Permanent installations are becoming increasingly less popular because of their higher costs and the other disadvantages relating to their usage. Aside from the actual cost of the device being larger, there’s also the cost of paying a certified mechanic to install it plus the reduced value of your vehicle once the permanent modifications have been made.
It’s impossible to legally (and probably technically) install permanent kits yourself; they must be installed by a certified mechanic who has had previous experience with this type of equipment.
This means finding a local disabled car dealership, finding a suitable product, negotiating a price and making sure the device is suitable not just for your disability by compatible with your vehicle.
- There are lots of issues which can arise with this kind of product which is why I’m going to move onto a very different type…
Portable installations are becoming increasingly popular because of their cheap price, front door delivery and functionality.
I won’t go into why these are generally seen as the best alternative, but what I will briefly look into is their installation.
Firstly there are several different types on offer, but I recommend the freedom staff’s driving control because of its usability, price and popularity within the community.
Installing these types of removable driving controls is as easy as following the instruction manual which arrives with it… which I realize doesn’t help you much so I’ll give you some basic guidelines which might help.
Usually you will need to be an able bodied person to install and remove the kit, this doesn’t mean you can’t do it if you’re disabled… only that it will be more difficult.
The entire length of the process shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes, perhaps 10 minutes at the maximum if you’re slow.
Generally the steps consist of attaching supporting straps to the metal linkage and attaching the device to the pedals.
The straps allow close placement of the handles (which control the linkage which is attached to the gas/brake pedals) right under the steering wheel which allows you to operate both the wheel and gas/acceleration together.
The pedal attachments have to be firmly positioned so that they remain attached.
Obviously this process is going to vary from manufacturer to manufacturer but there are essentially around 5-6 different models which you can purchase so it’s relatively similar whichever you buy.
I don’t think the question is ‘how to’ but ‘which is best?’ Of course this all comes down to personal preferences but there are plenty of reasons why portable kits are catching up.
To start with the technology and design has caught up significantly with their permanent competitors.
If you take computers and laptops as an example you’ll see that when laptops first came out they were significantly less powerful and usable than their desktop counterparts.
Nowadays although they are still less powerful they’re powerful enough to take over from desktops and the same is true of driving controls.
In the previous decade the alloys weren’t light enough and the designs didn’t have the backing of the major disabled driving manufacturers.
This has changed in recent times with serious thought being put into all aspects of the equipment which offer up a suitable replacement if not superior replacement.
Currently laptops exceed desktop sales throughout the world, and although permanent versions still outsell portable ones I think the exact same reverse in trends is going to happen whereby permanent variations will eventually lose their attractiveness and become replaced by movable kits which have reached a level where their mobility along with their added functionality offers the latest and best alternative.
In terms of the products we see on the market I would say that we’ve already reached that point and it’s only matter of time (probably several years) before the market’s intuition picks up on the fact that paying a mechanic exorbitant amounts of money to tear up your car (I mean modify your car) and reduce its value to install a device which can do the same as something which is cheaper in every aspect.
I wouldn’t just think in terms of the value of the driving control itself because there’s plenty of additional equipment which you’ll probably need which is either way overpriced because it’s labeled as ‘disability equipment’ when there are plenty of other alternatives or simply overpriced because there are no alternatives.
A good example would be spinner knobs which can be bought on Amazon for around 10 dollars but cost easily 100 dollars when bought from many driving equipment manufacturers.
Guess what, they’re just a spherical knob attached to the steering wheel – it’s not rocket science and its manufacturing isn’t difficult either, they’re simply overpriced because people want to make sure they’re safe when driving.
Personally I think they take advantage of the fact that most disabled drivers were actually injured in a driving accident to start with and are willing to pay a lot of money to make sure that they don’t have a repeat of last time.
Either way you can peruse my website handicaphandcontrols.com to find out about all aspects of driving as someone with a disability.
This is not just limited to paraplegia but every single type of disability which hinders or complete prohibits driving.
My main focus is on the gear required but I take my time to make sure everything is covered, and if it’s not then just utilize the Contact section of my website to let me know if you think there’s something missing and I can fix this as soon as possible.