Adding a wheelchair lift to a vehicle is a great way to easily accommodate drivers or passengers with disabilities. Because of their high payload capacities and accessible beds, pickup trucks are a perfect candidate for these lifts. You can also use a wheelchair ramp for easy transport of other heavy items into the cargo box.
However, you have to make sure that the wheelchair ramp you want to buy will fit your vehicle correctly. You should also consider what type of ramp you want, your price range, and any safety features you need. Here are the best kinds of wheelchair lifts, according to Retirement Living.
What kind of wheelchair lift should you get for your pickup truck?
Vertical platform wheelchair lifts are popular because they’re relatively easy to install and have the most functionality. The platform moves the chair as if it were on an escalator and is stable enough to accommodate the wheelchair’s owner. Inclined platform wheelchair lifts are very similar, but these can’t travel vertically up and down.
Still, both of these might not be the best fit for a pickup truck. Most passengers don’t want to ride in the truck bed, and many truck beds have a steep step-in height. However, you could also attach the ramp to the side of the pickup truck’s cab if it has the right measurements.
Auto lifts are used to load unoccupied wheelchairs into a car and come in several varieties. Depending on the weight of the personal mobility vehicle, you’ll need either a single arm or double arm auto lift. Double arm auto lifts have more support beams, so they’re better suited for transporting heavy wheelchairs.
An interior auto lift is your best bet for getting an unoccupied wheelchair into a pickup truck. These use either a platform or a lifting mechanism similar to a crane. Smaller vehicles can have exterior auto lifts that can secure the wheelchair to the back of the car.
Pickup truck lifts are also the easiest lifts to store when they’re not in use. The interior lift mount can easily be situated inside the truck bed. You can also store it under the truck to save storage, but these types of mounts are more difficult to install.
Whether the occupant will be situated in the wheelchair during transport or not, safety features are important. All types of lifts need safety railings or straps to ensure that the wheelchair doesn’t fall from the lift. Obstacle detection, emergency stopping mechanisms, and weather-safe controls should also be considered when choosing a lift.
Average pricing for wheelchair lifts
CarsDirect says that wheelchair lift prices vary depending on the complexity of their construction and the number of extra safety features. Vertical platform lifts are some of the most expensive, with an average one retailing for around $8,000-$10,000. A custom curved incline lift with more safety features can cost well over $10,000. An incline lift that hasn’t been modified could only cost $3,000.
If you just want a simple hoist or crane lift, it might only cost around $2,000-$3,000. Auto lifts have a wider price range, but pickup truck wheelchair lifts will probably be closer to $5,000.
What about installation for your pickup truck?
Installation typically isn’t included in the wheelchair lift’s cost and probably won’t be covered by insurance. Before you even purchase a ramp, you’ll have to pay for an onsite inspection of the vehicle. Your vehicle might have to be customized with more ground clearance or electrical work to support a wheelchair lift.
Once it’s time to install the lift, you’ll also need to find a suitable installation site and possibly get a safety permit. Wheelchair lifts can definitely get pricey, but it’s a great investment for disabled truckers or their loved ones.