Whether you are looking for a car ramp to get a wheelchair or scooter into a vehicle; need help getting from your wheelchair to your car; or just have difficulties getting in and out of the car, there are a number of solutions ranging from simple inexpensive ones to more complex ideas.
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Aids for people with slight mobility impairment
There are a number of simple solutions for getting in and out of the car, including the Handy Bar (left).
This device clips on to the latch of your car door and gives you something to lean on as you get in and out.
Another practical idea is a swivel cushion (right) which, as its name suggests, is a cushion placed on the car seat which allows you sit in sideways and then turn to the right driving position and vice versa for getting out again.
The only thing to bear in mind is that this type of cushion can also turn you whilst going round corners.
More complex solutions
There are also more permanent solutions, such as having a swivel seat installed. This is obviously a more expensive option, but the seat can be readily removed and installed in another vehicle.
The swivel seat will turn through either 90° or 180°, enabling the user to get in and out without having to turn themselves.
There are some models which slide out of the car to make access even easier.
Swivel seats are easier to install in a two-door car, as the door openings are wider, but it is possible to have them installed in a four-door car. You will need to get advice from the supplier.
It is also possible to have a lift installed between the seat and door which will lift you to a near-standing position.
Aids for wheelchair users
To help you get in and out of the car you can use a transfer board (right) which bridges the gap between your wheelchair and the car seat.
There are basically two types: either the board has a highly polished surface to enable you to slide across it, or some more expensive models incorporate a sliding seat.
There are also some simple devices which enable someone to help you to transfer to and from the car – a lifting belt and disc.
The belt goes round your waist and helps someone to lift you, while your feet are put on a turning disc which helps you to turn into the car from your chair.
Once you have transferred, some assistance is probably required to get your chair or scooter into the car. Although a very lightweight transportable manual wheelchair can be folded and stowed by one person unaided, anything heavier will almost certainly be easier to transport with the aid of a ramp.
Portable track ramps, such as this telescopic aluminium set, can be used to wheel a chair or scooter into the boot, then they fold down to be easily transportable themselves. This type cannot, of course, be used for three-wheel scooters.
There are multi-fold designs available that open out into a single car ramp suitable for either a three or four wheeled scooter.
If your vehicle has a low enough floor and enough space, you can remain in your wheelchair while you propel it up a ramp.
As an alternative to portable car ramps, some car conversions include an integral ramp, which retracts into the body of the vehicle when not in use. You will find more information about these in the car conversions section
More complex solutions
You can have a hoist for your wheelchair which combines a wheelchair lift and storage system. There are models that store the chair on the roof of the car and also on the rear.
The Robostore system shown on the right not only picks up and stores the chair for the journey, but also delivers it to the driver’s door when required, so that you can transfer into it when you reach your destination.
Another design solution, shown left, is the Carony, where the car seat slides out of the car and docks with a wheelchair base. The big advantage of this system is that it removes the need to transfer in and out of the wheelchair.
The best thing to do is to contact an experienced supplier who can assess your needs and advise you on the perfect system for you and your vehicle.