A wheelchair lift is a mechanical platform used to raise or lower a wheelchair into and out of the van.
It is mostly used to conveniently transport power wheelchairs since most types are not foldable like the manual wheelchair.
It can also function as a lift to transfer other heavy equipment into your vehicle without stress. In addition, a wheelchair lift has a very agreeable alternative known as a wheelchair ramp and both perform the same function of transferring the wheelchair user with ease to and from the vehicle.
A wheelchair lift provides convenience for wheelchair users but it does not come with the vehicle. It is usually installed when modifying your vehicle to become wheelchair accessible.
It can be installed into vehicles like minivans, SUVs, vans, buses, and even trucks.
Table of Contents
- Wheelchair Lift Categories
- Essentials Tools Required to Remove a Wheelchair Lift
- How to Remove a Wheelchair Lift from a Van
- How to Remove a Wheelchair Lift from a Bus
- Reasons for Having to Uninstall a Wheelchair Lift from a Van
- Wheelchair Lift Alternative
Wheelchair Lift Categories
There are different types of wheelchair lifts like scooter lifts, Harmar universal inside-out lifts, lifts with internal storage used in minivans and full-sized trucks, exterior power wheelchair lifts, wheelchair lifts for full-sized vans, wheelchair vehicle lifts with external storage.
These types fall under three fundamental categories namely inside lifts, outside lifts, and hybrid lifts.
They protect the wheelchair and may permit the individual in the wheelchair to remain seated on the wheelchair during the transfer/transit.
These conserve space inside the vehicle and require lesser modifications to station properly, but might easily be eroded.
They provide the same functions as the inside lifts but are installed on the exterior of the vehicle.
Related: How to Oil Your Wheelchair Effectively
Essentials Tools Required to Remove a Wheelchair Lift
- Another individual or two
- Work clothes
- Handy gloves
- Safety goggles
- Angle grinder
- Impact driver or drill
- Screw driver
- Wrenches (Torque or Impact)
- Cardboard or folded carton
How to Remove a Wheelchair Lift from a Van
Even though each lift type is unique in its way, they are basically all installed and uninstalled in the same fashion and style.
The first step is to get someone else with you to carry out the lift removal because the lift (any type) can weigh between 150 pounds and 500 pounds or more.
Then disconnect the lift unit from the battery of the van. Make sure to remove the power line from the unit, even though you have disconnected it from the battery, and tape off the disconnected wire with electrical tape.
In most cases for the universal inside-out lift, the wires run right beneath the van, so you need to trace it and disconnect it from the battery system of the van.
Continue by removing all the bolts or screws (depending on the type of lift you are removing) holding the lift to the floor of the van. To do this, you can either use a screwdriver, an angle driver, an impact driver, or wrenches.
Before taking the lift out, place the cardboard or folded carton on the floor of the van to protect the floor and step of the van from the sharp plate of the lift when taking it out. This is mostly in the case of the scooter lift.
Lastly, place the lift on a hand truck or trolley and wheel it away to a safe place.
Related: How to Protect Walls from Wheelchair Damage
How to Remove a Wheelchair Lift from a Bus
To carry out this procedure, you will need the same equipment. Start by detaching the seats on the bus one after the other. Be sure to keep the seats away from extreme weather.
Disconnect the power unit of the lift from the battery of the bus, both in and out.
Continue by removing all the bolts that hold the lift down onto the bus, and then take out the lift with the help of another person.
Reasons for Having to Uninstall a Wheelchair Lift from a Van
Used for More Than One Vehicle
The need to use the wheelchair lift for more than one vehicle might arise as some of the detachable lift models have an extra tower base that can be mounted into another vehicle.
Change of Vehicle
A change of vehicle is a major possible reason to uninstall a wheelchair lift from your van as you might need to sell your vehicle unexpectedly. And this means you have to take out the mounted lift.
Death of the Wheelchair User
Another possible reason is the loss of the wheelchair user. If the wheelchair user passes away, most people tend to give the lift to charity or sell it as there is no need for it again. Some might need to convert their van into a small apartment on wheels for road trips.
Related: How to Install a Wheelchair Lift in a Van Like a Pro
Wheelchair Lift Alternative
Take a look at the alternative to a wheelchair lift and some comparisons below.
Wheelchair Vehicle Ramp
A wheelchair vehicle ramp is a sloppy surface mechanism installed in a vehicle, which joins the entrance of the vehicle and the floor outside the vehicle together. This enables all types of wheelchair users to enter a ramp-accessible vehicle without any hassle.
This means that even manual wheelchair users don’t need to get out of the chair to get the wheelchair folded during transit.
When installing a wheelchair ramp, the floor of the vehicle has to be lowered to accommodate the ramp.
Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles: Ramps Vs Lifts
Modifying your vehicle with a wheelchair ramp normally ends up being a permanent conversion. Thus, you might not be able to have it uninstalled, unlike the wheelchair lift.
A wheelchair ramp takes up less space internally than the wheelchair lift and it is more fuel-efficient as compared to the fuel consumption of a lift application in a wheelchair van.
Manufactured with the Vehicle
Unlike most vehicles that don’t come with a wheelchair lift, any vehicle with a lowered floor most probably means it comes with an already installed wheelchair ramp.
Some wheelchair ramp conversions tend to be cheaper than lift installations while some lift installations could also be cheaper than lowering the floor of your vehicle. It all depends on your budget and preferences considering the pros and cons of both.
All wheelchair ramps take up more parking space than wheelchair lifts. This is a great consideration when you have to choose.
The most important fact is that they are both able to get you in and out of the vehicle safely and conveniently without stress.