Measuring your Wheelchair for a WAV 

A Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle (WAV) is a great way to increase independence and mobility. It enables wheelchair users to travel with ease and comfort.

If you are looking to purchase a new or used WAV, measuring your wheelchair is a crucial step in the process which is often overlooked. In this guide, we’ll explain everything you need to know about measuring a wheelchair for a WAV to ensure every journey is safe, comfortable and enjoyable.

How to prepare your wheelchair 

Before measuring your wheelchair, there are several steps to put in place to ensure you get an accurate and reliable measurement. 

  • Start on a firm, flat, level surface: It’s important to measure the wheelchair on a level and stable surface to ensure that the measurements remain accurate and consistent.
  • Position the wheelchair user in their usual posture: You should sit in your wheelchair in your normal position with your back straight to ensure that the measurements reflect your actual seating position when travelling.
  • Keep all accessories in their normal position: If the wheelchair is fitted with a headrest, footrest, or armrest, make sure these are included in the measurements as it could make a difference to the overall vehicle size.
  • Remove loose or bulky clothing: Loose or bulky clothing can affect the dimensions, so remember to remove these items before taking measurements 
  • Use a measuring tape: To accurately measure the wheelchair, invest in a robust retractable measuring tape which doesn’t bend.

What measurements do I need?

Measuring the width, length and height of your wheelchair will help you find a vehicle that suits your needs and ensure you have enough room to make your travelling experience safe and comfortable.

Wheelchair width

Wheelchair width is an important factor when choosing a wheelchair accessible vehicle, especially if you intend on using a ramp. There is no uniform standard for wheelchair dimensions; a wheelchair user needs to find the right fit for their chair, so not every ramp, lift or accessible conversion will be suitable.

This measurement also helps to determine whether the wheelchair itself will fit comfortably between any rear seating positions in the event that there are other passengers or any luggage you may travel with. 

How to measure the width of your wheelchair?

Take a measuring tape and measure the distance from one side of the wheelchair to the other from the widest point and be sure to include any armrests or attachments. 

Wheelchair length

Measuring the length of your wheelchair will determine where it can be located in the rear of the vehicle, especially as a longer wheelchair may require a bigger accessible vehicle to ensure safety and comfort during transportation. Be sure to check the specifications of the WAV to ensure that the ramp is long enough to accommodate your wheelchair and that there is enough clearance for a safe and comfortable entry and exit.

How to measure the length of your wheelchair?

To determine the wheelchair’s overall length, you’ll need to measure the distance of the wheelchair from the back of the rear wheel to the front of the footrests. If there are any additional accessories on the front of the wheelchair, such as a bag or tray, measure the length of these and add the measurement to the overall length of the wheelchair.

Once you have the overall length of your wheelchair, you can compare it to the specifications of the WAVs you are considering to determine whether it will be a good fit.

Wheelchair height and the seated height of the wheelchair user

Measuring the height of your wheelchair and your seated height will determine how much headroom you will have in the vehicle. The interior height of a WAV can vary, and having enough headroom is important for comfort and safety. It will also determine whether you can fit through the vehicle’s entry door in your wheelchair. Some vehicles may have lower entry heights or narrower entry doors, which may not be suitable for larger or taller wheelchairs.

Measuring your height as the wheelchair user will also determine how much outward visibility you’ll be able to enjoy to create a more comfortable and pleasant journey.

How to measure the height and seated height of your wheelchair?

To measure the height of your wheelchair, you will need to measure the distance from the ground to the highest point of your wheelchair. This may be the top of the backrest, the headrest, or any other protruding part of the chair.  Add any additional height that the addition of seating or support cushions to the seated height measurement may add to give you the overall seated height of your wheelchair.

A New or Approved Used WAV?

WAVs are typically designed to accommodate different types of wheelchairs, but the amount of space required can vary depending on the type and size of the wheelchair. If you have a standard wheelchair, the good news is that these are usually more compact and will fit into most WAVs. But if you have a larger wheelchair, such as a bariatric, electric or customised wheelchair, you may need a WAV with more space. To ensure a safe, comfortable and enjoyable travelling experience, measuring a wheelchair accurately for a WAV is essential.

By following the steps to measure your wheelchair and comparing it with the specifications of available WAVs, you can find the right fit for your needs. Check out our guide to purchasing a WAV to learn more.


GowringsVersa Mobility offers a wide selection of mobility vehicles, including various new, nearly new, and used WAVs, such as the Ford Grand Tourneo Connect and Renault Trafic Lowered Floor.

If you’re looking for a new WAV, our extensive range of vehicles can cater to your specific needs and requirements. To find out more about our available vehicles, contact us online or at 0345 608 8020.

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For a free, no-obligation demonstration of one of our range of wheelchair accessible vehicles, please contact our team.


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