The Best Vehicle Modifications for Disabled Drivers: A Complete Guide

Are you looking for affordable and reliable vehicle modifications for disabled drivers?

Chrysler Pacifica for NEMT Paratransit at Movie TheatreTransportation can be a huge hurdle and requires constant consideration when planning to travel. After all, when you have a disability, the experience of catching a taxi can be incredibly frustrating due to a lack of accessibility. Taxis and other popular ridesharing services often don’t provide the necessary automobile modifications for passengers who need them. Many people who can’t get around without help usually buy their own cars. Sometimes, even public transportation won’t come through for you, especially if you don’t live near a major city with reliable public transit.

Having a handicap vehicle gives you more than just the ability to get around. Adapting cars for disabled drivers can offer you safe, convenient, and dependable travel that is tailored to your individual needs.

Disabled drivers can stay on the road with the help of vehicle adaptations for disabled drivers. The following is an in-depth guide on a vehicle modification for disabled drivers that will assist you in correctly outfitting your vehicle.

What are the Best Vehicle Modifications For Disabled Drivers?

A wheelchair-accessible vehicle represents a significant step toward independence for wheelchair users.

Not only does it allow you to go where you need to, but it also permits you to leave at your convenience:

Power Transfer Seats

Are you looking to stay behind the wheel?

Then you’ll want to install a power transfer seat.
Driver power transfer seat in accessible Kia Soul
Wheelchair drivers who desire more autonomy or do not have need of a caretaker can benefit from adaptations that make it easier for them to operate a vehicle. Wheelchair users who would like to drive can do so with the help of modifications such as power transfer seats.

You can easily move the OEM captain’s chair in the front seat forward and backward. The chair can be rolled back, making it easier for wheelchair users to get seated. Once situated, they can use the remote to bring their chair up next to the steering wheel.

A power transfer seat can be used for more than just getting behind the wheel. They can also be installed on the front passenger seat, allowing wheelchair passengers to travel in the front cabin next to a caretaker, friends, or family in the comfortable, original seat.

Price Range: $3,000 to $10,000

Shop Vehicles With Power Transfer Seats

Accelerators and Pedal Modifications

hand controls on a kia soul steering wheel

Disabled drivers can get help from various accelerators and pedal modifications. 

With pedal vehicle modifications, drivers can benefit from being able to manipulate the petals with their left feet. Additionally, you can have pedal modifications that extend for people with shorter legs.

Price Range: $1,000–$12,000

Assist Straps

Assist straps can be a helpful accessory for drivers who need assistance getting in and out of the vehicle. These items are installed by securing them inside the vehicle’s front or rear door window frames. You can use these straps to help the driver or passenger climb out of the car.

Price Range: $10-$20

(While this is not an option available from Freedom Motors, we are happy to locate a service center to assist you with this modification.)

Rear Ramps

This entry might not surprise those who are disabled. Car modifications such as an automatic rear-entry ramp are the most practical for those with limited mobility. The ramps that are used to help make a vehicle accessible to people with disabilities can either be automatic or manual.

Shop Rear Entry Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles

Automatic Wheelchair Ramps

During the adaptation process, automatic ramps can be installed, providing a hassle-free means of entering and exiting the vehicle. Motors power the automatic wheelchair ramp hydraulic operation, eliminating the need for the driver or caretaker to unfold and install the ramp physically. A modified remote can control the ramp’s operation as well as the rear hatch.

In-floor ramps are common because they allow you to make the most of the available space in your vehicle. These ramps can be stowed under the vehicle’s floor when not in use, freeing up space for passengers and cargo. Both built-in and fold-out models of these ramps are available. This ramp design, however, is typically the most expensive option and requires more extensive modification of the vehicle’s frame.

Portable folding wheelchair ramps that can lower to and rise from the ground are convenient for those who use wheelchairs. This ramp folds up and can be stowed away in the trunk or stored vertically on the door when not in use. There are fold-out models available with handrails, but they will increase the size of your vehicle’s cargo area.  This option will require a caretaker who is able to bend and lift. 

Manual Wheelchair Ramps

A manual wheelchair ramp is the most budget-friendly option. You can set it up for rear or side entry into the car. Rear entry ramps are typically wider than side entry, allowing for more room and greater confidence when entering and exiting. Freedom Motors ramps are crafted using springs so little strength is needed to lift or lower the ramp. Rear ramps come with the obvious limitation of being manual, meaning that it’s typically constrained to those with the physical strength to operate them or continually have a caretaker or family member on hand who can raise or lower the ramp.

Price Range: $1,000 to $30,000


Amputee Rings

Amputee rings were created specifically for people who have lost an arm below the elbow and need to operate a motor vehicle. Rings can be used to secure a grip on a wheel. The driver can then steer using their prosthetic arm.

Price Range: $100-$400

(While this is not an option available from Freedom Motors, we are happy to locate a service center to assist you with this modification.)


Hand Controls

Hand controls are one of the most common car adaptations for disabled drivers. These mechanical systems are connected to the foot pedals and operated with a hand lever. Most of the time, the left hand is used to operate these switches. The right hand is used for driving, shifting gears, and controlling the vehicle’s other features.

Hand Controls On A Kia Soul Steering WheelMany different types of hand controls exist:

  • Push-Pull systems allow the user to control the rate of movement by either pushing or pulling a lever.
  • The Right Angle system functions in a way familiar to anyone who has used push-pull switches. The pulling motion has been swapped for a 90-degree turn. 
  • The Push-Rock lever system lets drivers with limited finger mobility operate the vehicle’s controls. The vehicle slows down when the driver pulls the lever forward and speeds up when they rock it back.

Price Range: $1,000–$12,000

Which Vehicles are Best for Customized Modifications?

When deciding on vehicle modifications to assist a wheelchair user, the number one priority is determining both the requirements of the user and also their wants. Not every vehicle appeals to every buyer.

In addition, specific vehicle factors need to be considered when searching for cars for people with disabilities. Not every vehicle is able to be converted with a rear entry ramp or with a power transfer seat, as examples.

Wheelchair Accessible Vans

Toyota Sienna Hybrid Wheelchair Van

The Sienna Hybrid is a rear-entry wheelchair van with exceptional 36 mpg gas mileage and a 40″ Superwide ramp, essentially built for car modifications for disabled drivers but also highly prized as Uber, Lyft and Taxi vehicles. Freedom Motors was the first to convert the Sienna Hybrid into a rear-entry wheelchair accessible vehicle, a fact we take pride in!

Chrysler Pacifica

The Pacifica’s roomy cabin is expertly blended with an array of high-end amenities. This van can accommodate a ramp suitable for wheelchairs up to 48 inches wide. While closely related to the Chrysler Voyager (see below), the Pacifica comes with higher-end features and finishes. 

Chrysler Voyager

Based on the Pacifica, this minivan offers a more budget-conscious option as a vehicle modification platform. Thankfully, the wheelchair conversion options for this model is the same as the Pacifica.

Vans are the original wheelchair accessible vehicle, and Freedom Motors currently converts four different models with various options and ramp widths.

See All Wheelchair Accessible Vans

Wheelchair Accessible SUVs

Buick Enclave

The second-generation Enclave, an upscale crossover SUV, can be converted for wheelchair accessibility with a 35″ wide ramp.

Kia Telluride

The Telluride is one of our best-selling wheelchair-accessible SUVs due to its spacious cabin, upscale features, and wide wheelchair ramp (33″ inches).

Chevrolet Traverse

The Buick Enclave shares a chassis with the Traverse. While both are full-size SUVs with plenty of space for wheelchair and passengers, .

See All Wheelchair Accessible SUVs

Need Help Choosing Which Vehicle Modifications For Disabled Drivers is Right for You?

Our Mobility Specialists are ready to help you find the right vehicle for your needs. 

Whether selecting the options and features to improve functionality and safety or more specialized requests regarding our services, you can count on us to be there for you throughout the sales process. 

Contact us online or call (800) 625-6335 if you have questions about the wheelchair accessible van and sport utility vehicles we sell or the vehicle conversion services we provide. We hope to hear from you soon!