Looking after your Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle (WAV)

Your Motability Scheme lease package includes servicing and maintenance to help keep your Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle (WAV) on the road for the duration of your lease. In between your scheduled servicing and annual vehicle checks, there are a couple of things you can do to prevent unnecessary repairs or maintenance.

We spoke to Tom from TBC Conversions, who are one of the Scheme’s WAV suppliers. He shared some top tips on how to keep the conversion elements of your vehicle in good working order. Watch our video below to learn more:


5 top tips for looking after your WAV

1. Look after your battery

Remember that as WAVs are converted vehicles, there are some elements that have been adapted to make them accessible for a wheelchair user. Because of this, the battery in some models may have to work harder than it would in a standard vehicle, as it may have to power some of the conversion elements of the WAV.

You can look after your battery by occasionally taking longer drives. A longer journey will help to keep the battery charged. Always check that the power switch for your front tie-downs is turned off after use. If it’s left on, it will drain the battery.

Read our top tips to care for your car or WAV’s battery

2. Check your wheelchair tie-downs

WAVs have what is called 4-point restraint or ‘tie-down’ system to ensure that the wheelchair is secured in position when in the vehicle. The wheelchair is secured to brackets fixed to the floor with straps that attach to the front and rear corners of the wheelchair. The front straps also help get the wheelchair into the vehicle and, together with the rear tie-downs, ensure that the wheelchair user is sitting securely once inside.

Much like a car seatbelt, the strap of a tie-down can sometimes get twisted. If this happens, simply untwist the belt so it can work at its best.

Good to remember:

Make sure everyone you travel with, particularly if you are travelling with someone for the first time, is comfortable and knows the correct procedure for using the restraint systems in your WAV.

If you have front wheel tie-downs, ensure that they are stowed away correctly. Do not keep them extended when you are not in the vehicle. It may seem easier to keep them extended for when you next enter the vehicle – however if you keep them fully extended when not in use, it can cause damage to them and make them harder to use.

Tie-down restraints are susceptible to getting stuck in car doors or the ramp of your WAV, so double check they’re not an obstruction before you lift the ramp or close the door of your vehicle.

Make sure your tie-downs are in good working order before every journey. If you do notice that your tie-downs are frayed, contact your WAV supplier as soon as possible and they will be able to arrange a repair or replacement for you.

3. Don’t neglect your winches

Winches provide support to those who need extra help getting a manual wheelchair into a WAV. If your WAV has a winch fitted, check that the belt isn’t twisted or frayed and is stored correctly. As with any vehicle, you should refer to your manufacturer’s handbook for recommendations of regular checks you should carry out.

If any elements of your WAV aren’t working, or you need additional support, please contact your WAV supplier.

4. Get your annual WAV check

In addition to the regular service for your vehicle, we also offer a free annual vehicle check for your WAV as part of your lease package. This check will be carried out by your WAV supplier at your home to make sure the conversion elements of your WAV are in reliable working condition. This includes things such as the ramp or lift and tie-downs.

Your WAV supplier should contact you when your annual WAV check is due, but you can always get in touch with them to arrange this.

5. Follow these regular maintenance checks

Don’t forget, as with any vehicle, you should refer to your manufacturer’s handbook for recommendations of regular checks you should carry out. Many cars now have dashboard warning lights and of course your dealer will check the vehicle every time it is serviced, but regular checks may include:

  • Engine oil
  • Windscreen washer fluid
  • Engine cooling system
  • Lights
  • Tyres are not worn below the legal limit of 1.6mm
  • Tyres are at the right pressure

Read some more tips to keep your vehicle in good condition here

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