Consumer research for older and disabled people

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Stowing a wheelchair in the boot or on the roof

Do you want to stow your manual wheelchair?

Once you've transferred onto your car seat, you can stow your manual wheelchair:

  • in the car boot
  • in back-seat area of your car
  • on your car roof

You're independent as you don't need

  • help to do this
  • to be able to walk round the car

These hoists can be fitted to either the driver's or the passenger's side of the car.

How they work

Roof Spider hoist
Chair Topper, here used with the Turny Orbit
  • Transfer to your car seat
  • Use a switch to bring the hoist mechanism to the car door
  • Hook your wheelchair on by hand
  • The hoist then lifts the chair on to the roof or transfers it to the back of the car and secures it safely.
  • You usually have to attach the wheelchair to the hoist
  • Some are easier than others - with some rear-loading systems you just need to position the wheelchair in the right place
  • NB: for all of them you need to be able to twist into position to use them.


A rooftop system means

  • the boot of your car remains free to carry luggage
  • an increase in the height of the car with some needing a lot of headroom to stow the wheelchair
  • they can't be used in some indoor car parks
  • you need to check the headroom from our product overview

Most rooftop systems carry the wheelchair in a box. However, in some the chair is exposed to the weather. Rooftop systems can be fitted to most cars without any modification.

Boot-loading systems are slightly less flexible than rooftop systems, as your car's boot has to be large enough, and the right shape. Systems that stow the wheelchair in the rear seat area can be fitted to a limited range of vehicles, and require considerable modification.

Overview of wheelchair stowage systems

These systems make it possible to stow a wheelchair in the car or on the roof after you have transferred to the car seat. You don't need help to do this.

AbiLoader (boot-loading hoist)

AbiloaderPrice including fitting: from £9,300
Max weight lifted (kg): 25
Max size of chair: manufacturer says it will take any folding or fixed manual chair
Weight of hoist (kg): 50
Distributed by: Steering Developments

Automatic boot-loading system with automatic boot opener/closer. There are separate models for folding/fixed-frame wheelchairs. Can be used with Steering Developments' Motion electric wheelchair range (fixed or folding). Automatically stores and secures wheelchair in boot and returns it to driver or passenger door when required. Like all boot-loading systems, requires level boot floor (no sill) and high opening.

Braun Chair Topper (rooftop hoist)

Braun Chair TopperPrice including fitting: £3,688
Max weight lifted (kg): 20
Max size of folded chair (h x w x d; cm): 83 x 35 x 93
Clearance (travelling/in use; cm): 55
Weight of hoist (kg):  56
Distributed by: Elap

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 the wheelchair. The chair is winched up into the box, which then moves back to its travelling position. The footplates do not have to be removed.

EasyLoader (rear seat loading hoist)

EasyLoaderPrice including fitting: £4,575/£4,875
Max weight lifted (kg): 20/38
Distributed by: Autochair

This hoist lifts the folded chair into the rear seat space of the car. It's designed for vehicles with a rear sliding door, but some four-door cars can be converted by modifying the rear door. You place the chair on the mechanism and it pivots it into the car. The rear seats (or the larger section of a split seat) have to be removed. You operate it with a handheld control.

Sliding door and arm (rear-seat-loading hoist)

Sliding door and armPrice including fitting: about £5,800
Distributed by: Elap

With this hoist, you can 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. Elap can fit a sliding door, with a power door opener. The rear seats (or the larger section of a split seat) will have to be removed.


Wymo Rooftop Stowage Hoist (rooftop hoist)

Wymo Rooftop Stowage HoistPrice including fitting: £1,750
Maximum weight lifted (kg): 20
Clearance (travelling/in use; cm): 32/84
Distributed by: Cowal Mobility Aids

You plug the cable into the hoist and into the cigarette lighter (a hard-wired version is available for an extra £75). The hoist is lowered and you hook on the chair by hand. You winch the chair part way by power, lean out to attach a strap, raise the chair, fix the other end of the strap and hoist up. There is no box, so the wheelchair is open to the elements.

Last updated: February 2015

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