Fifteen percent of Australians have a physical disability, and if you know and love one of these 3.4 million people, you may want to consider converting your van into one they can use easily in spite of mobility challenges. Adding a liftgate to your vehicle allows anyone to easily get into your van, even if they cannot step up into the vehicle or are in a wheelchair. In order to choose the perfect liftgate, here are five points you should consider:
1. Look at liftgates made especially for vans
Liftgates are typically made for utes, lorries, trailers and vans. To narrow down your search, make sure that you are only looking for liftgates made for vans. The ideal liftgate needs to have weight, height and attachments that make it compatible for your van. However, keep in mind that even after you find the perfect liftgate, you may need to modify your van.
2. Think about which type of doors you want on your van
Some types of doors may not allow liftgates to be easily installed. For example, doors that slide to the side take up space that needs to be used for storing the liftgate. If you currently have sliding doors, consider replacing them with doors that open to the sides or doors that roll up. In lieu of replacing or modifying your doors, you may want to consider investing in a new vehicle.
3. Consider the full weight of your anticipated load
Liftgates have the capacity to bear different size loads. When selecting your liftgate's load capacity, you need to consider the entire weight of any load you are going to transport. Do not only think about the weight of you or whichever disabled person who is going to be using the liftgate. Remember to also factor in the weight of the wheelchair.
4. Insist on a liftgate with safety accessories for disabled people
Ideally, you need a liftgate that is especially made for lifting people in wheelchairs in and out of vehicles. It could be dangerous to use a liftgate that is made for lifting pallets or loads of boxes into a vehicle. To that end, you also need to consider the safety features on the liftgate.
Does it have stops that prevent a wheelchair from slipping and potentially sliding off the gate? Does it have safety straps to secure a wheelchair? If you are going to be lifting in someone who cannot step into a vehicle, does the liftgate have supportive bars that allow someone to stand safely as the liftgate lifts them into the vehicle? Ask questions like these before purchasing a liftgate.
5. Make sure that you can still use your vehicle for other purposes
A liftgate can revolutionise your vehicle, allowing you to transport yourself or other disabled loved ones. However, if you want to still be able to use your vehicle for other purposes you need a liftgate that allows that. For instance, if you want to sometimes transport wheelchair-bound loved ones but you also need to maintain your ability to use your van to transport cargo, you need a liftgate that stows unobtrusively inside your vehicle, one that can be detached or one that rests outside of the vehicle when not in use.
As you can see, there are a range of options when it comes to choosing a liftgate for your van. As long as you carefully choose the correct liftgate for your circumstances, you can easily transport disabled people using your van. Contact a liftgate expert or salesperson today for more helpful tips on choosing the perfect liftgate for your vehicle.