Wheelchairs and your car

Transportation can be challenging when the person you care for uses a wheelchair. There are two ways to ease the situation.

A transport wheelchair

If your loved one does not need a wheelchair all the time, consider a special “transport wheelchair.” Transport chairs are easy to lift, fold, and store. They are ideal for running errands and going to the doctor.

Transport chairs are not comfortable for long-term sitting. If your relative needs to sit in a chair for hours at a time, buy a padded accessory seat you can carry with you separately.

A transport chair also requires you to do the pushing. The wheels are much smaller than a standard chair, making it difficult for your relative to propel him- or herself.

Your car
Ideally, when buying a wheelchair, check how easily you can take it in or out of your car. And vice versa, when buying a car, include the wheelchair for the test drive:

  • Does the wheelchair fold and fit easily into the foot space of the back seat?
  • If you must put it in the trunk, can you lift it in without hurting your back?
  • Does the car door open in such a way that you can park the wheelchair very close, within the arc of door?
  • Getting in and out, are there stable surfaces—the doorframe, back of the seat, handle at the ceiling, or the dashboard—your loved one can easily reach and use for support? If the person you care for is not with you, try getting in and out yourself, compensating for their size and limited strength or flexibility.