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What Are Vehicle Wheelchair Lifts?

Updated on May 2, 2009

For many people, a mobility scooter or electric power chair provides a very valuable service. When away from the home, people often wish to bring their mobility vehicle with them, so finding a way to easily transport these devices is essential. One way that these devices are transported is by using a wheelchair lift.

Wheelchair lifts come in many different sizes and several different designs. Some are made only for electric wheelchairs or mobility scooters, while others can be used with both. There are two main kinds of wheelchair lifts available for vehicles, the internal wheelchair lift and the external wheelchair lift.

Some Examples

This is a internal crane wheelchair lift.
This is a internal crane wheelchair lift.
This is a hitch mounted wheelchair lift.
This is a hitch mounted wheelchair lift.
This is an internal platform lift, which can be used in vans and large vehicles.
This is an internal platform lift, which can be used in vans and large vehicles.

Internal vs External Wheelchair Lifts

As the name implies, an internal wheelchair lift is designed to store a mobility scooter or electric power chair inside of the actual vehicle. Some work like cranes and hoist the mobility vehicle off of the ground. These are often used in cars, which would not be able to utilize other wheelchair lifts.

The crane lift does not support as much weight as other wheelchair lifts and it sometimes requires that the scooter or wheelchair be partially disassembled. The platform wheelchair lift offers a much more versatile and powerful solution.

Internal platform wheelchair lifts can be installed into the middle compartment of a van or the rear area of a van or SUV. The platform extends from the vehicle onto the ground and the scooter or wheelchair can then be moved onto the platform. As the platform raises, it moves back inside the automobile, storing the scooter or wheelchair. When installed into the passenger section of a van, transferring from the driver seat to a scooter or wheelchair is usually very simple.

Although the internal wheelchair lift is a very popular option, it will take up some space inside the vehicle. External wheelchair lifts, on the other hand, can be installed very quickly and will not take up any space inside of the automobile. However, one of the downsides of the external wheelchair lift is that the scooter or wheelchair is placed outside of the vehicle, thereby exposing it to inclement weather or other external elements.

An external wheelchair lift is attached to the hitch of an automobile, allowing it to be installed in only a matter of minutes and uninstalled just as easily. A platform is used, similar to the way an internal platform wheelchair lift works.

It is important to determine which type of wheelchair lift will best fit your needs. Determining which wheelchair lift will best fit your needs. The size and type of the vehicle will play a big part in this decision, as will the size and weight of the mobility scooter or electric power wheelchair.

Using an internal or external wheelchair lift can make it much easier and safer to travel with a mobility scooter or electric wheelchair. These devices can not only improve safety, but they also increase accessibility.

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