We’d all love a shiny new van, but a used van can offer massive savings that you can spend on other areas of the business and often they’re just as good as a brand new machine. If your van is going to take a beating, too, then it makes no sense to spend a lot more on shiny paint that is going to get scratched in any case.
If you’re looking at a used van, though, you want to make sure it’s going to turn up to work day in and day out. It’s largely similar to testing a car; if you don’t know what to look out for then take a mechanic, but vans have their own quirks you need to look out for, too. So here are a few of the things to check:
If it feels like the van is sloping from one side to the other then it may mean that it has been unevenly loaded during its life and that has created lasting problems. An unbalanced van can be dangerous, can handle poorly and will almost certainly have issues with the suspension or tracking.
We’ve all seen vans belching black smoke. The engines take a lot of strain if they’re moving heavy loads and black smoke is never a good sign. It could be a turbo that’s struggling, it could be a diesel pump about to let go or it could be a number of other things, none of them good. If it smokes, walk away.
A worn lining on the interior is a good sign, it means the van has been protected from the early days. If the lining is new, though, it might be hiding serious damage, so have a look behind any suspiciously new liner.
If the van has been overloaded consistently then there might be structural damage that will be an expensive fix. Make sure you check as best you can.