Anthony Dixon

12 Additions to Make Dodge Grand Caravan Wheelchair Accessible

Written by Anthony Dixon. Filed in Disability Access Features

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1. Rear Lift Gate

The Dodge Grand Caravan’s rear lift gate provides access to the rear cargo area. It’s also the point of entry for wheelchair vans configured for rear-entry. Most rear-entry Grand Caravans feature a lowered floor and a vehicle kneel system, but they rarely require substantial physical modification of the lift gate itself.

Rear Lift Gate

 

2. Dual Sliding Doors

The Dodge Grand Caravan comes standard with dual sliding doors. The doors are manually operated in the base trim package, but higher trim models have fully automatic sliding doors with remote entry. Sliding doors are integral to converting the Grand Caravan for use as a side-entry wheelchair vehicle. The provide enough room to provide easy entrance and exit to and from the vehicle.

Dual Sliding Doors

3. Power Door

A power door can make a huge difference in the accessibility of a Grand Caravan wheelchair van. Many wheelchair users struggle with manual doors and discover that their handles are placed in anticipation of use by standing drivers. Providing an automatic way to enter and exit the vehicle can really empower a wheelchair user. As such, power door modifications are a key part of many wheelchair van conversions.

Power doors

 

4. Wheelchair Lift Use

Some Dodge Grand Caravans use a wheelchair lift to facilitate entry into the vehicle. These motorized platforms are a powerful and reliable way to increase access. They’re also rather large. That’s why the only Grand Caravans with lifts are rear-entry models and they feature collapsible lifts that can fold up against the back of the minivan when not in use.

Wheelchair Lift Use

5. Wheelchair Ramp Use

Most Grand Caravan wheelchair vans use ramps to facilitate entry and exit to and from the vehicle. Ramps are used on many rear-entry modifications and on all side-entry wheelchair vans. In most cases, users opt for a powered ramp that can be deployed and retracted with a single push of a button. These ramps stow under the vehicle, out of sight, when not in use.

Wheelchair Ramp Use

6. Scooter Lift Use

Scooters and powerchairs are heavier than traditional wheelchairs, so it requires some muscle to lift them and to move them into the minivan. There are lifts available that are more than up to the task and many are used in rear-entry Grand Caravan wheelchair vans. The Grand Caravan can’t support side entry lifts, but those who want a lift and who use a scooter do have options available to them.

Scooter Lift Use

7. Auto Kneel

Auto kneel systems are an integral part of many wheelchair van conversions. They allow the vehicle to set low to the ground when not in use. That decreases the slope of the wheelchair ramp, providing easier access and reducing the risk of accident. Most Grand Caravan wheelchair van conversions use an auto kneel system.

Auto Kneel

8. Auto Folding Ramp

Most Dodge Grand Caravan wheelchair vans use an auto ramp. Some rear-entry variations use a lift and some people opt for manual ramps, but the great majority of conversions feature an auto ramp. These foldout wheelchair ramp deploy and retract with the push of a button and stow away under the vehicle when not in use.

Auto Folding Ramp

9. Auto Door Use

Automatic doors are a common feature in Grand Caravans. All but the entry-level models come standard with automatic power sliding doors and remote entry. That’s a nice feature to have when converting a vehicle for use as a wheelchair van. Manual doors can be a challenge for some wheelchair users and pushbutton use is a welcome relief.

Auto Door Use

10. Hitch Mounted Vehicle Ramp

Those who opt for a rear-entry conversion of a Grand Caravan wheelchair van can either use a ramp or a lift for entry. Lifts can be cost-prohibitive and there are many ramp options to choose from. A hitch-mounted vehicle ramp is one option. They aren’t used as often as powered ramps that stow under the vehicle, but the fact that they are easily accessible might make them interesting to some Grand Caravan owners.

Hitch Mounted Vehicle Ramp

11. Reduced Effort Steering

Grand Caravan wheelchair vans are created with the unique needs of their owners in mind. Some wheelchair users can’t safely or effectively use traditional steering systems. In those cases, a reduced effort steering package may be in order. The power steering system of the Grand Caravan is enhanced, allowing operation of the steering wheel with far less physical exertion.

Reduced Effort Steering

12. Reduced Effort Braking

Some disabled drivers find it exceedingly difficult, if not impossible, to use the standard brakes of the Grand Caravan. In many cases, this is because it requires too much force to depress the pedal. A reduced effort braking system solves the problem, making it possible to engage the antilock brakes with the application of very little pressure.

Reduced Effort Braking

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About Anthony Dixon

Anthony Dixon

Anthony is a true disability vehicle enthusiast when he is not working tirelessly in a rehabilitation hospital in Houston, TX where he provides advice and training for the many concerned parents and caregivers. Anthony is the first step in finding the right rehabilitation advice for you or your loved one.

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