Guide to buying a used van

VQD Van ForecourtAs a business, your van will be one of the most crucial pieces of equipment you will buy. Whilst large companies may seek to purchase brand new models for their fleet, sole tradesman will often look to the used market for best value for money and having a reliable, efficient vehicle to transport you and your tools around is paramount to earning a good living.

What van to choose?

Whilst the varying van models and brands may look similar from the outside, the range of vans available to the buyer has never been greater and some offer advantages over others depending on what they will be used for. Commercial van insurance policies will also differ depending on size, model and specific features of the van.

Micro vans for instance tend to be better suited to town driving in busy city centres but won’t be suitable for long journeys. Whereas large panel vans are built for higher volume and weight but driving in tight streets may be tricky.

Using one of the many comparison websites now available, consider each and every type of van and settle on the one that suits your needs and budget most.

Prior to buying

Once you have settled on a van it’s absolutely crucial to view your potential purchase. Whilst buying online is common place nowadays and very convenient, never hand over any money prior to inspecting the vehicle.

If you’re inexperienced with purchasing vehicles, ask a knowledgeable friend, relative or even a mechanic to accompany you as it’s always advisable to get a second opinion.

Also, if you’re purchasing from a dealer, ensure that you’re not swayed by a salesperson to spend more on a higher spec model – stick to your original budget, always being aware of how much the make and model sells for elsewhere.

Be sure to inspect the interior and exterior of the vehicle thoroughly, looking for any signs of wear and tear and making sure that all additional features of the van are working as they should. Mileage is also really important, as this will directly reflect the condition of the van.

It is pivotal to check the vehicle’s logbook carefully too, ensuring that the seller’s name, vehicle identification number and other details all match.

Give it a spin

Provided you’re happy with what you see ask the seller to take the vehicle for a test drive. Whilst the vehicle may appear perfect at a standstill, giving it a drive will highlight any problems that could be hiding under the bonnet.

Check that gear changes are smooth, that tyre treads are road legal and ensure that the brakes are given a proper workout. Anti-freeze and oil levels will also give a good indication of how well the van has been looked after by prior owners.


The last requirement but one of the most important aspects to purchasing your van is the paperwork. Under no circumstances should you sign any paperwork unless you are 100% happy with the vehicle. If you have any queries over the history of the van, organisations such as the AA can provide a full vehicle history on request.

If there’s anything we missed in our guide to buying a used van, or if you have some further valuable advice to offer, be sure to let us know.


Try our sister site Rightsure Insurance for Van Insurance without the aggregator

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