The first RV was hand built onto an automobile in 1904. Since then, camper cans and RVs have come a long way. These days you can find vans with more amenities than your average suburban home.
When it comes to picking your first van, you need to consider all your options. If you’re not sure you’re going to use it very often, it might be better to buy used, cheap vans. If you’re sure you and your family are going to make use of a van, you might as well consider new vans to see what features and amenities they have.
So keep reading to find out more about the pros and cons of buying a used van.
The Pros of Buying a Used Van
Buying a used van is the perfect option if you’re working with a tighter budget. It’s also a great option if you’re unsure if you’ll enjoy van life. Buying a used model allows you to test it out before you spend a fortune on a new van.
Used models are also a fantastic option if you just want to use the van periodically. If it’s just for summer vacations, it doesn’t make sense to buy a brand new van.
Buying a used van doesn’t mean you need to lower your expectations. There are tons of used vehicles for sale that are in perfect condition. You can even find class C vans for sale easily online.
A used van means you can immediately hit the road. You don’t need to do any conversion that will take time, so you can try van life without all the work first. This also gives you time to consider what you would do differently if you were to buy a new van.
The Cons of Buying a Used Van
The problem with used vehicles is that there is uncertainty about the vehicle’s mechanical issues. You can do all the necessary checks and have professionals take a look, but issues can still slip through the cracks.
You also don’t know how the previous owner treated the van. Chances are the previous owner won’t want to tell you about any repairs they needed to make to the interior.
A used van also raises questions about the plumbing and wiring. You also don’t really know if the batteries are in good condition.
The biggest problem with buying a cheap used van is that the van parts most likely won’t be under warranty anymore. This means if you need to make any repairs, it can end up requiring a bit more work and money than you anticipated.
Checklist When Buying a Used Van
Once you’ve decided you want to buy a used van, you need to make sure you’re not throwing your money away. You can’t just look at an online listing before you make a decision; you need to go see the van in person. This gives you the opportunity to evaluate all the critical parts of the van before spending any money.
If you opt to skip the checks, you might end up with expensive repairs that could have been avoided.
Before you even start the engine, you need to check the following:
- Make sure tire treads aren’t worn down
- Check if there are any cracks or dents in the bodywork or interior
- Check if the milage makes sense based on the age and history of the van
- Check that all lights work
- Check the oil level
- Make sure the engine isn’t warm before starting it up
Once you’ve completed all these external checks, you can start the van and take it for a test drive. While driving, you need to look out for the following:
- Unusual sounds when running the engine
- Smoke or burning
- Any resistance in the steering wheel response or drag to the side
- Ensure the brakes work and complete an emergency stop
- Make sure the windscreen wipers and indicators work
- See if there are any warning lights on the dashboard
- Make sure the aircon works and doesn’t smell
If the vehicle passes all your checks, only then should you consider buying the vehicle. If possible, you should also have a mechanic take a look at the vehicle to make sure you didn’t miss any issues.
Where to Buy a Used Van
There are many places you can buy used vehicles, but they mainly fall into three categories:
- Approved dealers
- Independent dealers
- Private or home dealers
Each type of dealer has its own pros and cons, so you need to do your homework on the seller while also considering your budget.
The most important thing to remember is that the Consumer Rights Act 2015 applies when buying used vans from approved or independent dealers. Buying from private or home dealers means the act won’t apply, but you might get a heavy discount. This is why it’s crucial to weigh up all the different options.
Consider Cheap Vans for Your First Recreational Vehicle
When it comes to buying cheap vans, you need to do your homework. You can’t just buy the cheapest van on the market, as there is probably a reason someone is selling it for so little money. So make sure you do all the necessary checks to ensure you’re buying a used van that is still in good condition.
If you’re not ready to commit to a camper van yet, check out our automotive section for more content to help you decide.