August 14, 2019 at 9:00 AM

If you need to buy a van for your business, there's a number of decisions you need to make, including whether you should buy a used van or a new van. Although both have their advantages and disadvantages, buying a second-hand van offers a smaller initial capital investment.

If you do your research to find a van in good condition that has been well looked after, it represents less risk to the business. A used van can be a better choice for a number of reasons, including:

  • Cost
  • Choice
  • Less depreciation
  • Manufacturer warranty
  • Legal rights (when not buying privately)

Cost

Naturally, a used van will be cheaper than a brand new van which means you have to spend less money to get a new van for your business. The lower cost of a used van makes it easier to absorb, whether it's paid for in full at the time of purchase, or spread over a longer period using finance.

Used vans can be still be expensive, but buying a second hand model helps to make your money go further. For example, if you have £10,000 to spend on a small van, you could allocate majority of that budget to buying the van and keep some back for signwriting or insurance.

Choice

The number of commercial vehicles registered in the UK has been increasing since July 2018 according to data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

Although you won't be able to pick the van's exact specification, it means that there are even more used vans on the market than ever before. This provides van buyers with a greater breadth of choice when it comes to choosing their next van.

In addition, manufacturers are regularly releasing updated models with new technologies that make their vans more advanced. If you're happy to drive a previous generation, they will be more readily available when the newest version comes to market.

Less Depreciation

Typically, around 20% of a new van's value is wiped out as soon as it's driven off the forecourt. After three years, many will have lost up to two-thirds of their value. A buyer purchasing a new van must be prepared for this financial hit - many people decide they're unwilling to accept this loss or simply can't afford it. For them, it makes more sense to buy a used version of the same model.

A second hand van will lose its value more gradually, especially if you buy one that's more than three years old. Buying a van close to the bottom of its depreciation curve will already have experienced the steepest levels of depreciation. It may even mean that you will barely lose any money on it if you run it for a long time and look after it with regular servicing.

Manufacturer Warranty

One of the greatest attractions of buying a brand new van is the manufacturer's warranty which typically lasts for three years. Some manufacturers, such as Nissan and Mitsubishi, offer a 5 year warranty with their commercial vehicles.

If you can afford a used van that's less than three years old, you can benefit from any remaining time on the manufacturer's warranty because it's transferable between owners.

Legal Rights (When Not Buying Privately)

Buying a used van from a registered dealer or trader provides you with certain consumer rights as detailed in the 2015 Consumer Rights Act.

It states that the seller must provide clear and honest information about the van before you buy it. In addition, if a fault is found within 30 days, you can return the van and get a refund.

Certain parts of the Consumer Rights Act won't apply to private sellers, so you need to be careful about where you buy your used van from. Here at Avondale Motor Park, we're an RAC dealer, so all our vans come with a six month RAC warranty and complimentary breakdown cover.

Top Tips For Buying A Used Van

Buying a used van is a big financial commitment, so you want to make sure you're picking the right model. We've put together a list of things you need to consider:

  • Decide what you need - work out the size of van you need including load area space, payload and number of passenger seats. Don't forget any extras that will make your life easier.
  • History - ask the seller how the van was used by its previous owner(s) and find out how often it was serviced. You should also check out its MOT history.
  • Exterior checks - look for signs of damage which could indicate an accident. Also check for rust, paying close attention to under the wheel arches and around the door frame.
  • Interior checks - test the seatbelts, door locks, heater, air con (if the van has it) and windscreen wipers. Also inspect the load bay for signs of damage.
  • Test drive - make sure you start the van up from cold and that it isn't already running. Pay attention to squeaks, knocks or grinding. Don't forget to check all the basic functions such as the radio and windows.

A good second-hand dealer, such as Avondale, will have experienced staff who will be able to discuss individual requirements with every potential buyer. Our team ask relevant and targeted questions to ensure you get the right used van for your needs.

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