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New vs Used WAVs – How to Know What to Buy

Finding the right wheelchair accessible vehicle (WAV) can be tough. There are many options to choose from on the market and lots of things to take into account. From finding the right adaptations to suit your specific needs to finding something that’s affordable and within your budget, there’s a lot for you  to consider.

One important decision people have to make when deciding what kind of WAV is right for them is whether they want a new WAV or a second-hand, used wav. Whether you’re buying privately or through the Motability Scheme, there are benefits to both new and used – having a think about which of these benefits matters most to you can be really helpful when making your mind up.

Getting a vehicle for your specific needs

The greatest benefit to gain from purchasing a new wheelchair accessible vehicle (including any adaptations fitted specifically for your needs) is that from the very start you know that your vehicle is ideally suited for your specialised vehicle requirements. From an accessibility standpoint, knowing that your vehicle is right for you is such a major consideration.

A used WAV will have been tailored for someone else’s specific needs and this is something you might have to address early on. This will require a bit of work to sort out – removing any unnecessary adaptations and installing anything new you need – so, if you’re buying privately and your WAV will require specific adaptations, choosing a new WAV might be a better option.

Of course, if you find a used WAV with everything you need, you can just buy it and get going, whereas the process of installing adaptations in a new WAV can take a bit of time; this could include assessment, fittings, and demonstrations. However, sometimes it’s worth spending a little extra time getting something that suits you perfectly – especially when dealing with something so expensive, you don’t want to fork out on a used WAV that doesn’t do what you need it to. Therefore, it’s important to take how much time you have and what your exact needs are into account.

Upfront cost

When it comes to upfront cost, choosing a second-hand WAV is typically going to cost you less outright. Anything that has come straight from the manufacturer is going to be in its prime, therefore far more desirable than a used vehicle – though this will mean that it comes with a bigger price tag, too. If you’re buying through the Motability Scheme, nearly new WAVs (NNWAVs) will have a substantially cheaper advanced payment than a new WAV, so this is something to consider if that’s the route you’re taking.

Buying a used WAV can be great if you know exactly what you’re looking for and what WAV would suit you best. Especially if you strike gold and find a used WAV that has your exact adaptations already installed – no one could argue that a situation like that wouldn’t be ideal. However, this might take a lot of time, patience, and work to search for and not everyone has the luxury (or the energy) to wait for something perfect to come along.

Additional costs – adaptations and repairs

As previously mentioned, it’s likely that if you find a great deal on a used WAV that’s suited to your taste, you might have to invest in installing tailored adaptations anyway. While adaptations for new WAVs and NNWAVs are included in the Motability Scheme, if you’re buying privately, you’ll be responsible for any refurbishment and repairs – and this is something to take into account.

As with any vehicle, buying something used means that you’re buying a vehicle that someone else has previously driven – and this isn’t something to be overlooked because driving style has a direct impact on vehicle health. You may not know how well a previous owner has driven or if they’ve been diligent at getting their vehicle regularly serviced. Poor vehicle health can lead to costly repairs.

Some of these factors are entirely out of your control and, when it comes down to it, there’s no way of knowing for sure exactly what you’re getting when you buy a used vehicle. So, if you’re buying privately, buying a new WAV is certainly a more reliable option as you know what you’re getting.

Package – warranty and lease length

It’s also really important to consider what kind of warranty you’ll receive if anything should break, especially if you’re buying privately. New WAVs are typically covered by the seller so you have the added peace of mind that, should anything break, you can get it sorted. Not all used WAV sellers will offer the same service and warranty, so make sure to do your research.

New and nearly new WAVs bought through the Motability Scheme will come with a package that includes comprehensive insurance, servicing, maintenance, repairs, and breakdown cover. New WAVs bought privately, though not part of a convenient package like you’d receive as part of the Motability Scheme, can be purchased VAT and Road Tax exempt (subject to qualification), so this is another thing to consider.

Something to think about if you’re purchasing a new or nearly new WAV through the Motability Scheme is lease length. While you will have a smaller mileage allowance with a NNWAV (60,000) as opposed to a new WAV (100,000) – your lease length will be shorter at three years as opposed to five years, and that is more convenient for anyone looking to avoid tying themselves to a longer lease.

Resale value

Something that people may not consider when buying a vehicle is resale value. The newer a vehicle is and the better it’s been looked after, the higher its value when it comes to selling your vehicle on. Used vehicles that have only had a single owner since they were manufactured are far more desirable due to everything mentioned above about driving style and vehicle health. With fewer owners in a vehicle’s lifetime, there’s less that could have gone wrong along the way.

Also, it goes without saying that newer vehicles have a higher value than older vehicles. If you buy a new WAV now knowing you’re going to sell it on at some point, you’re likely to get more money back for it than a used WAV when you come to sell it. If resale value is something that’s important to you, then this is something you should consider.

Personal taste

Just like buying any other high-value product, some people simply prefer their purchases to be brand new. Getting something that’s squeaky clean, just your own, and has all the fittings and fixtures that have been selected to your taste is very important for many people, while some other people prefer that ‘lived-in’ feel. Getting a vehicle that’s got a bit of history and some character can be appealing for some.

So, it’s always worth taking into account your personal taste. After all, it’s an investment and something that you’ll be using for the foreseeable future, so make sure you think about what matters to you. It’s very important to test drive your WAV, if possible, regardless of whether you’re buying new or used for this very reason. It’s your independence after all!

What we offer

At Cartwright, we specialise in wheelchair accessible vehicles for people buying privately or through the Motability Scheme. For private buyers, we sell brand new WAVs and adaptations so you can rest assured you know exactly what you’re getting and that the vehicle you buy is perfectly suited to your specific needs. We also sell brand new WAVs and NNWAVs through the Motability Scheme. We’re passionate about offering disabled people nothing less than the best when it comes to their needs and strive to make new WAVs as affordable as possible, whatever your budget.

You can find out more about our finance options – including an explanation of all the excellent benefits of the Motability Scheme and how to find out if you’re eligible. For any more information, just contact us – we’re more than happy to chat to you about your options.

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