Travel Wheelchairs

Buying a Used Accessible Van – Part 7, The Purchase

Van - Side ViewAh, the Internet. The previous owners of my dad’s van live in a rather isolated hamlet of 400 or so citizens in a tiny county far from — well, most things. Including, significantly, a large market for a used accessible van. I couldn’t find a van in my densely populated suburban haven, but the World Wide Web rendered this geographic disparity irrelevant. Our sellers managed to sell a van they had nearly dispaired of getting rid of, and I acquired one I was beginning to dispair of finding.

The preparations of Part 6 completed, and with papers in hand, my husband and I drove for six hours to pick up my dad’s new (used) van. Fortunately, we’re not adverse to this kind of adventure, and we got to see rural parts of our state that we’d never seen before. In a tiny village next to a meandering river, we met the people who were selling the van.

We were late — more than an hour late — to meet our sellers, so we’d called the family from the road and they’d warned the notary, who, fortunately, hadn’t had any other plans. When we finally arrived, the sellers were ready for us, with a proper bill of sale already made up. This was important, and something I’d overlooked — not a mistake I’d like to make again. Next time I’d confirm this in advance, and plan to come with my own if necessary.

We all hopped in the van and took it for a test drive, checked out all the electricals, looked under the hood, and ran the lift up and down. Everything looked good, so we went back into the house to look over the service records and sign the papers.

Driving to the notary took another half-hour in the family’s new van. The notary filled out the forms for our state, checked and recorded my ID, and we called my insurance agent for the cards I needed to have to drive home legally. In the meantime, the notary had finished filling out the forms and found a license plate for us. When the insurance cards came through the FAX, we were ready to go.

Though we had the option to drive home on a temporary paper permit, we opted for the standard license plate. We already had a disability placard for my dad, and didn’t need a special plate for the van. Picking up a standard plate at the notary meant avoiding the up-to-six-weeks’ wait for a disability plate that we didn’t really need — the van itself, along with the sign on the side reading “please don’t park within eight feet” probably get the message across pretty well. And in our state the placard is tied to a person, not a vehicle, so it can be used for any vehicle my dad is in. We had the van covered.

That was it. We returned to the sellers’ home to pick up my dad’s van. They found a screwdriver (we hadn’t thought to bring one) and we put on the plate. The family handed over the service records, told us to call them if we had any trouble at all on the trip home (nice people!), and we headed out. The van sailed though the night with no problems, with my husband following in our chase car. Six hours later, we were home again, exhausted but very pleased.

So what did all this research, fuss, and bother — not to mention thirteen hours of driving — get for us? A four-year-old van with 45,000 miles on it, new tires and a good strong lift — at nearly half the outrageous prices local dealers were attempting to charge. Was it worth all that effort? Absolutely! Four months later, this baby is still going strong.

Next (and last) in this series: Part 8 — Securing the Wheelchair

The series:

Buying a Used Accessible Van, Part 1 — What Do We Need?

Buying a Used Accessible Van, Part 2 — At the Dealer

Buying a Used Acessible Van, Part 3 — The Hunt Begins

Buying a Used Accessible Van, Part 4 — Checking It Out

Buying a Used Accessible Van, Part 5 — “Disabled Dealer”

Buying a Used Accessible Van, Part 6 — Arranging the Sale

Buying a Used Accessible Van, Part 7 — The Purchase

Buying a Used Accessible Van, Part 8 — Securing the Wheelchair