For Auction at Protruck, Belton, Doncaster on 2023-12-14
- Help & Guides
Truckpages is a specialist commercial vehicle site, so it is only right that there is a wide stock of used panel vans for sale. Although not strictly a truck, there are many panel vans that are over the 3.5 tonnes gross vehicle weight that put them in the truck category as far as licencing is concerned. A panel van up to 3.5 tonnes GVW can be driven on a car licence, but larger versions are increasingly common. The Iveco Daily panel van that can stretch to 7 tonnes GVW, (combined weight of van and load), whilst Mercedes Sprinters can be bought with a gross vehicle weight of 5 tonnes. Indeed almost every van manufacturer has heavy panel vans in their ranges. It’s not all about the top weight panel vans at Truckpages, we also advertise plenty of smaller used panel vans – from the Ford Transit Courier, through the Transit Connect size to the Transit Custom, right the way to the ‘big’ Ford Transit which can go up to 4.7 tonnes GVW.
This may seem like a straightforward question to answer, but there are so many different sizes of panel vans, that the smallest example could look totally different compared to a large van.
Take a look at part of Ford’s panel van range (it is missing the Ford Fiesta Van, the only one not to carry the Transit umbrella brand) – how different is the Transit Courier on the far right to the large Transit second from left?
A panel van is basically an empty box on wheels. There are typically two seats up front which are separated from the load area by a bulkhead which prevents the load hitting the driver. Imagine an estate car with the seats removed and rear windows filled in. In the old days that’s what happened – they were called ‘car-derived vans’ – but today, most light panel vans have been designed from the ground up to be a commercial vehicle.
In fact, there are a number of these smaller panel vans that have had windows and seats added to become cheap, reliable people carriers.
These smaller panel vans will share plenty of components with their passenger car cousins, but the engineering is usually much more business-focused.
Obviously, the van needs to be in good condition. Don’t necessarily be afraid of a van just because it has done 100,000 miles plus, as long as it has been looked after, today’s modern vans are easily capable of twice this amount.
So, service history and overall appearance is king.
Make sure you are buying a van that is the right sized. Buying one that is too large ‘just in case’ is not a great idea, as the payload will be lower (the bigger the van the heavier it is, therefore the less weight it can carry.) Think of the fuel economy of a van that is too high and too long for the job.
Will it fit into multi storey carparks if that is a large part of your work? It may be better to specify a smaller van and use a roof rack for longer items.
Think about the brand. There are few terrible vans made these days, but it is important to get a van that can be reliably serviced by a LOCAL dealer. Check their opening hours and what the turnaround time might be. Remember, dealers such as Mercedes-Benz, Iveco, MAN and Renault Trucks maintain panel vans alongside their truck range. The 24-hour nature of these operations may be better suited to you – and the servicing costs are often below the car specialists who also manufacture and sell vans.
There are plenty of other considerations. Take safety for example, certain manufacturers place more emphasis on safety in the design of their panel vans. Ask the right questions – for example, if you are to do a lot of motorway work does the van come with crosswind assist?
There will be many ‘white vans’ out there in the market – if you are looking for a standard one then they are two a penny and you can find one locally. For something a little more specialist, you will need the services of a specialist website with professional commercial vehicle dealers.
Most of these vans will have ply lining of some description – although these days it may be manufactured from a lighter weight material than straightforward plywood. If a used panel van you are looking to buy does not have ply lining, then check the bodywork carefully for any damage. If the lining has been removed recently then ask the seller, why?
Extra long and high or very short and low are relatively rare specifications, as are vans fitted with access platforms to allow personnel to work safely at heights – street lighting, for example.
Some panel vans are fitted with integral tail lifts or even small, swing out cranes to assist with loading.
Roof top ventilators are useful for odorous loads or carrying live animals.
Internal van racking like systems from Sortimo or Bott is expensive to buy when new, but if you can find a van kitted out with the type of racking that would be useful to you then snap it up. Examples would be workshop benches with tool and parts storage. No good for general courier work, but superb if you are an electrician or carpenter even.
If you infrequently carry long loads, then you may be better with a shorter van and add a roof rack to it for the occasions when carrying a longer load is required.
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