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Should you get a new or used van?

September 9th, 2016

Should you get a used or new van?


It’s an important business decision—and there’s a case for both sides.

One in 10 vans bought today are new which means the used van market is large and offers a large degree of choice. The key question most people consider are economics (i.e. cost to keep) and reliability, after that comes image and economy.

Costs of Ownership

The two biggest costs of ownership are Depreciation and maintenance for which new vans face higher depreciation but low maintenance whilst used vans face lower depreciation but high maintenance. Older vans will be less reliable and offer lower miles per gallon.

Should you get a used or new van? This chart explains.

*Please note the above chart is based on averaged data, some vans will be higher or lower and could have a critical failure that could cost more


To add to the problem, when a van fails on the roadside there is usually high costs associated with breakdown, loss of work and disruption. This would include recovery, repair, hire and client inconvenience. Reliability will tend to follow maintenance profile.

Next the issue comes to how well the van has been driven and maintained. Just because the van has been prepared well it does not mean that underneath it is going to give you the service you may require – it’s a risk which adding fairly thin warranties may not help.

Having said that if you are lucky and the van has been well cared for this could be the most economical outcome.

Economy / CO2

EU directives have pushed manufacturers to reduce CO2 emissions and increase mpg’s so new vans are more economical dependant on vans age. This will save money on new vans compared to used vans dependant on age but possibly up to 40% fuel saving.

Offset Taxation

You will be able to save tax against your revenue depending on how much its costing you to run whether its newer or older. If you purchase a vehicle you can claim write down allowances and any interest attached to a loan within the financial year. This could be the whole cost of the van if you qualify for annual investment allowance, otherwise its usually 18% of the reducing value each year. If you lease the van all the rentals you pay in the financial year including the initial rental can be off set.


What your van looks like can be important to your customers and be a good marketing opportunity (livery added). Is it worth spending money on livery and fit outs for something you may not keep long.

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