Commercial Vehicle Buying Guide

Whether you’re a haulage fleet manager, small business operator, self-employed courier or a tradesman. We hope you find our commercial vehicle buying guide useful. For most businesses purchasing a new or used commercial vehicle it can be a significant investment and costly overhead. Due to this reason, buyers should take into consideration tax and VAT implications, weight limits and overall condition of vehicles to evaluate ongoing maintenance costs.

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Commercial Vehicle Buying Guide – legal load carrying weight

Before searching for a suitable commercial vehicle we recommend calculating the weight of your intended largest potential loads. If you already have a commercial vehicle weighing the items when carrying a heavy load or equipment. By emptying all the contents will provide a comprehensive combined overall weight figure. When establishing the maximum weight a van can legally and safely carry you’ll require the GVW Gross Vehicle Weight value and the kerb weight. You will then be able to subtract the kerb weight value from the GVW Gross Vehicle Weight to obtain the maximum legal weight. A recent study highlighted many commercial vehicle drivers on UK raods were oblivious they are driving around overloaded and this could void all insurance cover if involved in an accident.

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Commercial Vehicle Buying Guide – Tall or short wheelbase?

Also, consider the vehicle height many people can become caught out by purchasing a low roof short wheelbase model when they crucially needed a slightly taller van with a few more inches for flexibility. Don’t be afraid to ask the vehicle seller for a full history with previous owners. This can provide invaluable information with historical usage that may have inserted additional strain on to the suspension system.

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Commercial Vehicle Buying Guide – New or Used?

Remember when comparing new or used commercial vehicle options. Be fully aware that brand new models can depreciate around £15,000 in the first three years of ownership. However, when buying a second-hand used commercial vehicle, thoroughly assessing the overall condition is essential. Prior to purchasing instruct a qualified mechanic to impartially inspect the vehicle for any issues, especially rust and common faults. Finally, don’t forget to test the suspension by pushing down the corners of the commercial vehicle to check if it bounces back into the same position. With commercial vehicles frequently overloaded avoiding expensive suspension repairs should be a key test objective.

Commercial Vehicle Buying Guide – Owner Reviews

Also, don’t forget to read owner reviews on commercial vehicle selling websites including Parkers or Autotrader. They often provide invaluable insight into common issues, reliability, build quality, depreciation and practicality. Also if you’re a courier delivery driver or driving long distances due to contracting nationwide. Studying fuel consumption comparison figures to assess running costs so you can purchase the most economical vehicle is essential. If you are planning to work and operate in predominately congested city centres a larger van can be much harder to park within tight spaces.

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Commercial Vehicle Buying Guide – Checking for rust

Usually, with rust, we advise checking the most common areas around door frames, below bumpers, sills, wings and wheel arches including all panel edges, especially around the windscreen. It’s also good to inspect the chassis and underbody for signs of corrosion perforation rusting. Especially if you suspect the vehicle has been off-road or used on building sites for example.

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Don’t forget to inspect the loading area for general wear & tear or signs indicating excessive use with paintwork defects. Exposed metal especially around the tailgate area, can quickly lead to rust if untreated. Generally, commercial vehicles fitted with lining or racking throughout the loading bay are in better condition. Additionally, with pickups surface, water can sometimes collect on the flatbed so pay extra attention to any surface corrosion or perforation.

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Commercial Vehicle Buying Guide – Test Drive Advice

With many attractive used commercial vehicles for sale, conduct your research and insist on a test drive. This provides the opportunity to inspect the dashboard for any warning signs or interior damage present within the cab. It’s also advisable to reach a good speed when test driving commercial vehicles so you can assess overall road noise. With the 2005 Noise at Work Regulations exposing employees to sounds above 80 decibels associated with noise pollution. Ask the current owner or commercial vehicle dealer if the van has had any van sound deadening treatments to reduce vibration levels.

Also please be aware if you are planning to purchase a commercial vehicle over 3,500kg. It’s likely that additional government driving tests will be mandatory so you can legally drive the vehicle. Failure in not having the correct driving license could lead to a criminal driving prosecution and costly fine whilst making your insurance void.

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Commercial Vehicle Buying Guide – History Check

Prior to agreeing on any payment terms and purchasing a commercial vehicle. Obtain a history check report to make sure the vehicle is not stolen. Also double check the mileage history is genuine with most commercial vehicles primarily leased. It’s not uncommon for mileage to be altered illegally so they can avoid lease agreement penalties for exceeding the annual term allowance.
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Find all types of new or used commercial vehicles for sale on Tiltrak. Search Vans for Sale across the UK.