What is a WAV (Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle)?
A wheelchair accessible vehicle, often referred to as a WAV, is an adapted vehicle that allow easy access for a wheelchair, powered wheelchair or a scooter to be loaded or driven into a vehicle for transportation. The main advantage for a wheelchair accessible vehicle is that a wheelchair user is able to gain access to the vehicle for transportation without needing to leave their wheelchair. This is usually done with the aid of a fitted ramp to the back or side of the vehicle, which gives access to the rear cabin.
What adaptions make a WAV?
The main adaptions are that the vehcile has to have a ramp, or lift to get the wheelchair user in the vehicle. The majority of small and medium sized WAVs have a lowered floor in the rear to give the headroom required for a wheelchair user to access and travel in the vehicle. To access the vehicle a fold down ramp is fitted, normally at the rear, to allow the wheelchair to be moved in to the vehicle cabin. The lowered floor can be through to the back of the driver's seat if there are normally only 2-3 people plus the wheelchair users to be transported, or can be in the rear of a long wheelbase vehicle behind the second row of seats, if a family of up to 6 need to be transported along with the wheelchair user. The WAV also needs to be equipped with a wheelchair tie down system, and a seat belt for the wheelchair user. There are many types of tie down systems, with various straps and hooks suited to each style of wheelchair. These are fitted to fix the wheelchair in place when travelling, but the wheelchair user then has a additional inertia reel seatbelt to restrain them while travelling but still allowing movement.
Common additional adaptations to WAVs
Extra adaptions are fitted for some clients, this is for ease of use, extra safety or comfort. Extra adaptions can include: wheelchair winches, hand and grab rails, extra seats, removal of seats to remote controlled equipment and accessories. Below is a selection of the most common additional adaptions to WAV vehicles.
If you wish to have professional adaptions made to your own private vehicle or a new vehicle we are here to help, Simply let us know your needs or your difficulties, and one of our qualified staff members can help you through the process. We can also inspect your vehicle, and show you the adaptions and how they will be fitted with an accurate price quote at our purpose-built premises.
The most common item fitted as an extra to a standard WAV is a winch. This is normally for manual wheelchair users, to allow them to be pulled in to the WAV, up the ramp and in to the cabin with a cable attached to a spreader bar clipped to the front of the wheelchair. The winch has a remote handset which is used to control the winch so this can be held by someone who is also guiding the wheelchair in to position.
Another common extra for privacy in the back of the WAV where people may need to be fed or changed.
Fold up rear seats
For some families who need an extra occasional seat in the back of the WAV, the only option can be to fit a folding seat which folds away allowing the wheelchair user to move in and out of the cabin.
For some vehicles additional grab rails are required for access and comfort of use.
Powered ramp and doors
For drivers who have difficulty with lifting or stretching to lower the ramp and open the rear doors, these items can be powered.
WAV UK's sister company Adaptacar will undertaken all adaptions and fittings, and can be contacted directly at Adaptacar or via WAV UK.
Peace of mind with a full quality check
We are the leading UK disability car adaptation centre, with 44 years experience in adaptations for disabled access and driving; with a dedicated team with full quality checks to give you peace of mind.
MOT – All of our used vehicles are provided with a new 12 month MOT
Vehicle sourcing – All of our vehicles are sourced through specialist suppliers, most being ex Motability vehicles. If we sell part exchange vehicles these have all had a vehicle check completed by the RAC Car Passport System.
Vehicle inspection – As well as checking the base vehicle, as a specialist we are able to check all of the wheelchair restraint and seatbelt systems fitted to each WAV. We are also able to change these if required to suit the specific wheelchair, with the work being completed in our own workshops.
All of our WAV vehicles come with a 12 month warranty to give you full peace of mind, and a 36 month warranty with additional roadside assistance for our new Fiat vehicles.
New Fiat WAV: 36 month warranty with roadside assistance.
Used WAV: 12 month limited warranty, claim limits dependant on vehicle age and mileage.
"Drive from Wheelchair" vehicles
For wheelchair users who have a suitable wheelchair and are able to operate the car controls (either standard or adapted), there are vehicles with lowered floors through to the front, so the wheelchair user can access the driving position, and drive from their wheelchair. These type of adapted vehicles are normally made to suit the individual user as everyone has different requirements. While we do not normally advertise this type of adapted vehicle, we are able to offer this type of adaption through Adaptacar Limited, please contact us for detials.