Anthony Dixon

Which Ramp? How to Select the Right Dodge Wheelchair Van Ramp for Your Needs

Written by Anthony Dixon. Filed in Dodge Handicap Van Buyers Guide

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Whether you choose a Dodge Grand Caravan or a Dodge Sprinter as a wheelchair van, you’ll need to decide on the best way to facilitate entry and exit to and from the vehicle.

While some disabled drivers may be able to get into their van without assistance, most prefer aided access. This eliminates the need for third party support while increasing overall access and convenience.

Thus, most drivers are left with a choice between installing a wheelchair lift or a ramp as part of their vehicle’s conversion. Let’s look at both options in order to determine which Dodge wheelchair van lift or ramp will best suit your individual needs.

Wheelchair Lifts Prove Useful With Dodge Handicap Vans

Lifts are flat platforms that are elevated via an electric motor or hydraulic system. Lifts can be extremely durable and provide wheelchair van access with minimal physical exertion on the part of the wheelchair user. The platform is lifted to the point of entry and the disabled driver can roll directly into the vehicle.

External wheelchair lift on a Dodge Caravan wheelchair van

External wheelchair lift on a Dodge Caravan wheelchair van

Lifts are available for use with Grand Caravans and Sprinters. The Grand Caravan can utilize an external lift when it’s configured for rear entry. The Sprinter is large enough to utilize either a rear-entry or side-entry lift. In fact, it’s spacious enough that either option can collapse into the van.

Lifts can be a smart option, especially for those who use heavier scooters and mobility chairs. However, they do have drawbacks. Initially, lifts are far more expensive than ramps. Additionally, the most popular Dodge wheelchair van option, the Grand Caravan, is unable to utilize them with the most popular configuration–side-entry.

Wheelchair Ramps Offer More Accessible Options

Ramps are the most frequently used means of entering and exiting wheelchair vans. They can be used with side- or rear-entry arrangements. Ramps come in a wide variety of styles and constructions. There are manual ramps that roll out or fold out of vehicles. There are spring-assisted options that require less effort during deployment. There are fold out automatic ramps that use a motor to extend and retract from the vehicle.

Dodge Caravan with fold out automatic ramp

Dodge Caravan with fold out automatic wheelchair ramp

The choice of a ramp is usually governed by a consideration of three factors: Price, durability and convenience. Lightweight portable ramps are the least expensive versions, but their durability is questionable. Heavier manual ramps can boast high levels of durability, but may be difficult for many disabled drivers to utilize. Powered ramps do cost more than the other options, but they are extremely durable and offer unparalleled convenience.

VIDEO: Automatic Wheelchair Ramp In Action

The powered automatic ramps are the most popular option among Dodge wheelchair van owners. They provide great ease of use while making it easy for most wheelchair users to deploy and store the ramp. A powered ramp usually works with via simple buttons and will stow under the vehicle, out of sight, when not in use.

Dodge Caravan with easy powered automatic ramps

Dodge Caravan remote for powered automatic wheelchair ramp

Ramps can be a good choice for anyone, but there are a few factors to consider when making a decision. You’ll want to be sure that your ramp can support the weight you’ll be putting upon it. That’s an important consideration for those that use scooters and other larger powered wheelchairs. You’ll also want to be sure that you’re wholly capable of utilizing the ramp by yourself if you plan to use the van independently.

If you can afford a lift, we recommend them for use with the Dodge Sprinter. The Sprinter’s ability to manage these larger mobility aids is one of its greatest assets. If you’re looking to cut costs or are planning to purchase a Grand Caravan, we recommend the use of an automatic, powered ramp. The convenience and empowerment they provide makes them a clear top pick.

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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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