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Stowing a wheelchair in the boot or on the roof

Stowing your manual wheelchair in a car

Once you've transferred onto your car seat, you can stow your manual wheelchair:

  • in the car boot
  • in back-seat area of your car
  • on your car roof

Check that you won't need help to do this in the future and you're able to walk round the car.

These hoists can be fitted to either the driver's or the passenger's side of the car.

How they work

Roof Spider hoist
Chair Topper, here used with the Turny Orbit
  • transfer to your car seat
  • use a switch to bring the hoist mechanism to the car door
  • hook your wheelchair on by hand
  • the hoist lifts the chair onto the roof or transfers it to the back of the car and secures it safely
  • you usually have to attach the wheelchair to the hoist
  • some are easier than others - with some rear-loading systems you just need to position the wheelchair in the right place
  • for many of them you need to be able to twist into position to use them.

A rooftop system:

  • carries the wheelchair in a box
  • the boot of your car remains free to carry luggage
  • increases the height of the car with some needing a lot of headroom to stow the wheelchair
  • means for some the wheelchair is exposed to the weather
  • can be fitted to most cars without any modification.
  • can't be used in some indoor car parks
  • means you need to check the headroom from our product overview here

Boot-loading systems are slightly less flexible than rooftop systems, as your car's boot has to be large enough, and the right shape. Systems that stow the wheelchair in the rear seat area can be fitted to a limited range of vehicles, and require considerable modification.

Wheelchair stowage systems

Prices shown were from the time of our research. For current prices, always check with car adaptation supplier and fitters.

AbiLoader (boot-loading hoist)

AbiloaderPrice including fitting: from £9,300
Max weight lifted (kg): 25
Max size of chair: manufacturer says it will take any folding or fixed manual chair
Weight of hoist (kg): 50
Distributed by: Steering Developments

Automatic boot-loading system with automatic boot opener/closer. There are separate models for folding/fixed-frame wheelchairs. Can be used with Steering Developments' Motion electric wheelchair range (fixed or folding). Automatically stores and secures wheelchair in boot and returns it to driver or passenger door when required. Like all boot-loading systems, requires level boot floor (no sill) and high opening.

Braun Chair Topper (rooftop hoist)

Braun Chair TopperPrice including fitting: £3,688
Max weight lifted (kg): 20
Max size of folded chair (h x w x d; cm): 83 x 35 x 93
Clearance (travelling/in use; cm): 55
Weight of hoist (kg):  56
Distributed by: Elap

A motor slides the box across the roof so it is above the car door. A hook is lowered and you attach it by hand to the wheelchair. The chair is winched up into the box, which then moves back to its travelling position. The footplates do not have to be removed.

Sliding door and arm (rear-seat-loading hoist)

Sliding door and armPrice including fitting: about £5,800
Distributed by: Elap

With this hoist, you can load a wheelchair into the rear compartment of a 4-door car after transferring to the front seat. The rear door has to be modified. Elap can fit a sliding door, with a power door opener. The rear seats (or the larger section of a split seat) will have to be removed.


Wymo Rooftop Stowage Hoist (rooftop hoist)

Wymo Rooftop Stowage HoistPrice including fitting: £1,750
Maximum weight lifted (kg): 20
Clearance (travelling/in use; cm): 32/84
Distributed by: Cowal Mobility Aids

You plug the cable into the hoist and into the cigarette lighter (a hard-wired version is available for an extra £75). The hoist is lowered and you hook on the chair by hand. You winch the chair part way by power, lean out to attach a strap, raise the chair, fix the other end of the strap and hoist up. There is no box, so the wheelchair is open to the elements.

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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