Text Size:

Current Size: 100%

Getting a wheelchair into a car

Do you need help loading a wheelchair or mobility scooter into your car and transporting it safely?

Our information based on independent research and the experiences of consumers and experts, is completely unbiased.

Here we look at the different types of hoists, lifts, ramps, top boxes and other things that can help.

Wheelchair in the boot of a Volkswagen Up


  1. Introduction (this page)
  2. Ramps
  3. Hoists and lifts
    3.1 Products
  4. Boot hoist user tests
  5. Stowage systems
  6. Other solutions
  7. Choosing and fitting
  8. Safety

We carried out user tests on powered boot hoists in November 2014 and you can read about what we found on these pages. We updated the product information in February 2015. The download: Getting a wheelchair into a car (2013) (PDF) has useful guidance but the product information is currently out of date. So check with the adaptation companies as to the latest products available.


Getting a light wheelchair into a car is easy for some people. If you have some strength and the right car, you can pull it in front of the passenger's seat or behind the front seats. And if you can lift and walk a little, you may be able to put the chair in the back of the car without any equipment.

Find out more by reading about techniques for lifting a manual wheelchair into a car.

Unable to get a heavy wheelchair or mobility scooter into a car? 

One of the following may help:

  • a ramp to help get the wheelchair or scooter into the boot
  • a hoist that lifts a manual or powered wheelchair into the boot
  • a rooftop hoists that winches a manual wheelchair up and on to the car roof
  • racks or trailers

Where do I start?

Contact a Mobility Centre because some centres have hoists and other equipment you can try out before you buy. Some mobility centres also carry out assessments to see what kind of equipment may suit you. 

Talk to a few suppliers - tell them about your car, your wheelchair and your disability. Go to the section useful contacts and search for suppliers of wheelchair carriers near you.

Things to consider

Have you considered a wheelchair accessible vehicle (WAV)?  Check out our WAVs guide for detailed information.

Pros and cons

Below is a summary of the advantages and disadvantages of each method for getting a wheelchair or mobility scooter into your car.

Getting a wheelchair into a car boot with a rampRamp

  • use with manual wheelchair, powered wheelchair or mobility scooter
  • need to walk to your seat, or have helper
  • wheelchair stored in boot
  • ramps can be portable

Getting a wheelchair into a car with a liftHoist or lift

  • use with manual chair, power chair or scooter
  • need to walk to your seat, or have helper
  • wheelchair stored in boot

Wheelchair being loaded by a stowage systemStowage system

  • use with manual chair
  • transfer from wheelchair to seat
  • wheelchair stored on roof, in boot or in back

Wheelchair user entering a wheelchair accessible vehicleWheelchair accessible vehicle (WAV)

  • use with manual or power chair
  • entry by ramp or lift
  • remain in wheelchair so independent if have a drive-from WAV
  • driver and passenger types available

Wheelchair attached to a rack on the back of a carOther solutions

  • trailers, racks and bags
  • need to walk to your seat or have a helper










  Acknowledgements:This guide was produced by the Research Institute for Disabled Consumers with funding from Motability and in partnership with the Forum of Mobility Centres.

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

Introduction | Next: Ramps | See also: Wheelchair accessible vehicles usability research report