Looking after your Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle (WAV)

Your Motability Scheme lease package includes servicing and maintenance to help keep your Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle (WAV) running throughout your lease. Between your regular services and yearly vehicle checks, you can do a few things to try and avoid 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:


6 tips for looking after your WAV

1. Check your wheelchair tie-downs

WAVs are equipped with a 4-point restraint or ‘tie-down’ system to guarantee the wheelchair is in a secure position 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 help bring the wheelchair into the vehicle. Along with the rear tie-downs, they make sure the wheelchair user sits securely 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.

If you have front wheel tie-downs, ensure that they are stowed away correctly. Do not leave them extended when you’re not in the vehicle. Even though it might seem easier to keep them extended for the next time you use the vehicle, this could damage them and make them harder to use.

Make sure the tie-down straps are not stuck in the car doors or the ramp of your WAV before lifting the ramp or closing the door.

You should also check that 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. They will be able to arrange a repair or replacement for you.

Good to remember:
Make sure whoever is driving your WAV feels comfortable, especially if it’s their first time. They should also be familiar with using the restraint system.

2. Look after your battery

WAVs are converted vehicles for wheelchair users. This might make the batteries in some WAV models work harder than standard vehicles because they need to power the adapted features.

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

3. Do not 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. Like 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

Along with your regular vehicle service, we provide a free yearly check for your WAV as part of your lease package. The check is done by your WAV supplier at your home. They make sure that any special features of your WAV, like the ramp, lift, and tie-downs, are working well.

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

As mentioned in tip number 3, you should check your manufacturers handbook for regular recommended checks on your vehicle. Cars usually have dashboard warning lights that show up to tell you if something is wrong. All cars use symbols to help you know what needs fixing. Some cars also use colours to show serious it is. You can find a breakdown of the car dashboard warning lights and what they mean on the RAC website.

Remember, your supplier will inspect the vehicle during service. Regular checks might include:

  • Engine oil
  • Windscreen washer fluid
  • Engine cooling system
  • Lights
  • Tyre pressure
  • Tyre tread 

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

6. Keep the floor clean

It’s important to keep any vehicle clean, especially if going out in your WAV is  a part of your daily routine. There are a few simple ways to keep the flooring in your WAV in good condition:

  • Vinyl flooring: start by brushing or using a broom to clear the floor. You can then use a mop for thorough cleaning, taking care not to use too much water. It’s essential to make sure it is dry before entering the vehicle.
  • Carpeted flooring: No water is needed to clean this flooring. You can either use a brush, vacuum cleaner, or broom to clean the space.  

Good to know

If you’re a Motability Scheme customer, you should report any damage to your vehicle, big or small, to our insurance provider. They will be able to assess the damage and inform you if it needs repairing or if it can wait until the end of your lease. Remember that your Motability Scheme lease is all-inclusive, which means that all servicing, maintenance, and breakdown assistance are covered by your lease.

See what’s covered in your Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle (WAV) lease

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, scooters and powered wheelchairs.

Get a free information pack

Related Articles

Your annual WAV check explored

Moving from Car to WAV: my experience on the Motability Scheme

“My WAV has changed my life” – Beth and Sam’s story

From the Motability Scheme


Related articles

Popular articles