Home Automotive Van Life 101: Everything to Know About Buying a Used Van
Buying a Used Van

Van Life 101: Everything to Know About Buying a Used Van

by Robin Smith

Are you hoping to be a part of the modern American Dream? Do you plan on quitting the 9 to 5 rat race and living every day like a vacation? And have the freedom to explore wherever and whenever you want. If so, this article was written for you! Buying a used van can be a great way to explore the world while having a comfortable and low-cost home on wheels. However, finding the right van that fits your needs and budget can be challenging.

To help turn your dream into reality, we’ve put everything you need to know about buying a used van below!

Determine Your Budget

Before you look for a new van, determine your budget.

You may be tempted to find the cheapest van available on the market. But you will face a range of problems in the future. Your van will be your future home, so it must be solid and reliable.

It is better to wait if you cannot afford your desired van at this moment in time. Save up more instead of buying one at a rock-bottom price.

Define Your Needs

Write down all your needs so you can eliminate any used vans you come across that don’t fit your criteria.

Space is one of the most significant factors to consider.

Do you need room for a bed, kitchen, bathroom, and storage? Do you plan to travel alone or with others? The van you choose must have enough space to accommodate your needs comfortably.

Mobility is another aspect to consider. Larger vans may offer more space but are harder to maneuver in tight spaces. If you plan to travel to remote areas or off-road, you may also want to consider a van with four-wheel drive.

Research the Market

Research is crucial with every financial investment. And it is no different when you are buying a van. Once you know your budget, you can move to the next step, researching the market.

Try to uncover which vehicle models are popular within your budget in Vanlife groups. Search online for ads, local dealerships, and private sellers.

The following are some vital factors to consider before handing over your cash:

  • The company’s reputation
  • Reliability
  • Resale value
  • Size and capacity
  • Safety ratings
  • Fuel consumption

Inspect the Efficiency of the Van

There is a reason why around 82% of people want to view and touch a product before purchasing it. It assures the consumer that the object has no faults and matches their expectations.

Although inspecting a van is tougher to examine than furniture, it is still a critical step. If you don’t know much about mechanics, you can ask one of your friends with some knowledge for assistance.

Be sure to review and tick off every item on this checklist:

  • Bodywork
  • Suspension
  • Air conditioning
  • Breaks/wheels
  • Engine
  • Interior 
  • Lights
  • Electrics

Examine the Vans Interior

It can be easy to overlook the interior of your new van. You are so focused on confirming everything is working mechanically, it can go to the back of your mind.

But now you know it is something you can not afford to forget.

Start by checking the upholstery, flooring, and cabinets to see if they are in good condition. Next, you can check for any signs of water damage. Look for stains, mold, or mildew, which could indicate a leaky roof or other water issues.

Unfortunately, water damage can be the most costly expense in van repairs.

Check Maintenance Records

Before you jump in a drive around in a van, you should figure out if it is safe. To do so, check the van maintenance records.

Ask the seller for them to see if the van has been well-maintained. Look for evidence and receipts of regular oil changes, tune-ups, and other routine care.

Whether you buy a Sprinter RV, one of the best vans available, or have your eyes on other big-name brands such as Volkswagen, you must check the records. Still do this even if everything seems good to the naked eye. Sometimes you have to scratch beneath the surface to witness the issues.

You could spend significant cash on van repairs and put a dent in your budget if you don’t do your homework.

Test Drive the Van

Test-driving a van before buying is an essential step in the purchasing process. You can get a feel for the vehicle’s handling and features and ensure you are making an informed decision.

After researching the type of van you want, schedule an appointment in advance. Therefore, you can ensure the vehicle is available and ready upon your arrival.

After the test, take some time to reflect on your drive and decide if the van meets your needs and expectations. If you are unsure, consider taking another test drive. Or explore other options before making a final decision.

Negotiate the Price

If you are satisfied with its condition, negotiate the price with the seller.

When doing so, it’s vital to research beforehand and understands the fair market value of the used van you are interested in buying. It can help you decide on a reasonable price to offer and give you an idea of what negotiation tactics to use.

You don’t need to feel nervous. Haggling is common when buying and selling vehicles. Many sellers expect buyers to negotiate.

The more money you save here, the more you can put toward turning the space into a tiny home!

Search for a Used Van Today

Buying a used van can be a great way to explore the world while maintaining a sense of freedom and independence. Yet, you must research, take your time, and consider all the factors, from budget to lifestyle.

Make sure to inspect any used vans you’re interested in. Get a professional opinion if necessary. With planning and some luck, you can find the perfect van for your needs and embark on a thrilling adventure.

If you are ready to plan the road trip of a lifetime, keep reading our in-depth blog for travel inspiration!

Related Posts