How to Install a Wheelchair Lift on a Minivan

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A wheelchair lift is an extremely helpful device to enable the handicapped to get into a minivan. It is also helpful for someone traveling with the handicapped person, since minimal lifting and exertion is involved. Also, there is no heavy pushing needed, as there is with a wheelchair ramp. However, installing a lift device into a minivan is not easy and requires mechanical and electrical knowledge of motor vehicles.

Things You'll Need

  • Wheelchair lift system
  • Instruction manual for installation
  • Installation tools included
  • Wrench
  • Measuring devices
  • Screwdrivers of various sizes
  • Drill with bits of various sizes
  • Remove the middle seat in the minivan. There are normally levers that allow the seat to be easily removed from its place on the floor. If not, consult your car instruction manual. Take the middle seat out through the side sliding door.

  • Open the hood of the minivan and disconnect the battery. Disconnect the negative cable first and then the positive battery cable. With the battery disconnected, you'll avoid the danger of electrocution or short circuiting any of the new parts you are installing.

  • Measure the distance to the door to be sure that the lift will work properly once installed.

  • Install the base portion of the lift at the entry of the sliding door of the car. Consult the manual that came with the lift for complete instructions.

  • Drill the base installation bolts into the van floor. Make sure not to drill into any other components in the underside of the floor.

  • Brace the lift base mechanism as needed against the other parts of the van. There are some parts of the lift that may need to be bolted to the ceiling and/or attached to the interior side walls.

  • With the base of the lift mechanism drilled in place, install the lift itself onto the base.

  • Refer to the lift instruction manual to wire the mechanism correctly. If you have to wire the lift into the car's main computer, the job may be more detailed and time-consuming.

  • Reconnect the car battery, attaching the positive cable first.

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