The CarGurus Guide to Buying a Used Van

We don’t just list used cars for sale on CarGurus, but vans too. But how do you know what van is best for your business, how much is fair to pay and what features to look for? In this guide we’ve answered exactly those questions, and a few more besides.

What van you need will depend on what it’s going to be used for. That bargain basement offer might not seem so cheap, for example, when you realise it doesn’t accommodate everything you need to carry. Don’t just consider size either, but weight too. By law all vans have a maximum gross vehicle weight (also known as laden weight), which is what it is allowed to weigh when fully loaded, including driver, passengers, fuel and payload. Drive a van that is overloaded and the safety – and thus legal – implications are serious.

In our latest piece of research CarGurus has found the most affordable and expensive cities in the UK to purchase a used van, with Glasgow coming out as the prime place to bag a bargain.

The study found that on average the price of a used van in Glasgow is 2.4% lower than the national average, followed by Edinburgh (2.2%), Sheffield, Manchester (both 1.9%) and Stoke-on-Trent (1.8%).

At the other end of the scale Plymouth in Devon was shown to be the most expensive place to pick up a van, with prices 4.2% above the national average. For that you can partly thank there being an above average number of searches for the Volkswagen Transporter relative to those for the cheaper Ford Transit compared with other regions, as well as a more limited supply of stock in general.

Search for used vans for sale on CarGurus

As ever when buying a vehicle, if a van looks too good to be true then it probably is. That’s where CarGurus unique algorithms can help, measuring not only price but also dealer ratings, mileage, age, specification and more to show you the best deals from top-rated dealers. In doing so you can feel more confident of getting a fair deal.

It’s not just purchase price you need to consider, but running costs too. You can easily spend hundreds of pounds more on fuel than you need to by opting for the wrong engine for your needs, whether it’s burning more diesel in a big engine that you just don’t need, or having to work a smaller engine harder because you’re carrying heavy loads over long distances. Road tax and insurance will vary between vans too, so be sure to compare a few options to see which is most cost effective for your needs.

If a faulty or broken down van means you can’t get the job done it’ll cost your business time and money. It’s vital therefore to be able to trust the vehicle you buy, which in turn means evidence of regular servicing is key. Look for a clean MOT record as further evidence that a van has been well cared for, noting that the most common reasons for failure according to the DVSA are vehicle lighting, brakes and suspension.

While they might still be workhorses, modern vans are also much better equipped than their predecessors ever were. Air conditioning, decent sound systems with DAB radio, and comfortable interiors should be the order of the day. Don’t forget about useful safety gadgets such as hill hold assist and reversing cameras either, both of which can help to take the stress out of urban driving, as well as reduce the chances of a silly bump or scrape.

If you need a little extra reassurance consider asking any van-savvy friends or family to help with your search, as well as paying for a used vehicle inspection and vehicle history check. In doing so you can significantly reduce the chances of buying a van with a hidden past or something that has problems stored up waiting to cost you money.

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