Anthony Dixon

Interior Handicap Driving Features for Dodge Sprinter Wheelchair Vans

Written by Anthony Dixon. Filed in Disability Access Features

dodge_sprinter_2007-6bab00727a918fd855b37e7f63f8328b

 

The Dodge Sprinter is a blank slate. That’s one reason why it makes a great wheelchair van. The spacious vehicle can come in a variety of set-ups from the factory and it’s amenable to virtually every imaginable adaptation. A series of simple interior modifications can transform the Sprinter into a top-notch wheelchair van option.

Dodge Sprinter with side entry wheelchair lift gate

Dodge Sprinter with side entry wheelchair lift gate

Getting into the Sprinter

The first consideration one should have when converting a wheelchair van is to insure that the wheelchair user will be able to open and close the vehicle doors easily. That can be difficult, because many van doors are quite heavy and the handles are positioned for an “average” able body consumer.

Automatic Doors
Sprinter owners can correct that issue by installing automatic side doors and a keyless entry system. Dodge offers a sliding door option and a conversion manufacturer can see to it that the doors can be open and closed via remote control via the presence of a motorized device.

Remote control door opening & lift deployment

Remote control door opening & lift deployment

Lowering Entry Angle

As a full-sized Dodge wheelchair van, the Sprinter sets relatively high off the ground. It isn’t at the altitude associated with older vans, but it still higher than most minivan options. As such, Sprinter owners will often install an auto kneel device as part of the conversion process.

This modification allows the Sprinter to “dip” when parked, so that the point of entry is very close to the ground. This reduces the slope of any ramp that might be in use. Lift users will appreciate the way the modification improves safety.

It is possible to lower the floor of a Sprinter. That’s usually done in other vehicles as way of increasing interior clearance. Considering the height of the Sprinter (especially in its high roof variation), that’s rarely necessary.

Seating and the Sprinter

The Sprinter is a large vehicle. It boasts up to three rows of seating behind the driver’s area. In many cases, it’s necessary to reconfigure or to remove seats in order to provide sufficient space for the wheelchair to enter and exit the van and to provide space for the wheelchair to move to the driver’s area.

Plenty of room for wheelchair access and able bodied passengers

Plenty of room for wheelchair access and able bodied passengers

Assuming the path is clear to the driver’s area (or the front passenger seat), one will need to decide what to do next. If the wheelchair user plans to drive from the wheelchair, proper chair security must be a top priority. That can take the form of tie downs (manual or electric) or an EZ Lock docking system. If the individual would prefer to drive from a more traditional seat, it will be necessary to easily effectuate the transition from the wheelchair. Power base seats, swivel seats and transfer seats can all make that easier.

Dodge Sprinter with EZ Lock docking system

Dodge Sprinter with EZ Lock docking system for disabled drivers

The good news is that the Sprinter offers enough space and flexibility to configure the vehicle, as necessary, to meet any driver’s seating needs.

Driving the Dodge Sprinter Wheelchair Van

Getting the doors opened (and closed) and the wheelchair user in position are necessary steps, but more interior modifications may be necessary. It’s also essential to have the right controls in place. Some disabled drivers may struggle with traditional foot or steering controls. Special hand controls or other adaptations may play a key role in the making the vehicle truly accessible. Fortunately, the Sprinter is amenable to virtually any adjustment one may require.

Share this Article

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.

Browse Archived Articles by

No Comments

There are currently no comments on Interior Handicap Driving Features for Dodge Sprinter Wheelchair Vans. Perhaps you would like to add one of your own?

Leave a Comment

*