Honest John Vans answers your most popular questions

Honest John Vans answers your most popular questions

Whether you are looking for a bargain used van or have a question about clean air zones, our resident expert has the answers you need.

Honest John Vans is the website that champions for fairness to van owners by publishing expert, unbiased information to help builders make informed choices about their vehicles. Below is a selection of the most popular questions from www.HonestJohn.co.uk/vans

Q) What’s the best van for £1,500?

A friend is setting up a small business. He has about £1,500 to spend on a small van and will appreciate your advice on the best options taking into account road tax and insurance costs.

Andrew Bradshaw

  1. A) He won’t get a lot for £1500. Most vans in this price bracket are worn out and have the sky-high mileages to match. However, if I had to recommend a bargain-basement van, it would probably be the Mk1 Ford Transit Connect. It’s plentiful on the used market and has a good reputation for reliability.

A budget of £1,500 will get a 2007 or 2008 van that should give your friend a year or two of motoring, which should be enough time to get his building firm up and running.

Q) My van isn’t exempt from the ULEZ charge. Is there anything I can do? 

We have a company van (Vauxhall Vivaro 1.6 Bi-turbo, registered in March 2016). When we purchased the van from the main dealer in April 2016, he gave us the impression that the van would comply with the London Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) – but it does not. Is there a cost-effective way to make this van comply with the regulations?

Richard Hart

  1. A) The ULEZ scheme allows for some vehicles to retrofit emissions reduction tech to meet the ULEZ standards, so it may be possible to adapt your van. However, be warned, the tech will not be cheap, and it may be cheaper to replace the van than adapt it to the Ultra-Low Emissions Zone standards.

Take note, the retrofit will need to be certified by the Government’s Clean Vehicle Retrofit Accreditation Scheme (CVRAS). The CVRAS currently has emissions reduction technologies certified for certain models of vans.

Q) Why isn’t my van showing on the insurance database?

Earlier this year I purchased a used Vauxhall Vivaro. It was advertised as having the 125PS engine which is backed up by a code on the door frame and the V5. When I try to get van insurance, it is coming up as a different model with a higher power output.

I do not want to be paying more for my insurance than needed or indeed, in the event of a claim, having it turned down due to inaccurate information. I have extensively trawled through my handbook but cannot find an answer. Can you help?

Gary (no surname supplied) 

  1. A) The insurance companies get their data from the DVLA. It may simply be a database error or something more sinister in regards to the history of the van.

I would suggest taking it to your local Vauxhall dealer (ideally the one that sold the van when it was new) and get the VIN/registration and engine details confirmed. You can then approach the DVLA and ask them to amend the database if an error is found or take it back to the seller and demand a refund if the history of the vehicle fails to add up.

Q) Should I buy a van with 164,000 miles on the clock?

I’m looking at a Renault Trafic van. It’s a 2011 model with 164,000 miles on the clock. It was previously owned by an engineering company and has a full-service history. The dealer is located 300 miles away. Is this worth it or is the mileage too high?

Denver Margetson

  1. A) At 10-years-old and 164,000 miles the van will be heavily worn and require regular attention (and money) to keep it on the road. What’s more, you’ll need to take it back to the dealer (300 miles away) to fix or address any faults that may develop. However, if the van is in a good condition, there is no reason why it shouldn’t continue for three or four more years, with regular maintenance.


Do you have a van buying query that you can’t find an answer to? Are you struggling to choose a van or pick-up for your professional needs? Email pb@hamerville.co.uk with your questions.

For further information on Honest John Vans visit www.HonestJohn.co.uk/vans


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