Running a van for private purposes?

Running a van for private purposes?

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LikesBikes

Original Poster:

1,439 posts

208 months

Saturday 13th February 2016
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Been toying with the idea of a van as a daily. The load space would be useful for hobby purposes (R/C aeroplanes), an Astravan or similar would be ideal as I don't need the extra height of more purpose built vans and it has a decent floor space. Also for running/parts costs it's essentially a car and I wouldn't worry about it in car parks - my car regularly sits at work from Monday morning to Friday afternoon.
So what is the downside, I presume they're a little unrefined but apart from that? Is insurance ridiculous or will it be quite reasonable as its not for business use/only two people etc.

Anyone done something similar, any comments appreciated.

TheLuke

2,218 posts

113 months

Saturday 13th February 2016
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Plenty of people have done similar, as for the insurance it highly depends on your circumstances as always. Do a quote on a price comparison website and go from there.

SS2.

13,702 posts

210 months

Saturday 13th February 2016
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Insurance - get quotes, but likely to be more expensive than the equivalent car.

Also, as and when you decide to revert to a car, you might have to do some ringing around to find an insurer who'll be happy to port back any NCB you've accrued with the commercial vehicle.

Speed addicted

4,516 posts

199 months

Saturday 13th February 2016
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I went looking for a small van for mountain bikes/dog run/tip runs/taking my disabled sister out etc and to avoid having to use my less practical car.
I ended up getting a Berlingo car rather than the van version.

I found that the vans at the same price tended to be about finished as they'd been run into the ground before being sold, the car version was generally in better condition due to it not being a company vehicle.
Having extra seats is sometimes really handy. I can fit five people, or I can get three mountain bikes and three people into the Berlingo, or take out the back seats completely for more room. It gives me a lot more flexibility.

Not sure about insurance, I think it was a little more expensive for the van.

I'd look at cheap estate cars instead personally. The Berlingo is fine for what it is but I could have had something much nicer to drive if I didn't need the height.

Tomo1971

1,097 posts

129 months

Saturday 13th February 2016
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Even though self employed, I bought and ran a van as a private individual - due to the low running costs and high miles it made sense to claim the 25/45p back a mile from my tax.

Anyway, the insurance didn't seem to be expensive, there are specialist van insurers (commercial vehicle direct etc). The VED is fixed on commercials rather than by emissions.

If you bought second hand the Astra van has a couple of quite high powered diesels and run in 17 or 19' rims.

Note that some vans have different speed limits than cars - dont be fooled by the 'car derived van' description as that is years out of date, its the weight that the vehicle CAN carry that gives it the speed limit.


SS2.

13,702 posts

210 months

Saturday 13th February 2016
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Tomo1971 said:
..dont be fooled by the 'car derived van' description as that is years out of date, its the weight that the vehicle CAN carry that gives it the speed limit.
Not true.

A goods vehicle which isn't car derived will still be subject to special speed limits, irrespective of its maximum laden weight.


LikesBikes

Original Poster:

1,439 posts

208 months

Saturday 13th February 2016
quotequote all
I've just done a quick quote on confused.com while awaiting replies for a van as a second vehicle - £200 or thereabouts. I'd still have my car for pleasure use, the van would just be a workhorse. I figure (man-maths possibly?) that the fuel savings from running a V8 as a daily would easily cover insurance/tax on a second vehicle.

The other issue is cost of the van itself, plenty around for as little as £1000 but are they on their last legs? I assume most small businesses don't trade up for vanity (geddit?) reasons, but rather that they'd fcensoreded?

LikesBikes

Original Poster:

1,439 posts

208 months

Saturday 13th February 2016
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Ah, that question is covered

justanother5tar

1,314 posts

97 months

Saturday 13th February 2016
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If an AstraVan would do you, if strongly suggest just getting Astra estate and limo tint/vinyl the back windows if you really need to. Cheaper to run and less likely to get broken into. I know a couple of tradies that have had their empty vans broken into because you couldn't see into the back, guess the chances of them being loaded with tools is too good.

If you're fixed on getting a van though, if you get something car derived and put a bulkhead in behind the seats, they're no more unrefined than their car equivalents IME.

Ozzie Osmond

21,189 posts

218 months

Saturday 13th February 2016
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For most personal use I suspect an old Galaxy or Voyager is a better bet for the "van" role.

Amongst other things, you can take rubbish to the council dump without being charged....

Evanivitch

11,511 posts

94 months

Saturday 13th February 2016
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You'd have to pay more on the Severn bridge!

Get a vectra estate, pull the back seat a out if needs be and stick them in the shed, and buy some plywood to cover the floor.

SS2.

13,702 posts

210 months

Saturday 13th February 2016
quotequote all
Ozzie Osmond said:
Amongst other things, you can take rubbish to the council dump without being charged....
Good point about the tip, although I've never once been queried when I've turned up in our Clio van.

That said, does your tip charge you ? Round here, you can apply for a book of tokens - no cost, and it allows you up to 12 visits per year.

jjones

4,052 posts

165 months

Saturday 13th February 2016
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What's the local tip like? Some are ok with no sign written vans dropping non trade waste off but most tow the official line and you have to pay for a permit from the council.

You don't have this hassle with estate cars/scenics etc

milu

2,035 posts

238 months

Saturday 13th February 2016
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I've just bought a Vito Brabus sport x Dualiner ( mouthful) to replace my Mondeo estate and Peugeot 807. .
I went for this version because it was specced up from new as a 'car'.

5 seats,Leather,DVD, windows all round plus all the trinkets you get with a sport x.
So it's kinda like a big people carrier BUT it's still classed as commercial on the log book.
So on the one hand I've got fixed rate road tax but presumably I'll have a bit of a job at the local tip!
Also not 100% on the speed limit issue on dual carriage ways.

My insurance was no problem though swapping from the 807.
I must admit I didn't really consider the implications of buying a Van instead of a Car. If I had I might have bought a Viano instead.
I guess all the VW T5 guys are in a similar position even though most are used as large trendy transport.

f1nn

2,644 posts

164 months

Saturday 13th February 2016
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As other have already said, if you a considering an Astravan or similar car derived van but are concerned about the van specific running cost issues, just buy the car version and fold the seats down.

Probably a larger market when you come to sell it I would have thought.

SS2.

13,702 posts

210 months

Saturday 13th February 2016
quotequote all
milu said:
Also not 100% on the speed limit issue on dual carriage ways.
If its unladen weight is less than 2040kg, if it has side windows behind the driver's seat with a glass area of at least 1.85m2 each side (plus 0.77m2 at the rear), and if it has at a row of proper [transverse] seating for at least 2 people, then it would fit the criteria for a dual-purpose vehicle and normal car speed limits would apply.

Edited by SS2. on Saturday 13th February 13:40

mikebradford

1,824 posts

117 months

Saturday 13th February 2016
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I have a berlingo, bought from new
It doesn't do anything other than transport me and the kids around. And the odd tip run.
I have a free permit that most dumps have, i explained the first time my intentions and they are ok. I dont take the micky and occasionally they have a nosey as i unload my garden waste. But overall no issue.
Even the time i did take my mums old bathroom suite and tiles etc. They complained a little but your allowed a certain amount of weight per year of what may be considered builders waste.

Very practical as it is the 3 seat version, although kids are getting older now, so not as roomy as it once was

Yearly tax is fixed as its commercial, so i think its £170 for the year
insurance, was simple, and i have been with direct line and Norwich union? both insured fully comp for personal use only. No issues and the insurance is cheap. Might be down to my lack of claims

Overall cheap to run at 45mpg approx

For me depreciation seems good as they tend to hold their value, so in real terms its retained about 45% of its value, so comparable to many cars
Plus its been 100% reliable, although i don't do a lot of miles

As its a van, you can put it through the books if you wish. So associated costs are easy to write off.

Edited by mikebradford on Saturday 13th February 13:45

brman

1,125 posts

81 months

Saturday 13th February 2016
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another thing to consider is doors. An astra estate has rear doors whereas the astravan will not. Rear doors are useful when trying to load model planes and stuff in.

I think it comes down to a few things
- finding one that isn't knackered - much easier with an estate
- Do you want to kit it out with shelving etc. Easier with a van although still possible with an estate if you are prepared to strip out the rear trip.
- what access do you want? Side doors are useful, especially if you don't kit it out with shelving etc. You will want to put your heavy stuff (TX's, batteries, tools etc) in the front and the models in the rear otherwise they will get crushed first time you need to brake sharply. Lifting a toolbox from the front when you can only access from the tailgate is not nice on your back.....
- security. As others have said, a car with heavily tinted windows is probably less likely to be broken into than a van.
- resale. If you get a car and strip the rear so you can fit shelving etc you might have trouble selling it again unless you can put it back as it was. A van with shelving is no problem.
- yes, the car will be more refined than the van.....

On balance I would go with the suggestions of an estate or people mover with heavily tinted windows. If it really will just get used as a van (and you don't care about resale) then strip out the rear, panel it (to stop something damaging the glass) and put shelving etc in.

It does depend on the planes though. Lots of 1/4 scale petrol planes with associated kit would probably want a properly kitted out transit smile

milu

2,035 posts

238 months

Saturday 13th February 2016
quotequote all
SS2. said:
If its unladen weight is less than 2040kg, if it has side windows behind the driver's seat with a glass area of at least 1.85m2 each side (plus 0.77m2 at the rear), and if it has at a row of proper [transverse] seating for at least 2 people, then it would fit the criteria for a dual-purpose vehicle and normal car speed limits would apply.

Edited by SS2. on Saturday 13th February 13:40
Thanks for that. I think I qualify then. I have full glass plus 3 rear seats.

e21Mark

15,626 posts

145 months

Saturday 13th February 2016
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I run a Renault Kangoo 1.5tdi as a daily as I have a couple of dogs. It's an added bonus that I don't worry about parking dings, or taking it down onto the beach. It's perfectly refined enough for most journeys and excellent on fuel. (55+mpg) Since having it chipped it even tows pretty well. It was ex fleet and only had light use, plus it's always been regularly serviced. Insurance was about £160 the year I think?