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Don’t Buy Before You Try: The Trouble with Buying Cars Online

Online shopping has changed the way we buy products in every industry. It can be quicker, more convenient, and sometimes it’s even cheaper. But not every purchase is best made virtually.

For example, the last time you bought a car, you probably went to a dealership or met the seller in real life. Though your research for a new vehicle may have started online, you probably don’t want to spend thousands on a car without looking it over in person.

A Craigslist seller or dealership may not describe the vehicle completely accurately, intentionally or not. And you probably want to test drive it and look under the hood to make sure your potential new car is as great as it seems in the description.


1. United Access offers live, customized demonstrations.

No matter your needs, the mobility specialists at United Access can help you find the right accessible vehicle for you. Not only that, though, we’ll show you how to use every single feature on your potential new van. When it comes to ramps, lifts, handbrakes, and other hand controls, you have many different options depending on your particular needs. 

While some online car dealerships may have these options available for sale, they won’t be able to give you a personal demonstration of how to use them in your new wheelchair van.

 2. We bring the van to you.

Can’t come into the dealership yourself? We’ll come to you. Our mobility specialists will speak with you one-on-one to find a vehicle that we recommend for you and then bring it to your home. There, we’ll show you the ins and outs of the vehicle and answer all questions you have, no matter how small!

One of the biggest draws of online car shopping is the promise of door-to-door, white glove delivery. But what happens when that car shows up and you don’t like it after all? Back it goes to the dealership and the process has to start all over.

Instead, when you buy from United Access, you’re getting the benefits of a brick-and-mortar car dealership with the convenience of home delivery. The car-buying experience has never been easier!

3. We offer trade-ins.

Some online car-buying companies don’t deal in trade-ins, making that MSRP a little harder to swallow. Doesn’t sound like a fair price to us.

If you already have a wheelchair-accessible vehicle but are looking for your next car, we’re happy to give you an appraisal for trade-in value to help you get the best price for your new car. 

Once we do an in-person inspection and test drive, we’ll give you an appraisal for your car’s market value. This appraisal is valid for a full 30 days, giving you plenty of time to find the new wheelchair van of your dreams, regardless of sticker price.

Red Ram Promaster
Ram Promaster

Naturally, the same can be said of buying a wheelchair van online.

Wheelchair-accessible vehicles are an important part of independence for people who use wheelchairs. But as you likely know, choosing a wheelchair van is more complicated than buying a non-adapted vehicle.

As convenient as buying a car online might seem — no haggling, right? — you won’t know what the car is really like until it’s in front of your house.

And if you shop for an accessible vehicle online, you’re losing the benefits of shopping in person—like a mobility specialist explaining the different options available to you and customized personal demonstrations. Depending on your needs, we can help decide whether a rear-entry van is necessary, or if a side-entry van would better fit your lifestyle. Unfortunately, you don’t get that level of personal service when you’re buying from what is effectively a car vending machine.

Keep reading to find out why it’s better to buy a wheelchair van in person from a local dealership that knows your needs and how United Access can help you find the right wheelchair-accessible vehicle for you.

Silverado 2

4. You can actually test drive our wheelchair vehicles.

You wouldn’t buy a house you’ve never walked around in. Why buy a vehicle you haven’t test driven? Unlike some online wheelchair van companies, we expect that our customers will want to test drive their potential van before you buy, and we’re happy to offer that service.

If you can’t make it into one of our dealerships, we’ll schedule a test drive at your home.

5. Our mobility specialists know our products inside and out.

We know that each of our customers has unique needs and want different things in their wheelchair vans. That’s why we make sure that our mobility specialists are trained in all the specifics of wheelchair-accessible vans. When you talk to a United Access specialist online or on the phone, you’re talking to a real person—no robots here! When you’re reduced to buying cars online, you’re at the hands of a robot to answer your questions about the inventory. We work hard every day to help our customers get the best accessible vehicle  for their individual needs. 

6. Our mobility specialists can you help find additional funding.

Need additional funding? Our mobility specialists can help with that! Our team can work with you to find the most reasonable vehicle within your budget. We keep track of which organizations offer resources and funding to individuals with special needs, including financial assistance for wheelchair vans. Additionally, our finance department can tell you about rebate programs and funding options to help you access the vehicle you need.

Want to get started on research? Take a look at our financing page, our and our list of resources for veterans. Our list of potential fundraisers might spark an idea, and you can learn how to raise money via GoFundMe with our guide to setting up a crowdfunding campaign that really works.

The wheelchair van buying process can seem intimidating, we know. But buying cars online isn’t your only option when you’re too overwhelmed to go straight to a dealership. Instead, contact one of our mobility specialists today to learn more about buying a wheelchair accessible van from United Access. We’ll explain the entire van-buying process and show you why United Access is where you can go to get the right wheelchair-accessible vehicle for you.

Non-Emergency Medical Transportation: What to Look for in NEMT Vans

Senior With Disability

In order to maintain the quality of life that most seniors have grown accustomed to, senior living facilities are finding ways to keep residents active in the local community.

One of the biggest barriers to socialization and independence is having a means of transportation. Many people with disabilities cannot drive or utilize public transportation and rely on friends or family members to transport them.

Not being able to get to and from medical appointments, visiting family and friends, or even to the mall can have negative effects on a person’s mental and physical health. That’s why it’s so important for your facility or organization to invest in non-emergency medical transportation services.

Here’s what to look for in NEMT vans to build a fleet of vehicles that meet your patients’ needs.

Non-Emergency Medical Transportation: What to Look for in NEMT Vans

Non-emergency medical transportation offers accessible transportation to people with disabilities in non-emergency situations.

Most NEMT programs offer the following transport services:

  • Wheelchair vans or ambulettes
  • Appointed-based pick-up and drop-off
  • Door-to-door or bed-to-bed service

Keep in mind that not only is NEMT a great service to offer, it is considered a core Medicaid benefit in some states.

Non Emergency

NEMT Benefits

In an emergency, an ill or injured person will typically utilize ambulance services from a local hospital. But when they aren’t in an emergency, they may struggle to access medical care, social activities, human services, and more.

Bringing non-emergency transportation services to your facility means you can remove barriers and increase access for your residents.

Additionally, it can actually reduce care costs across the board. When people can access health appointments and other medical services on a regular basis, that can increase positive health outcomes, which can save the patient and health care providers additional money in the long run.

Non-Emergency Medical Transportation Equipment

Nemt Van Equipment

There are professional transportation companies who will provide NEMT services for you. However, assembling your own commercial fleet of NEMT vehicles gives you greater control over vehicle and service quality, transportation costs, and wait times and allows you to offer premium patient care services that your competitors may not.

You have many equipment options, including…

  • Ambulettes are the best choice for non-emergency medical uses, such as trips to offsite medical facilities. They are the same size as some ambulances but offer customized, flexible layouts.
  • Wheelchair-accessible vans can also transport passengers who aren’t in wheelchairs.
  • Van conversion options, including lowered-floor vans with ramps, allow you to convert a vehicle that your facility already owns.

Non-Emergency Medical Transportation Features

No matter what kind of vehicles you choose to start your fleet, you need to make sure that your vehicles have the following features to make them usable.

As a provider of NEMT services, you’ll need to make sure that your vehicles are compliant with ADA standards. That means that your vans must meet the following requirements:

  • The vehicle must have either a lift or ramp.
    • Wheelchair lifts must be at least 30” x 40”. Additionally, the lift must be interlocked with the vehicle’s gearshift to prevent the vehicle from moving when the lift is not stowed and to prevent the lift from operating when the vehicle is moving. There must also have mechanisms to prevent equipment failure (like falling) and for emergency operation if the lift fails. The lifts must also have handrails 30”-38” high.
    • Wheelchair ramps must support at least 300 pounds with the least slope possible; the slope must range from 1:4 to 1:12 depending on height.
  • The vehicle must have at least one securement attachment that secures wheelchairs or other mobility devices. Vehicles longer than 22 feet must have at least two attachments.
  • Vehicles must have a door height of 56” to 58” depending on vehicle length.
  • The floor of the vehicle, lifts, and ramps must be slip-resistant.
  • Any stepwell or doorway must have interior lights; the vehicle doorways must have exterior lighting.

There are also features you can find in wheelchair-accessible vans that offer an even safer and more comfortable experience for your passengers.

Mobility Means Everything to the Callaway Family

Black Electric Lift Specialized Vehicle

Taking your child to doctor appointments shouldn’t be a challenge, but for families with children with disabilities, it can be that and much more; it can actually be life-threatening. Thankfully, there are organizations like Chive Charities who assist families when trying to purchase a wheelchair accessible vehicle.

Today is a special day. The Callaway family will be driving home in their new, safe, and reliable wheelchair accessible transportation from United Access (1389 N Cedarbrook Ave, Springfield, MO 65802). The Callaway Family will be leaving in their new 2019 Dodge Grand Caravan with CompanionVan side entry, making everyone’s life a little easier. Thanks to Chive Charities and their generous donors for helping to make this happen.

About the Callaway Family

“We were given a grim diagnosis from the start,” said Mrs. Callaway. “We were told he would never make it to birth and if he did, to cherish the short time we would have with him. The hospital had us fill out a death and funeral care plan before we were to deliver him.”

Raylan is truly a miracle. Raylan was diagnosed with Alobar Holoprosencephaly (HPE) at 20 weeks gestation. HPE is a rare brain malformation affecting 1 in 5,000 to 10,000 live births. Current studies indicate that only three percent of all fetuses diagnosed with HPE survive birth, and only one percent survive longer than 6-months. Raylan is beating the odds as he is now 7 years old!

Raylan was born by C-section due to his head being so large. He had hydrocephalus, also known as water on the brain.  He was 11lbs 11oz and most all that was in his head. The day after he was born, the family asked the doctor if there was anything that could be done to help Raylan be more comfortable. The doctor wasn’t optimistic and told Raylan’s parents that he couldn’t feel anything and to just let nature take its course. Thankfully that is not where his story ended. “We had an amazing nurse who stayed in the room with us after that doctor left,” said Mrs. Callaway.

She asked us what we wanted for Raylan. We told her that he was fighting to live and we were going to fight for him.

This nurse went above and beyond to help this family. She called in an amazing neurosurgeon, even though he was on vacation, he came to meet Raylan straight from the airport. “This new doctor came in the room, picked up our son, and gave us the most optimistic news we had heard since hearing of his diagnosis.” After an examination, this new doctor believed that Raylan could live as long as 18 to 24 months but that would require putting in a VP shunt in Raylan to drain the extra fluid from his head. The surgery went well and the Callaways were able to bring their son home. Not long after being home, they noticed that Raylan was extremely irritable and were struggling to feed him. The shunt was infected and this required another surgery and six weeks in the hospital. The first two years of Raylan’s life were tumultuous and even the neurosurgeon who gave the family their most optimistic life expectancy is amazed on how well he is doing.

Raylan has Cerebral Palsy with spasticitydiabetes insipidus, ventricular shunt for hydrocephalus, and feeding tube all due to having HPE. He is nonverbal but communicates with his facial expressions.  He has no head, neck, or trunk control and relies on his family for total care. Raylan is in a wheelchair. Through the last couple of years, he has had to have hip surgery due to his spasticity pulling his legs out of his hip joints. “Raylan’s spasticity is one of our biggest struggles,” said Mrs. Callaway. “Raylan gets over stimulated easily causing his muscles to get tight. When this happens his whole body gets red and splotchy. He begins shaking all over, screaming, he gets sweaty and his blood pressure spikes.” This condition is called storming.

Despite all this Raylan is a happy guy with a contagious smile. He loves his sisters and he loves being the center of attention.

Raylan has three amazing sisters – Mackenzie is 18, Miya is 14, and Madi is 11. They are great with their little brother and include him in everything they do. Mr. Callaway works as a Sheriff Deputy for Webster County while also owning and operating a small excavating business, Callaway Excavating. Mrs. Callaway stays home to care for Raylan. Going from therapy appointments to doctor appointments and overall daily care, it’s a full-time job.

Receiving an accessible vehicle is such a blessing for our family,” said Mrs. Callaway. “I currently drive a Suburban, but it is almost impossible for me to go anywhere alone with Raylan. Raylan’s wheelchair weighs 72 pounds. It is a struggle to lift it in and out of the back of the Suburban by myself. Raylan is also getting bigger. I have to transfer him to his car seat, which he is also starting to outgrow. It has gotten to where I would rather stay home than get him out.  A handicap accessible vehicle means he could stay in his wheelchair and we wouldn’t have to lift it, and him, in and out of the back of the Suburban.” This grant would make our life so much easier to go places and make the going more enjoyable.

For more information about Chive Charities, visit chivecharities.org. For more information about United Access, visit www.unitedaccess.com.