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How to Choose a Hitch-Mounted Carrier for your Mobility Device

08/01/2022

Before you start

Please be aware that not all vehicles are designed to support the weight of a hitch-mounted carrier. Even with a hitch, transporting a carrier won’t create the same force as towing a trailer since there is no additional wheel support to transfer some of the downward motion while the vehicle is moving.

Discount Ramps has a comprehensive article, Understanding the Limitations of Hitch-Mounted Carriers, that goes into depth about the weight ratings and forces to understand in order to properly assess if your vehicle is suitable for transporting a hitch-mounted carrier.

Before purchasing a hitch-mounted carrier, it’s important to understand your vehicle’s limitations, the size of your scooter or wheelchair, and the strength of the person who will be loading it up the most. These factors will determine the carrier that is not only the best fit for your car, but also the best fit for your needs.

Disclaimer

This article offers information about choosing a hitch-mounted carrier under the assumption that the reader knows their vehicle is capable of supporting said carrier. It is for educational use only, and Mobility Mart is not liable for damage, injury or accidents that may occur from purchasing a Mobility Mart carrier after reading this article.

Write down the specifications of your mobility device

Write down the specifications of your mobility device

Using a tape measure, note the overall footprint (L x W) of your power chair or scooter. This will give you the minimum interior platform size you will need for your carrier.

Mobility Mart carriers are available in interior platform lengths from 23.5” L to 60” L, and interior platform widths from 21” W to 33” W.

Using the make and model of your device, use the internet to find the weight of the manufacturer’s website, or weigh your device by hand. This will give you the minimum weight capacity you will need for your carrier.

Mobility Mart carriers have weight capacities starting at 135 lbs. all the way up to 500 lbs.

Research carrier features to find what works for you

Although the selection might appear overwhelming at first, carriers can be broken down by the following features:

Loading method: Electric operation or ramp

If the person loading the device has physical limitations, an electric lift & carrier will allow them to roll the device directly onto the lowered platform, secure it, then raise it up at the push of a button or flick of a switch. Even though they tend to be pricier, they will greatly reduce the amount of effort it takes to load and unload a scooter or power chair.

The biggest advantage of a carrier with a loading ramp is that is won’t require any wiring during installation. The person loading the device rolls it up and onto the platform using the integrated ramp, and the ramp folds up and locks in place during transport.

Mobility Mart carrier ramps range from 36” L x 24” W all the way up to 62” L x 32” W.

One carrier that bridges the gap is the Tilt-a-Rack carrier by Silver Spring. It’s a simple carrier design with a built-in sliding ramp, and the entire carrier platform tilts to one side for easier loading with a smaller ramp size.

Construction material: Steel or aluminum

Some electric carriers might have plastic components; however, the majority of carriers are constructed from either steel or aluminum frames.

Steel carriers are painted or power-coated for rust resistance, and are very durable – hard to ding and damage. Aluminum carriers are more lightweight, however are often priced higher than steel because of the manufacturing process and cost of raw materials. The lighter weight can be a benefit if your scooter is on the heavy side, as it might help you avoid going over the limit of your vehicle’s tongue weight. Aluminum carriers are generally uncoated, because the metal won’t corrode in the same way as steel when exposed to moisture or salt.

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