Unlike buying a new van that’s come straight off the production line in pristine condition and will likely come with an extended warranty, a used van requires some additional considerations if you want to make sure you are getting a good deal which won’t cost you later down the line. Most used vans have travelled thousands of miles and may also have blurry usage or service histories which means that when assessing their condition, you often have to take matters into your own hands. Here are 6 things to look for the next time you look at a used van.
1. Check for rust
Bumps and scrapes on the bodywork of your van may be unsightly but they don’t really impact its usability, rust, on the other hand, has the potential to be a more costly problem that you will need to get fixed. Check for rust on the wings, sills, below the bumpers, inside the wheel arches, around the door frame and at the corners of the windscreen.
2. Pay attention to how it performs when you drive it
All trustworthy used van retailers, such as Manchester Van Sales, will let you take a vehicle for a test drive before making your decision. This is the time to check out the suspension, make sure the air conditioning is working, get a feel for the responsiveness of the steering and to perform a brake check. To perform a brake check, find a safe and straight piece of road before applying the brakes to see if the vehicle stops smoothly and in a straight line.
3. Check that all the electrics work
Have someone perform a light check for you on the van so that you can see whether any lights are not working or are flickering. Don’t forget to also check the electrics on the inside of the vehicle such as any interior lights or electric windows. If the interior or exterior electrics are not all in good working order then this could be an indication of further, more complex electrical problems.
4. Look at the interior
The interior of a second-hand van can vary significantly from one vehicle to another but can be a good indicator of how well the van was looked after in a previous life. Other than obvious cosmetic issues such as damage to the seats, check to ensure there are no warning lights on the dashboard and ensure that all the door locks and seatbelts are in good working order. If any seatbelts are missing, then the van is not legal to drive. If the interior of the van is in particularly bad order, then this may be an indication that it has not been so well looked after over the years.
Check the paperwork
The DVLA’s online database can help you compare the details of the van and ensure that the vehicle is not reported as lost or stolen. Also, be sure to ask to see a full-service history including any receipts for the work that has been carried out to the van. If you are purchasing the vehicle through a reputable trader then it is likely that these checks have already been done for you, but it doesn’t do any harm to cross-reference them yourself.
Photographs courtesy of Ford UK