Category Archives: wheelchair vehicle

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.


How to Prep Your Accessible Vehicle for the Holidays

Aerial view of red car driving through the white snow winter forest on country road in Finland, Lapland.

The holiday season is a time for family, friends, and feasting. Although this year will be a bit different with all the masks and social distancing because of COVID-19, many people will still travel to visit family members and celebrate together. 

With the upcoming holiday hustle-and-bustle and the looming cold winter weather, it’s more important than ever to have an accessible vehicle that you can count on. Follow the steps below to make sure yours is ready to go when you are.

Vehicle Maintenance

Regular maintenance improves the longevity of your accessible van or SUV. Ensure the tires have adequate pressure and tread. Check fluids such as coolant, oil, and washer fluid. A fresh battery can help a vehicle start better on chilly mornings. The easiest thing to do is to schedule an appointment with the Bussani Mobility, and our expert technicians will take care of everything for you.

Mobility Equipment Maintenance

As with vehicle maintenance, caring for your mobility equipment is essential. Make sure all the bolts and screws are tight. Lubricate hinges so they move freely. Emergency preparedness should include checking straps and placing a belt cutter in an easy-to-reach area. For peace of mind, our qualified professionals will inspect and tune up your mobility equipment.

Added Comfort

After vehicle and mobility equipment maintenance are checked off the list, prepare for the holiday season by making the journey more comfortable. Check the cabin air filter and replace it if needed. Store a blanket for personal warmth. Keep the gas tank more than half full for worry-free driving in case of inclement weather or heavy traffic.

With a little preparation, your accessible vehicle can be ready in no time for holiday travel. We encourage you to schedule a routine vehicle maintenance visit now before the holiday rush starts. Remember that we provide free pick-up and delivery for added convenience. Learn more about our one-stop auto shop, here.


Everything You Need to Know About Warranties for Your Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle

Used Car Maintenance

Many people who buy a wheelchair accessible vehicle also opt to purchase a warranty. This can reduce or eliminate numerous maintenance costs for the life of the contract. Selecting and purchasing a warranty through a mobility dealer can be a smooth and simple process. More importantly, the mobility dealer will ensure that you know which plans cover your specific conversion.

Here are a few things to keep in mind about warranties for mobility vehicles.

OEM Vehicle Warranties

Many vehicle manufacturers offer warranties on new models. Vehicles are most likely to be eligible for warranties when the model is no more than four years old and has been driven fewer than 50,000 miles. 

When this period (as set by the manufacturer) has lapsed, an extended warranty is often available. The most common type is a powertrain warranty, which effectively covers the most expensive components of the vehicle, such as the engine and transmission. Powertrain warranties are popular because they allow buyers to enjoy their new purchase knowing that most major repairs will be covered. Warranties include parts and often labor.

These warranties do not include the mobility portion of a vehicle.

Mobility Dealer Warranties

As with the OEM warranties, mobility vehicle warranties also cover a majority of the components listed for the vehicle’s first three years/36,000 miles. 

The essential difference is the mobility warranty also includes the conversion. Like the vehicles themselves, mobility equipment can be purchased with warranty options. In many instances, mobility equipment must also meet similar eligibility requirements. 

Through a mobility dealer, it is possible to select a warranty on a mobility vehicle only or mobility equipment only, due to the age of one or the other; or you can choose a warranty package that includes both the vehicle and the mobility equipment.

The overwhelming benefit of the mobility warranty is ease of use. The warranties have been improved over the years to provide clients with peace of mind. They’re worth having, knowing that the fees of a local mobility dealer/mechanic or a garage you may visit on a cross-country trip are likely to be covered. With rental van coverage, lockout assist, and roadside assist, a mobility warranty offers everything that typically comes with an OEM warranty, and more. Payment plans are also an option.

Bussani Mobility will happily provide additional information on warranties, to help you decide what’s best for you and your vehicle. Feel free to contact our team for answers to all of your accessible vehicle questions.


How Can I Maintain My Wheelchair Van At Home

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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.


How Can I Transport My Wheelchair Without a Van?

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If you or a loved one uses a wheelchair or scooter, the easiest way to get around is with a wheelchair accessible van. And there are many stylish and functional models on the market today. But if you don’t have your own van, that doesn’t have to hinder your mobility. There are other solutions for transporting your wheelchair or scooter.

The team at Bussani Mobility thrives on helping people find independence through mobility. And we know that sometimes the best answer is to adapt your current vehicle, even if it’s not a van. Here’s what you can do:

1. Wheelchair Trailer
A wheelchair trailer is a possible solution. If you have a power wheelchair, you will have to consider its weight and purchase a trailer that can accommodate it. To avoid any damage to the trailer or wheelchair, you’ll always need to properly tie it down and secure it before transport it. You can either use a portable wheelchair ramp or purchase a trailer with one built in to get the chair in and out. 

2. Hitch Lift
An outside lift will transport any kind of wheelchair or scooter. If you own a small, medium, or large vehicle, you can attach a wheelchair or scooter lift at the rear end of their vehicle. Some hitch lifts can also be installed on vans, trucks, or RVs. 

Depending on your vehicle, you may need to have a hitch attached prior to using this type of lift. When considering a wheelchair or scooter lift, be sure to find one that can manage the weight of your wheelchair or scooter. Heavy-duty lifts have a carrying capacity of up to 400 lbs. But if you don’t have a heavy electric scooter, you may want to consider something more low-profile, like a micro lift. 

3. Chair Topper
The roof chair topper is designed to load, transport, and retrieve foldable wheelchairs. This device transports the wheelchair in a box that sits on your vehicle’s roof to save the space inside the vehicle for passengers. 
The chair topper is simple, convenient, and can be used on almost all car models. It automatically lifts and stores the wheelchair in the unit when you are ready to travel, and unloads it when you’ve reached your destination. Unloading and storing can be done in only 30 seconds. The chair topper box is also weatherproof, protecting your wheelchair from the elements.

Although owning a new wheelchair van is ideal, we understand that it’s not feasible for everyone and every situation. That’s why Bussani Mobility works with top brands to offer a variety of mobility solutions for your car, truck, or van. 


Veteran Christopher Levy Wins a New Jeep

Veteran Christopher Levy Wins a New Jeep

Congrats to the recipient of the 4th Annual Great American Jeep Giveaway at Westbury Jeep! Christopher Levy, U.S. Army, who served 8 years including tours in Afghanistan and Iraq, was honored earlier this year. Bussani Mobility worked with Westbury Jeep to install hand controls that operate the gas and the brake – and to give an American hero a chance to get back on the road. We salute our heroes.


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.