How much does it cost to adapt a car or van for a paraplegic?
When it comes to adapting cars there's no such thing as an average cost. It all varies greatly depending user’s abilities, their vehicle and the adaptations needed. Then there’s the aspect of prices and funding. These differ from country to country which makes it really hard to say something at all. However, there is a way to answer this question. Talk to your local vehicle adaptation specialists. With just a few more details they can most likely give you a ballpark estimate.
To highlight how big of a difference various adaptations can be here are two examples. One on the low-cost scale and one on the high-cost scale.
Example 1 - lower cost
A paraplegic able to transfer to and from their wheelchair and into their car without assistance of any kind. This person can also pick up their own wheelchair and disassemble their wheelchair for transport. Usually by taking off the wheels and placing everything in the front passenger seat.
This person would most likely only need hand controls, to control gas and brake. A steering device to facilitate using the steering wheel onehanded. Depending on their sensitivity in their legs and feet or spasticity a pedal guard could also be useful to prevent the feet from getting stuck under the pedals or accidentally engage them.
All these things are relatively easy mechanical adaptations. It does not require the technician to alter the car’s electronics in any way which always makes things faster and thus costs less.
Example 2 - higher cost
Here we have a paraplegic that is not able to transfer, not even with the use of mechanical assistance. Instead, this person wants to stay seated in their powerchair while driving the car. Muscular fatigue in their arms makes it impossible for this person to handle a steering wheel for any longer duration of time. The solution to this is an electronic steering system in combination with custom armrests. This enables them to comfortably and safely control their car with the use of a joystick. Driving from a powered wheelchair also requires a wheelchair lock that secures the wheelchair as well as a ramp or wheelchair lift to get into the vehicle.
One of the more expensive adaptations you can make to a car is electronic steering. To be able to use a ramp it is quite common to lower the floor. This is a big invasive adaptation that requires extensive work. Vehicles like this are often sold ready-made or partially ready-made and later customised to fit their user’s needs.