Scooter Lifts for Vans Explained
Mobility scooters can make an enormous difference in the lives of those struggling to get around on their own. But if you want to have that same level of mobility away from your home, you need a way to bring your scooter. That's where scooter lifts come in. These vehicle-mounted lifts help you securely transport your scooter and bring it with you wherever you go. But if you've never bought a scooter lift, you might not be sure what to look for. Keep looking to learn more about finding the right scooter lift to meet your needs.
Inside and Outside Lifts
Out of context, these terms might not make much sense. However, "inside" and "outside" refer to where your scooter will be secured while driving. Outside lifts are typically attached to the hitch on the back of your vehicle, though the hitch must be a Class 2 or 3. An external lift allows you to transport your scooter without disassembling or collapsing, which can be highly convenient. While some models of outside lifts will allow you to access the scooter from either side, others must be accessed via the driver's side only.
While it might sound counterintuitive, there is one variation on outside lifts that bring the scooter inside the vehicle. This lift will pick up and lift the scooter without disassembly, as with other exterior lifts; then, it will slide inside the vehicle for storage. This type of lift is usually used with minivans, and despite the scooter's location after storage, it is still considered an outside vehicle lift.
Inside scooter lifts can be called trunk lifts for cars and rear or side lifts for vans, minivans, and pickup trucks. These typically have an easy-to-use swing lift that allows you to move the scooter into the vehicle. If you have a small trunk, you may need to use a trunk lift that helps lift the scooter and load it into the trunk, as that is the only viable space for a scooter in this type of vehicle.
Ideally, you should have a vehicle to secure your scooter quickly so you can take it with you without excessive hassle for yourself or your loved ones.
Types of Scooter Lifts
In addition to inside and outside lifts, there are two other categories of scooter lifts to consider: platform and rotary. Platform lifts can be semi-automatic or fully automatic, depending on your needs. A fully automatic platform lift will unfold, lower, raise, and fold, all with the touch of a button; semi-automatic models lift and lower using a button but must be folded and unfolded by hand.
To use a platform lift, drive your scooter onto the platform, carefully get off of it—preferably with someone else's help—and use a remote control keypad to lift your scooter into the vehicle if you have an inside lift, or lift it into its storage position if you have an outside lift. Some platform lifts will lower to ground level, while others require a ramp to drive your scooter into position.
Rotary lifts, sometimes called swing lifts, are the most common option for shuttle buses and vans. These are generally less expensive than platform lifts and may require the user to have more assistance. Rotary lifts attach to your scooter much like a crane; they will then lift the scooter and swing it carefully into its storage position inside the vehicle or in the bed of a pickup truck.
How Do You Choose One?
When looking over your options for scooter lifts, find the right one to fit your needs. The first question to ask yourself is whether your scooter model's size and weight are compatible with the lift. Check the lift's weight limits and ensure that your scooter is within those limits. Second, consider how your new lift will be installed on your vehicle and whether or not any modifications will be required on your vehicle to make it fit. If so, be sure to factor that cost into your purchasing decision.
Next, look at lift accessories, extra features, and warranties on any scooter you're considering, and consider the pros and cons of those options when comparing your options. Finally, consider repairs and maintenance. Is there somewhere nearby that services that model of lift, or will you have to make a long drive—without your scooter—to get the lift repaired?
It's essential to explore all your options when choosing a vehicle scooter lift, so be sure to check out our work here at K N Enterprise, LLC, to help you find what you need. We specialize in assisting people in finding the mobility products they need to achieve a higher quality of life.