Buying a car is a big commitment, it’s not something you are likely to change annually so ensuring you make the right choice is essential. It can be difficult to find the right car with so much choice out there and this task can be even harder when you or your passengers have a disability. There’s a lot you have to think about and consider which can make the thought of buying a new car daunting but it needn’t be and if you have a look at the suggestions on what to consider below that should get you started and on your way to finding the perfect car for yourself and your family.
Adaptations, or a new car?
First things first, is a new car the right choice? If your current car isn’t meeting your needs but it’s still running well and in good condition then you could consider making adaptations to the car rather than purchasing a new car. You might be surprised to know that there are a lot of different adaptations that can be carried out to make the car suitable for use with a range of disabilities. Adaptations could include; hand controls to operate the accelerator and brake, steering wheel knobs, people lifts, rotating seats and more.
Of course, these adaptations come at a price and this is something you would need to look into and decide if it’s better for you to carry out adaptations or to buy a new car with the adaptations already in place but it’s something to consider.
Many modern cars are compact and don’t offer a lot of space in the car or in the boot, this can become problematic if you need to carry additional medical supplies such as mobility scooter, wheelchair, monitoring equipment etc. You could consider these lightweight wheelchairs to help save space and you might be able to find a few clever car storage hacks which can help but buying a car with enough space is paramount.
Before making your choice it’s worth making a note of everything you will need to fit in the car so you have a good idea of the space you require, it’s easy for something to slip your mind when you don’t have a list and you might end up with a car that’s too small.
Try before you buy
If you’re really not sure which car would be most suitable for your needs you could lease a vehicle you would like to try for a short period of time so you can get a feel for the vehicle and decide whether it meets your needs or not. This will ensure you know the ins and outs or the car and will have a good opportunity to see if it works for you and your family before committing to buying it.
Buying a car isn’t cheap and when you add in adaptations the costs really mount up. If you have a disability and receive certain benefits you might be entitled to financial help towards the cost of adaptations or help towards the cost of a car which is suitable for your needs.
If you receive the higher rate of the mobility element of certain benefits you might also be able to apply for a free road fund license. You can find out if you’re entitled to financial help by visiting the Gov.uk website.
If you have any advice for those looking to buy a new accessible vehicle I would love to hear them.