Buying or Selling a Van? Here’s What You Need To Know

Are you considering buying or selling your van? Whether you’re in the market to buy or the market to sell, there’s several standardised checks that you need to carry out on the van your buying or selling.

If you’re buying:

If you have been researching the best van to buy for your needs and you’ve identified a seller, there’s a number of checks that you need to do when you scope out your new van.

If you’re selling:

If you want to get the best price you can from a potential buyer, these tips are a good base point to start from to ensure a buyer that your van is functioning and safe!

Here’s a list of factors that need to be thoroughly checked ahead of buying or selling a van.

External checklist:

Ensure your van isn’t leaning to one side:


This is a basic test. Vans that are damaged can sometimes become off centre. If you look at your van and you don’t think that it’s centred it could be due to a few factors. For example, your van could have a binding shock absorber or strut.

Poor tyre pressure could also be a contributing factor to this issue, so it’s a good idea to take your van to a garage if you’re aware of this problem and you’re selling.

If you see this issue with a van that you’re considering buying, then it might be best to steer clear.

Check the tax and transport discs:


If you’re selling a van, you need to ensure that all your tax and transport discs are valid and up to date. Also do a routine check to confirm that your licence plates are visible.

If you’re buying a van then the same standards apply, you don’t want to run into an issue with any of these factors down line, so take the time to inspect.

In Ireland there are very strict rules about the format dimensions and technical specifications of vehicle registration plates that are displayed on vehicles. So, this step is important. If you want to run your van against national guidelines, there all here.

Check the windscreen wipers:


If you’re buying a new van, the last thing you want is to get caught in the rain and find out your windscreen wipers aren’t working. Similarly, it’s very likely that if someone is coming to scope out a van you’re selling, they’re going to check the wipers.

Spare a few minutes to check them over. Lift the arms that the wiper and blade are mounted to, then run your fingers along the rubbed blade. Rubber can harden over time, so just make sure that the rubber doesn’t look frayed or broken up.

Eye up the frames too, make sure that they aren’t bent or out of line. This will help to easily identify a problem that will need to be rectified down the line.

Check that the trailer brake is functioning.


Checking the trailer brake in a van is something that could easily be forgotten about by both the buyer or the seller of a new van. You’ll want to look for a slide bar on your brake controller. It should go from 0 to 10 or will have an indicator light. Check your brake controller manual if you don’t find it right away.

Once you’ve located the slide bar, start pulling on it gradually as you drive forward slowly. You should feel stronger and stronger resistance as you move from 0 to 10. If you’re not feeling much or any braking as you approach 10, you’ll know you have a problem. Because this testing method bypasses the truck pedals, you’ll get a more accurate sense of trailer brake function. You’ll know that any resistance is coming exclusively from the trailer itself, not the tow vehicle brakes.

If you’re selling a van and you’re confident that your trailer brake isn’t working as it should, then take your van to the mechanic before you advertise your vehicle.

If you’re buying a van, and your suspicious the trailer brake might be dodgy, then ask the seller to get it looked at prior to purchasing.

Check the fuel cap.


The first step in checking your fuel cap is to look at the fuel cap light internally. If this light is on, then straight off the bat you know that you have a fuel cap issue. If the light is not on but you are suspicious, do an external check too.

Open and close the fuel cap to ensure that it is operating effectively and isn’t too loose. Then check the area around the fuel cap. If you see signs of leakage, then there could be an issue.

Sometimes you can also identify a fuel cap issue by an intense smell of fuel around the cap, naturally there will be a slight smell of petrol but if it’s overwhelming then further investigation might be required.

Fuel consumption is expensive, and you don’t want to increase the cost for yourself or for a potential buyer of your vehicle.

If you’re not 100%, then it might be worth having a mechanic look over it if you’re selling your van or asking your buyer to have it professionally checked before you make a purchase.

At insuremyvan.ie we offer fantastic van insurance cover and a great price too. Contact our insurance brokers and let their expert knowledge help you!