Rooftop hoists and boot loaders

Stow your manual wheelchair with a hoist onto the car roof. A rooftop hoist is only for a manual wheelchair

An electric wheelchair or a mobility scooter are too heavy to be carried this way. 

A top box winches a manual wheelchair up and on to the car roof where it's usually stored in a top-box.  

  • You transfer out of your manual wheelchair to your car seat 

  • A motor slides the box across the roof so it is above the car door.  

  • A hook is lowered and you attach it by hand to your manual wheelchair.  

  • Check if you have to twist into position to hook your wheelchair on 

  • The chair is winched up into the box, which then moves back to its travelling position.  

  • The footplates do not have to be removed. 

The big plus point for a rooftop system is that it leaves your car boot free for other stuff. 

The downside of a rooftop hoist is that it increases the height of your car. You’ll need to keep in mind the maximum headroom needed. It may prevent you using some indoor car parks.  

Some top boxes: 

  • are fully weatherproof 

  • have a horizontal operation which means it can be used in garages and height restricted car parks as well.  

  • have no actual protective ‘box’ so the wheelchair is open to the elements. 

Using an automatic boot-loading hoist for a manual wheelchair 

Automatic boot loading hoists can help you load a manual wheelchair automatically into the boot of the car. Your car's boot has to be large enough with a level floor, no sill and a high opening which is the right shape: 

  • The hoist automatically stores and secures your wheelchair in boot and returns it to driver or passenger door when required.  

  • They’re pricey and usually come with an automatic boot-loading system with automatic boot opener/closer and there are separate models for folding/fixed-frame wheelchairs. 

Some hoists, you load a wheelchair into the rear compartment of a 4-door car after transferring to the front seat. The rear door has to be modified to make it a sliding door with a power door opener. The rear seats (or the larger section of a split seat) will have to be removed. 

Some stowage systems require considerable modification of the car, which may not be reversible. 

Thinking about getting a wheelchair accessible vehicle (WAV)? - see below.