So, you’ve read everything there is to find on vehicle adaptation. You have a pretty good idea of what solution you want.
You also have a friend who’s an excellent mechanic, well-versed in the electronics of a vehicle as well as a fantastic car upholsterer. Now all you want to do is go to a webshop, fill your basket with the vehicle adaptation stuff you need and click buy.
Well, unfortunately for you, things are not that easy. And for good reason too.
A professional vehicle adaptation technician meets people every day. They work with all kinds of different needs and in doing so they learn how to perfectly adjust that push/pull accelerator/brake lever so that a driver with muscular dystrophy will not feel fatigued. They might agree with you that your choice of a swivel seat is a good solution for you but they will also know that even though it fits in your current car it won’t be a good solution for you because of the limited mobility in your knee. And the list goes on.
While you can always trial and error your way to perfection, it’s quite expensive to adapt a car only to find out it isn’t as good as you hoped. You want to get it right the first time.
Why you should always get your adaptation done by a professional
Adapting a vehicle is not quite as simple as changing its mechanical or electric functions. It’s about making it work for a human being with slightly different capabilities than the car was designed to. A professional will see and understand the nature of these capabilities and how various solutions will work better than others. This kind of fundamental understanding takes years of hands-on experience to achieve and quite frankly, it is nothing you can learn by reading what you find on the internet.
Getting an adapted vehicle is a big investment and most people will be relying on the car for a long time. While you focused on researching the solution you thought would work best, a professional will be able to present some good or even better alternatives for you. Maybe there’s a solution you discarded early in the process that will enable you to keep the car you own. Maybe, there’s a way to help you without making any permanent alterations to your car, effectively making it possible to sell later on. Maybe there’s a new solution you haven’t even heard about that would be perfect for you.
Adapting vehicles for people with limited mobility is highly responsible work. You’re dealing with the safety of your customer, anyone in their car as well as everyone else on the road. Everything must be done properly in order to provide the safety you expect from a car.
Then there’s knowing the products that you install, to be able to fine-tune them to a specific car and a specific user. Something that takes training and experience.
Finally, there is the matter of getting the car approved by local car inspection agencies or road authorities. What is legal where you live? Is it possible to make exemptions? What paperwork is needed to drive?
Let's say you're having trouble with your adaptation. A professional will in most cases have warranties that cover the job they've done for you.
As for product manufacturers, there might even be a clause in their warranty stating that their product must be installed by a trained professional in order for their warranty to cover any problems.
It’s never wrong to do research to find out what solution that you think might work for both you and your car. But don’t underestimate the experience and expert knowledge of a vehicle adaptation professional. If you want to get it done, get it done by a pro and get it right the first time.
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When you’re first out looking for an adapted vehicle you might not consider safety as an issue. Maybe you’re thinking: “It’s built into a car, it has to be safe!”. Unfortunately, that is not at all the case.
We've selected 5 cars that all have different features that make them best in class for certain adaptations or uses.
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