Car Transfer with Assistance


Getting into a car can be a challenging transfer. At first, you might need one or two people to help. The amount of help you need depends on the height of the car and your skill. With practice, some people learn to transfer alone. Always practice transfers with your therapist before trying alone.

Getting your Wheelchair into Position for a Transfer
  1. Remove the footrest on the side you are transferring
  2. Position the wheelchair on a small angle as close to the seat as possible.
  3. Remove the armrest and clothing guard on the side you are transferring.
  4. Put your breaks on.
  5. Place your feet on the ground extended away from the direction of transfer.
Using Transfer board

Many people need to use a transfer board when transferring. The board helps make a bridge between your wheelchair and the seat. Place one end of the transfer board on your chair’s seat, a little bit under your bum. The other end of the board should go on the car seat. Make sure that there is lots of board on each surface. For a car transfer, you might need a longer board than for other transfers.

Assistant Positions

Behind you: An assistant can stand behind your chair. They will help you transfer by reaching over the backrest and lifting under your bum. They can also hold your belt or the top of your pants instead.

In front of you: If there is enough space, an assistant can stand in front of you, facing your chair. During the transfer, the assistant lifts you while you lean into them. They will lift you from under your hips, your belt, or the side of your pants.

Transferring to a Car Seat:
  1. Put your wheelchair into position (see above).
  2. Move the car seat as far back as possible.
  3. Bring your bum to the front of your wheelchair seat.
  4. Place the hand closest to the car about half-way across the transfer board. Place the other hand on the wheelchair’s armrest or seat.
  5. Before transferring, lean forward with your head facing away from the car seat.
  6. Instruct your assistant to help lift you when you say “1, 2, 3, LIFT!”
  7. Each time you say ‘LIFT’, push up with your arms to lift your bum across the transfer board. Your assistant should help lift and move your bum towards the car seat. It may take several lifts to get into the car
  8. Once you’re on the car seat, lean back and get stable. The assistant can help bring your legs in and adjust your clothing.
Car transfer with one person assisting.
Safety Tip: When helping someone with transfers, keep your back straight and lift with your arms and legs.
Transferring to a Car Seat with two Assistants

Some people may need extra help transferring. With two assistants, the steps for the transfer are done in the same way as described above. In this case, the assistants do most of the work. With two assistants, lean into the person in front during the transfer.

Car transfer with two people assisting.
Safety Tip: : When you do a transfer, watch your skin. Lift your bum up before moving towards the seat. Drag your bum across the transfer board can cause skin damage.
Transferring from the Car to your Wheelchair

When transferring from the car to your wheelchair, the steps are very similar. An assistant can stand behind you while lifting and guiding your bum into your chair.

Transfer from car to chair.

Disclaimer: Information is provided for educational purposes only. Consult a qualified health professional regarding specific medical concerns or treatment. University Health Network does not assume and disclaims any liability to any party for any loss or damage caused by errors or omissions in this publication.