Mobile Lifestyle Advisor

MLA Column Jan. 2021

Need answers to your mobility questions?? Want to know the latest in Assistive Technology? Would you like to learn money saving tips on how to purchase your next van, scooter or lift? Get these answers and more from “The Mobile Lifestyle Advisor” brought to you by MITS of Virginia. This monthly column might make you roll with laughter, cringe with fear, or jump for joy, but it guarantees to produce solutions that you can take to the bank. So “Let’s Get Rolling”.


********HAPPY NEW YEAR*********

Looking forward to a better year? We are too! Be sure to catch this monthly column for money saving advice and tips..

Q. I continue to get notices from Chrysler informing me that my warranty is about to expire on my 2007 van. Is it worth buying the extended warranty? I only have 27,000 miles on my van now and with the cost of new vans it does not look like I will buy another one anytime soon. Clara S.-VA.

A. Who has NOT been inundated with phone, text and tweet messages alerting us to the fact that our car warranty will soon expired? While we may be tired of the persistent nagging it does make sense to evaluate the need. Beware that most all of those notices pertain to only the chassis. Owners of wheelchair vans would not think of letting their warranty run out if it covers the conversion equipment. With the high cost of door motor replacements, ramp motor replacements and kneel systems I would advise you to 1) make sure your warranty covers this equipment and 2) keep it current. If you do not have any coverage left on your conversion equipment, seek a reputable NMEDA dealer that sells this type of warranty and purchase it. CAUTION: Read the fine print! Know what you are buying, how convenient it is to get your van repaired and what tow or courtesy van service is included. Your chassis warranty is a different matter. If you are planning on keeping your van a long time as you mentioned, I would get a combo chassis/conversion warranty. If you are considering keeping your van only 4-5 years, extending the existing warranty may not be a wise investment. Now for those readers that are considering a van purchase, negotiate some type of warranty in the deal. If the seller is not willing to offer it, then your assumption can only be that there may be problems coming in the very near future and you better plan for repair cost.

Q. The government is calling for fuel efficient vehicles, which means smaller and lighter weight. They are even talking about surcharges and penalties for driving larger cars. What are we in the handicapped community to do when we need room? Disabled individuals need not to be forgotten when it comes to larger vehicles need for safe transportation. Ronald M.-VA.
Q. I have been selling GM vehicles for over 20 years and now have older customers who need a vehicle that will handle a lift of some sort to assist in carrying their scooter or power wheelchair. With no GM minivans available, what other type of vehicle will work? Simona H.-VA.

A. These two questions relate to the same challenge, room to roam!! Individuals with larger chairs, prosthetics or just need room to maneuver to transfer, need full size vehicles. My take on the fuel efficient vehicle is that we will see more hybrid vans and even electric vehicles that can be customized by mobility dealers to solve mobility challenges. However, the old adage of 10lbs. of potatoes fitting into a 5 lb sack is most appropriate. You can be fuel efficient, stylish, dual fuel and all electric, but if you cannot get into the car or van or cannot get your wheelchair or scooter into the vehicle then your mobility is greatly compromised. Let’s hope the full size Ford or Chevy van is never discontinued as a lot of people depend on the floor room to handle their individual needs. Vehicles have to be convenient to use both from the care giver’s perspective as well as the individual with mobility problems. The whole package needs to be looked at, ease of entry, type of lift you need, passenger space and capacity for storing the necessary equipment that a lot of people take when they travel. Crossovers and small compacts are fine but wheelchair and scooter users need to be cautious when buying a vehicle. For those readers like Simona in the Auto Industry, I would recommend that you align your dealership with a reputable NMEDA dealer so you can answer those mobility questions from your clients when they come up. As the car industry changes a whole new set of mobility challenges crop up. Follow this magazine though out the New Year for new solutions and products

Email your questions or comments to the “Mobile Lifestyle Advisor” at mobility@ntelos.net.