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For many tradesmen and other working professionals, a van is often treated as a third arm. As such, it’s an integral part of your business and needs to be reliable. If it’s past time your old van was replaced, you’re in the right place. With Auto Trader’s van search tool, you’ll be able to find some of the very best vans in your area – all in just a few clicks.
Choose your budget, the used vans that take your interest, and your postcode. You’ll be provided with a list of adverts that best match your specifications, allowing you to find the right used van quickly and easily.
Don’t delay – start your search today and take a step closer to buying your next van.
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Our top tips for buying a used van
Reliability is of course, one of the principle driving factors behind a workhorse like commercial van – so when you’re buying your next van, ensure it has been well kept and in a good condition.
Here are some great tips to help you make the right decision. Take a look at our advice below, ensuring you’re well prepared for the viewing.
Choose a suitable budget
How much do you really want to spend on your next van? It can be a difficult question to answer and for the most part, will come down to what you need your van for, and how much it will drive your business.
It’s worth spending a little time comparing similar van listings, comparing prices and working out what the average market value is. That will help you to avoid overspending on your van. Of course, expect to spend more on a van with fewer miles on the clock – or one that’s in a better condition. However, research should give you a general idea.
Don’t just consider the cash value of the van either. How much is the road tax? Will the insurance be expensive? How economical is the van? These are other questions to ask, ensuring it’s doesn’t cost you a small fortune to keep on the road.
MOT and service history
MOTs are a legal requirement for any vehicle over three years old. Vans are issued with a certificate when they pass the MOT test, which is valid for a year. These must be renewed annually if the vehicle’s kept on the road. When you view a used van, ensure the vehicle has a valid and in date MOT certificate.
It’s also a good idea to ask for the service history. Services are completed annually, though they’re not a legal requirement. However, services ensure the van is kept in a good condition, which will improve reliability and fuel economy, amongst other benefits.
Get a second opinion
Many people view and test drive used vans alone, but unless you’re a motoring expert, it’s not a particularly good idea. Even having the second opinion of a friend or family member will be a great help, and they may well spot something you miss.
Another option is to pay for a mechanic to come along too, unless you personally know one who’ll join you for free. This way, they’ll be able to inspect the van and ensure it’s mechanically sound, saving you a small fortune in repair bills later down the line.
Choose your payment method
There are a few different ways you can pay for the used van, whether you’re buying privately or with a dealer. First of all, you could pay with cash. When buying privately, this put you in a strong position and could help you haggle some money off the asking price. Just remember to prepare a receipt that’s signed by both parties.
Another option is to pay by card, or with an online transaction, often suitable when you’re buying through a dealer. You’ll have proof of payment, and if paying by credit card, will also enjoy protection of payment.
Negotiate money off the price
Sellers will want to make as much money from their van as possible, but there’s often some bargaining room. If you’re interested in the van and want to make an offer, consider going in at a lower price to see if there’s a deal to be had.
Checklist for test driving a used van
Have you arranged a personal viewing to test drive a van that’s caught your eye? If so, make sure you know exactly what to look out for on a test drive. Whether you’re buying privately, or through a dealership, use the following checklist for your viewing.
Before test driving…
- Ensure the engine’s cold: When first starting the engine, check it’s cold and hasn’t recently been running. By doing this, you’ll be able to better spot any starting problems, or notice excessive smoke emitting from the exhaust.
- Check the fluid levels: Don’t just test drive the van – make sure it’s in a condition you’d expect for the money you’re spending. Lift up the bonnet, check the fluid levels and inspect for any signs of a leak. Also be aware of an overly clean engine – the owner could be trying to cover up any leakage.
- Give the paintwork a good inspection: The older the van, the more cosmetic damage there’s likely to be. From chips in the paintwork, to larger scratches and even dents, the damage will vary from van to van. As such, make sure to have a proper look all over and decide if it’s right for you.
- Check over the wheels: It’s not just the alloys you’ll want to inspect, but the tyres too. Are they the minimum legal tread depth (1.6mm)? Are there any tears, bulging or scuff marks? These are all factors you can use to negotiate money off the asking price.
- Test out the locks: This includes all doors, the bonnet, and the boot. Ensure they open and close with ease, and use the key fob (if there is one) to ensure the locks work properly.
When test driving a van…
- Listen for noises: Any strange noise coming from the engine should be a cause for concern. This includes rattles, whirring and banging. If you’re worried in the slightest, our best advice is to walk away or ask a professional mechanic to check over the engine.
- Test the brakes: When you’re out on the road, remember to test the brakes and ensure they’re working effectively. Try an emergency stop on a quiet road to see how they respond, noting any swerving or lack of responsiveness.
- Go through the gears: Your test drive should last between 20 minutes and half an hour, giving you ample time to drive in all the gears and spot any problems or faults. Are there any issues with the acceleration?
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