Man using a car hoist to get his mobility scooter inside the car

Guide to getting your powered wheelchair or scooter into a car

Using a mobility aid can give you more independence when out and about. Some electric wheelchairs and scooters can fit in standard cars, making travelling with them easy. In this article, disability writer Shona Louise shares the best ways to safely transport your electric wheelchair or scooter into a car with ease.  

Think about transport when choosing your mobility aid

How to safely fold or take apart your powered wheelchair or scooter

Options for transporting your powered wheelchair or scooter

Adaptations to help transport your mobility aid

Think about transport when choosing your mobility aid   

When choosing a powered wheelchair or scooter, think about your lifestyle and daily activities. This includes what transport you use, and if you travel alone or with others. There are a few things that can affect how easy it is to move your mobility aid.

Size and weight of your powered wheelchair or scooter

Many electric wheelchairs and scooters are smaller and lighter. But, getting them into a standard car can still sometimes mean heavy lifting. Even lightweight foldable powered wheelchairs can weigh around 15kg to 20kg. 

There is no recommended size or weight for a mobility aid. So you have to choose one that suits you. Think about whether it is safe for you to lift your mobility aid regularly yourself. You can trial lifting your mobility aid before you lease it if you’re looking to travel alone. You can also speak to your healthcare professional about what is a safe lifting weight for you to help guide you. 

Your Motability Scheme dealer can help

With the Motability Scheme, your dealer will be able to help you make the right decision to suit your needs. There are around 100 Motability Scheme dealers across the UK, and they provide home visits.

Find a Dealer 

Think about if a loved one or caregiver could assist you in moving and lifting your mobility aid. Transportable mobility aids can fit in a standard car but are a lot heavier than the foldable options. Some transportable powered wheelchairs can weigh between 50kg to 100kg. For these options, you might need two people to safely lift your powered wheelchair or mobility scooter into a car. 

Discover the different sizes of powered wheelchairs or scooters available on the Mobility Scheme. 

Transportable vs foldable powered wheelchairs and scooters

If you need to move your mobility aid by yourself, then it’s best to choose one that breaks down into pieces. The batteries are usually the heaviest part and are often removable. You can also separate the rest of the mobility aid into sections like the seat and base. This way, you only need to lift one small piece at a time.  

Foldable electric wheelchairs and mobility scooters can sometimes fold as easily as a children’s pushchair. However, the mobility aid staying in one piece means there is more weight to lift in one go.

Standard vs configurable options

Standard powered wheelchair and scooter options come ready made in a set size. You will not be able to change things like seat width, but you may be able to add your own cushion for extra comfort. Standard options are usually lighter and easier to transport, as well as being more affordable.

Configurable powered wheelchairs can be custom-built to fit your body and needs. But these options are not usually as easy to transport. Made-to-order options have heavier parts like custom seating and electric functions, like tilt and recline. As they are designed for everyday use, they may also have heavier batteries. 

Find the right wheelchair for you with this guide to choosing your powered wheelchair with the Motability Scheme.  

Finding a fit for your existing car

You may think you need to get a new car when getting a new mobility aid, but this is not always the case. Before you try out a mobility aid, make sure you take lots of measurements of your car so you can have this information ready to help you make your choice. Consider how much space you need to carry passengers, shopping, or other equipment you may need.

How to safely fold or take apart your powered wheelchair or scooter

Foldable electric wheelchair inside a car

Once you have chosen your powered wheelchair or scooter, it’s important for you or anyone who may be lifting your mobility aid to know how to lift or fold it safely. 

Tips for folding and taking apart your powered wheelchair or scooter 

  • Read through the equipment instructions

  • Film any demonstrations by your dealer so you can look at them whenever you need (remember to ask permission before filming)

  • If your mobility aid has a handle, make sure you use this when lifting

  • Avoid gripping your mobility aid on fragile parts like the armrests, as they can break easily

Tips for lifting safely

Woman correctly lifting a box with her knees

Whether you are lifting your powered wheelchair or scooter, or it’s a loved one or a carer, remember these tips from the Health and Safety Executive to avoid any injury:    

  • Keep your feet shoulder-width apart to make a sturdy base 

  • Bend with your hips and knees, not your back 

  • Lift slowly and carefully

  • Once you are upright, hold the item close to your body 

  • Take small, slow steps when moving

Options for transporting your electric wheelchair or scooter

There are different ways to travel with your powered wheelchair or scooter. Each option has its pros and cons and will suit different needs.  

Placing into the boot of a car

The most common place to transport your mobility aid is in the boot of your car, as it has the most space. There are foldable electric wheelchairs and scooters, and transportable mobility aids to fit most car boot sizes. The larger the boot size of your car, the more options you will have.

Try to leave space when parallel parking so you have enough room to get your mobility aid in and out of your boot.

Handy tip: lay down a mat in the boot of your car to protect your mobility aid from getting scratched and to avoid the boot getting dirty.

Regularly looking after your mobility aid will help it stay in good working condition for longer. Read these maintenance tips for your powered wheelchair or scooter.

Sliding into the backseat of a car

If your car boot is small, then sliding your mobility aid onto the backseat of your car is a good option. This will work well with foldable mobility scooters that take up very little space. Some mobility aids might even fit in the footwell. This helps stop the equipment from sliding around when the car is moving. 

This option will mean you have less space for passengers. You will also need to regularly clean or protect your passenger seats from dirt from your mobility aid. 

Adaptations to help transport your mobility aid

Wheelchair carrier for a car

If you do not lease a powered wheelchair or scooter through the Motability Scheme, then you could be eligible to get a vehicle through the Scheme. There are adaptations to help you store equipment in your vehicle, such as boot or roof hoists. Your adaptations installer will be able to tell you if the ones you need can be installed in the car you choose. You can get these adaptations at no extra cost if you get them when you start your lease.

Hitch-mounted carrier

You can attach a hitch-mounted carrier to the back of your car to carry your mobility scooter. This is a good option if you cannot lift your mobility aid yourself and you want to travel alone. But it can mean your scooter might get damaged in bad weather.  

Car boot hoists

Car boot hoists can lift powered wheelchairs and mobility scooters into your boot at the click of a button. It’s one of the best ways to independently transport a powered wheelchair without needing a Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle (WAV). 

This option can be expensive if you pay for it yourself, and it might not be possible to fit in smaller cars. It also cannot be transferred to other cars once fitted.

Interested in joining the Scheme?

The Motability Scheme offers an all-inclusive package. If you are in receipt of a qualifying mobility allowance, you can use it to lease a car, scooter, powered wheelchair or Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle. The Scheme provides flexible and hassle-free access to a brand-new, reliable vehicle of your choice. As well as a great choice of cars, we also provide a wide range of Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles (WAVs), scooters and powered wheelchairs.


To join the Scheme, you must be in receipt of one of the following mobility allowances:

  • Enhanced Rate of the Mobility Component of Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
  • Higher Rate Mobility Component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
  • Higher Rate Mobility Component of Child Disability Payment – Scotland
  • War Pensioners’ Mobility Supplement (WPMS)
  • Armed Forces Independence Payment (AFIP)

You can easily check whether you’re eligible to join the Motability Scheme by using our eligibility checker tool.

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