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Buying a wheelchair accessible vehicle (WAV) is a big and thrilling decision. They give disabled individuals more freedom. Once bought, it can feel like a new chapter with endless opportunities now in reach.

Many helpful specialists are ready to guide you in your purchase, too. However, if you’re buying a WAV, you must do plenty of things on your side of the transaction. The more informed you are, the more precautions you can take to secure the right vehicle for you.

After all, though WAVs are highly specialised innovations, they have a few things in common with their regular counterparts, such as the level of attachment an owner of a vehicle can feel towards their motor. Whether it’s a van, a truck, or a car – they all become part of our history.

Standards need to be high here. So, read on for the 8 common first-time WAV buying errors people make. We’ve provided some tips for how to avoid them yourself, too! Let’s get started.

Conducting Insufficient Research

Some people will do a quick Google search until they find something they like. Ideally, your research efforts should be more involved than this.

The need for research will be relevant to many of the subsequent points we’ll mention in this article. However, in the broad sense, a couple of the things you look into should be:

  • Price comparisons – A general overview of WAV market prices will help you more accurately determine the true value of the WAVs you’re interested in, ensuring you don’t overpay.
  • Reviews – Buying a WAV can be a life-changing experience. Many people should be willing to articulate the full extent of that online. Look for reviews that are detailed and well-written.
  • Accessibility regulations – Accessibility isn’t about people doing you a favour. It’s now enshrined in law. Local policies may affect how WAVs are made in your area, and set standards they must meet, so researching those can let you know whether you’re being short-changed.

There can be a learning curve with WAVs. Still, if you want to make the most of the situation, you’ll need to be as well-informed as possible.

Failing to Consult Expert Mobility Advisors

Not all WAVs are the same. Each make and model can be outfitted with different features and modifications to make the passenger and driver experience more pleasant.

Expert mobility advisors can provide a lot of useful guidance around all the various models to choose from, providing assurances where needed. You can call them at a time most convenient for you and talk about everything from features to how their vehicles meet all-important safety certifications. Free, no-obligation at-home demonstrations of WAVs are also possible, no matter where you are in the UK.

It’s particularly important to have a complete overview of the safety features that earn the certifications we just mentioned. Secure anchor points and wheelchair restraints aren’t always commonplace, especially with fraudulent WAV providers. These features should not only be discussed but also demonstrated.

You’re not alone when making your purchase. While it might seem like expert advisors will ‘have an angle’, they only want to ensure their service is personalised to your specific needs. Work with a leading specialist like Allied Mobility on these matters, as you can be certain that their guidance is legitimate and trustworthy.

Ignoring Your Occupational Therapist’s Advice

An occupational therapist should be part of the decision-making process when you’re looking to buy a WAV. Their contributions to this particular discussion can be invaluable.

Occupational therapists are immensely intelligent and empathetic individuals. If you’re uncertain about WAVs and what you might need (and there can be a few question marks depending on your situation), these specialists will provide clarity for you.

For example, occupational therapists may assess your situation and recommend certain WAV modifications for optimum comfort and safety, such as installing different harness types. Future goals may be considered if your disability is an evolving situation. They’ll also know which makes and models of WAVs may be best suited to you, considering everything from the vehicle’s size to its manoeuvrability on the roads.

It’s not just about you, either, but anyone travelling with you regularly. Occupational therapists have training in techniques for transferring disabled people in and out of a WAV and best practices in securing the wheelchair onboard. So, if you do have carers or loved ones travelling with you, bringing them along to occupational therapist consultations could be a good idea.

If you’re approaching an occupational therapist you’re unfamiliar with, ensure they’re registered Health & Care Professionals Council first. That way, you won’t encounter any fraudsters and can ensure the guidance you’re receiving is legitimate.

Overlooking Financial Considerations

There’s more than just the upfront costs of purchasing a WAV to consider. As you might already be aware, subsequent fees may follow.

There are three main charges people sometimes fail to take into consideration. They are:

  1. Insurance costs – Personal and commercial use of the WAV can affect coverage, as can the model and its general value. As with any other vehicle, driver history can influence matters too. Consult a reputable broker.
  2. Financial support – Disability advocacy groups, charities, and government agencies sometimes have assistive programs, grants, and subsidies to help people fund their procurement of a WAV. The dealership itself may have specific funding support measures in place, too, such as VAT waivers.
  3. Extended Warranties – WAVs often have additional features, customisation adjustments, and modifications. It can affect the cost of service plans like warranties, though you would receive coverage for replacements and repairs.

It’s worth noting that vehicles used by disabled people are exempt from tax in the UK. If you encounter any notice deeming otherwise, the service is a fraud, and you should refrain from handing over any of your details. Consult your local tax authority or council to learn more.

Forgetting After Sales Support

We’ve mentioned warranties already, which is a type of after-sales support once you’ve bought the WAV. However, there are more measures to keep in mind here.  

For instance, some WAV providers may offer training support centred around how to use WAVs and their features effectively, especially around things like lifts and ramps. They may also be willing to provide instructions online or via call around maintenance requirements and troubleshooting basic problems.

There may also be optional timeframes for filter replacements, oil changes, tire rotations, and general checkups. Situations vary between providers, as you might expect, but it’s worth keeping in mind as it can make the WAV experience easier and more accessible.

Earlier, we mentioned the role of occupational therapists and how they tend to think about your future needs and your present requirements. We recommend you adopt a similar mindset when it comes to after sales support, too. Even if you don’t think you’ll need it today, tomorrow could always be different. Consequently, it can be a reliable safety net to have.


There’s much to think about when you want to buy a WAV. However, each consideration protects your best interests and ensures a more positive buying experience and a more optimistic, long-term driving experience. How much your lifestyle changes with your WAV greatly depends on your vehicle buying approach. Plenty of support is also available, and it’s vital to ask for help to ensure you’re getting the most out of this event. Keep an open mind, keep learning, and embrace the WAV buying process rather than passively engaging.