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How To Buy A Used Van

There comes a time when a tradesman or company is looking to buy a used van, for use with their business. Buying a used van can offer many benefits over a brand new one, such as the relatively low purchase price and the reduced amount of depreciation.

So whether you buy a van from a private seller or a van dealer such as, there are a few things that you should bear in mind before you hand over any of your hard-earned cash. Here is what you need to know:

Determining van requirements

The first thing you should do on your quest to buying a used van is to decide what your requirements are.

For example, some people will be looking to be a large, long wheelbase van if they need to transport a lot of goods around the United Kingdom on a daily basis, whereas other people are perfectly happy with a small van, such as the Ford Transit Connect.

You will also need to consider whether you want a van solely for practicality, or whether you would like a bit of ‘luxury’ (i.e. air conditioning, built-in satellite navigation, and so on).

There is also the question of engine performance and fuel economy; do you prefer one over the other, or would you rather have a van which offers a healthy balance between the two?

Where to buy a van

The most common ways to buy a van are from a private seller, a used van specialist, through your local auction house, or on the Internet through a classifieds website.

Although an increasing number of people in Britain prefer to look online and grab a bargain, it is best to go out and look at a van in person before deciding whether to buy it or not. Most online sellers are happy for people to come out and view vans; a large number of those sellers are actually van dealers anyway.

Used van buyer’s checklist

When you go out to view any used van for sale, you should have with you a written or mental used van buyer’s checklist. Here are some of the most important things you should be checking when you are viewing the van in question:

  • Van history – as with cars, you should be checking the history of any van for sale, regardless of whether it is being sold by a private or trade seller. An HPI Check will flag up anything of concern, such as whether the van has been reported stolen, is an insurance write-off, or has outstanding finance on it;
  • Exterior condition – how good is the bodywork on the van? You will need to check how well it has been cared for by its former owner, and make a mental note of any accident damage or rust as you can use this as a factor to negotiate the price with;
  • Interior condition – vans are going to have been mainly used by tradesmen so there will be a lot of wear and tear, just make sure there is nothing too excessive;
  • Engine – does the engine sound and perform well, and is there any excessive smoke being emitted from the exhaust?
  • Service history – does the van come with a full service history? Does it have a full MOT?

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