Any time you choose to buy a used vehicle, there’s a higher risk of problems than with a new vehicle. When it comes to vans, many of these vehicles are used much more often than a private vehicle. Also, you have no idea how the van was used or how well it was taken care of.
Commercial vans are usually operated by more than one person and their driving habits can vary greatly. All used vehicles will go through wear and tear but commercial vehicles probably have a higher rate. If you are in the market for a used van, be very careful. You might think you are getting a great deal but due to poor maintenance and hidden problems, it could turn into a real headache.
Here are a few things you should definitely check out to ensure you are getting a vehicle that’s worth the price.
Perform A Thorough Examination Of The Exterior
The exterior of a vehicle can give you a lot of information including how well it was maintained and operated. Outside of dents, look for scratches or damaged paint, and rusted areas. Pay very close attention to areas that are not easily visible. You should look around the van, under the door frames, under the bumpers, the wheel wells, corners, and under the entire van. Many used vans will have some rusting but you need to check it out carefully to ensure it’s only surface damage and not a deeper issue
The Shock Absorbers
Shock absorbers will speak volumes about the condition of a used van. To check them, push down on each corner of the van. The vehicle should spring back to its normal position immediately. If it bounces up and down or makes a lot of creaking sounds, the shock absorbers and suspension are probably in bad shape. You can confirm your suspicions by taking it for a test drive.
Look For Electrical Issues
You do not have to start the engine. Simply switch on the headlights and check the various indicators. If the lights are not functioning properly or flickering, it’s either your battery or you have electrical issues.
Check Your Tyres Closely
Always check the tyres as well as the spare tyre. Check the tread depth to see if they are wearing out equally or it’s only one tyre. If the wear is not equal you could have a wheel alignment problem. If the tyres are old or in bad shape, you will have to replace all of them, if you choose to purchase the van.
Check The Interiors
Get into the van and start checking the interior. Look for cracked plastic parts and/or broken controls. Are the seats in a good or bad condition? Are the seatbelts and door locks working properly? Switch on the engine and find out if it starts easily on the first attempt or not? Are the windows operating properly? Lastly, check out the dashboard for any warning lights.
Check Out The Heating & Cooling System
You need to find out if the heating and cooling system is working properly The fans should work correctly and the air coming from the vents should be clean minus any odours. If the system cools very slowly there could be issues. Also, if the air smells musty and damp, the system needs serious cleaning.
Take A Test Drive
Find an unpopulated road to test drive the van. Go slowly so you can check the steering and brakes. By checking the steering, brakes, clutch, and gear shifts you will find out if they are working properly. Listen for various noises such as squeaks, rattles, or other strange sounds. If the vehicle pulls to one side, you might have an alignment problem. Is the ride too bumpy? Are you experiencing noises or vibrations when you apply the brakes?
Before completing your test drive and turning off the engine, look at the instrument panel and see if any warning lights have come on. Also, the engine should be within the normal operating temperature. If the temperature is above normal you might have overheating issues.
Check The Van’s Service History
You will be able to see if the van was serviced at the recommended intervals and/or mileage. Check if there have been any accident repairs or other issues. Make sure to verify the service history with the dealer or at an authorized garage.
Get The Van Inspected By A Reputable Authorized Garage
After you have finished your basic check you should be able to assess the condition of the van. Before buying it, have it checked by a reputable authorized garage. Getting it inspected at a specialist garage has several advantages. You will have an expert looking over the van and they will be able to detect issues that you may have missed.
Once the specialist gives you a list of defects and repairs estimates, you will have a clearer idea of what the van will cost you. If there are serious issues, you can either renegotiate the cost for the van or decide to look elsewhere for another van. The ball is in your court!
Getting a professional inspection performed makes a lot of sense before purchasing a used commercial van. When you decide to buy, you will have confidence and not worry about the cost.
For van inspections in Manchester and North Manchester, Bury, Oldham, Bolton, Rochdale, Tameside etc, contact us or call us on 0161 628 5270 at the Van Centre Manchester, our specialists can run through a thorough professioanal inspection of your potential van purchase, help you to make an informed decision and potentially save you money.