Ivan Nelson

20 Ways to Get Accessible Inside Dodge Grand Caravan Wheelchair Vans

Written by Ivan Nelson. Filed in Disability Access Features

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1. Steering Devices

The addition of alternative steering devices can make it much easier for many disabled drivers to handle the Grand Caravan. A traditional steering wheel isn’t ideal for everyone and hand controls can be a great alternative. Some individuals can handle the regular wheel, but only after the steering system is modified with low- or zero-effort steering packages.

2. Dodge Grand Caravan Power Seat Bases

A power seat base can make it much easier to move from a wheelchair to the driver’s seat. These powered options make it possible for those who may otherwise be unable to make the transition to do so quickly and easily. They’re and extremely popular adaptation for wheelchair users who want to drive their own Grand Caravans.

3. Dodge Grand Caravan Automatic Door Openers

In order to get the most out of your Grand Caravan, you need to be able to get in and out of the vehicle easily. Automatic door openers make that happen. You won’t be struggling with heavy doors or trying to reach handles that aren’t conveniently placed. Opening and closing doors becomes a pushbutton operation.

4. Dodge Grand Caravan Hand Controls

Many disabled drivers really struggle with stock foot pedals. They may not have the ability to use them at all or they may just lack the necessary strength and dexterity to operate them safely. Hand controls provide a great alternative. Instead of accelerating or braking via foot, the wheelchair user can capture control with hand devices.

5. Dodge Grand Caravan Transfer Seats

If a wheelchair user wants to drive his or her Grand Caravan and doesn’t plan to do so from within the wheelchair, he or she will need to find a way to make the transition from wheelchair to driver’s seat. One popular way to do that involves the use of a transfer seat. These powered seats are designed to make the process go smoothly.

6. Dodge Grand Caravan Raised Roofs

It’s essential to have sufficient vertical space within your Grand Caravan. While the Dodge minivan does offer a large cabin, most wheelchair users order modifications to improve the situation. One option is to actually raise the van’s roof. This can work, but it usually isn’t necessary. Lowering the floor is easier and will generate approximately ten additional inches for the wheelchair user.

7. Dodge Grand Caravan Raised Rear Door

The Dodge Grand Caravan is suitable for use as a side-entry or rear-entry wheelchair van. Those who opt for a rear-entry configuration may find that they need to modify the vehicle to generate additional space. One way to do that is by raising the rear door. It’s a rare conversion with Grand Caravans, but those using a lift-based rear-entry configuration may need to modify the rear door (liftgate) to improve access.

8. Dodge Grand Caravan Raised Side Door

The Dodge Grand Caravan is a great side-entry minivan option. Later models, in particular, feature a higher profile design that maximizes vertical access space. When combined with a lowered floor, headroom and clearance usually aren’t an issue. It is, however, possible to improve the access situation somewhat by raising the vehicle’s doors by a few inches. This is rarely necessary with Grand Caravans, but a custom conversion team could make it happen.

9. Dodge Grand Caravan Remote Entry

You can use remote entry to unlock and open (or to lock and close) the doors of your Grand Caravan. That allows you to avoid grappling with difficult van doors or struggling with handles that weren’t placed with wheelchair users in mind. Hitting a button a keychain remote is a great alternative that improves overall access and independence.

10. Dodge Grand Caravan Half Drop Lowered Floor

The Dodge Caravan is a spacious minivan. However, most wheelchair users discover that it just isn’t quite big enough. Most Grand Caravan conversions create extra height by dropping the floor of the vehicle. That can be done from head to toe with a full drop, but many users will find that a half-drop floor will meet their specific needs.

11. Dodge Grand Caravan Removable Seating

The Grand Caravan offers Stow ‘n’ Go seating that will get those passenger chairs out of your way, but those converting a Grand Caravan for wheelchair van use may want to remove some seats altogether. Either way, the goal is the same: Creating enough space for the wheelchair user to get safety into position.

12. Dodge Grand Caravan Rear Bench Seat

Like most minivans, the Dodge Grand Caravan features a rear bench seat. Models released since 2008, however, offer something that other models don’t. The Grand Caravan’s rear bench seat is powered and will fold away with the push of a button. This has obvious advantages for space-conscious wheelchair van users and aids in the transport of cargo.

13. Dodge Grand Caravan Removable Passenger Seat

When a wheelchair users plans on spending a great deal of time as a front seat passenger, it makes sense to consider removing the passenger seat and replacing it with tie downs or an EZ Lock system. Removing the front passenger seat from a Grand Caravan is a simple modification that virtually anyone can manage.

14. Dodge Grand Caravan Removable Driver’s Seat

Some wheelchair users prefer to drive from a traditional driver’s seat. They’ll use transfer seats or other aids to get from their wheelchair to the driver’s area. Others prefer to drive form their wheelchairs. In those situations, it’s not difficult to remove the driver’s seat of the Grand Caravan.

15. Dodge Grand Caravan Center Passenger Seat

The Dodge Caravan Center passenger seat comes in two different configurations. The Stow ‘n’ Go system allows the user to tuck the seats away into the floor of the vehicle. When the seats are up, the storage area can be used for other cargo. The Swivel ‘n’ Go system allows the center passenger seats, which are captain’s chairs, to swivel so that they face the rear seat. This makes the Caravan one of the most flexible wheelchair vans in terms of center passenger seat configuration.

16. Dodge Grand Caravan Electric Tie Downs

One must take care to properly secure a wheelchair once it’s inside the Grand Caravan. One way to do that is via the use of electric ties downs. These operate like traditional manual tie downs with one exception–they’re motorized for automatic tightening, reducing the burden on the wheelchair user or his/her assistant. They’re a popular “happy medium” between manual tie downs and more expensive wheelchair anchor bases like those made by EZ Lock.

17. Dodge Grand Caravan Manual Tie Downs

Many wheelchair users secure their chairs once inside the vehicle with manual tie downs. Tying the wheelchair down with these simple straps isn’t necessarily a “high tech” solution, but it is safe and secure when done properly. It’s also the least expensive means of immobilizing the wheelchair. Those looking for easier or less labor-intense options may consider electric tie downs or an EZ Lock wheelchair base.

18. Dodge Caravan Four-Point Tie Downs with Seat Belts

Using four point tie downs with seat belts in a Grand Caravan can accomplish two things. Initially, it provides an additional restraint for the wheelchair user. Instead of merely anchoring the wheelchair, the user receives additional protection. Second, the tie down system will successfully secure the wheelchair. Many wheelchair users appreciate the two layers of security and make this arrangement part of their interior conversion plans.

19. The Dodge Grand Caravan and the EZ Lock

The EZ Lock system secures wheelchairs within the Grand Caravan and serves as a popular alternative to traditional tie down systems. A bracket device is installed to the bottom of the wheelchair. The user then centers that bracket with the EZ Lock base, which then closes around it. The wheelchair then remains securely in place until it’s intentionally released. EZ Lock bases cost more than tie down systems, but they offer great security and incomparable ease of use.

20. Dodge Grand Caravan Swivel Seats

You can make it easier to enter and exit your Dodge Grand Caravan with a swivel seat. A swivel seat will pivot, allowing the driver to face the door of the vehicle upon entry and exit without being forced to twist or turn. They can also pivot toward the center of the vehicle to aid in movement from the wheelchair into the driver’s seat if that’s the wheelchair user’s preferred means of access.

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About Ivan Nelson

Ivan Nelson

Ivan is a true hero to countless men and women with disabilities who have been asking Ivan for years on ways and methods to overcome their disabilities and propelling their way to a new and fulfilled life. Ivan's expertise in disability rehabilitation for over 15 years is solid and his knowledge is always fresh from a different perspective.

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There are currently 1 Comment on 20 Ways to Get Accessible Inside Dodge Grand Caravan Wheelchair Vans. Perhaps you would like to add one of your own?

  1. I have benn looking for Dodge Grand Caravan (2011-2013) frnt seat swivel bases (both driver and passenger) for many months.
    Please advise.

    Thanks,
    Gilles

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