Everything you need to know about van servicing

Everything you need to know about van servicing

Dan Powell, the editor of Honest John Vans, tells you everything you need to know about van servicing.

Should you take your van to a dealer or a local garage for its annual service? It’s a question we get asked a lot at Honest John Vans by builders and tradespeople.

The answer, however, will very much depend on the age of your van, your personal circumstances and whether your vehicle has a ‘premium’ badge on its bonnet. You will also need to understand the benefits and potential drawbacks of each method, as the decision to use a dealer or independent garage will vary from person to person.

If your van is leased or on a finance agreement the choice may have already been taken out of your hands. Some finance and leasing companies will insist that you use a manufacturer-approved dealership for all of their vehicle’s maintenance and servicing need (but you’ll need to check your finance documents to confirm this).

Benefits of dealer servicing

When you take your van to a dealership you tend to get a cast-iron guarantee that all of the staff are trained to the manufacturer’s highest standards. They will have access to the latest equipment and manufacturer approved parts, which means your van will get the very best treatment.

A van with a fully stamped service book will always be more desirable on the second-hand market than one without. Especially if it’s a popular or premium model. This means you’ll be more likely to get the full asking price when you are looking to sell your vehicle. You may also sell it quicker, as buyers will tend to favour a dealer serviced van over one with a patchy service history from a number of local garages.

If your van suffers a serious fault outside of its manufacturer warranty period then the dealer/and or the manufacturer will be more willing to help you if your van has been serviced without the dealer network. In some cases, this will be in the form of a ‘goodwill contribution’ that will cover parts and/or labour costs – always handy if something big and expensive on your van goes bang.

A dealer service may also include some free software or mechanical updates for your van, while any outstanding recall issues will also be addressed as part of the annual service. This may not happen if you take your van to an independent garage.


Benefits of using an independent garage

The UK has some brilliant independent garages. Many of them specialise in a particular make of van. And the staff will know every nut and bolt of your vehicle.

Contrary to popular belief, you do not need to take your van to a dealer to maintain its manufacturer warranty. Any garage can service your van, but they must use approved parts and fluids (and document them all on an itemised invoice). Failure to do this may result in your van’s manufacturer warranty being void or a warranty claim being rejected.

Using an independent garage can also offer big cost savings – the labour rate of a local garage can be 50 per cent cheaper than that of a flashy dealership.

If your van is outside of its manufacturer warranty period, you may also make big savings on parts, with independent garages having access to a broad range of spares from third-party manufacturers.

Should the worst happen, and your van suffers an engine or gearbox problem, an independent garage will be able to recommend or source a specialist who will be able to offer a repair rather than insist on a full replacement.

For more van advice, visit: www.honestjohn.co.uk/vans

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