If you own or drive a handicap van, there are several things that you must keep in mind with regards to maintenance. Although they are very similar to a normal passenger vehicle, there are some distinct differences. To assure the safety of your passengers it is important the following issues be addressed on a regular basis. You or an experienced driver can perform many of these simple checks.
The first thing you need to know is that although your handicap van is very specialized for the job, it's not much different than other vehicles when it comes to simple vehicle maintenance.
- Check the air pressure in your tires at least once a week. Not only will having your tires properly inflated save you money in gas, it'll make your vehicle safer to drive.
- Check your headlights, turn signals, hazard signals and brake lights. In some conditions, the vehicle behind you may only be able to see your taillights. It only makes sense that your lights all work completely.
- Check your fluid levels often, including oil, transmission and brake fluids.
Clean for Safety
Keeping the floor of your vehicle clean is essential to ensuring mobility throughout your vehicle. Debris brought inside the van from outside can limit wheelchair movement or damage the flooring. Check for worn or loose spots in the floor and ramp covering. Check floor seams that are covered with a metal strip. If broken, refer to a mechanic.
Furthermore, don't forget to check the windshield fluid regularly. Keeping your windshield clean ensures visibility is at a maximum. Check the condition of your windshield wipers at least once monthly and change as needed.
Tie-Down Strap Inspection
Although tie-down straps for securing wheelchairs is not something that should be repaired by a van owner, it doesn't mean they should be ignored.
- Check for wear spots. If you notice them being loose or worn, get them replaced.
- Gently handle and properly your tie down straps to increase their longevity.
Keep Your Paperwork Organized
Make sure your vehicle maintenance is kept in order. Being able to quickly identify and submit your paperwork can reduce the stress in case you get pulled over or have an emergency. Store copies of insurance, registration, and necessary licenses in your vehicle. Keep maintenance service records, as well. It will make it easier to spot reoccurring issues with your vehicle if they do occur.
Now that you know the important maintenance issues with regards to your handicap van, you'll be assured a much safer experience for both you and your passengers. Get into the habit of checking your vehicle regularly and schedule service calls with your local shop. Doing that means you can rest easy knowing your handicap van is in the best possible condition for years to come. Remember, if you locate a serious problem or don't know how to properly care for a certain part of your vehicle refer back to your owners manual or contact your local service department.