Category Archives: Wheelchair Van

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.


How Can I Maintain My Wheelchair Van At Home

Even during these chaotic times, maintaining your wheelchair vehicle is essential to keeping it running smoothly. There are simple steps that you can take at home to help extend the life of your vehicle and keep you safe on the road:

1) Check the door track and ramp.
First, examine the door track and remove any debris. Also, check the hinges of your ramp to make sure that all of the bolts are tight and secure. A dry lube can be applied at the hinges to maintain the highest level of mobility. 

2) Check the battery.
Be sure the battery is cleaned off and there aren’t any bubbles of acid on the surface. If you find bubbles, use a scrub brush to clear them. Make sure the battery cables are tight and secure. Turn on the van and listen to the sound of the vehicle. If you hear something that doesn’t sound right, such as stutters, it may be time for a new battery. 

3) Maintain the right tire pressure.
Inside the driver’s side door, there’s a sticker that tells you approximately what your tire pressure should be. Check the pressure of each individual tire with a tire gauge. Accurate tire pressure is important to maintain safety and a smooth ride. 

4) Inspect the tie-down tracks.
If moving the tie-down tracks proves to be difficult, there is a high chance that there is debris preventing ease of movement. Vacuum up the debris or use a simple brush.

Even if you take these actions to maintain your wheelchair van at home, it’s still very important to schedule regular maintenance checks with the expert technicians at our Bussani Mobility auto shops. Our Service Department is open for business by appointment, and we’re offering free pick-up and delivery during the pandemic. This is a perfect time to get your vehicle serviced, so it’s ready to go when the quarantines are lifted.

We’re happy to assist our customers in whatever way you need during these trying times. Just let us know how we can help.


Best Wheelchair Accessible Vans for 2020

For someone living with a physical disability, a wheelchair accessible van can get you well on your way to mobility and independence. But there are many factors to consider when shopping for a wheelchair van, such as features, pricing, driving aids, maintenance, and warranties that can make the process seem overwhelming, especially for a first-time buyer. 
So, let us help. We’ve been doing this for over 40 years, and we know a good accessible vehicle when we see one. The following are the three best wheelchair vans currently on the market. 

Toyota

  1. Toyota Sienna Side-Entry with Fold-Out & In-Floor Ramp

This is a top-of-the-line wheelchair accessible minivan. It is reliable and versatile with a ramp style to accommodate all preferences. Spacious and sporty, it offers plenty of flexibility and ease of use. With the option of a power fold-out or in-floor ramp, users get less dirt and debris in the interior, and both have optimal maneuverability for larger power chairs. For those who prefer a rear ramp entry, Toyota offers a manual version.

Toyota is a recognized brand in the industry because of the quality vans they produce, and the Toyota Sienna is a great personal transportation solution for many people who use wheelchairs.

Honda

  1. Honda Odyssey Side-Entry with In-Floor Ramp

The Honda Odyssey is an accessible vehicle that’s stylish and sporty. Honda is a global brand that appeals to its loyal customers, and the Honda Odyssey is the total package with style, space, and function. This van is a favorite because of its performance and clean lines. The all new in-floor ramp system is neat, clean, and out of sight when not in use.  

  1. Chrysler Pacifica Side-Entry with Fold-Out & In-Floor Ramp

This wheelchair van offers a best-in-class, extra-wide doorway and ramp, paired with exceptional interior space to accommodate people who use wheelchairs that need extra space or who have larger families. It has superior technological advancements, and its ramp options allow users to access every inch of space. Not only does the Chrysler Pacifica offer two side-entry ramp options, but it also offers two floor height options to accommodate the proper door clearance and line of sight for the wheelchair occupant. In addition, for those who prefer a rear ramp entry, Chrysler offers a manual version.

Chrysler

A reliable wheelchair accessible vehicle can make it easier for anyone using a wheelchair (and their families or caretakers) to stay mobile, and have a greater sense of freedom and well-being. Always consult a mobility expert, and test drive or rent the van you’re considering, to see if it’s right for you before making a purchase. Contact Bussani Mobility or stop in at any of our three New York locations to discuss your driving needs, and we’ll help you find the vehicle that’s just right for you.


How to Save on a New Accessible Van in 2020


Have you or your loved one been wishing you had your own accessible van? Is more mobility and independence one of your resolutions for 2020, but you aren’t sure how you’ll be able to fund a mobility van? Here are a few tips on how to save on a new wheelchair van in NY.

Apply for Funding
If you are a veteran with a physical disability, you may be eligible for veteran’s assistance to convert your current vehicle into an accessible vehicle or to purchase a new accessible van. You may also be eligible if you are a veteran whose disability was not caused while serving, but you are still in need of a mobility vehicle. 

If you are not a veteran, check with your state’s Vocational Rehabilitation Program to see if you are eligible for vehicle benefits. 

Finally, see if you qualify for any mobility grants. In New York state, there are several non-profits that aid residents in getting the appropriate mobility equipment for their needs. You may want to check with organizations such as: ADAPT Community Network, Skip of NY, Access VR, OMWDD, or The Weber Foundation of Helping Hands, Inc.

Save on Extras and Essentials
If your heart is set on a brand new vehicle, but the price is beyond your reach, skip some of those luxury extras, as they can really add up. Maybe indulge in a few extras, but avoid the temptation to take every upgrade. You could get the cool navigation system but no leather seats, or the navigation but no alarm system. 

Also, know your options when looking for financing and insurance. The mobility specialists at Bussani Mobility understand all the ins-and-outs, and can guide you through the process and provide resources for better understanding the best options for your situation.

Consider New to You
There are some excellent used vans to choose from, so don’t just browse brand new options. Buying a pre-owned, certified vehicle can save you significantly on your purchase price without sacrificing quality. Just be sure to work with a reputable mobility dealer that understands how to get you into the right car for your needs, and to avoid paying a high price for a vehicle that could have problems if it is not thoroughly checked out by a trained mobility technician. 

Bussani Mobility is here to help you determine what you need, and ease the process of purchasing your new van. That kind of personal attention can be especially helpful if it’s your first time buying a wheelchair van in New York. For over 40 years, we’ve been selling, servicing, and renting mobility vehicles with a variety of features and conversions to help our customers get or stay mobile. Reach out to us today to learn more.


Frequently Asked Questions About Renting a Wheelchair Van

Rental

With the holiday season upon us, many people are making plans to head out to visit with relatives and friends. If the journey takes you to other states, and you don’t have an accessible vehicle of your own, you can rent a van that will easily transport everyone in the family, including those using a wheelchair or scooter.

Bussani Mobility offers wheelchair van rentals from the New York area. You can rent by the day, week, month, long-term, or simply for a weekend getaway or holiday visit. Renting is also an excellent way to test drive a mobility van before you buy to determine which features you prefer. 
Here are the questions asked most often by our customers about renting a wheelchair van. We hope this will answer some of your questions, too.

1) How old do I have to be to rent a van?
You must be at least 25 years old with a valid driver’s license.

2) Do I need my own car insurance?
Yes. You will need to provide proof of insurance that extends to rental vehicles. However, many insurance companies will provide short-term insurance for such occasions. You will also need to sign a rental agreement and pay a deposit.

3) What type of rental vans do you have?
All of our rental minivans are 2017 or newer. They have lowered floors and tie-downs for your wheelchair or scooter. Beyond that, one of our mobility consultants will determine the features that you need, and get you into the right vehicle.

4) Do you offer drop-off and pick-up?
Yes. We offer drop-off and pick-up that starts at $125 each way. We also provide 24-hour emergency service.

5) How many miles can I drive per day?
We include 100 miles per day and charge $.25 per mile after 100 miles. Mileage may vary for rental specials. Be sure to refill the tank to where it was when you picked it up to avoid the $9 per gallon charge to refill.

6) Do you offer any specials?
Yes. Our daily price drops after 7 days. And, if you need a rental for more than 29 days, we offer an additional discount. We also offer a $90 same-day package for 10 a.m. pickup and 3 p.m. drop off; and a $280 weekend special for Friday pick-up after 3 p.m. with drop-off Monday before 10 a.m.

 If you have any questions or concerns about renting a wheelchair van, give us a call or stop by Bussani Mobility on Long Island or in Westchester. We’d be happy to help you to stay mobile, especially during this year’s holiday season. 

To learn more about our accessible vehicle rentals, click here. If you want to get on our rental mailing list, to receive news and updates about our accessible vehicle rentals, click here.


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.


What You Need to Know About Converting Your Van to an Accessible Vehicle

Bussanimobility_custom transfer seat

Living with a physical disability adds extra challenges to everyday life. And one of the biggest is transportation. How will you get from place to place, especially if you or someone you love uses a wheelchair or scooter?

If you already own a full-size van or a minivan, there’s a good chance that it can be converted to be wheelchair accessible. Ramps, lifts, transfer seats, and specialized driving equipment can be added so that the person using the wheelchair can drive or their caregiver can easily transport them. Here are some important things to keep in mind about wheelchair van conversions.

What kinds of vehicles can be converted?

Minivans like the Toyota Sienna, Dodge Grand Caravan, Honda Odyssey, and Chrysler Pacifica can be converted. Full-size vans ─ including the Ford Transit, Mercedes Sprinter, and RAM ProMaster ─ can also be made wheelchair accessible.

The first question is what year, make and model vehicle do you want to convert? There are some limitations on body styles, when manufacturers made changes to certain model years, and they can’t be converted.

Are there certain vehicles that can’t be converted?

If it’s an all-wheel or four-wheel drive, it can’t be converted. Another thing to keep in mind is mileage; there’s a mileage cap of 50,000. And, you have to consider if the vehicle has been in any accidents. A fender bender with $2,000 in damage is ok, but something with $9,000 in damage is probably not. We would have to inspect the vehicle carefully and check the VIN with the mobility conversion manufacturer. Be sure to consult your local mobility dealer about specific models and restrictions.

What types of equipment are installed so the person with a physical disability can use it?

If the person being transported uses a wheelchair, an accessible van is equipped with a power door, power or manual ramp, and power kneel feature that lowers the van for easy entry. They can sit in the front passenger side or in a mid-way position, and the chair is secured with tie-downs. Transfer seats can also be used to easily move a person from their wheelchair, or move someone using a walker, into the passenger seat.

Will the person using the wheelchair be able to drive the vehicle?
If the person using the wheelchair is the driver, they have the option of operating the vehicle from their wheelchair or the factory seat, using a custom transfer seat. If using the wheelchair, a power lockdown is fitted to locate the correct and most comfortable position. Driving equipment ─ like foot controls, hand controls, and electronic digital driving systems ─ are chosen and customized as needed, depending on their abilities.

The same van can be driven by either the person using a wheelchair or their caregivers. For instance, mechanical hand controls can be accessed by one person to operate the vehicle but the other can also drive it in the usual way.

How much will it cost?

The MSRP for a fully powered conversion is typically in the mid-$20,000 to $30,000. However, commercial conversions (vehicles used as accessible taxis) can be adapted for personal use more in the $14,000-$18,000 range.

As far as customization goes, it’s a broad spectrum. For instance, a simple spinner knob might run you $125, but a voice command and joy stick steering console can be $50,000-$60,000. That’s why it’s so important to talk to a mobility dealer.

Something else to keep in mind: You can finance the vehicle and conversion in one loan if you purchase the entire package. If not, you will have two loans, and the conversion loan will be at a higher rate because it is unsecured. Our mobility specialists will help you with all the details.

How long will it take?

It’s generally a two-month process to ship and convert a vehicle. The other option is to purchase a vehicle that has already been made ready for wheelchair use. In that case, buying from the Bussani Mobility inventory of new or pre-owned accessible vehicles, it could be a little as two weeks until you’re in the driver’s seat.

Can any auto shop do this for me?

No. We strongly recommend that you only go in person (not online) to an authorized mobility dealer that has certified technicians who are fully trained to work with mobility equipment. Your safety is the most important consideration.

Our best advice is for you to head over to your local mobility dealer. At Bussani Mobility, you can look at and test out the vehicles and the driving equipment, and get the honest advice of people who know this technology inside and out. We’re happy to put our 40-plus years of experience to work for you, to make sure you get just what you need to get you mobile and enjoy your independence.


6 Great Holiday Gift Ideas for People With Physical Disabilities

The holiday season is quickly approaching. That means it’s time again to start thinking about what gifts you’ll give to those “special someones” in your life. If you have someone on your list who’s living with a physical disability, here are a few great gift ideas to get you started.

1) Adaptive Electronics
There are so many enabling devices and adaptive electronics available today. They’re designed to accommodate a wide range of disabilities, helping people with visual impairment, diminished motor skills, and more. For instance, electronics with enlarged switches and buttons for use on iPods, remote controls, CD players, and keyboards make it easier for your loved one to use their devices.

2) Tremor-Canceling Utensils
Individuals who experience hand tremors, such as essential tremor or Parkinson’s disease, can find it difficult to use traditional utensils. Thanks to emerging technology, this difficulty is becoming increasingly easier to manage. Active cancellation of tremor (ACT) uses tiny sensors to detect movements in real time and produce precise counter-movements. These adjustments  reduce the amplitude and severity of tremors, essentially canceling them out. It’s a practical gift that will be much appreciated at every meal.

wheelchair van3) Adaptive Clothing
Who doesn’t love to get something new to wear? Adaptive clothing is designed to make it easy to dress/undress by providing access to certain body parts without having to fully remove clothing — making life simpler for people with physical disabilities and their caregivers. Some companies to consider buying from are: Able2Wear, Silvert’s, Izzy Camilleri Adaptive Clothing, Adaptations by Adrian, Easy Access, and Koolway Sports.

4) Dressing Aids
Those who need assistance getting dressed can benefit greatly from using a dressing aid. There are many inexpensive (stocking stuffer) items available to help put on shirts, jackets, trousers, dresses, skirts, belts, socks, or shoes.

5) Tablet Talking Apps
Voice recognition software has become mainstream, thanks to built-in smartphone technology. Additionally, advances in sound quality are making it easier for people with disabilities to communicate with more natural-sounding voices. Apps like Talkitt facilitate communication for people with motor, speech, and language disorders. There are several other tablet-based apps, like Speak for Yourself, that have a vocabulary of nearly 13,000 words.


6) Getting Personal
Another approach to take is to forget all about the fact that your loved one has a physical disability, and get them something simply related to their favorite hobby or passion. Everyone just wants to be seen for who they are and appreciated, and what better way is there to do that than to acknowledge and support something that your loved one most loves to do?
At Bussani Mobility, we like to be a go-to resource for our customers and friends for all things related to their mobility, not just their wheelchair van. These holiday ideas are just one way we try to provide useful information.

We also have a Helpful Links page on our website with many links to other companies and resources that can help out with the challenges of daily life.
Good luck with your gift-giving this year! Before you know it, the holiday season will have come and gone. Then as the new year kicks off, if you find yourself ready to upgrade or trade in your wheelchair accessible vehicle, we hope you’ll call or come to Bussani Mobility to talk with one of our mobility specialists. You’ll always be in good hands at Bussani.


How to Get a Handicapped Parking Permit in New York

wheelchair van
Residents of New York who have qualifying disabilities can apply for either a permanent or temporary placard, a parking meter fee waiver, or a permanent license plate for their wheelchair van. To apply for an accessible parking permit, you’ll need medical documentation of your disability.
The state of New York has a few different types of permits people with disabilities can apply for. These permits include:
 

  • Temporary or Permanent Placard: These particular permits are issued by your town or city clerk’s office.
  • Metered Parking Waiver: There permits are also available from your local clerk’s office.
  • Disabled License Plate: To get a disabled license plate, you will need to go to a New York Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office.

Before you can apply for a permit, it is important to know how the application process works. Since different types of permits are issued by different agencies, there are different application processes for each.

Disabled Placards
Because disabled placards are issued by your local clerk’s office, each office will have their own application process. Although, most offices will require the following:

  • Completed application for a parking permit or license plate for persons with severe disabilities (Form MV_664.1). This is for both temporary and permanent placards.
  • A doctor’s certification of your disability and signatures on your application.

 
Submit the complete application either by mail or in person at your local office. It is important to note that some agencies may charge a service or postage fee. Contact your local town/city clerk for more information about their specific process.

Parking Meter Fee Waiver
Similar to a disabled placard, parking meter fee waivers are also issued by your local clerk’s office. Each office will have specific requirements for their application process, but most will require you to submit a completed application for a Metered Parking Waiver for Persons with Severe Disabilities (Form MV-664.1MP), along with medical certification.

Disability License Plates
You can apply for disability license plates for your wheelchair van in person at any NY DMV office. To be eligible for disability license plates, the vehicle must be registered in your name. In addition, you will need:
 

  • Completed application for a Parking Permit or License Plates for Persons with Severe Disabilities (Form MV-664.1)
  • Vehicle registration information—current license plates in vehicle if currently registered or necessary vehicle registration documents if you are registering vehicle for the first time
  • Vehicle Registration/Title Application (Form MV-82)
  • Proof of your Identity—NY driver’s license, state-issued ID card, or a valid U.S. passport
  • Payment for fees
    • New license plate: $25
    • Other fees: Transaction fee (not renewing registration) $3.75
    • Registration renewal fees

 
At Bussani Mobility, we have resources to help you in all areas of enhancing your mobility. Give us a call or stop by, and we’ll do all we can to assist you.