Buying a Used Cargo Van – Important Things You Need to Lookout for

When buying a vehicle such as a cargo van, there’s always a need for you to inspect it whether it is a new or used unit. Even the government requires that commercial motor vehicles be inspected to ensure they are roadworthy and safe to operate.

If you want to buy a cargo van and your budget is limited, your best option is to acquire a used vehicle. To avoid running into problems moving forward, always buy from a reliable used cargo van dealer in Oklahoma. But even if you trust your dealer, here are some important things to inspect when making a used vehicle purchase:

1. Bodywork

Rust is your number one target when inspecting the body of a used cargo van. Signs of corrosion can be easily seen on the wings, below the bumpers and on the van’s sills but it can also develop around door frames, below the wheel arches and at the corners of the windshield. If you see rust, you need to apply gentle pressure on it to see if there’s corrosion beneath the surface.

2. Suspension

A good shock absorber allows the van to bounce once then go back to its original position. If you are not convinced about the state of the suspension, perform a test drive to confirm your suspicions. Make sure to inspect each shock closely for leaking fluid and broken components!

3. Lights

Lights can give you an overall picture of a vehicle’s electrical health so you must watch out for signs of dimming or flickering. Also check the van’ headlights, brake lights, interior lights and indicators to see if they function normally. If any of these are failing, consider moving to your next prospect.

4. Air-conditioning

If the van being sold is advertised as having a “working air conditioning system” you should check it to make sure that it works as advertised by the seller. Check the fans as well as the compressor. They should work on all speeds and the compressor shouldn’t be making any unusual noises. Perform similar checks on the van’s heater.

5. Brakes

Take the used van out on the road to test its brakes. Find an area that will allow you to simulate emergency stops safely. This can help you to discover whether the brakes work and to see if the van stops in a straight line. You also need to listen for grinding and other unusual noises when the brakes are applied. A grinding noise indicates that full replacement is most likely required.

6. Tires

Check the tires for bulges, damage or uneven wear which is an indication of a worn suspension , steering  issues or poor wheel alignment. When checking tires, be sure to include the spare.

7. Engine

Start the engine and let it run idly for a few minutes. Raise the engine RPM by pressing the gas pedal and look for signs of excessive exhaust. If you notice smoke or unusual noises while the engine is running, there could be a problem with the engine’s internal components.

Remove the dipstick or oil fill cap to look for engine blowby. White exhaust smoke or blowby may be an indication of coolant leaking into an engine cylinder. Blue exhaust may be an indication of excess oil consumption. Black exhaust indicates excessive fuel consumption due to an injector or carburetor setting.

8. Engine Oil

Check the engine oil by pulling out the oil dipstick. Wipe off the oil with a white paper towel and inspect the color because it can tell you a lot:

Light Brown – indicates that the van is due for service soon. If you notice silverish streaks, the engine could have an internal bearing problem.

Black – It means the van’s maintenance schedule has been neglected because its oil is way beyond its service life.

9. Transmission Fluid

Pull out the transmission fluid dipstick and check it while the van is idling in neutral gear. Wipe the dipstick with a white paper towel and look at the color of the fluid.

Red or pink indicates that the transmission fluid is good

Brown indicates that the fluid should be replaced soon.

Black means the transmission has overheated in the past and will most likely need a costly rebuild – do not buy a van with black transmission fluid.

10. Steering

Accurate and smooth steering indicates that the van was not neglected and has the proper alignment. When testing the steering, make sure that it is responsive and free from excessive play.

11. Interior

Check the van’s interior to ensure that everything is decent shape. Start the engine and check the power windows, air conditioner and interior lights to confirm that they all function properly. Also check the seat belts to see if they are complete and working correctly.

12. Paperwork

Ask the seller for the van’s full service history. If your seller is one of the most trusted “used cargo van dealers near me” in Oklahoma, you can be sure that the vehicle you want to purchase was pre-inspected and is guaranteed to be in good condition.

Buying a vehicle from a cargo van dealer in Oklahoma doesn’t have to be a difficult and frustrating process! Come to Truck-N-Trailer for the highest quality used inventory in Oklahoma.

Contact us at (405) 912-5800 to schedule a test drive today!