When buying a van for work it may seem like a good idea to buy used to save money. And you’d probably be right. We want you to save money, so we think buying a used van for your business is a great idea, provided you do it right. Keep reading and we’ll talk you through how to avoid the pitfalls of buying a used van in the UK.
Check the paperwork
Many of the vehicles on UK roads have been stolen, and if you purchase one of these vehicles and it gets traced back to you, you must relinquish ownership. To check this you must go to the DVLA website and enter the number plate. If it has been reported as stolen then walk away. Other paper’s you’ll want to check to give you a good idea of the van’s condition are the service history papers. Commercial vehicles are generally subject to heavy use, and a full service history should offset much of the wear and tear that a used van has likely incurred. Making sure your van is in a sound condition under the hood is important not just for avoiding future maintenance bills, but for insuring it stays on the road so that you can keep operating as a business.
Check the tyres
Tyres are your van’s only point of contact with the road, so they should be of a good enough standard for your safety on the road as well of the safety of those around you. You’ll need to check for cracks and bulges in the tyre wall, and check that the tyre tread is at least 1.6mm. If any of the tyres fail on any of these points then you would need to factor in the cost to replace these tyres to abide by UK motoring laws. It may also be an indicator that the van you are viewing has been poorly maintained.
Check the bodywork
Check your bodywork for rust as this could spread and make the van un-roadworthy. Common places for rust to accumulate include the sills and the underside of the car, wheel arches and engine bay.
Check the electrics
Any wear and tear in the interior will likely be cosmetic, so whether you don’t mind a shabby interior is largely up to your personal preference. It may however affect resale value. The most important thing to check in your interior inspection is that all the electrics work. If the van has a factory fitted stereo it is good practice to check that the owner has a serial number.
Check the lights
Get the owner to test the lights so you can see they are working. Replacing bulbs is generally a cheap job, but it is important this is done before you drive off to avoid points on your driving licence.
Check the steering
Check that the steering is not excessively heavy or unresponsive. This issue may be caused by under deflated tyres, but if it’s a power steering fault it could be costly. Also check that the steering fluid hasn’t run dry.
Check the engine
Any issues with the engine could be costly so it is important to check for anything unusual such as a knocking sound, a crunching sound, or any other unusual sounds when the engine is running. Check also for excessive smoke coming from the exhaust pipe. On your test drive you should check the car for low rev power. Any unusual lack of power could be down to a fault with the turbocharger is the van has one.
Check the breaks
When your test drive, look for a long, straight, clear stretch of road and, when safe to do so, apply the brakes. Listen out for any suspect grinding or squealing noises. Any rubbing from the wheels when you are driving along me also be attributed to warped or misaligned brakes.