Category Archives: Helpful Tips

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 You Need to Know Before Meeting with a Certified Driver Rehabilitation Specialist

Rehabilitation Specialist

Many individuals have injuries or medical conditions that can reduce their ability to operate an automobile. Driver Rehabilitation Specialists (DRSs) are trained professionals who specialize in determining alternative driving options for people of all ability levels. A DRS can help a person drive safely and have the freedom to move about in life as they please. 

There are a few things you should know before meeting with a certified driver rehabilitation specialist.

What Does a Driver Rehabilitation Specialist Do?

Driver rehabilitation is a branch of occupational therapy. A certified DRS will typically have a college degree and will always have a document or badge confirming his or her certification. Driver rehabilitation has one fundamental goal: driver independence. A DRS works with clients to determine what adaptations must be made to the vehicle in order to produce the greatest amount of mobility.

Step One: Addressing Individual Needs

Each client presents a unique set of goals, preferences, and abilities. Some people may utilize a DRS if they need special hearing or vision technology. Others may have to become familiar with other types of adaptive equipment. Still others may benefit from general coaching as a result of aging, mental illness, or a brain injury. A driver rehabilitation specialist is thoroughly trained to assist with dozens of conditions and injuries.

What’s Involved in the Driver Rehabilitation Process?

A driver rehabilitation specialist begins with a comprehensive assessment. He or she evaluates necessary skills involving cognitive, visual, and physical aspects. If an individual meets the criteria to move forward, the next step is a driving assessment. The driving experience includes any needed adaptive equipment. For new drivers of an accessible vehicle, a course in driver education is included.

Driving plays a critical role in independence. With the proper guidance, individuals with limited mobility can enjoy the freedom of operating a vehicle. A certified driver rehabilitation specialist can assess and coach individuals in such cases. Consider the above points before meeting a DRS, then schedule an appointment with the Bussani Mobility team to continue on your road to independence.


5 Ways to Stay Connected to Family & Friends

Family & Friends

Note from the editor: Usually we focus on topics related to mobility in our Behind the Wheel blog. But today, we’re touching on something else that has affected us all.

It’s a new year, but not a lot has changed so far. We’re all still dealing with the uncertainty of an ongoing global pandemic with varying degrees of lockdowns and quarantines, as well as political unrest both here in America and across the globe. As a result, many people have found themselves struggling for months on end to stay connected with those they love. 

And yet, we know that social bonds are critical to our happiness and well-being. Our daily interactions with others can improve mental health, boost mood, and elevate our overall quality of life. So as 2021 begins, consider these ways to take small steps to stay connected to family and friends. Some of this might sound obvious, but sometimes we all need a gentle reminder or a reassuring nudge to find our inspiration.

Phone Call

Hearing the voice of a loved one can strengthen or renew a social bond. Text messages pass on information and ideas, but there’s something about a phone call that’s so much more personal, and that amplifies connectedness. Catch up on gossip, hobbies, and future plans. Not only can a phone call strengthen a relationship, but verbalizing your own thoughts and feelings often produces mental and emotional relief and benefits.

Video Call

When time and circumstances allow, a video call can take connectedness one step further than a phone call can. Any number of people can join a video call. Similar to in-person visits, this medium allows loved ones to show nuances and mannerisms that simply cannot be expressed in a text or voice communication. Video calls require a good internet connection and a video service; Zoom is the most preferred choice these days.

Family Web Page

You can build a family web page to keep up-to-date on family events, milestones, and conversations. Or use a social media platform (such as Facebook) to form an exclusive group for your family. Group members can share videos, photos, or type messages to the family. Once a group is created, you can (virtually) invite a tech-savvy member to help manage the page.

Group Text

A simple alternative to a web page, a group text allows for written conversations among participants. If your cellular plan comes with unlimited texts, a group text can be carried with you, even when there’s no internet available. For those who prefer to use the computer (and internet), a group chat can be established on several platforms, including Google and Facebook. Whichever method you choose, a group chat allows for quick messaging to help keep the family connected.

Write a Letter

Although it’s almost extinct in these tech-driven days, a handwritten letter adds a personal touch that technology just cannot replicate. Letters are often prized by recipients, and it’s not uncommon for people to store them away with other treasures. Set aside some time and energy to write a heartfelt letter to somebody who has been on your mind. A kind or motivational note can strengthen almost any bond. In addition, many individuals find the very act of writing to be therapeutic. 

Worldwide, people can counteract isolation and loneliness by staying connected socially. Keeping in touch with family and friends is possible through several media, including those listed above. Choose a method that works for you, and reclaim those social bonds. You’ll be glad you did.

At Bussani Mobility, we’re all about independence and helping to improve the quality of your life. Our customers often become our friends and we want to provide information that builds a sense of community where we can improve accessibility for all, together. If you’d like to see more helpful resources, visit our Blog and our Helpful Links pages. 

Also keep in mind that we’re communicating with our customers virtually, as well, when that’s their preference. We’re happy to have a Zoom call with you, and we’ll give you a virtual vehicle tour. Just give us a call whenever you’re ready.


3 Tips for Safe Winter Driving

Driving Tips

Winter is already here in the Northeast. And the cold, wet weather means that drivers should take extra precautions. Here are a few tips for safe winter driving.

1) Get a Tune-up Now

No one wants to have a breakdown on the road in the middle of winter. So take the time now to get a tune-up. You’ll feel better knowing that an expert technician checked all of your vehicle’s vital components. Fluids – including antifreeze, oil, and washer fluid – should be clean and full. A well-functioning heater is a must. Brake pads should have ample thickness. Cold weather can condense the air in your tires (and most blowouts are the result of underinflated tires), so the tire pressure is checked. Tire tread is also important for gaining traction on slick surfaces, and tires must be replaced if the tread is too low. Ramps and doors are also checked to make sure they are operating smoothly.

2) Be Prepared

Take a little time to prepare your vehicle so that you can respond to any unforeseen circumstances (like bad weather or other drivers making poor decisions) with confidence. Keep the gas tank at or above halfway – this eliminates the need for emergency pit stops in unfavorable weather. Ensure the spare tire is usable and properly inflated, and you have all the needed tools to change a tire. Tuck away emergency supplies in an easily accessible area, including a blanket, water, flashlight, gloves, snacks, cash, cellphone charger, and a First-Aid kit.

3) Drive with Extra Caution

Maintenance and preparation are good first steps, and then there’s the need to drive with added caution. Most importantly, we can all use the reminder to accelerate and stop more slowly in the snow and ice. Also leave extra space in inclement weather between your vehicle and others. And if the weather is too bad, just don’t go out until it clears.

It’s worth taking the time to check if your wheelchair accessible vehicle needs any maintenance or repairs before heading out into winter driving conditions. The team of certified technicians at Bussani Mobility is here to help. We want to make sure that you stay safe and secure on the roads in any type of weather.


9 Great Gifts for People with Disabilities

Man gives New Year's gift to woman in wheelchair

Still have holiday gifts to buy, but you’re just stumped on what to get? Here are some ideas if your loved one has a physical disability.

1) A Good Night’s Sleep

For people who use a wheelchair, their body can get stiff and sore, and sleep issues like insomnia are common. A gift to relax the body or mind can help a person sleep more comfortably. Try a calming candle, white noise machine, or massage wrap.

2) Wheelchair Pouch

This handy contraption attaches to the wheel, arm or back of a wheelchair and provides convenient storage for personal items. Some are black and basic, while others are highly styled with vibrant colors and accessories.

3) Adaptive Clothing
There are many companies – like Target and Tommy Hilfiger – that offer clothing lines specifically designed for people with physical disabilities and seniors. Adaptive clothing often uses velcro and magnets rather than buttons and zippers; pants, dresses and shirts open to the side or the back; and shoes have easy step-in and closures. It makes everyday dressing easier. 

4) Computer Mouse

Make web browsing easier with a modified-use mouse. Varieties include ring (finger-controlled), pedal (foot-controlled), or orally-controlled options.

5) SAD Lamp

Studies show that people with disabilities suffer depression and anxiety at a higher rate than the general population. For loved ones with wintertime blues, a SAD lamp can help elevate mood by radiating the benefits of natural light, allowing recipients to experience “happy rays” even after the sun goes down.

6) Modified Cane

Canes have been used for centuries as walking aids. Modern advances have made canes even more useful. Especially helpful for seniors, retractable canes can expand to serve as a balancing aid when needed. Or, freestanding walking sticks remain upright, preventing users from having to bend excessively.

7) Electrical Adapter

Plugging in electronics can be a challenge for people with limited mobility. In addition to bending and reaching, the person must line up the prongs perfectly, which may prove difficult and frustrating. A magnetic electrical adapter allows devices to be plugged in quickly and easily.

8) Jewelry
Especially if your loved one is female, you can’t go wrong with a beautiful piece of jewelry. Always consider her personal needs and any sensitivities, but what woman wouldn’t adore getting a lovely necklace, bracelet or earrings this holiday season?

9) Personal Passion

One of the most thoughtful gifts you can give is something that relates to your loved one’s personal passion, hobby or fandom. What do they love to do? What are they always watching videos about on YouTube or Facebook? A gift that ties into something they most care about is sure to be appreciated.

We hope that gives you some good ideas. Now get out there (or online) and shop!

Here at Bussani Mobility, we’re all about independence and helping you get mobile. Our customers often become our friends, too, and we try to provide information about accessibility that goes beyond their mobility vehicle. If you’d like to see more helpful resources, click here.


Should I Buy a New or Used Wheelchair Van?

Buy a New or Used Wheelchair Van

When considering an accessible vehicle purchase, first-time buyers and seasoned consumers alike face a crucial question: Should I buy a new vehicle or a used one? Here, we outline some considerations to help you make the best-informed decision when choosing between a new and a used wheelchair van.

Purchase Price

First and foremost, there’s a clear difference in price between new and used wheelchair vans, with new vehicles costing a good deal more. You could save $20,000 or more by opting for a pre-owned or a used van. This alone can be the deciding factor for people with limited budgets. 

Also note that, as with vehicles of all types, the value of a new accessible van depreciates significantly during the first year of ownership. So, selecting a newer-model “slightly used” van provides the buyer with an opportunity to save money while still driving a relatively new vehicle, perhaps only a year or two old. Deeper discounts can also be given based on model year, mileage, and other factors.

On the other hand, if you’re well set financially and can afford a brand new vehicle, you can proudly enjoy that “new car feel” (knowing that you’re the only driver), as well as the ability to customize it exactly as you wish and take advantage of the latest mobility technology.   

Reliability

Many potential buyers aim to balance cost with reliability, and they may view newer vehicles as more reliable than used vans. That sounds reasonable, but a trusted local mobility dealer ensures that every vehicle they sell is safe. Among their offerings are “certified pre-owned” vehicles that have been through rigorous inspection and testing for performance and reliability. 

Mobility van warranties are also an important aspect to consider, and you can find out more about them here. In addition, regular service (every six months is suggested) helps to maintain a well-functioning vehicle (both the van itself and the conversion equipment), whether it’s new or used. 

Repairs & Insurance

There are other factors to mull over when deciding between a new and a used van. For instance, used vehicles have a lower purchase price, but new vehicles tend to have fewer out-of-pocket repair costs. You have to decide for yourself how these elements balance out.

Insurance premiums also increase with the “value” of the van, so you can expect a used van to have less expensive insurance. 

It’s important for used-van buyers to do their due diligence. A local mobility specialist will help you secure the most reliable vehicle and conversion equipment for the best relative price.

New or used? We hope we’ve given you a few things to consider as you make your decision. The Bussani Mobility Team is standing by ready to assist you whenever you need or want help. Contact us or stop by one of our locations today for answers to all of your mobility questions.


What’s the Best Way to Disinfect My Wheelchair Van?

Bussani-Mobility-how-to-sanitize-mobility-vehicle
Most of us have been breathing a small sigh of relief these last few days, now that New York state is beginning to open up and quarantines from the COVID-19 pandemic are being lifted. As we all start venturing out again, it’s important to keep ourselves and our environments as germ-free as possible. 

Your wheelchair van should be sanitized and disinfected on a regular basis, to help you and anyone you travel with stay safe. Here are some tips on what to do…

1. Keep Disinfectant in Your Vehicle. The experts are saying that the COVID-19 virus on external surfaces can be killed. Common household EPA-registered disinfectants will do the job. It’s recommended that you always keep some spray and wipes in your van, and that you continually wipe down all points of the car where contact is made. 

2. Make Common Touchpoints Your Focus. Prioritize disinfecting the places in your van where people touch the most. In addition to more obvious things, like your keys, steering wheel, and door handles, another important part of your wheelchair van’s interior is the dashboard. It can harbor and spread germs, because air is continuously being sucked over your dashboard and circulated throughout the car. Other spots to clean regularly include ramp and door operating buttons, seat belts, wheelchair straps, remotes, and touchscreens. 

3. Continue to Wash Your Hands Regularly. This may seem like an overly simple task for combating a pathogen, but experts say that it’s one of the most effective tasks you can perform to do your part to help flatten the curve. Washing your hands before eating, using the restroom, providing care to others, and after sneezing, coughing, or blowing your nose will reduce the number of germs that are brought into your wheelchair van in the first place.

At Bussani Mobility, our number one priority is the safety and well-being of our customers. We’re happy to assist in whatever way you need during these trying times. Remember that our auto shops are open for service, and we’ll pick up and deliver your vehicle for free. Just let us know how we can help.