When purchasing a vehicle, especially a wheelchair van, you don’t need to spend a fortune. These vehicles may have higher mileage, but remain reliable. We recommend buying from a licensed dealer, or if that isn’t possible, paying a trusted mechanic to inspect a potential purchase for any mechanical issues that will end up costing you more in the long run. Maintenance for vehicles under $15,000 can range from oil and fuel line leaks to transmission issues or other warning light problems. And this is before we've discussed the adaptive equipment that has been added to your vehicle.
Value vs. Cost
Although many online sources will recommend buying new, buying a used vehicle has its advantages:
Used wheelchair vans cost less
Used wheelchair vans have lower insurance
Depreciation is typically the fastest within the first two years of ownership
There is less risk than in the past buying a used vehicle due to improvements in the quality of vehicle construction.
However, for wheelchair vans, there are advantages to buying a $25,000 van over a $15,000 van:
Initial Down Payment. Used wheelchair vans may be more attractive in the event that you don't have any or you only have a little cash for a down payment. If you can't put any money down, interest charges for a new car will be higher.
Interest Rate. The interest rates for new wheelchair vans tend to be lower than those for used vans. When looking at what you can afford or are willing to spend, the initial cost could be less important than how much is spent on a longer-term, high-interest loan.
Cost. Over the long term, and throughout the course of owning the car, maintenance and repairs for the $15,000 van will be equal to, if not more than the $25,000 van.
Reliability. A $15,000 wheelchair van may have been an easy purchase to make, but if there are a number of mechanical issues that require repair, or if the adaptive equipment doesn't work, paying for numerous repairs can get costly and time-consuming.
Resale Value. A well-maintained wheelchair van may be able to hold its resale value which can decrease the overall cost of ownership.