Monday, November 2, 2009

What Kind of Wheels Does Henry Need?

Over the past couple of weeks I've had a few well-meaning individuals contact me with alternative suggestions to solving our transportation dilemma, none of which was appropriate to the needs of our family. I realized that a little clarification on what we're aiming for and why would be helpful. While advice from a seasoned veteran is always welcome, sometimes there are just too many hidden factors for a person outside the family to understand their needs.

The cost of our van conversion is covered by a program Henry qualified for earlier this year, but it will not cover the cost of the actual vehicle. As a single parent who has only been able to return to work full time as of this past March, I am unable to finance this purchase. As far as I know there are no funding sources that will help with purchasing a vehicle, so we have turned to family, friends and the wider community to help us raise the funds.

Because the conversion is so costly, the vehicle needs to have a lot of life in it as well as suit our needs (safe, reliable, fuel efficient, long engine life) as we'll be driving it for a long time. I've narrowed the field down to a used Toyota Sienna or a Honda Odyssey. These are not the cheapest vehicles on the market, but they are the best fit for us. A good candidate for conversion would be a 2006-2009 model, in excellent condition, with less than 35,000 miles. If you know anyone with such a vehicle who wants to give us a sweet deal, send 'em our way!

So, while I could take the $5000+ we have raised and buy an old and out-of-date, gas guzzling converted van that doesn't fit our needs that might last a few years (and forgo the brand new, warranty covered conversion), or I could settle for a late model Dodge Caravan that, while significantly cheaper will have considerably less engine life, I'm thinking about the best use of our resources and the best solution for our needs in the long-term. That's going to require more $$ upfront but will save $$ down the line by reducing fuel, repair and replacement costs.


  1. Hi, I don't know you, but our fam just went through the same process of getting a van and yes to everything you said! And yes, we did homegrown fundraising and yes, ended up with a recent Toyota. It was the right choice fo us, though we wouldn't have had to fundraise for a junkier car. There is nothing more important than knowing you are safe and secure getting around when there are health or mobility issues going on.
    Wishing you years of good travels with yr son,

  2. Hi Rebecca, I didn't see this comment until just now -- thanks for your encouragement and support! I had some truly bizarre interactions with people who thought they had a better solution for our family. We're finally get a van this summer -- a 2006 used toyota/used conversion. A bit of a downgrade but still a really solid vehicle. xChloe

  3. Yes i agreed with your discussion...thanks for giving this exact reasons.!

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