Is a WAV right for me?
We want you to make an informed decision on which WAV you choose, as it will be an important part of your mobility for several years to come.
You may like to consider a WAV if you are no longer able to transfer from your wheelchair to a standard car seat, or if your carer is no longer able to lift you. In such cases, a specialist vehicle like a WAV is safer to travel in than a standard car. It's always best to weigh up the benefits and challenges when considering a WAV (or adapted car) over a standard car to make sure that a WAV is the most suitable option for you. Below are some considerations you need to be aware of:
Depending on your needs, WAV Advance Payments can vary. If you decide you do need a WAV but cannot afford the Advance Payment of the particular vehicle that best suits your needs, Motability may be able to offer financial help .
2) Seating arrangements
Travelling in your wheelchair in a WAV will feel different to a standard car seat; most people get used to this in time. The size of WAV you need may depend on how many passengers you regularly travel with. When making the vehicle accessible for wheelchair users, the converter usually has to remove some of the standard seats. Some vehicles have rear seats designed to fold out of the way to make room for the wheelchair, or you may be able to request a seat as an optional extra.
WAVs can be bigger than the type of car that you’re used to, so it’s important to think about how this will affect your travel from day to day. All WAVs are fitted with either a ramp or lift, and access will either be from the back or side of the vehicle depending on the conversion. Think about where you normally park and if there is enough space for a ramp or lift and room for the wheelchair user to manoeuvre. If you opt for a conversion with a high roof, make sure the height of the vehicle will be able to clear the roof a multi-storey car park, for example.
4) Ground clearance
Most WAVs will have had their floor specially lowered to allow enough headroom for the wheelchair. As the floor has been lowered, you will need to make sure the WAV allows for enough ground clearance in the places you usually drive, and the driver will need to drive more carefully over speed bumps.
5) Fuel gauge
When the converter lowers the floor of a WAV, the fuel tank may need to be modified or replaced, reducing its size or changing its shape. This can mean your WAV will need to be refuelled more regularly and the fuel gauge may be less accurate. Ask your converter if this applies to the WAV you are looking at.
6) Driving experience
If you opt for a passenger WAV, it is extremely important to ensure that your driver feels comfortable and confident operating the vehicle. Some WAVs are larger than regular cars, and as a result will offer a very different driving experience and may require some adjustments in driving style to make sure that everyone is safe and secure.
A WAV is just one of the many options available to you on the Motability Scheme. So, if you are able to transfer out of your wheelchair without too much trouble or discomfort, and you can stow your wheelchair, you may be better off with a standard car fitted with adaptations.