cognitive ability.”

Diaz described how he approaches the everyday: “I savor life. I savor people, more than before. I go birdwatching with my wife. And I savor all the good that God created. And I don’t judge. If you’re an alcoholic, I love you. You’re being yourself. I’ll say things to encourage you, but I focus on the good. My son says, “My dad always sees the good in people.’”

He had his faith before serving in the military and experiencing that car accident, but he proclaims that he has much more faith now.

Press On
When asked one thing that he most wants to share with others who are living with a disability, Diaz said: “Press on. There are so many things available to help, like a grip bar in a handicapped bathroom or a chair that takes you up the stairs. And if you have a family member that becomes disabled — like grandpa starts falling and needs a scooter — you do the research for them. And press on.”

Sounds like good advice for all of us these days. Thank you, Dario, for being a shining example of all that’s good. Let’s all press on, whatever that may mean in our individual lives.

To find out more about Dario’s Christian ministry for men, contact him directly at dario457@gmail.com.


5 Worst Mistakes You Can Make With Your Wheelchair Van

Most of our blogs focus on helping you get the most from your wheelchair accessible van. This time, we’re tackling the subject from a slightly different angle. We had a chat with Dan Walsh, co-owner at Bussani Mobility, who has spent two decades helping our customers with their mobility needs through our Service Department. He told us the five worst mistakes you can make with your mobility vehicle. Here’s his advice and what to avoid, in his own words…

1) Lending Your Van
I’ve seen many people use their wheelchair accessible vehicle as a moving van, resulting in damage being done to the lift or ramp. I don’t know about you, but I can think of at least five different rental companies that provide vans for moving, just off the top of my head. Your vehicle is way too important to be used this way.

2) Not Securing Wheelchair Properly
It’s essential to have a securement system properly set up for your wheelchair in your van. If you don’t do this, you risk your own safety and that of others with you in your vehicle and on the road that you share.

3) Not Insuring Your Investment
Now that you’ve purchased your wheelchair van, don’t you want to protect it? Your mobility dealer should have connections with reliable insurance brokers to help you with this, but ultimately, it’s your responsibility to make sure that your vehicle is properly insured. We recommend having a copy of your bill of sale sent to your insurance company (and request a certified receipt).

4) Accident Damage Not Reported to Mobility Dealer
I tell all of our customers, “If you have an accident, CALL ME FIRST!” Because I know what should and, most importantly, what shouldn’t be repaired after a collision. Bussani Mobility is a NMEDA/QAP-certified dealer, and we offer 24-hour service for both mobility emergencies as well as any unfortunate accidents that sometimes occur. I’ve personally spent hours undoing what an uneducated appraiser has offered as payment on a van because they didn’t know the true value or the protocol for repairs.

5) Letting the Dirt Build Up
Simple as it may seem, if you don’t keep your wheelchair accessible vehicle clean, debris can build up in the door tracks, lift barriers, and motors. This is the cause of a major part of the repairs we handle for our customers. It’s easy to fix – just keep it clean.

Everyone at Bussani Mobility is standing by, ready to assist you whenever you need or want help. Contact us or stop by one of our locations for answers to all of your mobility questions. You can also easily schedule a service appointment online.


What to Know About Trading in a Wheelchair Van

Trading in Your VehicleYou 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.


Minivan or Full-Size Wheelchair Van: Which is Best?

Making the decision between purchasing a minivan or a full-sized van to meet your need for wheelchair accessible transportation comes down to a matter of personal choice. Each type of vehicle comes with its own benefits, but the decision ultimately should be based on your specific needs and wants. We’ve compiled a list of what each has to offer, to help make your decision easier.

Minivans
Minivans are the most popular accessible vehicle option. They have an impeccable safety record that is hard to beat. Additionally, they have achieved a perfect NHTSA crash test record. Aside from the safety features they offer, minivans are also cost-efficient and get good gas mileage, which further increases your potential savings.

Although minivans are safe and more affordable, they do have one drawback. They have a smaller interior than a full-sized van, and so there is less space to move around inside and to store items. But remember that even minivan conversions these days have enough space for power wheelchairs.

Full-Sized Vans
Full-sized vans offer the space necessary to transport passengers with any type of wheelchair and still have plenty of extra space for ambulatory passengers. There is also ample room for wheelchair storage, accessories, luggage, and more.

Another big advantage of a full-sized van is that they can hold double post lifts, which are capable of lifting the largest, heaviest wheelchairs on the market.

Also, full-sized vans have an extra six inches of headroom inside, allowing for optimal comfort.

Some people can feel intimidated by driving a full-sized van because it is significantly larger than a minivan, and they may have a harder time maneuvering into small spaces. But, with a little practice, you get used to handling the vehicle.

Either type of wheelchair van is going to provide you with the freedom to be independent. At Bussani Mobility, we have a wide selection of both minivans and full-sized vans, and even SUVs, so that you can find the right one for your needs. We hope you’ll stop by any of our three locations to talk with one of our mobility specialists or check out our vehicles online.


Preparing Your New or Used Handicap Van for Winter Driving

With frigid winter weather right around the corner, it’s important to take the necessary steps now to ensure that your new or used handicap van  will be ready to get you around. There are a few proactive things you can do to help avoid accidents and breakdowns.

Most importantly, have your certified mobility equipment service technician check, service and lubricate all of your adaptive equipment. Also be sure to get an oil change and tune-up. And, ask your service professional to check your vehicle’s battery, antifreeze level, heater, brakes, defroster, and thermostat.

There are also some things you can do yourself: 

  • Buy winter wiper blades that are designed to cut through snow and ice on your windshield.
  • Always keep gas tank at least half full, as this will make it easier to start on cold winter days.
  • Have tires rotated so the best ones are in the front for better traction.
  • Use synthetic oil to make starting a cold engine easier.
  • Replace your battery with one with greater starting power, higher cold cranking amps, and reserve capacity.


If you are in need of a new or used handicap van before winter driving conditions set in, visit
Bussani Mobility. We are your local, leading mobility experts who can help you find the right vehicle for your needs, and keep you mobile in all seasons.


Wheelchair Van Financing Options

Purchasing a wheelchair van is an expensive investment that can sometimes be a challenge to afford. Thankfully, there are programs available that can help caregivers and individuals be able to afford and find the right wheelchair van financing that they need. Below are some options that can help make owning a wheelchair accessible van or SUV a reality.

– Special Financing Options: These programs include loans with extended terms, leasing packages, and more. At Bussani Mobility, we have long-standing relationships with banks and other financial institutions that understand the specialized components involved in buying an accessible vehicle.

– Veterans Administration: For qualified veterans, the Veteran’s Administration allocates funds for adaptive equipment.

– State Agencies: Every state has a Vocational Rehabilitation Program. These programs are designed to assist individuals with disabilities to remain or get back into the workforce, and they are state-funded. In some cases, they can help provide funding to make vehicle modifications.

– Mobility Rebate Programs: Mobility manufactures (including BraunAbility) and vehicle manufacturers (such as Chrysler, Ford, GM and Toyota) often offer rebate incentives for the purchase of a new vehicle that requires accessibility modification. Before purchasing a vehicle, be sure to talk to your dealer about rebate options available.

– Grants: There are several organizations that can provide information, support, and resources to individuals with specific disabilities. Reach out to your local chapter to see what information, resources, assistance, or guidance they have to offer.

– Fundraising: Social media has changed everything about how we communicate today. You’ll see people raising funds for their personal needs on sites like GoFundMe – including wheelchair accessible vehicles. The campaigns involve family, friends, neighbors, and the whole community. If you’re comfortable with it, you might even want to reach out to the local news and explain what you’re trying to do and ask if they would be interested in covering your story, helping to get your cause out there.

There are many options available for wheelchair van financing. Some require creative effort on your part. Be sure to talk to your mobility specialist at Bussani Mobility to discuss all of your options, so we can help you find the right wheelchair accessible van or SUV to fit your needs.


Bussani Mobility’s Next Generation Management Team

team

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.

Busani Party XMAS 2015-66-HROne thing that 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