A guide to buying a used van in the current marketplace

Used vans are the ideal choice for those who need a larger vehicle, and are a particularly good option in the current economic climate.

Buying a used van will be cheaper, but can throw up potential problems, so it pays to do some research and consider the purchase carefully before signing any paperwork or handing over the money.

Prices of used vans have been fairly positive in the third quarter of 2011, and this reflects the quality of vehicles available in the market. There is something to suit all drivers, so do not be afraid of taking a good look around before making your decision.

Budget will be the main consideration, as how much you can afford to spend will rule out some options. Take into account the purchase price, as well as ongoing expenditure such as fuel, insurance, tax and MOT, when looking at which used van to buy.

The price of each van will depend on factors such as age, mileage and wear and tear, so get as much information about your options as possible, and compare the different vehicles. Be aware of what similar models are selling for so you do not pay over the odds.

It will also help if you narrow down the make or model of used van that you want, so take time to do some research online and think carefully about your requirements. Not every van will suit all motorists, so make sure you choose the one you are happy with.

When you spot a used van that fits your needs, give it a thorough assessment. Look at the features, such as power steering or all-wheel drive, check the service history and paperwork and make sure the tyres and bodywork are in good condition.

Take it for a test drive and really think about how it handles. On a deserted road, perform an emergency stop to check the brakes, look at the fluid levels to give an indication of how well it has been looked after, and go up and down through all the gears to make sure the gearbox or clutch are not worn.

After all this, take a final look at all the paperwork to check things such as the vehicle identification number and satisfy yourself with all aspects of the van before signing on the dotted line.