Aaron Widmar
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How to Protect an Accessible Van During Winter

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Ways to keep your wheelchair-accessible vehicle safe from rust and frost

Snow side-view mirror winter weather visibility car

Photo: The News Wheel

You depend on your accessible van every day, so it’s crucial that the vehicle’s many components function the way they should. Although regular seasonal maintenance is important on any vehicle, including your upfitted van, preparations during winter are especially important to prevent irreparable damage from salt and ice. To protect an accessible van during winter, follow these steps.


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Protect your accessible van from damaging winter ice and frost


Protect against rust

Rust viciously tears through the delicate metal parts of your van’s modifications, and it starts with exposure to salt during winter. If you live in the North where snow and ice abound during winter, you need to protect your wheelchair vehicle from road salt’s corrosive bite. Make sure your van has a thick coat of wax on it throughout winter, and rinse off any salt residue sticking around the rocker panels.

Protect against freezing

Even automated doors, ramps, and mechanisms can stop moving if they’re covered in ice. Apply a rubber protectant to the door seals and WD-40 to the metal gears and hinges. This will keep water from sticking to them and solidifying into a thick, restricting ice.

Avoid an empty gas tank

Don’t leave your vehicle’s gas tank less than half full. Not only could a near-empty gas tank freeze overnight, it could also leave you stranded when you’re travelling without any fuel to keep the van warm. Fill up every couple days before you go home.


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Shield from the snow

If you have to park your handicap-accessible van outside instead of a garage, you need to invest in a portable shelter or shield that you can park your van under. Not only will it minimize the snow you have to clean off in the morning, it will also protect your car’s paint and rubber from freezing ice and dripping water.

Schedule maintenance by a mechanic or friend

You don’t want to be at a disadvantage when winter storms arrive. Make sure your accessible van is operating at peak condition by having the battery tested, the wiper blades replaced, the fluids topped off (especially the washer fluid with a winter formula), and the tires inflated.