A Newbie’s Guide To Buying, Using And Maintaining A Van

Posted on Oct 24 2014 - 11:33am by Desk of Editor

Commercial vans offer many advantages to businesses and people that are self-employed. They are a useful and practical way to transport materials, equipment and workers from site to site. Especially without the need to make several round trips.

Cargo vans, as they sometimes get called, are popular in many parts of the world. Here in the United States, people are starting to see the advantages of vans over pickup trucks. If you want to buy a van for your business soon, you’ve come to the right place!

Today’s handy blog post will show you how to buy, use and maintain a cargo van so that you don’t have to spend more money than you need to. Feel free to share a link to this page with your colleagues and friends.

Buying and using a van

What size is best for your needs?

As you would expect, there are plenty of choices available for those that wish to buy a cargo van. A standard cargo van is something like the Ford Transit shown above. While its younger brother the Transit Connect is smaller and perfect for those that don’t need as much space at the back.

It’s important that you choose the right size van for your needs. In fact, there are many reasons why you should place particular emphasis on this. For a start, it will be a waste of your time and money if you buy the wrong van!

There is also the running costs associated with the van to consider. Bigger vans often mean bigger maintenance, tax and insurance bills. I know that it’s important to buy a van that offers more than enough room for your needs. Just don’t go overboard when choosing a van, as you might regret your decision later.

 

DIY or dealer servicing?

Do you plan on operating a fleet of cargo vans for your business? If so, it’s worth doing some research to find out if it’s cheaper to service your vans in-house.

Many firms prefer to maintain their fleet of vans themselves if they have the space and capital to do so. Doing so also means you have to pay for tools, employees and other associated costs.

If you have a small business, it might work out cheaper to get an auto shop to do the work. In some cases, van dealers such as the Western Van Centre can offer cost-effective fleet repair services.

 

Taking care of your van

Aside from sticking to regular service schedules, there are other steps you should take to keep your van in good condition.

The first step is ensuring that whoever drives the van is a safe and experienced driver. It’s important that your drivers know what they are doing. That’s because it can cost a lot of money – and time – repairing vans because of avoidable accidents.

There is also the lost productivity costs to consider. If you only have one van, for instance, your business could be losing money because it’s out of action. You then have to rent a van in the meantime, which adds to your costs.

Some of the key points you should cover with your drivers include:

  • Avoiding driving into kerbs or large potholes on the road;
  • Not driving into areas where there’s limited clearance on the road for a cargo van;
  • Leaving the van unattended without securing it first;
  • Ensuring that any loads at the back are safe and secure.

A few companies send van drivers out on advanced driving courses before they get allowed to drive company vans. That way, those companies can be certain that their drivers are up to a good standard before they get let loose in the company vans!

There is also regular maintenance tasks that van owners can carry out themselves. These tasks often involve cleaning their vans inside and out. Other tasks include checking tire pressures and engine fluid levels.

They are the sorts of things that car owners would do to their vehicles on a weekly basis. Any competent people can carry out these tasks. Not only will your van remain roadworthy, but it also portrays a professional image of your business to others.

It shows people that you care about the maintenance and looks of your vehicle fleet. And it makes those people think you’re committed to offering a professional service to your customers.

Know how to operate your van

Most people assume that you just turn the key in the ignition and start driving your van. After all, that’s what you do with most vehicles on the road today, right?

The thing is; some vans come with features designed to make the driver’s life easier. For instance, a lot of cargo vans come with rear-view cameras as standard. Such driver aids help when reversing into parking spaces.

Other features might include parking assistance (for parallel parking). Some vans even come with hill-start assistance features. Whatever features your van comes with, it’s worth familiarizing yourself with them.

If other people drive your van also, it’s important they know how to use such features too. Doing so will decrease the likelihood of any problems occurring.

The best place to learn how to use such features is by reading the owner’s manual that comes with the van.

 

Know how to load your van

One area that many van owners and drivers have a problem with is loading the cargo area the right way. When you transport anything in the cargo area, you need to make sure that the load gets secured to the van.

After all; the last thing you want is for your cargo to slide all over the place when you drive around corners or do an emergency brake!

Another consideration that some van drivers forget about is weight distribution. Vans will have a maximum permissible load for the cargo area. Be sure that your cargo load is not overweight, and make sure that it’s evenly distributed at the back.

I hope that today’s van buying and ownership guide was useful to you today.