Getting a Motability Car - Process, Pros and Cons

There are more than  200,000 Motability leases taken out every year.  

To be eligible to join the Motability Scheme, you need to receive one of the following mobility allowances and you must have at least 12 months’ award length remaining. Please note that the Attendance Allowance cannot be used to lease a car through the Scheme.

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

If you have a look at, you will be able to look at what's available to you.  You can use the table on the left to filter by manufacturer and model. If you click on advanced search, you will be able to narrow your search down further for things like fuel type, number of seats and,  the soon to be popular - ejection seat - to be used for CEOs of motor companies that promise much and deliver little.  Come with me for a test drive?  I dare you!  Seat armed Moneypenny.

Now you enter the shark tank because it's time to meet the sales people of the various manufacturers.  Remember that their job is to sell.  Some of them are better than others. Some of them won't know what you're able to lease on Motability - even if they have had the relevant training.  It's been an eye opener.  Use the weblink above as your guide.  If it's on there, it should be available to you.  Some will tell you that the car has certain features, but you may discover that the car doesn't have them ... and if you've ordered the car, it may be too late to change your mind.  Check, check and triple check!  This vehicle is supposed to make life a little easier for you.  In one of the dealers in particular, there was a shocking lack of awareness between the sales and support staff on the features of a certain vehicle ... and there were conflicting views because the person in charge of leasing certain vehicles didn't understand the specifications and limitations on features in the model concerned.  I watched 4 sales people discuss conflicting views on the features of a car, this was after one member of support staff told me that I had to sort out a certain issue myself by reading the manual.  RTFM aside, the person was made aware that their particular company's website, help videos and instruction manuals all contradicted each other.

The car will be paid for by the Mobility component of your PIP (or other benefit) only.  You should still receive your Care component.  Also be aware that certain cars take up some of the Mobility component but most take all of it.  Also, some cars will require an advance payment (an extra amount on top of the lease before you drive the car away) and others won't.  

You can have as many test drives on as many models as you like.  Don't rush yourself, unless you know there's a deadline of some sort pending (eg changes of rates in Motability leases).  Make a shortlist of vehicles that suit your needs and try them all.  Remember, you need to be comfortable getting in and out of the vehicle, not just driving it and the manufacturer must be able to adapt it to your needs if necessary.  There are no awkward questions in this process.  If you need to know something, ask someone!  If they can't be bothered to answer your questions, go to a different dealership.

Do the maths for yourself as well:  What's the cost of a second hand car, MOT, Car Tax, Insurance, breakdown cover, repairs and servicing that is affordable to you (for 12 months)?  Allow for a small emergency budget as part of the costing.  Then compare that against spending your mobility component (roughly £3000) for the year that includes all of the above in a new car; NB  Your Motability lease will be for a 3 year period (around £9000); however,  there's no more worrying about missing deadlines for tax, MoT  servicing etc...and you can just enjoy driving the car.  Insurance and breakdown cover is included too...but it is expensive.

I visited 6 dealers and shortened my list to 3 and then spent a week looking at reviews on YouTube and other parts of the internet.  That got my list down to 2.

I then based my choice on communication with the dealer as well as the cars.  If a company isn't going to communicate with you in a timely manner during sales, they're probably not going to communicate with you effectively when you have a problem.  Some may use the Pandemic as an excuse, don't let them.  It demeans the serious struggles of the health professionals, carers and community groups that are risking their lives to help others.

Be very careful when you determine the specifications of your car. Sales staff deal with cars, models and specs all day long.  I don't and I found myself walking away confused and overwhelmed at various stages of the selection process.  My advice to you is this:

Get the options in print.  Some of the sellers (in all the 6 firms) weren't very good at supplying information.  Some provided it in a manner that was very confusing to read - 1 page right way up...the reverse page upside down.  You may think it doesn't matter but when you're looking at complex information, it becomes an issue, particularly if you're disabled and getting older.  

Get the information in a way that is understandable to yourself.  If they can't be bothered to supply it in an acceptable format, they're probably not very clued up on disability related issues ... and probably won't be up to the task of supporting you ... which is part of the service.

If you need to sell off your existing car, try selling it on Wizzle.  The buyer pays commission - it's free for ordinary sellers (non-dealers).

Be warned though, the quality of support from the dealer may well drop off after you have signed your lease and driven off...and if you need to take your car back before your leases has expired, there is a fee to pay.  Ford have said that it's £250.

If you take your car back at the end of the lease and there's no damage to it, you get £600 back.  

Think carefully about whether you can afford it or whether the mobility element of the benefit would be better used a different way?

Good luck!

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