Many disabilities leave people restricted to where they can go and when. A very disheartening situation to be in, not to mention frustrating. Thankfully, every day new equipment and developments are being made to get you more active and give you the freedom you deserve.
Car hoists for wheelchairs and mobility scooters
One particular product that can make a huge difference is the car hoist. Getting in and out of the car can be the most frustrating part of any journey if you are less abled but thanks to these it makes day-to-day journeys more bearable. To view our previously written article on hoists that aid manoeuvring from your wheelchair to the car (and back).
If you use a mobility scooter, getting this in and out of the car can be a separate challenge. Advancements in engineering and design mean hoists are now capable of lifting all types of mobility equipment, even these cumbersome scooters.
As with personal hoists, there is a range available, each designed to effortlessly load and unload equipment ranging from manual wheelchairs, electric wheelchairs mobility scooters to and from a vehicle.
Which is best for me
This all depends on what equipment you have, the size of it, the size (and type) of your vehicle and how much support you need when moving yourself.
Two-way hoists are ideal if you only need to move a lighter manual wheelchair or small mobility scooter. They are capable of lifting the chair up and down using an electric motor. They are then swung in to the back of the vehicle. This part may prove a challenge to some but not if you have support from a carer.
If you have a larger powered mobility scooter then a four-way hoist will be a better option as this removes the need to manually swing it round.
As with the two-way hoist, the electric motor lifts the scooter but will now also power it round in to the back of the vehicle, all with the touch of a button. Both the two and four-way hoists rely on being coupled up to the car’s battery.
As you would expect, lifting capacity varies between different hoists. Capabilities of these hoists for lifting range from between 40kg and 80kg for small, lightweight scooters and wheelchairs, whilst more heavy-duty variants can lift up to 200kg.
How do I choose a Car Hoist?
Choosing a car hoist, also known as an automotive lift or car lift, requires careful consideration of several factors to ensure it meets your specific needs and requirements. Here are some key factors to consider when selecting a car hoist:
Weight Capacity: Determine the maximum weight capacity you will need the car hoist to handle. Consider the weight of the vehicles you plan to lift, including any potential future vehicles. Choose a hoist with a capacity that comfortably exceeds the weight of the heaviest vehicle you expect to lift.
Hoist Type: There are different types of car hoists available, including two-post lifts, four-post lifts, scissor lifts, and in-ground lifts. Each type has its advantages and considerations. Two-post lifts are commonly used for home garages and offer good access to the vehicle’s underside. Four-post lifts provide more stability and can accommodate heavier vehicles. Scissor lifts are compact and suitable for low-ceiling garages. In-ground lifts are permanent installations that provide full access to the vehicle’s underside but require more extensive installation.
Ceiling Height and Space: Consider the height and available space in your garage or workshop. Different hoists require specific ceiling heights and floor space. Ensure that the height of your garage allows for the full extension of the hoist without any obstructions.
Installation Requirements: Evaluate the installation requirements of the car hoist. Some hoists are designed for surface mounting, while others may require professional installation or modifications to your garage floor. Consider factors such as power supply, anchoring, and any necessary structural changes to accommodate the hoist.
Safety Features: Safety is crucial when working with car hoists. Look for hoists with features such as mechanical locks, safety mechanisms, and overload protection. Ensure that the hoist meets recognized safety standards and is certified by reputable organizations.
Brand and Quality: Research and choose a reputable brand known for manufacturing high-quality car hoists. Read reviews, seek recommendations, and consider the warranty and after-sales support provided by the manufacturer.
Budget: Determine your budget for the car hoist, keeping in mind that higher-quality and more feature-rich hoists typically come at a higher cost. Consider the long-term value and benefits the hoist will provide in terms of efficiency, convenience, and safety.
It is advisable to consult with a professional automotive lift supplier or installer who can assess your specific needs, evaluate your garage or workshop space, and provide guidance on the most suitable car hoist options for your requirements.
Alternatives to a hoist
Car Hoists are easy to use and diverse but they are not always the best solution. A folding mobility scooter is another option as they are lightweight enough to lift into the car boot.
As with all mobility equipment, we highly recommend you purchase from a supplier affiliated with the British Healthcare Trades Association (BHTA) to ensure you are getting advice and guidance from a business that has agreed to the BHTA Code of Practice and will not pressure sell.
Can you hoist someone into a car?
Yes, there are hoist systems available that can assist in transferring a person into a car. These hoist systems are typically designed for individuals with mobility challenges who may have difficulty transferring independently into a car seat. They are commonly used for people with disabilities, limited mobility, or injuries that affect their ability to enter a vehicle unassisted.
The hoist system typically consists of a lifting device and a sling or harness that supports the individual during the transfer. The lifting device may be an electric or hydraulic hoist, which is mounted either inside the vehicle or externally on a hitch or roof rack. The hoist is used to lift the person from their wheelchair or seating position and safely transfer them into the car.
It’s important to note that the use of hoist systems for transferring individuals into cars requires proper training and expertise. The system must be used according to the manufacturer’s instructions and safety guidelines to ensure the safety and well-being of the individual being transferred.
If you are considering using a hoist system for transferring someone into a car, it is recommended to consult with healthcare professionals, occupational therapists, or mobility specialists who can assess the specific needs and provide guidance on the most suitable hoist system for the individual and their car.
Things to avoid when using a vehicle hoist
When using a vehicle hoist, it’s important to follow safety guidelines and be aware of potential risks. Here are some things to avoid when using a vehicle hoist:
Overloading: Do not exceed the weight capacity specified by the manufacturer for the hoist. Overloading the hoist can lead to instability, structural damage, or accidents. Always ensure that the weight of the vehicle being lifted is within the hoist’s specified capacity.
Incorrect Positioning: Improper positioning of the hoist arms or lifting points can cause imbalance and instability during the lift. Ensure that the lifting arms or pads are correctly positioned under the designated lifting points of the vehicle, as specified in the hoist’s user manual.
Insufficient Ground Clearance: Make sure there is sufficient ground clearance for the vehicle before raising it. Check for any obstacles, such as ramps, curbs, or debris, that could obstruct the lifting process or cause damage to the vehicle or hoist.
Insufficient Securement: It’s crucial to properly secure the vehicle to the hoist before lifting. Use appropriate safety mechanisms, such as mechanical locks or safety restraints, to prevent accidental lowering or shifting of the vehicle while it is elevated.
Neglecting Maintenance: Regularly inspect the hoist for any signs of wear, damage, or malfunction. Follow the manufacturer’s maintenance instructions and schedule to ensure the hoist is in proper working condition. Avoid using a hoist that is faulty, damaged, or in need of repair.
Improper Use of Controls: Familiarize yourself with the controls and operation of the hoist before use. Follow the proper sequence of operations and avoid sudden or abrupt movements that could lead to instability or accidents. Ensure that only authorized and trained personnel operate the hoist.
Lack of Training: Proper training is essential for safe operation of a vehicle hoist. Ensure that operators are adequately trained in using the specific hoist model, including safety procedures, emergency protocols, and proper lifting techniques. Inadequate training can lead to accidents or injuries.
Always refer to the manufacturer’s guidelines and safety instructions provided with the hoist for specific precautions and usage recommendations. If you have any doubts or concerns about the safe use of the hoist, consult with a professional installer, supplier, or relevant expert who can provide guidance and support.
Which cars are best suited for a vehicle hoist
Vehicle hoists can be used with a wide range of cars, but there are a few factors to consider when selecting a car that is best suited for use with a vehicle hoist:
Vehicle Size and Weight: Choose a car that falls within the weight capacity of the hoist. Different hoists have varying weight capacities, so ensure that the car you select does not exceed the hoist’s specified limit.
Ground Clearance: Consider the ground clearance of the vehicle. A car with adequate ground clearance will make it easier to position the hoist arms or pads underneath the vehicle’s lifting points without damaging the car or the hoist.
Lifting Points: Different cars have different designated lifting points specified by the manufacturer. Ensure that the hoist’s lifting arms or pads align with the designated lifting points of the chosen car. This information can usually be found in the car’s user manual or by consulting with the manufacturer.
Accessibility: Consider the accessibility of the car’s interior and seating area. Some cars may have low door openings or limited space, which can make it challenging to transfer someone from a hoist sling or harness into the car seat. Select a car with sufficient space and accessibility for a smooth and safe transfer.
Vehicle Modifications: Depending on the hoist system, certain modifications may be required to the car, such as reinforcing the vehicle’s structure or installing an interior lift mechanism. Ensure that the chosen car is suitable for the necessary modifications, and consult with professionals to ensure proper installation and compatibility.
Stability: Look for cars with a stable and well-balanced design. A car with a low centre of gravity and good stability will provide additional safety and stability during the lifting and transferring process.
It’s advisable to consult with healthcare professionals, mobility specialists, or vehicle modification experts who can provide guidance on selecting the most suitable car for use with a vehicle hoist based on the specific needs and requirements of the individual using the hoist.