New car for disabled husband

Hope this is ok here. I am trying to decide on a new car for me to transport my disabled husband. He has right sided weakness. He can now stand but I need something he can sit it easily. Has anyone any suggestions. I need to get a wheelchair in the boot. Nothing too big as I’m only a small elderly lady

Dear Eileen

This is a forum for stroke survivors and their carers, so you are welcome any time.

Mostly its us stroke survivors sharing our experiences, we arent trained, just experienced.

I have left side weakness. My way of dealing with it is to do everything I could do before stroke. I know I am slower, the pains are unpleasant and sometimes things just dont work, but I find the more movements I make the easier it gets.

I can drive and I havent had the car changed. If buying another car I would probably have one of those "higher up" cars but in the meantime it does me good to edge in to my sporty, small and low Hatchback Mazda 3. I also give lifts to people who are less mobile. Their travel wheelchairs will fit in the boot. They get in and out OK. I do find lifting the wheelchairs very hard. A hatchback is much easier than a booted car. also watch how high you will need to lift to get the chair on board. The "high up" cars can be very difficult for my small stature when trying to lift a chair into the boot.

So I think you must give a trial to see whether your husbands chair will fit in and whether he will get in. Is he not improving with mobility ? I am three years post stroke and still I get improvements. 

I have noted other wheelchair users and their cars. I am surprised how some larger cars are more awkward and some smaller cars are easier. So you need to try out the model of car you opt for. And also think long and hard as to how often you will drive with the wheelchair. Do remember that any journey will require four lifts. And that the luggage space after a wheelchair is much restricted. I find one lift is OK, but four lifts is often beyond my comfort zone.

On specific cars. The honda jazz does give a different layout and is surprisingly spacious. It is very low down (most hondas seem low) but its popular among my elderly friends. Many other cars, such as a golf or a focus, come in higher up versions. It really does come down to each specific car. 

Pester your friends for a "trial" on their cars. 

Best wishes






Thank you Colin my husband had his stroke 5 months ago and his mobility is improving that is why I am looking into this now as I was unsure whether he would need a wheelchair vehicle to start with. However I don’t think this is the case as his standing and moving is getting much better. I need to get him another lighter wheelchair to use. On the wheelchair have you any advice? He cannot use his right arm so cannot self propell but I have been advised by a mobility shop that the large wheeled chairs are easier to push. Do you know if this is true? Anyway thanks again for your advice on the cars I will get some test drives

I drive a Renault Kangoo which has sliding passenger side doors and a very spacious hatchback boot. 

youll probably need an automatic, but I guess you know. 


I can recommend a specialist firm called ergomobility which does adaptations for most cars I have left sided weakness and no function in my left hand. I have a device that enables me to drive one handed and operate the indicators with my right hand thumb. you might want to check out RDAC who can help with driving assessments and advice on adaptations. I had some extensive retraining using adapted cars followed by advice on what to get for my own car. most models can be fitted with removable car has an unusual handbrake design but ergomobility are going to fita bespoke adaptation to it to help me manage it more easily. I would definitely, recommend support from a driveability centre if there is one you can get to. it helped me get my confidence back and learn a new one handed technique. thats my story anyway 

let us know what happens 

best wishes 




I hope thats of some help 


Firstly, stroke recovery is painfully slow but it does plod along. If hubby is determined and positive then his recovery will go far. So deciding on a car etc might be a temporary feature.

The large wheeled chairs are much easier to push outdoors. My experience is that they are very much easier. However, they are heavy, large cumbersome beasts so getting around in a modest sized home is hard. Easier with the little wheeled chairs. And of course lifting the chair is very hard unless you are a strong and large person. If hubby improves then the decision will become automatic.

I wonder if you can hire a chair to compare. Hopefully you will only need to hire for a few months and then he will be walking not riding.

Again , not appropriate right now, but electric wheelchairs have plus points. Mainly he can get around without the need of assistance.

Five months is very early days. Every one of us is different, no two strokes are the same. But we can get a lot of improvement and we can do lots. We never return to being the same person so thats another feature to build in to our life. We dont really expect to get a different spouse at our age do we ?

best wishes

and do say hello to hubby from me




Thanks Tony but I am going to be driving,it’s my husband that had the stroke and I don’t think he’s ready to think about driving yet awhile 

Try 'ridc car search'. It has a database of car measurements to show which cars are easiest to get into and which are easiest to lift a wheelchair into.

Consider stowing your husband's wheelchair behind the front passenger seat. If you have a 4-door car then I found it easier to lift the w/c in by tilting it and rolling it forward into the car.

You will find it hard to push your husband all the time. When possible I would borrow a wheelchair. Most shops and outdoor attractions have them.


ok, I see, in which case I guess try as  many models as you can. you migh find models like kangoo which are a bit higher off the road than a normal saloon, useful though might be a challenge to get in and out.  Good hunting. I expect you will have as much choice as you like if it is only you doing the driving. 

all the best 


Thanks Tony and all the best to you

Thanks Janet that’s very useful information I will try that

Thanks Colin that’s very useful. I know it’s still early days and we do remain hopeful that he will get some mobility back in the future. We have a small wheeled chair at the moment that the NHS have provided which is ok in the house but rather heavy for pushing outdoors. He does like to get out of the house especially in the nice weather so I am considering getting a lighter wheelchair and a power pack for it. That may solve my problem at the moment until he can get around without it. Thanks again

regards Eileen 

Good plan.

I will have fingers crossed that he will not need either for very long.

Do say hello to hubby from me. I am living proof that a lot of recovery can be had and I like sharing my experiences with fellow SS. Only another SS understands what we deal with. Plus a few honorary guests like your self !


Thanks Colin I have said hello to him from you and he has read your helpful posts with interest.just today a friend has offered to loan us a light weight large wheeled wheelchair to try out so we will see how that goes


Thanks for help it’s all very frustrating first hubby said no way is he interested in getting in a car now he’s telling me to start the ball rolling as he has no movement in his left leg or arm it hard have to get rid of my car to small so we are starting from scratch 

will keep you in touch but any advice from anyone I would be grateful as you get older 78 you seem to lose your confidence I



good luck with it all stroke is incredibly frustrating for all concerned.  your husband will know best what he can or can't handle. I have similar left sided paralysis. fatigue is an issue as well. I had to abandon an event today that I was looking forward to because I just didn't feel safe enough to drive. it is disappointing. I hope you can find something suitable for the both of you.  

with best wishes 


My wife has left hand weekness, after suffering a stroke on Christmas day 2018, she is now standing and taking small steps with the aid of a Zimmer frame. We have a 76 Toyota Yaris, the boot space has enough room to take a wheelchair, but require a rotating seat for the passenger side, to give her access to the car.Has anyone any information regarding the purchase of this type of seat?   Thank you.