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best time and place to buy a van

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 NaCl 04 Oct 2022

Alright all,

I'm shortly in the market for a new-ish large van to covert for a long trip in about 1-2 years time. As the forum has a good number of van users and vanlifers I thought I'd see what advice regarding buying people have got. I don't imagine so, but are vans like motorbikes where certain times of the year are better than others (like don't buy a bike after about Easter as ££)?

Budget is around the 20k mark with VAT but tbh I'm slightly surprised by the mileage that gets you :-/ . So, any particular places where better bargains have been found? At the moment I'm watching the usual places Autotrader, Ebay and Gumtree - am I missing anywhere obvious? Budget is around the 20k mark with VAT but tbh I'm slightly surprised by the mileage that gets you :-/

Last question, Euro6. Is this something to worry about particularly? The budget will carry it if so but is it something that's really necessary or is it just if you're city driving that it's really going to be noticed? 

T.i.a.

2
 Dax H 04 Oct 2022
In reply to NaCl:

We have had some good vans from Van Monster in the past. They are ex hire vans from one of the big chains and have all been well looked after. 

OP NaCl 04 Oct 2022
In reply to Dax H:

Never heard of those before. Thank you, I'll check them out

 Jenny C 04 Oct 2022
In reply to NaCl:

Living in Sheffield I'd love a Euro6 engine, as from next year it will cost us every time we use the inner ring road to cross the city.

1
 BruceM 05 Oct 2022
In reply to NaCl:

I bought mine in 2018, at 1 year old, hoping for it to last a long time (since insulating and lining and building internals costs a lot.). 

Advice at the time was that Euro 5 shouldn't be a problem, as there are so many around, and any restrictions are likely to be stepped - ie. first ban earlier engines Euro 2,3,4, then later the Euro 5 and 6. 

But here in the UK, the bans were outright: Euro 6 only.  No Euro 5 or below.  So I wish I'd gone with Euro 6 and paid the extra 5-9k at the time.

In parts of Europe restrictions are more stepped.

It is difficult to find a used van that doesn't look a bit beat-up, let alone be beat up.  Commercial drivers seem to like trashing them.  I spied and tried many before finding a reasonable looking and spec'd vehicle at a Ford dealer (via Autotrader) with a reasonable record and only 23k miles.  2 years warranty was worth a bit to me.

 jimtitt 05 Oct 2022
In reply to NaCl:

Euro 6 came into force in September 2016 so anything Euro 5 isn't exactly newish! They get better fuel economy and usually are more powerful anyway.

1
 henwardian 05 Oct 2022
In reply to NaCl:

crickey, times have changed. I got a new VW transporter for £20k about 5 years ago.

As someone else already pointed out, vans are work vehicles and, as such, are abused rather than used. And also, as such, a "good time to buy" will depend on the financial season rather than the yearly seasons. You might be heading into a good time for this as we are at the start of a recession right now and as that progresses people feel poorer, so they buy less things, so fewer vans are needed to deliver those things or deliver workmen to create/install those things, so more vans end up being sold. Perhaps. I wouldn't hold my breath for it though.

Mine was about the last euro 5 model VW made, every other transporter model than the very cheapest one was euro 6 when I bought mine. I think that when I first bought mine there was one place in the world that had a euro 6 only rule and that was a very tiny bit of the 9th circle of hell, sorry, London, so I wasn't too worried. If you are looking to only start using the van in about 1 or 2 years in the future, I think euro 6 would be a very good idea because there are a huge number of euro 6 restrictions now and they are only going to increase as time goes on.

 nufkin 05 Oct 2022

Possibly a slight deviation, but where might lekky vans fit in to all this? There seem to be a fair few Transit-sized panel vans out and about in town these days, and presumably they'd be the way to go with a mind to longer-term restrictions and bans on diesel engines. But perhaps at this point they are really best suited for local delivery rather than road trips?

 ian caton 05 Oct 2022
In reply to NaCl:

I would take your total budget and gi and look long and hard at already converted vans. Particularly those converted from new. Likely to be much better looked after.

I am very suspicious of second hand van mileages. I understand, maybe wrong, they can be driven 24/7 for three years, then clocked before first mot. I bought a vw van new once for work. I didn't particularly look after it, but when it had done 100,000 it still looked brand new. 

OP NaCl 05 Oct 2022
In reply to BruceM:

My initial thinking was  euro6 but when asked by my o/h as to why I started wondering if it was something to really worry about. We don't really go much near cities and the like. It only getting tighter on regs is a very valid point - I imagine ULEZ etc will only get more common after all. Thanks for the input

OP NaCl 05 Oct 2022
In reply to jimtitt:

All relative innit! I've never had a vehicle less than 5 years old (1 of) so anything less than 10 years is newish in my eyes. Saying that, I do forget the passing of time and it's only times like this that it's that apparent.

OP NaCl 05 Oct 2022
In reply to ian caton:

'Tis a fair point. I have been keeping an eye out for s/h predone conversions already but not seen it yet. For something of the size I'm looking (mwb/lwb h2/h3)  they seem usually to be either heading 10 years old, aren't done quite how I'm after or have been around the world 3 times. That and due to vanlifing being in vogue atm people are asking stupid money.

I'm pretty handy and a quick study and have the time and space to spend a bit of time doing it so I'm quite enthused about doing a conversion myself. Assuming I can find a solid base I can spend the next year-ish doing it and have something done how I want. 

In reply to nufkin:

> Possibly a slight deviation, but where might lekky vans fit in to all this? There seem to be a fair few Transit-sized panel vans out and about in town these days, and presumably they'd be the way to go with a mind to longer-term restrictions and bans on diesel engines. But perhaps at this point they are really best suited for local delivery rather than road trips?

At this point they don't really fit in.. for now they are way to compromised to be considered as a viable option for a camper van IMHO. The payload and range (even more compromised when loaded to GVW, which alot of campers are). Given the average spec i think you'd be lucky to get a range of 100miles out of one.. if you're planning on heading to the more remote areas charging would be a huge problem.

Maybe in the future it will be better but i think goods vehicles are forever going to be compromised as battery-powered vehicles. 

 jimtitt 05 Oct 2022
In reply to LG-Mark:

Similar to motorcycles the weight/ range equation isn't going to work without some major battery breakthrough, all the van manufacturers are betting on batteries for local short range stuff and hydrogen for longer range/higher weights. Going off the beaten track it's still going to be i.c. anyway, in terms of CO2 production it makes no sense to use conventional generation to power a BEV.


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