Guide to Buying a Used Van

Mini Series: Guide to buying a Used Van

At we have decided to do a little mini series of blogs about vans and commercial vehicles. Throughout the series we will touch on many subjects such as buying a van to running a van to van storage. We hope that these blogs will help new and existing van and business owners in one way or another.

Here is our first instalment about buying a used van.

If you are a tradesman or own a business, your van will be one of the most crucial pieces of equipment you will purchase. Whilst large companies may look at buying brand new commercial vans for their fleet, sole tradesman and small business owners may look to the used market for best value for money.

Having a reliable, efficient vehicle to transport you and your tools around is paramount to earning a good living, and being able to afford it and the additional costs, such as commercial van insurance, are all extremely important. Nothing however can compare to a brand new van straight of the assembly line.

What van to choose?

Even though a lot of 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 cause some problems.

One thing that we would encourage you to do is consider each and every type of van and go for the one that suits your needs and budget most. We also advise people to factor in the extra costs such as insurance, fuel costs and parking.

Prior to buying

Once you have settled on a van it’s very important that you 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 friend or somebody who has done it before to accompany you as it’s always advisable to get a second opinion. It is also advisable to have a mechanic with you to give the van a quick look over to ensure that the engine and different parts of the van are mechanically sound.

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 and 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 all the gears are smooth, that tyre the 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 previous owners.


The last thing to do but one of the most important aspects to purchasing your van is the paperwork that is involved. You should never sign any paperwork unless you are 100% happy with the vehicle. If you have any queries over the history of the van, there are companies that can provide a full vehicle history on request.

Now that you have your van all you need to do is get it out on the road. To do this you will need to get it insured. All vehicles on the road must be fully insured by law. are the first online van insurance specialists. We are able to look at your situation and needs in order to tailor make the best insurance policy for you at the lowest price. You can call our specialist van insurance team on 01 660 6900 or you can fill out our online quote form.

As well as providing Van Insurance, we also provide great rates and cover for Fleet InsuranceHaulage Insurance and Public Liability Insurance.

Looking to save money on car insurance too? Head over to for a quote today!