Boot hoists

Woman using a boot hoist to load her mobility scooter into a car

A boot hoist loads a heavy wheelchair or mobility scooter into a car.

A car boot hoist is used for electric wheelchairs or larger mobility scooters. You need to be able to walk round the car and to your seat, or you need to have a helper.  

Which hoist for which scooter or wheelchair depends on weight. 

Check with specialist hoist companies below to find which car model will have room to fit which hoist.

For a big wheelchair or mobility scooter, double check it will fit into the car boot. 
Some hoists take up extra room with a ‘spreader’ arm, which can increase the height needed.

Check the RiDC car measurements and factsheets

Car boot hoists – five things to do:

  1. Check the details with the following specialist adaptation companies which supply boot hoists:

Alfred Bekker 

Autochair  

Brig-Ayd Controls 

Cowal Mobility Aids 

Elap Mobility 

Steering Developments

  1. Talk to at least three of the above suppliers; tell them about your car, your wheelchair or mobility scooter and your ability.  

  1. Your wheelchair or mobility scooter size and its weight determines the type of hoist you need.
    For a bigger wheelchair or scooter, a bigger, more robust, hoist is needed.
    Lighter kit may suit a two-way hoist; bigger wheelchairs need a four-way or six–way hoist. Check your abilities - see below.

  • two-way hoists – move up and down only
  • four-way hoists move up and down and side to side – usually used to lift a heavy wheelchair or mobility scooter

Most hoists have hand-held control units, either attached by wires or cordless. 

  • Most people in our tests preferred a cordless control. 
  • Some people struggled to hold the control against the resistance of the springy wire. [?]
  • Sometimes the control is fixed to the hoist's arm or base which means you can hold on for support while you're using it, which for some is easier to use than a hand-held control.  
  • Sometimes have buttons that are too close together or are difficult to press.
  • On some hoists, you have to remove the lifting arm when the wheelchair is stowed in the boot.
  • Try the control before you buy! 
  1. Contact a Mobility Centre - some centres have hoists and other equipment you can try out before you buy. Mobility centres offer assessments to see what kind of equipment may suit you and if there are other things to consider.

  2. Hoists - your abilities   

You’ll need to: 

  • use both hands for some hoists - one to hold it in the right place to stop the hooks falling loose, and the other to take up the tension with the control unit 
  • be able to stand without much support while you're hooking on and lifting the wheelchair or scooter 
  • guide the wheelchair or mobility scooter once it’s off the ground with at least one hand to guide and keep it steady
  • fold or dismantle the wheelchair or scooter before you lift it, especially if you have a small car or a large or heavy wheelchair or scooter
  • deal with hooks and clips . Suppliers often have different types, so try before you buy - and try them with all the functions

Your car and equipment 

Make sure the car has enough space for all the equipment you need plus anything else you want to carry. Where will you put your shopping?

If you're travelling without your wheelchair, some hoists allow you to remove the swinging arm to get it out of the way, leaving more room for luggage.  

Car boot hoists – user tips

Our research with disabled people who tried out and tested some boot hoists gave the following user tips:

A four-way hoist:

Some users found it difficult to position the wheelchair/scooter in the right place to attach it to the hoist.

For someone who uses crutches:

it can be difficult to load the wheelchair/scooter using a four-way hoist as it’s tricky to operate the control while guiding the scooter or wheelchair into the boot. Crutch holders can help [more to come] 

Straps and cords can be tricky:

Hoists where the wheelchair/scooter is attached to the end of a strap or cord caused users difficulties during the tests. 

With winches, take care not to get your fingers caught in the winch on some of these hoists. 

Users preferred hoists where the wheelchair/scooter is attached directly to the end of the lifting arm.  

Unload to pavement - some hoists are able to move the wheelchair/scooter through 180°, which means you can load and unload it to the pavement.

Check if the hoist allows you to stow the wheelchair/scooter out of the driver’s line of vision when in the boot. 

Pre-set stops:

Some hoists can be programmed when they're installed so the movement in each direction stops at just the right point  

Safety - check everything is hunky-dory

Securing things in the car boot 

For two-way hoists, you may need to secure the wheelchair or mobility scooter and, with some hoists, the lifting arm, too. Some two-way hoists come with securing mechanisms built in. 

Four-way hoists do not require you to secure the wheelchair or mobility scooter. The wheelchair or mobility scooter remains securely attached to the hoist. 
 
Securing things in your car

  • It's vitally important to secure the wheelchair when the car is moving.  
  • If a wheelchair or parts of a hoist come loose, they could cause severe injuries if you brake suddenly. 

Maintenance 

It’s always important to inspect all equipment - ramps, winches, hoists and stowage systems - regularly for damage.  

Your supplier can tell you what to look out for: check cords and winch cables for fraying, nuts and bolts for tightness, moving parts for lubrication and keep your ears open for unusual noises when operating. 

Restraint and securing devices  

The main specialist suppliers of securing and restraint systems are: 

QStraint 

Unwin Safety Systems