Wheelchairs for WAVs

Wheelchair in back of vehicle

Which wheelchair? Which WAV?

Choose your wheelchair before getting your wheelchair accessible vehicle (WAV) if you can, users say.

Your wheelchair is for you and your needs. Think about pressure relief and, maybe, postural support. Then make sure the WAV will fit your wheelchair.

Read more about getting a powered wheelchair

WAV floor showing spigot
Wheelchair fitted with docking system

If you are getting a new wheelchair, discuss using it in a WAV with your wheelchair service (if you have one) or the supplier. They should be able to advise on the suitability of any wheelchair for a WAV. Take into account any likely changes to your condition and your wheelchair during the lifetime of the WAV.

Wheelchair Managers Forum has a list of UK wheelchair services.

Can you use your wheelchair in a WAV?

Not all wheelchairs are suitable for use in a WAV, and some are incompatible with some tie-downs. Discuss your wheelchair's suitability with whoever is doing your assessment and with the WAV converter.

Some wheelchairs have been specifically safety tested for use in a vehicle (this is sometimes known as crash testing), but not all manufacturers do this.

Just because a wheelchair hasn't been tested doesn't necessarily mean it isn't suitable. However, the wheelchair does need to have dedicated attachment points for tie-downs if you're using them. On newer wheelchairs, these will be clearly indicated.

It's also important to have a head restraint to help prevent whiplash injuries.

WAV docking systems

Automatic docking systems require a spigot or plate to be fixed to the wheelchair.

These are incompatible with some wheelchairs; with others, they decrease the ground clearance of the wheelchair, which can make it difficult or impossible to drive over uneven terrain.

Double check this with your wheelchair provider and the conversion company.

More information

Wheelchair Managers Forum: list of UK wheelchair services

Motability Scheme - getting a WAV

Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle Converters' Association (WAVCA)

BSI Publicly Available Specification (PAS) for WAVs 2012

Find your nearest mobility centre for advice and assessment

Disabled Motoring UK - supporting Blue Badge holders

For finance:


Disability Grants