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Expert Advice on Buying a Second Hand Van Expert Advice on Buying a Second Hand Van


Expert Advice on Buying a Second Hand Van

Published 4th March 2019Read Time 3 min

Whether your van is brand new or second hand, for many tradespeople it will act as their own mobile office and almost like a second home at times. With this in mind, it’s important that your van is reliable as any time that your van is off the road can leave you out of work.  In light of this the AA Van Insurance team have put together some tips on what to look out for when purchasing a van on the second-hand market. White Van_600x360

What To Look for When Buying A Used Car?

I often advise van drivers in the market for a 2nd hand van to write down what their specific needs are when it comes to the following:

  1. Payload: Be 100% certain that the van’s payload (the maximum weight it can carry) is sufficient for the goods and equipment that you’ll need it to transport at any given time. Overloading your van will make your vehicle less stable, more difficult to steer, will increase your fuel consumption and cause excessive wear to your tyres. By overloading it you could also be invalidating your van insurance.
  2. Load volume: Simply put, ask yourself if you’ll be able to fit the items you need to carry into your internal load bay. Vans vary a lot in terms of height, width and weight capacity so do your homework and make sure you’re getting one that’ll meet your needs.
  3. External height: This is one to be careful on if your job means you’ll need access to underground car parks. Our Patrols will often be called out to apartment complexes where a car which a flat battery can’t be moved so the height of our vans tasked to these jobs is critical.
  4. Towing capacity: Again if you will need to tow machinery with your van double check the towing capacity.  If you’re towing more than the van is equipped to handle it will cause pre–mature wear on tyres, brakes, transmission, bearings and other components. More importantly it will severely affect your stopping distances and overall vehicle handling.
  5. Engine size: What type of driving the van will need to do? If you’re likely to be spending hours at a time driving at high speeds on motorways then a larger engine is likely to offer better fuel efficiency.

Where to buy from?

Buying privately is usually the cheapest option but it’s important to note that the seller’s only real legal obligation is to describe the van accurately. Most private sellers are well intentioned however do be wary of fraudsters. Avoid side-of-the-road sales and make sure all the vehicle’s paperwork is in order. This applies to all 2nd hand vehicles, not just vans.