Motability – A Guide

Focus on Disability - For Disabled People, the Elderly and their Carers in the UK

The Motability Scheme is directed and overseen by Motability, a national charity that also raises funds and provides financial assistance to customers who would otherwise be unable to afford the mobility solution they need.

Motability Operations is a not-for-profit company responsible for the finance, administration and maintenance of Motability cars, scooters and powered wheelchairs.

Overview and Eligibility

The Motability Scheme enables disabled people to use their government-funded mobility allowance to lease a new car, scooter or powered wheelchair. In fact, since the Scheme was set up in 1978, Motability has helped over 3 million people get mobile with a new vehicle.

The Motability Scheme enables disabled people to lease a new car, scooter or powered wheelchair by exchanging their Government funded mobility allowance . If you receive either the Higher Rate Mobility Component of Disability Living Allowance (HRMC DLA), the Enhanced Rate of the Mobility Component of Personal Independence Payment (ERMC PIP) , the War Pensioners’ Mobility Supplement (WPMS) or the Armed Forces Independence Payment (AFIP) you may be eligible to join the Motability Scheme.

Allowances used on the Scheme

Motability help disabled people get mobile by exchanging their mobility allowance to lease a car, scooter or powered wheelchair. To be eligible to join the Motability Scheme, you need to receive one of the following disability benefits:

Higher Rate Mobility Component of Disability Living Allowance (HRMC DLA)

This allowance is provided by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and can be used to cover the cost of a Motability lease agreement. As of 6 April 2017, this allowance will be £58.00 per week. To lease a car through Motability, you must have at least 12 months’ award length of the HRMC remaining.

Enhanced Rate of the Mobility Component of Personal Independence Payment (ERMC PIP)

As part of its welfare reform programme, the Government has started to replace Disability Living Allowance (DLA) with a benefit called Personal Independence Payment (PIP) for disabled people aged between 16 and 64. The Motability Scheme will work with PIP in the same way as is it does with DLA. As of 6 April 2017, this allowance will be £58.00 per week.

War Pensioners’ Mobility Supplement (WPMS)

This allowance is provided by Veterans UK and can be used to cover the cost of a Motability lease agreement. As of 8 April 2015, this allowance will be £64.15 per week.

Armed Forces Independence Payment (AFIP)

A new allowance called Armed Forces Independence Payment (AFIP) was introduced as part of the Welfare Reform Act 2012. Those who receive this allowance will be eligible to join the Motability Scheme. For more information, visit Veterans UK website . From April 2017, this allowance will be £58.00 per week (this refers to the mobility element, which is the same rate as HRMC DLA and ERMC PIP).

Attendance Allowance cannot be used to lease a car through Motability.

Further Information on Eligibility:

There is no upper age limit. As long as you receive one of the allowances, you are eligible for the Scheme. Parents or guardians can order a car on behalf of a child aged three years and above, who is receiving HRMC DLA. To lease a car through Motability, you must have at least 12 months’ award length remaining. Only the higher or enhanced rate of the mobility allowance is used.

Adding a Driver

Up to two named drivers are included as part of your lease; these can be yourself, friends, family or carers. You can also add a third driver at an additional cost. Therefore, you can still lease a car even if you don’t drive – you simply nominate two drivers who can drive on your behalf. Nominated drivers should normally live within five miles of the disabled customer’s address. You’ll also need to confirm that all proposed drivers agree to the terms and conditions for using a Motability car.

Only one nominated driver under 21 is permitted. This can be you or another driver who lives at your address. Drivers under the age of 25 can only drive cars in the lower ABI insurance groups of one to 16 and with a brake horsepower rating of 115BHP or less. Please bear in mind that proposed drivers with certain convictions, disqualifications or endorsements within the last five years will not be allowed.

Motability Operations

City Gate House
22 Southwark Bridge Road

Customer Helpline

Tel: 0300 456 4566


Using the car

The car is used by, or for the benefit of, the disabled person. This does not mean that the disabled person needs to be in the car for every journey. In practice, this means other named drivers in the household can use the car for shopping and other routine activities, as long as the disabled customer will benefit

  • Only named drivers listed on your Certificate of Motor Insurance can drive the car
  • That you let Motability know about any changes that may affect your lease
  • The car is not used as a taxi or delivery vehicle or for any unauthorised business use
  • The car is not lent, sub-leased or sold.

At the time of ordering your new car, you, your nominated drivers and the Motability dealer will need to sign a Statement of Responsibilities to confirm you understand and agree to follow the terms and conditions for using your Motability car.

Car Search

The Motability Car Search page. Find a car that suits your needs.

Find a Dealer

To find your Motability Specialist, use Find a Dealer tool and simply enter your postcode or nearest town. As well as car dealers, you can also search for adaptation installers and Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle (WAV) converters. The results will give you contact details, directions and a map to Motability specialists in your area. You’ll also be able to see what kind of access and facilities each dealership has to offer and useful information such as whether they offer the option to trade-in your old car.

Book an appointment with your dealer

Once you’ve found a dealer, simply call them and arrange an appointment with their Motability Specialist. That way you can be sure the Motability-trained dealer is available to help you choose the right car for your needs.

Some dealers are able to provide a home visit or transport to the showroom if you need it. If you want to test drive an automatic car you will need to arrange this when you call as there are often less of these models available on site. If you are opting for a Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle (WAV), all of the specialist WAV converters will travel to your home to help make this easier.

Visiting a dealership

Suggestions on making the most of your visit to the dealership

Make sure you’ve looked at the Motability information guides to get some useful advice on how to choose the right car for your needs and your budget.

Your dealer should be able to guide you through the whole process. However:

* Take someone with you – choosing a car is a big decision and having someone there to talk things over with often helps. If you wish to nominate a driver, they should come with you and test drive the car too. Visit the section on Test Drives below for more useful tips.
* If you use a wheelchair or any other mobility aid, take it with you so you can try the car out for size and accessibility
* Make a checklist of any specifics or extras you want in your new car (adjustable seats, electric windows etc) to help your dealer find you a suitable car
* Visit several Motability dealers to help give you a better idea of what type of car best suits your needs. Remember to test drive a few different cars at each one.
* As part of your appointment, your dealer will take you through a Motability Suitability Questionnaire. This is designed to make sure the car you’re considering, and Motability, is right for you.

Test Drives

Suggestions and checks you may wish to use regarding a test drive:

* Getting in and out of a car can be a struggle and often has a big impact on how suitable any given car is to your needs; so try getting in and out several times while in the dealership.
* Take your time and get comfortable, the test drive is for you and for your benefit.
* Check that the car doors are wide enough for you to get in and out easily, along with any equipment you may have, but that you are still able to reach the door to shut it when seated.
* Check that the doors are not too heavy, making them hard to open and close.
* If you are selecting a two-door car, make sure you can turn and stretch for the seat belt. It’s a lot further back in
two-door cars than in a standard four-door car.
* Drive on a number of different road types, and try different manoeuvres such as reverse parking to ensure the car’s performance is what you expect and that you are able to see from every angle.
* Check that you are comfortable doing a hill start in the car.
* Nominated drivers should also take the car for a test drive, but be careful not to let them over-influence your decision.


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Options available if you already have a car (privately owned)


Around a quarter of Motability’s network of nearly 5,000 dealerships now offer you the option of trading in your existing privately-owned car. This allows you to use the value of your car against any possible advance payment on your new Motability car, or you can save the money to spend how you wish.

This allows you to keep your existing vehicle until the day you collect your new Motability car; which means you do not have to worry about managing without a car, even for a short time. The price you agree with your dealer might be lower than you could get if you sold your car privately, however it does mean you avoid the hassle of a private sale.

More Motability dealers are signing up to the trade-in option all the time. Find local dealers offering this option by using our Find a Dealer search tool. Simply enter your postcode, and the dealerships that offer this facility are clearly highlighted for you.

Just a final point to note, any trade-in arrangement is made between yourself and the dealer – we are not able to comment on or negotiate the trade-in price on your behalf.

Private sale

Selling your car privately will probably get you the highest value for your car. However, you will need to ensure that you have the time and money available to prepare your car for sale.

Once the vehicle has been cleaned and any necessary repairs have been made, you will need to advertise it for sale. This can be done through your local newspaper classified section, car sale publications and websites such as Autotrader, Exchange & Mart and eBay.

Once advertised would need to set aside time to answer phone calls and meet interested parties for test drives. When you have found a buyer and have the money in hand, the last step is to transfer the title and registration, and cancel your insurance on the vehicle.

Auction Sale

If you put your car up for auction it will, almost certainly, assure you of a same-day sale. Your local auction house will tell you when and where to bring your car, and will also explain the process. The cost of selling your car through an auction can be as much as ten per cent of the hammer price plus VAT, but you are almost guaranteed a quick sale. Alternatively, BCA, one of the UK’s largest auction houses, offer a service called Sure Sell where they make all the arrangements for selling your car by auction for a fee.
Even if your car is old and of little financial value, there are other options you can consider:

Why not donate your car to charity and raise money for a good cause? Charities accepting car donations will handle almost everything for you, and you may also be able to deduct the full amount from your tax return.

Help the environment and recycle it – there are easy, safe and environmentally friendly way to dispose of your car, with many companies now offering free disposal. Look for scrap merchants (cars) in your area via Yellow Pages etc.

Car Adaptations

Adaptations are devices that can be fitted to a vehicle so that driving is safer and more comfortable, and getting in and out of the car is made easier. There are a number of adaptations available, many for no extra cost, that could improve your motoring experience, including adaptations to help with :

Speed and steering
Signalling and safety
Seating and access

If you think you may benefit from an adaptation in your new car, Motability’s Managed Adaptations Programme offers a wide variety of options that could make your driving experience more comfortable. The Programme takes away the hassle of organising adaptations by managing the process for you from start to finish.

A wide range of adaptations are available at no additional cost so you can adapt your car to suit your needs. For more information, download Your Guide to Adaptations guide.pdf

Adaption Installers search at:

WAVs a wheelchair user can drive

Motability offers a range of Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles (WAVs) all of which have the automatic features needed to enable a wheelchair user to get in and drive the vehicle completely independently.

There are two main conversion types:

either the WAV enables easy transfer to a standard or adapted seat;
or the vehicle can be driven directly from the wheelchair.

Transfer conversions are generally a cheaper and easier option if you are capable of transferring unaided, or if the vehicle is often driven by other people. Both types of conversion will need an automatic anchoring system to secure your wheelchair. These will be designed around you and your wheelchair as part of your assessment.

For more information see the Motability website:

Further Information

Disabled Travel – Motoring – Parking – Information Menu
Blue Badge Scheme and Disabled Parking Concessions