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What To Look Out For When Buying A Used Van

What To Look Out For When Buying A Used Van

Posted in Vehicle Parts by Goldstar Commercials on April 10th 2019
As a leading vehicle dealership in Staines, we’re often asked about the differences between purchasing a new or used van. Technically, any new van becomes ‘used’ the moment it’s driven off the dealership forecourt by the purchaser. The only difference is that new-purchased vans will not have any miles on the clock (and be backed by an extensive warranty), whereas the average used van will have travelled thousands of miles over several years, which may leave their usage history a mystery.

So purchasing any used van may cause concerns that it isn’t as good as what the dealer has portrayed it to be. The only way of knowing if it’s true to its value is by checking it yourself – this is why we have put some tips together on what to look out for before doing the deal to purchase a used van.

Checking A Used Van: Advice From A Vehicle Dealership In Staines

Regardless of the age or type of van you’re interested in, ensure you do sufficient research on the seller, as well as the van make and brand in order to be aware of who/what you’re dealing with. Here are some general things to look out for when buying any used van:

  • The bodywork. The first thing you should check for, on a van’s bodywork, is rust. It’s at its most obvious on the wings, sills and bumpers. Rust can also be found under the wheel arches, around the doorframe and in the corners of the windscreen. If you happen upon any rust, gently press on it – if you hear any ‘cracking’ sounds, this may be a sign of corrosion.

  • Lights. If they dim or flicker in odd cycles, this is a sign that the van’s overall electrical health isn’t as good as it should be. You should think twice about going through with the sale if any brake lights, headlights, fog lights, interior lights or indicators are not working properly.

  • Brakes. When test driving a used van, ensure that you find a safe, straight piece of road on which you can test the brakes. Doing this will help you to know whether the brakes have a good, solid feel and are able to make the van stop in a straight line. During testing, listen out for any grinding or squealing noises; these are indicators of malfunctioning brakes.

  • Suspension. An easy way to gauge the suspension capabilities of a used van is by pushing down on each of its corners. If the vehicle bounces once and then returns to its normal position, this is an indicator that the shock absorbers are working fine. If you have any concerns, the test drive will help you to confirm whether there is a real issue with the suspension.

  • Tyres. As a big part of our vehicle dealership in Staines, we’re constantly fielding questions about tyre care. Being the only point of contact between the van and the road, it is vital that you check the treads and sidewalls on each tyre – including the spare. A tread of less than 1.6mm is not legal to use on UK roads. The sidewalls should be free from bulges and damage – uneven wear on the tyres suggest probable steering, suspension or tracking issues.

  • The engine. The bonnet of the van should be cold to the touch before you start the engine – if it’s warm, this means that the engine is warm, which could be an indication of a problem. As you start the engine, look out for any excessive smoke, and listen for any unusual noises.

  • Steering. The steering properties of a used van should be responsive to you, with no ‘free play’. If the steering is vague, it may not be a reliable indicator of low or high tyre pressures.

  • The interior. Housing the driver, passengers and the load, the condition and functionalities of a van’s interior is just as important as the exterior. When you sit inside the van, make sure that the windows and in-car electronics function properly. Take a look at the dashboard and ensure that no warning lights are illuminated. Check that the seatbelts and locks operate properly too – a van is not road worthy unless it has working seatbelts.

  • Air-con. A good number of vans made within the last 20 years will have air conditioning set-ups, so it is important to make sure that it works (if we assume that you van has one). The fans should be able to operate on all speeds and the air con compressor should not be too noisy. Once you’ve checked the air con, perform similar checks on the heater too.

  • The paperwork. No matter if you’re dealing with someone who is selling their van through a classified ad or you’re buying from a professional vehicle dealership in Staines, you should always check the details of the van you intend to buy against the DVLA’s database, to ensure everything is genuine.

    You should always ask to see a full service history, with receipts for any work that has been carried out too. Reputable traders would do this automatically, without you needing to ask, so you can rest safe in the knowledge that you’re investing in a genuine vehicle that is everything that it says it is.

Choose Goldstar For Reliable Used Van Sales

If you’re searching for a reliable used van sales service, then look no further than the vast and vibrant range here at Goldstar Commercials. Just some of the vans we have on sale include LDV Maxus panel vans, Ford Transit, refrigerated vans, 4x4s, tipper vans and much more besides  – no matter the trade you’re in, we can help.
Being a long-established light commercial vehicle company, we have built up a great reputation within the industry, allowing us to access top quality used vans and van parts from an array of prestigious brands. Why not take a look around and see for yourself?



If you have any questions that you would like to ask about anything you may see on our website or about our service in general, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us today. You can call our vehicle dealership in Staines on 0208 890 2000. If you prefer to get in touch via e-mail, you can do so at info@goldstarcommercials.co.uk
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