Things to look out for when test driving your Van

It may seem  a little daunting when buying your first van to convert to a campervan.  It is therefore important to keep your wits about you and have a check list to make sure you are buying a good quality van with no hidden problems.

Clutch and Gears

You should be able to access all the campervan gears without any crunching.  If the biting point of the clutch is excessively high it may indicate the clutch is in need of replacement.

Go through all gears several times including reverse that will hopefully show up any faults.  When engaging the accelerator listen out for over-revving of the engine.  This would indicate that the clutch is slipping and is likely to need replacement.

Suspension

When driving the ride should be smooth.  The suspension should be responsive when traveling over bumps in the road.  The suspension springs absorb the jolts that result from driving over the bumps in the road.  Shock absorbers counteract this motion to stop excessive bounce.  A simple test used on cars is to push down on the bumper and then let it go.  A healthy shock absorber will allow the body to rebound but quickly come to rest.  Any prolonged bounce will indicate faulty shocks.

Engine

Check that the vehicle is being started from cold.  Check no excessive smoke is coming from exhaust.  Listen for any unusually mechanical noises.  When you return from your test drive leave the engine running for at least five minutes, check the temperature gauge to see if vehicle is overheating.

Steering and Brakes 

Test the brakes and ensure they stop the vehicle responsively with no vibration or excessive noise.  Test the steering on full lock in both directions.  The steering should be smooth and responsive with no free play.  Pay attention to any noises or vibration that may indicate damage to the steering mechanism.

Purchase

Get proof on any deposits paid via receipt.  Make a note of any work the dealer has agreed to carry prior to collection of the vehicle.

Although the vast majority of vehicle transactions go without fault a small minority do.  We have known someone to accept cash when selling their vehicle and it turned out to be counterfeit, he lost the lot.  Direct bank transfers can negate this problem.

Check the V5 registration document and all other paperwork to identify if there are any problems with the vehicle.

VW T5 Syncro