Trouble Shooting Your Wheelchair Van Conversion

Posted On: 09/23/2022

Troubleshooting Broken Wheelchair Van Conversion  

Wheelchair van conversions never seem to break during business hours, nor does it usually happen when you're at home.  This can be frustrating and inconvenient especially as wheelchair van users rely heavily on their vehicles. When wheelchair van conversions malfunction or stop working altogether, it can leave you feeling helpless and even vulnerable.

Wheelchair accessible conversions from BraunAbility, VMI, Rollx and many more have designed their conversions to be as reliable as possible, but anything mechanical can and will fail at some point.  This post will help you identify what the cause of the malfunction could be as well as how you can manually override the process allowing you to get home and unloaded safely. Be sure to check back regularly for more advanced troubleshooting tips. 

Wheelchair Van Remote Stopped Working

The OEM key fob that you use to open or close your wheelchair van can suddenly stop working.  To troubleshoot this, attempt to press other functions like door locks or the rear liftgate door on the remote and see if it will operate that feature.  Often we have vehicles that are only a couple years old, needing to have the remote battery replaced. Most remotes  have a battery that is numbered “2032" for the replacement model.  These can be purchased at most local hardware stores or big box stores for just a few dollars.  

Step 1: Once you have the new battery, separate the remote using a small flat blade screwdriver on one of the remote corners.  Gently continue to separate the remote from one corner to the next paying attention to how the pieces inside the remote are configured.  

Step 2: When putting in the new battery ensure you are putting the battery back in with the positive and negative direction the correct way. Snap the two sections of the remote back together and test the power door button. 

(Note - If you believe the battery in the remote is dead you can confirm this by doing the following: Locate the interior button that controls the wheelchair van conversion.  Press the button and see if this will operate the conversion.  If the interior button will open and close the conversion, it's a safe bet the battery in the remote is dead and needs to be replaced.  Many new vehicles will warn the driver in the center display above the steering wheel if the remote battery is getting low.  Ignore this warning too long and you can be caught with a dead remote needing to use the interior buttons to operate your wheelchair van conversion.)

Child Lock Switch - Locked or Unlocked

If you have lost control of your conversion with either interior buttons or door handle operations this can be caused by the child lock being activated.  If you or someone else recently washed the vehicle they can accidently trip this when drying off the vehicle’s interior door jams.  The location of the child safety lock is on the middle row sliding doors.  Depending on the year, make and model it will be either located on the front side or rear side of the sliding door in a black plastic flush mounted box.  If you look closely, you will see what the lock and unlock position is.  General rule would be having the switch in the up position would be un-locked and the down position would be locked.  Flip the lever in the opposite direction and see if that allows operation to begin.  This is a simple solution you can locate yourself before driving to the dealer for a 30 second fix.

Power Door Button Turned Off – Toyota, Honda, Chrysler Town & Country, Dodge Grand Caravan 

Turning the power door button off on the vehicle will cause the wheelchair van conversion to stop working from the key fob and interior buttons.  In some cases, you will have the vehicle respond back with either a single beep or double beep if this button gets turned off. Below I will help you locate where the power door button is located to make sure the power is still on.

Toyota - The main power door button on all Toyota Sienna's is located to the left of the driver steering wheel.  On the kick panel to the left of the steering wheel is a black button labeled PWR DOOR.  On top of the black button, you will see orange when the power door button is on indicating power.  If the top of the button is black, press the button and you will see the ORANGE exposed indicating the power door power is on.  Once you confirm the power door button is in the correct position, attempt to open the wheelchair van conversion with either the remote or an interior button.

Honda - Also located to the left of the steering wheel is the main power door on/off switch.  This is located next to the OEM Honda power door button with the indication of Power Door ON/OFF.  When in the ON position you will see a RED circle indicating power is on.  If you do not see this red circle, push the button to the ON position and the red circle will appear indicating the power door is now on.

Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan - In-between the driver and passenger seat above the headliner is a row of black buttons.  The left side button will operate the driver sliding door, the middle button will operate the rear lift gate, the right button will operate the passenger side door.  On the far right is the “Power Door On/Off” switch.  When all four black buttons are flush with each other this is indicating that the power door on/off switch is in the ON position.  If the far-right button is raised up and not flush with the other three this would indicate the power door is turned off.  Rock the switch back so it's flush with the others and you will turn the power back on to your doors.  Press the key fob or interior button and cycle the wheelchair van conversion open or close.


Author Information

Katie Cummings
Mobility Blogger

My professional background stems from non-profit marketing and fundraising for a large children’s cancer hospital. Every day I was able to make connections and relationships for kids and their families going through devastating times. From securing small donations to large corporate support, it was all about providing hope that one day doctors and researchers would find a cure. It was truly an honor to be a part of something so important.

Just this past year, I came to work alongside my family for, a website dedicated to offering the latest information and resources for people needing mobility products. This was a dream come true for me as I have always wanted to combine more time with my family while still helping others. Our family has been in the mobility industry for over 35 years with the goal of enhancing the quality of life for people with mobility issues. This is the spirit behind BLVD and what I am most excited about sharing in my blog.

I love meeting new people and have found that volunteering is the best way to learn more about others and myself. Coffee keeps me going as do walks my pup "Kirby" and most of all being with family and friends. I invite you to check out my blog to learn more about how "together we can move through life better!"

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