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Choosing and fitting wheelchair transportation equipment

Checklist for choosing and fitting hoists, ramps and lifts

The following checklist can help you find and choose and fit the right equipment to load a wheelchair into a car.

Your abilities

  • Whatever option you go for, make sure you are able to use the equipment every time you go out in the car - even on a bad day.
  • Make sure you know exactly what you need to do to load and secure your chair, comfortably and safely.
  • When using a hoist, you also need to secure the hoist itself. Sometimes it stays attached to the chair, which holds it securely, but some hoists need to be detached and secured separately.

Your car and equipment

  • Make sure the car you choose has enough space for all the equipment you need plus anything else you want to carry. Where will you put your shopping?
  • If you have to fold or dismantle your chair, can you do it? Can you pick up the heaviest part?
  • Check the weight of any equipment you use - try our wheelchair and scooter search.
  • If you’re using a hoist, check with the supplier that it can take the weight of your wheelchair.
  • Check the car can take the weight of the hoist and wheelchair together, and check its towing weight if you’re using a trailer (ask the car dealer).
  • Some hoists and other equipment can only be fitted to a limited range of cars. Check with the supplier.
  • Most suppliers will adapt equipment to suit you, your car and your wheelchair. Discuss what you need with the supplier before you start.


  • Hoists, lifts and stowage systems are usually installed by vehicle adaptation companies or by their local dealers. Some will come to you to fit the hoist. Otherwise you will have to arrange for your car to be taken to them..
  • Most hoists can be fitted to the right- or left-hand side of the boot - check with the supplier. Some hoists come in one size. Some are cut and shaped individually for each car to give as much room as possible to swing the wheelchair in.
  • Some stowage systems require considerable modification of the car, which may not be reversible.
  • Winches need to be fitted correctly: the winch cable must be aligned with the vehicle so it pulls the wheelchair in a straight line.


It's important to read the next page on this website, which is on safety.

Also see our specific information on:

The Research Institute for Disabled Consumers is the UK’s leading expert in user-centred research involving disabled and older consumers. We have over 50 years’ experience of independent, specialist research.
This information is unbiased and we hope it will help you choose the right option to meet your needs. We don't sell products.

Last updated: August 2018

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