How does the condition of my van affect selling it?

Vans come in all shapes, sizes and conditions. If you’ve been using a van for an extended period of time – especially for commercial use – then there’ll no doubt be some signs of wear. While this is completely normal, it will have an impact on how much you can expect to receive when you sell your van.

It’s important to know how different factors can change this, so we’ve broken it down below, looking at key influencers: mileage, age, faults, cosmetic damage.

What mileage should I sell my van at?

There’s no hard and fast rule on when it’s best to sell your van as the miles creep up, though it’s no myth that higher mileage vehicles will come with the associated wear and tear to match. This will change how a buyer views your van, even if it’s in full working condition – a 5-year-old van with 40,000 miles on the clock looks a lot more attractive than another that’s racked up 80,000 in the same time.

Considering that an average van will travel anywhere between 10,000-13,000 miles per year, think about the age of your vehicle and how that correlates to the current mileage. If it’s on the high side, it’s worth dropping the price a little bit to make it a more attractive prospect to potential buyers.

It’s also important to think about the engine type. Diesel and petrol vans have become increasingly similar in terms of performance over the years, but many preconceptions about the two still remain. The myths that diesels will regularly hit 300,000 miles if looked after, whilst petrol is on its death knell at 100,000 do hold weight with a buyer – they’re probably not true, but it could have an impact on buyer confidence in your van. So if you’re petrol van is hitting the 60,000 – 70,000 mark, you might want to consider selling it now and avoid any stigma further down the line.

What age should I sell my van at?

This has a smaller effect than it used to, as vans are becoming more modern, feature-rich and efficient every year. The value of a van will continually drop from the day it leaves the showroom floor, though it’s useful to know the breakpoints when most of the value is lost.

  • Vans lose significant value within the first 3 years of use.

Make the most of your van during this time, as it isn’t financially smart to sell and many manufacturers will offer warranty periods during this time.

  • Value depreciation slows between years 3-5.

This is the best time to sell if you want to make the most back from your initial investment, whilst still having benefited from extended use of the van itself.

  • Value loss slows even further after year 5 but becomes more volatile to diminishing completely.

You’ll have a good handle on how long your van has left to run at this point. Providing you keep your van in good condition – cosmetically and mechanically – then you won’t see a massive amount of value lost as the years roll by.

With that said, older vans will be victim to more faults, and a serious issue can either cost you a lot of money to repair or completely ruin your chances of selling it for a good price. Weigh up your situation and make an informed decision based on that.

Does cosmetic damage affect selling my van?

This is where it begins to get subjective to the buyer, but the general rule of thumb is that a good-looking vehicle is going to be an easier sell than a banged-up motor. The physical appearance of your van is a clear indicator to the buyer as to whether you looked after it during ownership.

Scratches, chipped paintwork, rust, scuffed wheel arches – they’re all relatively simple repairs, but can have a big impact on how appealing it is to buyers, especially private ones. It’s always worth giving your van’s exterior a thorough inspection and making any necessary steps to get it looking as good as new – first impressions make all the difference!

As for interior factors, any commercially used van is not going to have escaped unscathed. The odd scuff, scratch or dent is to be expected, but the more you can do to mitigate or repair these, the better impression you’ll leave on the buyer. Again, this is usually more important to private buyers, as professional van buying services will have better facilities to fix minor defects before attempting to resell your van.

As a small addition, if you’ve put any adhesive logos on your van – company branding, for example – then it’s worth taking the time to remove it safely before making the sale. Not only does this protect your brand in the future from any untoward publicity, but will also make it look more attractive and neutral to buyers.

What faults affect selling my van?

It’s entirely dependant on the severity of the fault. You could either have a perfectly sellable van on your hands or a future piece of scrap taking up space. Faults can be a huge turn-off to some buyers, particularly private buyers without the ability to repair them. A fault that hasn’t been repaired, however minor, represents a hurdle to deal with after the transaction, which most buyers don’t want on their plate.

Additionally, faults have a nasty tendency to crop up again down the line – the more serious the fault, the scarier it’ll be if it rears up again. While it’s not the greatest conversation to have, you need to be honest about any faults and issues outstanding with the vehicle, and your service history should tell the rest of the story.

Van buying services like those you can reach through Jamjar will be much more forgiving with a less-than-pristine van, as they’ll be able to assess the cost of repairs and the value recouped, and make any repairs necessary from that, meaning that if you’re aware of any larger faults, it might be smarter to look at selling to one of these for the best results.

Can you still sell your van with a bad engine or transmission? Absolutely, but it won’t be easy and the money you’ll get for it might not warrant the effort. These represent major faults that change the performance of the vehicle drastically, meaning that repairs are expensive and if left unchecked can completely kill the van. Finding a buyer who is willing to pay to take that burden on will be tough – businesses will be your best bet again, that or a scrapyard.