Got Questions? We’ve Got Answers

We hope our FAQ’s section is useful to you.

Safety

It is possible to have a driving assessment carried out by an independent professional ADI (Approved Driving Instructor) to identify the most suitable driving controls for you. As the type of controls that you require may affect which mobility vehicles you can choose, it is important to understand your exact requirements before you decide on a particular disabled vehicle type. To locate your nearest Centre visit the RDAC’s website.

All Sirus mobility vehicles have Type Approval from the Vehicle Certification Agency (VCA). This provides internationally recognised testing and certification for vehicles and is the confirmation that all products meet specified performance standards.

At Sirus we have three different Type Approvals:

National Small Series Type Approval (NSSTA)

A UK scheme and applies to all Volkswagen Caddy conversions.

European Community Whole Vehicle Type Approval (ECWVTA)

This certification is accepted throughout the EU and applies the Ford conversion.

Individual Vehicle Approval (IVA)
A UK national scheme which applies to our Volkswagen Caddy Internal Transfer conversion.

Finance and insurance

Converted mobility vehicles are VAT exempt. You can buy VAT free if you fill in an eligibility declaration form from HMRC and if the vehicle has been converted prior to its first registration. You also won’t need to pay VAT on maintenance or repairs. In order to qualify for VAT relief, the vehicle you’re buying must have been designed or permanently adapted for a disabled person. It has to be for personal use and can’t carry more than 12 people.

Vehicle Tax

You can get a discount on your vehicle tax, or sometimes be completely exempt. You can check your eligibility for vehicle tax exemption on the Gov.UK website.

Mainstream insurers are not usually familiar enough with the complexities of vehicle conversions or your needs as a disabled motorist, so sourcing the right insurance policy can be a struggle.
At Sirus we recommend Fish Insurance. Find out more.

 

Buying a wheelchair accessible vehicle – your guide

A drive from/upfront conversion can be used as a drive from wheelchair and passenger upfront wheelchair accessible vehicle. The vehicle comes with an interchangeable front seat that can be switched places. This is a great solution for people who still want independence but may get fatigued on long drives and so need to share the responsibility of driving. It can also be used solely as a drive-from wheelchair or upfront passenger solution. At Sirus we convert Drive/Upfront Ford Grand Tourneo Connect as drive-from/upfront solution.

It is really important that you test drive any WAV vehicle you’re interested in purchasing to make sure it meets your needs and is suitable. Here are our top tips for getting the most out of your demonstration:
· Don’t let the Mobility Specialist help too much – you need to make sure you would be able to use the vehicle on your own or with your partner/carer. Make sure you can get in and out, operate the ramp or lift, secure the wheelchair in place and use any other features.
· Invite people who you regularly travel with. If you have a carer who normally helps you into your current vehicle invite them along – they need to be able to use the vehicle too.
· When you go for a test drive take a route that you travel frequently to ensure the disability vehicle suits your everyday travel needs.
· Drive over some bumpy roads and some speed bumps to see whether it is still comfortable and whether your wheelchair stays secure.
· If you are sat in the back in your wheelchair try talking to the driver to see if you can hear each other.
· Be sure to try both slow and higher speed roads to test cabin noise on the move but keep in mind that because of the conversion process a WAV is never going to be as quiet as a standard vehicle.
· Ask questions. If there is something you want to know now is the time to ask your Mobility Specialist.

It seems obvious but one of the most vital things you need to be sure of is that you & your wheelchair can fit into the wheelchair accessible vehicle. The ramps and doors on some vehicles can be fairly narrow so if you have a large wheelchair it’s best to check that it will definitely fit.

The key measurements you will be asked for when enquiring about WAVs will be the seated height of the wheelchair user (that’s the total height from the floor to the top of their head when seated in the chair) and the width of the wheelchair at its widest point.

For independent driving solutions including drive from wheelchair (and some internal transfer options) it will be necessary to use an automatic wheelchair securing system to secure your wheelchair when travelling. This will usually involve fitting a pin or spigot to the underside of your wheelchair that will connect with the docking station on the floor. It is important to remember that fitting one of these to your wheelchair may reduce the ground clearance. After assessing your wheelchair our mobility vehicle advisors will be able to advise you of the most suitable solution to fit your requirements.

You can watch our video here.

If you are travelling as a passenger, and planning on using manual wheelchair restraints, ensure that your driver or assistant is able to reach and use the front and rear tie-downs with you seated in your chair easily. If not, an automatic wheelchair securing system as described above is an option you may wish to consider.

Perhaps the most important thing to consider when buying a WAV vehicle is how comfortable and convenient it is for you. You need to check that you have enough headroom in the vehicle so that you can enter the vehicle and sit comfortably without ducking your head. Some WAVs have a lowered floor to make sure you have enough room. Remember that you won’t always be travelling on smooth roads so you need to have enough room so that your head doesn’t hit the roof as the driver goes over speed bumps or potholes. If you will be sitting over or behind the rear wheels, it could be a bumpier ride, so keep this in mind.

You should think about the comfort of any other passengers too. If there are other passenger seats in the back, have they been narrowed to accommodate the wheelchair? Is there enough room for other passengers to feel comfortable on long journeys and do you need to use child car seats in conjunction with them?

· Does the mobility vehicle comfortably fit where you would be storing it (in a garage, on a drive, on the road)?
· Is there enough room for it to operate (e.g. for the ramp to lower and extend)?
· Can you access and exit the vehicle with ease?
· Can you and your chair fit comfortably in the vehicle?
· How is your eye level and visibility?
· Do you feel secure and comfortable when positioned in the vehicle?
· Do you feel safe and secure when in motion?
· If you are the driver do you feel comfortable with the controls?
· If you are a passenger do you like your position in the vehicle in relation to the driver?
· Do you like the way the interior and exterior of the car looks up close, in person?

Drive from wheelchair accessible vehicles allow the wheelchair user to remain in their wheelchair in the driver position and use the vehicle completely independently by using a selection of bespoke driving controls. If you are interested in a Drive From Wheelchair WAV it’s important to remember that you will need to be able to get in and out of the vehicle yourself. Our conversions are fitted with systems to make this easier such as an automatic ramp and tailgate that is operated remotely as well as lowering suspension for a shallow ramp angle. Our VW Drive and Ford Drive / Upfront are both drive from wheelchair solutions.

 

  • A rear passenger WAV vehicles are the most common wheelchair accessible vehicle conversion type. There is a lot of variety and most people will find one that they can fit in comfortably if you are happy to sit in the back. If you are going to be sitting in the back there are a few more things to consider:
  • Will you be able to speak to the driver?
  • Will you be able to speak to other passengers to chat?
  • Will you be able to see out of the windows?
  • If the seating arrangement means you’ll be positioned on the rear axle do you think this will make you travel sick?

Although a cheaper option, rear-seated WAV’s don’t offer the benefits of sitting upfront.

If you want to drive but like the idea of driving from a standard seat instead of your wheelchair, this could be the right choice for you. The Sirus VW Internal Transfer and the Sirus Ford Internal Transfer conversion allows you to manoeuvre inside the vehicle and secure your wheelchair before transferring over to the standard driver seat. This powered six-way seat base can rotate 90 degrees, move forwards, backwards up and down to allow you to transfer to and from your wheelchair more easily. At Sirus we convert the VW Internal Transfer and the Ford Internal Transfer as an internal transfer WAV.

There are several different types of conversions, with different seating arrangements to choose from. You will need to make sure that you choose a conversion that meets your requirements and you are comfortable travelling in. Here are some questions you should ask yourself:

  • Where would you like to sit in your vehicle?
  • Is it important for you to be able to speak to the driver?
  • How many people usually travel with you?
  • Can the mobility vehicle accommodate all of your luggage and equipment?

Read our useful guide to choosing a WAV.

Wheelchair accessible vehicles (WAV ‘s) come in a variety of different shapes and sizes so there are certain things you’ll need to consider to make sure you purchase the right WAV for you. Things to consider with regards to parking:

  • Where will the vehicle be parked? i.e. street or driveway
  • Will it fit on the drive or in the garage?
  • Is it going to fit in any parking spaces you use frequently? i.e. height-restricted car parks.

At Sirus, we have rear-entry vehicles and side entry vehicles, depending on where you plan to park. Side-entry is ideal if you have on-street parking, whereas rear access wouldn’t work as well and would be more suited to a driveway and is great for parking when you are out and about. With a rear access vehicle, you don’t even need a disabled parking bay.

Conversion information

Yes. Our Ford Tourneo WAV allows you to do this. This vehicle conversion is designed so you enter and exit through the side sliding door rather than the back of the vehicle. As the vehicle is not converted at the rear, it is possible to have a tow bar fitted to use with a caravan or trailer. Original boot space is retained allowing storage for shopping, equipment, assistance dogs and/or the safe storage of valuable items. Access through the side can also offer advantages with the deployment of the ramp straight onto the curbside or pavement, and no requirements to leave room at the rear of the car when parking to deploy a ramp.

Yes. Most companies that supply independent driving solutions will also be able to offer car adaptations to suit your exact requirements. From inexpensive and easy to fit systems such as push/pull hand controls through to high tech options such as electronic gas and brake, your Mobility Specialist will be able to run through available options with you during your vehicle demonstration.

If you need to change between driving and being a passenger on longer journeys then a vehicle with an interchangeable driver and passenger seat is the best option, which the Ford Drive/Upfront accommodates. Please note it isn’t safe to travel with the seat in the rear of the vehicle.

There are advantages to buying either a new or Approved Used mobility vehicle.

When you purchase a new WAV vehicle your vehicle will be covered by the car manufacturer warranty as well as a conversion warranty from Sirus. New WAVs are of course more expensive to purchase and you may have to wait for your vehicle to be converted (usually 3-6 months)  and for custom adaptations to be fitted.

We also carry a limited number of available now stock. Find out more here.

Approved Used wheelchair accessible vehicles are of course a cheaper option and because they are already built you won’t have to wait as long, usually just a few weeks. If you have specific needs you may find it difficult to find a vehicle that suits your requirements and as the vehicle is used it may have to undergo some repairs. If the vehicle is old it may not still be covered under warranty. Read more about our Approved Used offers.

The vast majority of wheelchair accessible vehicles, the wheelchair user is seated in the back of the vehicle either between single rear seats or in some cases seated behind a bench seat. Although this design offers a practical and inexpensive solution, it can also mean that the wheelchair user is isolated and is required to travel seated on their own away from the driver or other passengers in the vehicle. For larger families with multiple passengers this may not be a problem but for many couples or smaller families, travelling so far apart can be less than desirable. Wheelchair passenger Upfrontdrive from wheelchair and internal transfer provide a totally different travelling experience for the wheelchair user and their family. Due to the complexities of converting a vehicle to an upfront configuration, build time can take up to four times longer than a simple sit in the back conversion and as such, upfront models are a higher price.

Motability

If you are planning on applying for a grant from the Motability Specialised Vehicles Fund then it is important to remember that your choice of vehicle may not always be the one that financial assistance could be provided towards. If you are successful in a grant application then one of Motability’s driving assessment team will visit you to identify the solution to meet your basic requirements.

What does the Motability Advance Scheme include?
If you are using the Motability Scheme, this will cover the vehicle and the conversion as well as insurance, MOT, service and breakdown cover as well as certain adaptations such as push/pull hand controls. However, you will not own the vehicle, you will be leasing it.

Once you have chosen a Motability WAV vehicle that is suitable for your needs and signed a quote for it, we will send you some Motability paperwork.  If you are hoping to get a Grant to help towards the Advance Payment of your vehicle, please contact Motability to see if you are eligible.

For more information visit https://www.motability.co.uk/ or visit our Motability page.

The Motability Scheme enables disabled people to lease a Motability wav, scooter or powered wheelchair in exchange for your mobility allowance (DLA or PIP).  The national charity, Motability offer grants to provide financial help towards the cost of a vehicle and vehicle adaptations if you meet the criteria. Find out more here.

Useful contacts

For information regarding being a disabled driver, passenger or Blue Badge holder visit DMUK or call 01508 489 449.

0333 331 3770
www.fishinsurance.co.uk
For information on insuring your WAV

For information regarding your rights and any benefits or financial assistance you could be entitled to visit the UK Government website.

For information on the Motability Scheme visit their website or call 0300 456 4566.

You can also visit our useful Motability page.

www.drivingmobility.org.uk/
As a registered charity, Driving Mobility accredits a network of 20 driving assessment centres covering the whole of the UK. Many with outreach facilities, these centres include independent charities and NHS centres which offer professional information and assessment so disabled and elderly people can gain or retain independence.

icon phone

Can't find what you’re looking for?