How to Choose a Hitch-Mounted Carrier for Your Power Wheelchair or Scooter
Mobility is important, and anyone who uses a power wheelchair or power scooter is well aware that the chair itself can only provide them with enough freedom to travel a few blocks from their home at the most. For those occasions where you desire the freedom to travel a bit further, a hitch-mounted wheelchair carrier is an invaluable addition to your vehicle that doesn’t require the expense of purchasing a transport van or owning a pickup truck or tow-behind trailer.
We offer free shipping on all of our vehicle wheelchair carriers, and there are limited rebate programs available through select car manufacturers and local, state, and federal governments who should be contacted directly for details on eligibility.
Manual Hitch-Mounted Carriers
A manual hitch carrier for power chairs and power wheelchairs has a built-in ramp – either a tilting mechanism of the entire holding platform or an unfolding ramp design – that allows you to roll your mobility device right onto the carrier! Many models also allow you to fold the carrier upright against the rear of the vehicle when not in use, eliminating the extra length to your car or truck so it can still fit in a garage. The chair should never be occupied during the loading process.
Powered Hitch-Mounted Lifts and Carriers
A powered wheelchair lift is convenient for loading and unloading your power chair or scooter by elevating and lowering the platform with the flip of a switch. With the carrier lowered to ground level, you simply drive on board! Many electric carriers fold into an upright position for low-profile travel when not in use or parking in a confined area. If you have space in your vehicle to store your power scooter or wheelchair, lifts are available that will bring your mobility device inside. To learn more about powered wheelchair lifts, see our article on Understanding the Different Types of Vehicle Wheelchair Lifts
Questions to Consider
Though electric hitch-mounted carriers appear to be less work, don’t assume the motorized model is the best option for everyone. Here are some additional things to consider when picking your hitch-mounted carrier.
What are your vehicle’s specs? Hitch class/size, hitch height, hitch weight limit, and vehicle hauling weight capacity all come into play when selecting a hitch-mounted carrier. We offer many different carriers designed to work with a wide variety of vehicles and chairs. If you’re unsure about your hitch specs, talk to your dealer or mechanic for assistance. Vehicles with lower hitch heights may bottom out, requiring the addition of air shocks, stiffer springs, or a hitch height adapter.
What are the dimensions of your power wheelchair or scooter? Measure the length, width (from outside tire to outside tire) and the total weight, including the batteries. Many carriers have a lift capacity of at least 350 lbs, but you should check the specifications of the particular lift you are considering.
What is your budget? A manual mobility carrier is going to be more affordable than the electric versions, so you’ll have to weigh the ease and convenience of an electric carrier against its added expense.
What are the physical capabilities of the person loading and unloading the mobility device? Some manual hitch carriers require the operator to be able to lift and lower a ramp weighing 30 lbs or more, while our electric-powered wheelchair carriers do all the work for you.
Do you have the necessary equipment for securing the wheelchair or scooter? You will need a good quality set of tie-down straps to secure the mobility unit to the carrier. For more information, see our article on the basics of tie-down straps.
Will you require additional accessories? Additional options or accessories may be available with some wheelchair carriers, such as covers to protect the wheelchair in transit, swing-away arms to provide trunk and hatch access, additional taillights, or license plate mounting.
If you have any additional questions about hitch-mounted carriers for your power wheelchair or scooter, please feel free to contact us. Insurance coverage questions should be directed to your health care provider. There are limited rebate programs available through select car manufacturers and local, state, and federal governments who should be contacted directly for details on eligibility.
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