Retrofitting Vehicles – How to Retrofit a Car with Hand Controls

Thankfully with online disabled driving kits its never been easier to retrofit your own car with hand control to allow your average disabled driver the freedom to go wherever he or she chooses.  This page will concisely go over the mobility equipment required for retrofitting vehicles (primarily hand controls and steering attachments), as well as the entire process from start to finish to allow for disabled driving after your car has been modified.

Retrofit your Vehicle for Handicapped Driving – The Equipment You Need


There are two main pieces of equipment you’ll need if you want to retrofit your vehicle to allow for handicapped driving.  The first is a set (sometimes referred to as a kit) of hand controls.  Most people nowadays prefer to buy portable hand controls online for a few main reasons.  Firstly portable hand controls online are much cheaper, secondly they get delivered straight to your door, thirdly they don’t required any permanent car modifications and finally they allow for quick switching between disabled and able bodied driving.  In a nut shell those are the four main reasons why portable handicap driving kits are the most popular.

These portable hand control kits allow the driver to operate the gas and brake pedals via their hands.  The driver operates 2 control rods with one hand, and each control rod is securely attached to a pedal.

The second important piece of mobility equipment you’ll need is some type of steering wheel attachment.  Although there are many different types of steering controls out there most people tend to gravitate towards quick release steering knobs for a number of reasons.  The main reason is that most people are comfortable driving with steering knobs, plus their ‘quick release’ function works in the same way as portable hand controls which allows for interchangeable able bodied and disabled driving as is necessary.  Although there are around a dozen different steering aids on the market around 90% of people are looking for a steering knob (sometimes referred to as a ‘quick release spinner knob’) because they’re seen as the best steering aid for one handed turning which is necessary when driving with hand controls.

Steering wheel knobs are important for retrofitting a vehicle for disabled driving because one hand is required to operate the hand controls which generally leaves it unable to operate the steering wheel.  In some instances they can both be placed in very close proximity but turning the steering wheel is still done mainly with one hand and therefore having a steering knob to provide leverage to help turn the wheel is vital.

There are other hundreds of different types of assistive equipment for vehicles aimed at a plethora of different disability, but these two pieces of equipment are the most important.  The next most important piece of equipment I can think of are pedal guards which prevent the pedals from accidental engagement – however many drivers do not use them and take care to position their legs within their vehicle before driving.

Retrofitting your Car with Hand Controls – A Simple ‘How To’


If you want to know how to retrofit your car with the hand controls you’ve purchased you have only to follow the instruction manual for installation that you received when you purchased your portable hand controls.

Both steering attachments and hand controls I mentioned above can be purchased online and you can find out more by going t the pages I’ve linked to above.  The process of driving as a disabled person is as simple as purchasing the hand controls, receiving them and then installing them.

Installing hand controls varies from model to model but there are a few key steps which you should be aware of.  Firstly you’ll need to clamp your control rods to the pedals, this is one of the most important parts so after you’ve read and followed the instructions make sure they’re not wobbly or insecure.  Next you need to adjust the length of the hand controls.  Most portable models allow for a wide array of different lengths which can even fit into trucks so you shouldn’t have any problems using hand controls with trucks, vans or other vehicles which aren’t cars.  After the length is adjusted you’ll need to position the hand controls relatively close to the steering wheel which involves a strap around the steering column mount to hold the hand controls in place.  It can hardly even be called ‘retrofitting’ your vehicle for handicapped driving because it’s so simple that anyone could do it.  Once its attached securely to the pedals, adjusted in length for your preferences and hanging freely from the steering column you’re good to go!

Attaching your steering attachment couldn’t be easier too.  Most steering attachments which you can purchase online or from a disabled vehicle dealership feature ‘quick release’ mechanisms which allow you to quickly attach or remove the attachment.  The steering knobs you can purchase for 15 dollars online are the same as the ones which cost 100 dollars from a disabled car shop and they both feature simple but useful mechanisms for controlling the vehicle confidently.

Driving with a disability is almost as easy as driving without one, and although driving again will certainly put of a lot of prospective drivers because statistically they were made disabled in a vehicle accident there’s another statistic which provides a very different perspective.  That is that disabled drivers are significantly less likely to suffer an accident in a car which has been modified with hand controls and retrofitted with other handicap driving equipment.  You’re much safer driving in a vehicle with a disabled person utilizing handicap driving equipment because they tend to be safer, more cautious and less willing to take risks.  I know which I would pick.

I hope you found this page useful and I personally do answer all comments and questions so if you require any further information you can browse this website or post a question for me to answer.  Thanks for reading.


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