Honest John- what to look out for when buying used vehicles

Honest John- what to look out for when buying used vehicles

All versions of the Ranger are good to drive, comfortable and capable of hauling huge loads. But what should you look out for when buying used? Dan Powell, from Honest John Vans, explains how to find a good one on the used market.

Unlike its predecessor, which was a Mazda spin-off, the latest Ranger was conceived by Ford Australia and launched in the UK back in 2011. It featured an all-new ladder chassis, the choice of six-speed manual and automatic transmissions and competitive towing and payload limits. All models get a large load bed, with the choice of single, super or double cab body styles. Single cab models will carry the most – a maximum of 1,269kg – while double cabs will take around 1,100kg.

Which engine is best?

At its launch, the third-generation Ranger was fitted with a choice of two diesel engines, with a choice of power outputs. The entry-level engine was the 2.2-litre TDCI turbodiesel (with 135PS or 150PS) while the smart money went on the powerful 3.2-litre engine with 200PS. The 3.2 is a real beast of an engine and comes packed with mountains of low gear pull, which makes it perfect for towing. We would recommend choosing this unit over all others, when buying used.

That said, if you are buying a nearly new mode, you might want to consider the Ranger with the newer 2.0-litre ‘EcoBlue’ turbodiesel. In most forms it will generate 170PS, and promises lower fuel costs and tailpipe emissions than the larger – and thirstier – 3.2-litre engine.

How much should I pay?

Rangers in the sub-£10,000 bracket are typically early single-cab models, in base trim that have been bought to work and wear the mileages to prove that. Don’t be frightened of them, as big mileages from business vehicles tends to suggest they’ve been looked after, just be sure to make sure it comes with a wad of receipts and service history to demonstrate that it’s been looked after properly.

At around £14,000 there’s a good number of these lifestyle Rangers, mixed in with a lot of white, clearly business-owned vehicles, the choice encompassing everything from the entry-level trims right up to the top level ones. The £15,000 – £18,000 range features rich-pickings for a Ranger buyer. Here, you can really afford to shop around, with everything available in this price bracket. You’ll get a pre-facelift two-year old Ranger with under 20,000 miles here, or post-facelift version with higher miles.

If you want the bigger engine then spend £20,000 or more, with this price point seeing a glut of choice of mint 3.2-litre examples, most coming with fully-loaded specifications. Above that and you’re into the nearly new, ex-demo stock, where you can bargain hard from the dealers you’ll likely be buying them from.

What should I check when buying?

According to the service schedule, the Ranger should visit a local Ford dealer or independent garage once a year or 20,000 miles – whichever comes sooner. However, for smoother running, Honest John Vans recommends having the oil and filter changed every 12,000 miles or 12 months to ensure the oil does not lose its lubricity and cause unnecessary wear and tear. The Ranger comes with a timing chain on the 2.2 and the 3.2-litre engines and these should last the life of the vehicle if the oil has been changed regularly.

A major service will cost in the region of £240, with an interim service being roughly £150. New front brake pads will cost about £140 fitted, while a new clutch will be just shy of £700 – so check it’s not slipping when you’re buying.

For further information on Honest John vans visit vans.honestjohn.co.uk/

For further information on the Ford Ranger visit ford.co.uk/

Dan Powell is the editor of Honest John Vans and heycar.co.uk

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