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SpinLife's Guide to Exterior Platform Lifts

Exterior Platform Lifts

Exterior platform lifts are specifically designed to mount on the outside of the vehicle, plugging into a Class I, Class II, or Class III hitch receiver on vehicles ranging from sedans to minivans to SUVs and trucks. Most notably, exterior lifts are used on mid-size cars due to the fact that there may not be enough room in the trunk to fit a power wheelchair, manual wheelchair, or scooter. Additionally, exterior lifts are a great choice because they don't consume any space within the vehicle, preserving maximum cargo room and passenger seating.

Exterior platform lifts raise the mobility product well off of the ground, to driving height, with plenty ground clearance during transport. Additionally, when not in use, most exterior platform lifts fold up against the rear of the vehicle to ease maneuvering and parking, and some exterior lifts even have swing-away mechanisms, allowing access to a vehicle's rear hatch with the lift installed, retaining full access to the rear cargo area. A variation of an exterior platform lift is a tilt rack, in which the platform serves as a "tilting ramp," allowing the power wheelchair or scooter to be rolled up, onto it, where it then manually tilts into a stored, elevated position, ready for transport. It is important to note that exterior lifts do place the mobility product in direct exposure to the weather, so if you're using a lift to transport your mobility product in wet weather, it's important to use a properly fitted and secured cover.

Operating a typical exterior lift:

  1. Manually unfold the lift if stowed upright against the vehicle
  2. Using the lift's motor, lower it to the ground
  3. Roll the scooter or power wheelchair onto the platform, locking the wheels as applicable
  4. Use the manual tie-down securement straps or docking device to secure the scooter or power wheelchair
  5. Raise the platform to driving height using the lift's motor

Characteristics of an exterior lift:

  • Mounts to existing hitch receiver on vehicle
  • Transports a scooter or wheelchair on rear of vehicle
  • Preserves the vehicle's interior room
  • Does not protect scooter or wheelchair from the weather
  • Requires physical ability to secure scooter and power wheelchair, or to stow lift

View all Exterior Wheelchair Lifts
View all Exterior Scooter Lifts

By Mark E. Smith


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