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Mobile Lifestyle Advisor

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 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”.

Q. My old 1987 Ford van has given up the ghost and I want to replace it with another dependable van, but I am told Ford does not make the “E” series any longer. What other options are out there, and I am NOT a Dodge fan, so don’t mention it!! Clarence T.-WV

A. I get the picture Clarence no Dodges. However, you may want to look at the new body style Dodge Tempest which has a lot of the features you may be familiar with in your old ford conversion. The Tempest comes with many of the standard “creature comforts” like leather seating, fold down back sofa, surround sound, plus the floor is lowered giving you great height and vision while riding in your chair. If Dodges are out completely then the new style Ford Transit or Mercedes Sprinter may be your answer. Both brands have multiple options regarding height and trim levels, and you will find that space in either van is going to be adequate for even the largest chairs and scooters. Check out your local dealer and look over the Transit or Sprinter then call your local NMEDA dealer for modification cost to fit your needs. Cost of up fitting the van with a lift varies greatly depending on the van, Ford Transits need the flooring upgraded and packages may run as high as $14,000.00 just to get the lift installed. The Mercedes should be in the $ 7000.00 range for the basic lift installation. You will find these vans to be very economical, great riding vehicles, and may even last another 30 years like your old van!

Q. I am buying a newer van, a Honda 2014. My current Dodge has an EZ Lock in place in the front passenger area. Can I remove the lock and use it in my new Honda? Tim K—VA

A. Great money-saving idea. If done properly (and I would recommend a authorized NMEDA dealer) the old lock mechanism can be removed and re installed in your newer van. There have been upgrades over the years to the EZ Lock system, but I have found that the old units can last for years with proper care. The one area that can cause trouble is the metal wear around the top of the locking slot. When reinstalling the unit have the Technician grind down any sharp wear points and make sure the pin is adjusted correctly after reinstalling the lock.

Cold weather is upon us again and it is worth mentioning that batteries are the first thing to fail and at the worst possible moment. It is important that you call your mobility dealer and let them check the battery to determine voltage output and longevity. A higher cold cranking amp battery can mean the difference between a fully functional van and one that has consistent door or ramp problems. I am a proponent of trickle chargers and suggest that if you own a conversion van with either a lift or power ramp, have it installed. Many owners of conversion vans also find that a remote starter is wonderful for those cold mornings when you need to warm up the vehicle and get the juices flowing. Wintertime driving presents many challenges, being proactive with your battery maintenance will eliminate some of those challenges.

“The Mobile Lifestyle Advisor”, MITS of Virginia, 2075 W. Main St. Waynesboro Va. 22980