9 Things To Do Before Buying A Used Van
Buying any used vehicle involves risk, but it’s far greater with commercial vehicles. Unlike personal cars, commercial vans are used extensively and are usually handled by employees. You have no idea how it was used or maintained. Besides high wear and tear, you can expect problems like rash driving, rough use and hidden technical issues. If you are not careful, what you think is a good bargain can become a maintenance nightmare.
Here are some basic checks to ensure that the van you are considering is worth buying.
1. Examine The Exteriors
The exterior of the van will usually tell you how carefully it was used and maintained. Besides dents, scratches and damaged paint, look for rust spots. You should pay special attention to areas that are not easily visible. Look at the area under the bumper, door frames, corners, wheel wells and the underside of the van. Rust is not a deal breaker, but you should get it checked to ensure that it’s only on the surface.
2. Check The Shock Absorbers
Push down each corner of the van and then release it. If the shock absorbers are in good condition, the vehicle will spring back to its normal position in one go. If it bounces up and down or creaks too much, the shock absorbers and suspension are probably in bad shape. You can confirm this when you do the test drive.
3. Check For Obvious Electrical Problems
Without starting the engine, switch on the headlights and check each indicator. If the lights are malfunctioning or flickering, battery or electrical problems are likely.
4. Take A Close Look At The Tyres
Check the condition of the tyres including the spare. Check the tread depth. Are all tyres wearing out equally? Unequal tyre wear usually indicates a wheel balancing or alignment issue. If the tyres are too old or if their condition is bad, replacement will be needed.
5. Check The Interiors
Get into the van and check if the interiors are in good condition. Look for cracked plastic parts and broken controls. Are the seats damaged? Are they comfortable? Are the seatbelts and door locks working? Switch on the engine. Did the van start easily on the first attempt? Check the dashboard for any warning lights. Are the windows working?
6. Check The Heating And Cooling System
See if the heating and cooling system is functioning properly. The fans should work correctly and the air coming from the vents should be clean without odours. If the a/c cools very slowly, cooling system problems are a possibility. If the air smells damp and musty, the system may need cleaning.
7. Do A Test Drive
Find a safe road to test drive the van. Go slowly until you check the steering and brakes. Check if the steering, brakes, clutch and gear shifts are working properly. Listen for rattles, squeals or other strange sounds. Is the vehicle pulling to one side? Is the ride unduly bumpy? Is there any noise or vibration when you apply the brakes?
Before you switch off the engine, look at the instrument panel again. Are there any warning lights? At the end of a short test drive, the engine should be at the operating temperature. If it is going above normal, then it could indicate an overheating issue.
8. Check The Service History
Check the service history of the vehicle to see if it was serviced at the recommended intervals and mileage. Check for any accident repairs or major issues. Always verify the service history with the dealer or an authorized garage.
9. Get The Van Inspected At A Good Garage
After your basic checks, you should be able to make a fair assessment of the van. Before you buy it, get it checked at a good garage. A vehicle inspection at a specialist garage has many advantages. You have experts looking at the van and they will be able to detect issues that may not be apparent during a casual check.
They also have the equipment to check the vehicle properly. Once you get the list of defects and repair estimates, you will know how much the van is really going to cost you. If there are some serious repairs or defects, you can even renegotiate the price or decide to look for another van.
A professional inspection makes a lot of sense before buying a used commercial van. You can buy with confidence without constantly worrying about your purchase. For Volkswagen van inspections in Manchester, contact us. At the Volksmaster Van Centre at Oldham, our specialists will do detailed checks and help you make an informed decision. You can also get any problems fixed at much better rates than the dealer.