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Motability: What is it and how does it work?

An introductory guide to the Motability car and scooter scheme

Established in 1978, the Motability Car and Scooter Scheme has helped millions of disabled people across the UK become more mobile. It offers an affordable, easy way for people with disabilities to lease a car, powered wheelchair or scooter in exchange for their Motability allowance.

Who can join?

To be eligible to join the Motability Scheme you must receive one of the following Motability allowances:

  • Higher Rate Motability Component of Disability Living Allowance (HRMC DLA)
  • Enhanced Rate Mobility Component of Personal Independence Payment (ERMC PIP)
  • Armed Forces Independence Payment (AFIP)
  • War Pensioners Mobility Payment (WPMS)

To qualify you must have at least 12 months remaining on one of the allowances at the time of application.

If you are a parent or carer you can apply on behalf of a child who is receiving one of the above awards. You can also apply for a car as a passenger if you are eligible but do not drive.

How to join Motability

Nearly 5,000 dealerships across the UK have Motability Scheme specialists on hand to offer expert help and advice. You can search online for dealers and cars using the official search tool on the Motability website. Once you have found a dealership that is convenient you can chat through your options and arrange a test drive.

What is on offer?

  • A new car on a three year lease
  • A wheelchair accessible vehicle on a five year lease
  • A less than two and a half year old wheelchair accessible vehicle on a three year lease
  • A new powered wheelchair, or scooter on a three year lease
  • A custom-built powered wheelchair on a five year lease

Choosing the right vehicle

Motability BMW

There are over 2,000 cars to choose from, covering a wide range of manufacturers. You can narrow down your search using the car search tool, which allows you to specify makes, models and budgets. A wide variety of car models are on offer including Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Audi and Mini.

If you find transferring from your wheelchair into a car difficult, a WAV could be the best option for you. WAVs are vehicles that allow wheelchairs users to travel in them whilst remaining in their wheelchair, either as a passenger or driver. They come in all different shapes, sizes and have a variety of different features. Find your ideal WAV using this search tool from the official Motability website.

If your lifestyle is better suited to shorter journeys, a scooter or powered wheelchair could help with your mobility. From small boot scooters, to large road ready scooters there are over 300 products to choose from.

Motability scooter


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Once you have chosen which scheme you wish to join, you must then agree to pay over all, or part of your allowance to it. In some instances, cars will be less than your weekly allowance meaning you will still receive the remainder of your allowance. Many cars available through the scheme will not require additional cash, however, if you wish to upgrade you will have to pay an additional upfront payment.

Benefits of the Motability scheme

  • Insurance of two drivers
  • Servicing, maintaining and repairs carried out by experienced specialists
  • Specialist RAC breakdown cover
  • Tyre and Windscreen replacement
  • Wide range of adaptations to make driving easier
  • A new vehicle of your choice every three years
  • Annual car tax

How are vehicles adapted?

The Motability scheme offers over 400 adaptions to vehicles to make driving or travelling as comfortable as possible. These adaptions are a central part of the scheme, as they enable a person to drive who may not have been previously able. A few of the key adaptions are:


  • Hand Controls – allows you to control the speed of the car with your hands
  • Electronic Accelerators – for people with limited mobility in their legs
  • Left foot accelerators – allows you to control speed with your left foot
  • Pedal modifications – raises the height of the pedals bringing it closer to the driving seat
  • Steering aids – for people who have difficulty holding or turning a steering wheel


  • Car boot hoist – a hoist that stores your wheelchair or scooter in your car boot
  • Rooftop Stowage – allows your to store a folder wheelchair in a box on the roof of your car


  • Transfer plates – fitted to the side of the car seat to provide an easy transfer from wheelchair to car seat
  • Electronic person hoist – lifts you from wheelchair to car
  • Swivel seats – a seat that moves in and out of the car for easy access

The Motability Car Scheme is a fantastic way for people with disabilities to gain independence through an easy, worry-free organisation. From choosing a brand new car, WAV or powered scooter from a range of all the latest makes and models to having insurance, breakdown assistance, servicing and maintenance included in the price you pay; you can experience all the freedom that comes with a hassle-free lease.

Motability MINI

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