How to Modify Cars for Paraplegics

January 27, 2012

Paraplegics are normally paralyzed from the waist down and have little or no use of their legs; so, cars for paraplegics need to be modified so they can safely operated by persons affected with this type of disability. Because of the complexity of installing the various controls and  components needed for a disabled driver's car, this is a job better left to a professional.

Shops that perform this type of work employ specially trained installers and technicians that are qualified to do the job properly. Furthermore, many states require that installers of devices used in vehicles modified for use by the handicapped be bonded and insured. So, here is a guide on how to have a vehicle modified for a paraplegic person.

What You Will Need

  • Car hand controls (Accelerator, Brake, Shifter, etc.)
  • An Internet connected computer
  • Good research skills

Step 1 - Purchase Needed Components

Although you can normally purchase the needed hand controls for a handicapped persons vehicle from a local installer or authorized dealer, you will probably save a lot of money if you buy them off of the Internet. Use your favorite search engine to search for sellers of hand controls for handicapped vehicles. Popular manufacturers include: Handicaps Inc., The Hand Controls Company, MPD Hand Controls and MPS Hand Controls. So, simply enter any of these company names into the search engine's text box and click the submit button.

Step 2 - Search for Installers

In order to find installers for the hand controls, you may want to visit a local new car dealership. In many cases, they have companies that they contracted to work with customers that have disabilities. Alternatively, you could call the company that sold you the hand controls. They also have a list of installers from around the country that they will be more than happy to refer you to.

Step 3 - Compare Prices

Contact as many installers as possible and ask them about prices for retrofitting a particular make and model with a hand control system. If you are located in a remote or rural area, you'll probably have to travel quite a distance in order to have the installation performed. Therefore, also consider travel costs when comparing prices of installers.

Step 4 - Choose and Installer

After you've considered all the variables concerning cost installation and possible travel requirements, choose the installer that you think offers the best value. However, before you make your final decision, go online and do a quick search to see if you can find complaints or other comments about the installer. Also, check with the Better Business Bureau in the location where the installer is located. If the installer has many unresolved complaints or problems, choose another installer.

Step 5 - Schedule the Work

Contact the installer and schedule a date and time for the installation of the hand controls. If you do not live in the installers area, make sure to tell them about this. This will help to ensure that the installer's schedule is cleared for you when you arrive.

Step 6 - Have Components Installed

Drop your vehicle off at the installer's location and leave it with them so that they can install the hand controls in your car. Depending upon the options you chose for your vehicle, the installation may take several hours or a couple of days. Therefore, make sure that you have made arrangements for alternative transportation while the car is being modified.

Step 7 - Take Delivery of Modified Vehicle

After the installation is complete, visit the installer and pay for the modification of your vehicle. Make sure to test the hand controls and ask for guidance and advice if you're unsure of how to use them. Once you're comfortable with the hand controls, drive the vehicle home.


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