Advice sought: wheelchair rack for car (need soon-ish)

I have a friend who is age 66 and physically disabled. He acquired a motorized wheelchair last year, and is now right on the edge of needing to use it to travel more than a few steps at a time. He bought the wheelchair outright instead of letting Medicare cover it.

He now needs a way to transport it, and this is new shopping territory for both of us. The wheelchair disassembles with difficulty, the parts are fairly heavy, and he cannot do it himself. (I’m probably going to do it for the first time tomorrow morning.) He’s called a couple of places and got one quote of just under $4,000 for a rack that will fit on the back of his car. The wheelchair itself only cost $1,400.

Any tips on kinds of racks, where to shop for them, does Medicare cover this, what about non-profit organizations that might be a resource. He has a small savings account, and I would be glad to help out with $$, but I know he would never let me.


These are “hitch racks”. If he is driving a regular sedan type car, this is probably the way to go. Trailer hitches can be installed on most, if not all, cars.
I have zero experience here, so…

Hitch racks

The site has a lot of different options, might be educational.

Great site! Thx!

I once saw a car equipped with a rooftop wheelchair carrier. The user, a young woman who could was paralyzed waist down had to move her body into the driver’s seat and then the rack had a device that came down and stowed the chair. I imagine it was fairly expensive, but after her accident, her coworkers got up a collection to pay for it. This was in Sydney which has no weather problems (there has never been a frost or snow there).

It’s also worth ensuring you have the right terminology for the guy’s device. “Powered wheelchairs”, “powerchairs”, and “power(ed) scooters” are three different things. With three different expectations of how they’re used & how they travel with a car.

If you use the wrong terms, you’ll lead any salesman or googling effort down a blind alley. If you’re in a decent sized city, a half hour spent at a scooter/powerchair store can be a real education.

As well, Medicare is pretty good about paying for these things for people in need. If the guy got it used from a garage sale, it may not be the device he needs; just the device he could scrounge up. The less physically capable he is, the more he needs the right device, not just any old device. His own finances should not really be an obstacle here; Uncle Sam has this almost entirely covered.

A rope attached to the bumper?
Riding in the chair while it’s being towed is optional. :smiley:

Many, many seniors use mobility scooters.

There are many accessories for them.

The nicest racks are motorized. The scooter is driven onto the rack. It raises with the touch of a button. The senior can operate it and travel independently.

The cheaper alternative requires someone strong enough to push the scooter up a ramp and onto the rack.

I would only purchase one locally from a dealer that installs these racks. It will require occasional maintenance that the dealer can provide.

Look in the yellow pages under mobility.

Thanks, y’all. It’s not a scooter. It’s an actual chair with arms, and the throttle (as it were) is positioned at his right hand. It’s similar to this. I’ll be a lot more familiar with it after I disassemble and reassemble it a couple of times today.

That’s a “powerchair”. “Powered wheelchairs” are very different.

Those generally weight a couple hundred pounds and are not something you assemble or disassemble to carry in a vehicle. It has a bunch of adjustments to fit people of various shapes, but you don’t snap it apart & throw the chunks in the trunk.

The good news is that’s the right type of device for somebody who’s just about done walking. They are stable on unsmooth surfaces and have excellent range and speed.

They do need their batteries replaced every 2-3 years for $50 to $100.

He had a doc appt today and I went along to take the chair apart and put it back together, which I did twice. It breaks down into five parts plus the battery. The whole thing weighs 120 lbs, and no one part weighs more than 35 lbs. My best time assembling was about 90 seconds. I did “snap it apart and throw the chunks in the trunk.” Maybe the picture I linked to wasn’t completely accurate. I just wanted to show that it wasn’t a scooter.

He thinks he’s found a good ramp for about $1,300. It needs to be fully automated as he cannot lift anything over about 15 lbs and has limited range of motion in his shoulders.

This morning was his first outing in the world outside home or office and it went perfectlyl! :slight_smile:

Looking more closely at the picture (now that I’ve been intimate with the chair), this is exactly what he has.

Did he buy the chair used? Because $1400 is waaaaaaay cheap for any customized chair, motorized or manual. For comparison, my manual fold-up chair, which I buy directly from the manufacturer, costs $1100 more than your friends motorized chair.

I looked it up and 1400 well
the average for a motorized wheelchair. The average is more than $7000.

Before looking this up, I had no idea power wheelchairs existed that only cost $1200. I’d like to see what those look like.

I guess it’s like cars and their price variations.

He bought it about a year ago to use only at work (which required a lot of standing), and only brought it home about a month ago when he retired. So this wasn’t intended to be a robust, heavy duty chair that would go everywhere all the time. It was meant to be a Mini Cooper not a HumVee.

Oh! The Irony!

I do so want to get this joke, but I don’t. Can you explain?

My friend found this lift and he’s in love–probably gonna get it.

The new Mini Coopers are HumVees compared to the original Mini Coopers.

ThelmaLou, Have you found a local place to install and provide service later?

Glad you found a product that will work for your situation.