Choosing to go for a used minibus comes with a few risks, and you’ll need to be extra careful when buying one. Repairs can get very expensive on these vehicles, and they could end up costing you more than what you paid for them in the long run. Thankfully, there are a few things that you can do to reduce the chances of ending up with a lemon. Here are some tips for making sure that you get a great used minibus for your business or organisation.
Look at the Mileage
The mileage is one of the most important things to look at when choosing a used minibus. It won’t tell you the full story but it will tell you how much you should reasonably pay for the vehicle, how much time it could have left, and if a vehicle is even worth considering.
If the mileage of the vehicle is uncharacteristically high, then you will have to look very closely at the service history and ask for a good discount to make up for the extra risk you’re taking. A vehicle having a long service history may seem like a bad thing at first, but if the vehicle has been on the road for a long time, you want to see that the owner has had the necessary work done. Recent repairs are also a good sign that the same issues are not likely to pop up again anytime soon unless it is a recurrent issue with this particular vehicle.
Buying your vehicle from a well-known seller with years in the community is one of the best ways to protect yourself from getting swindled. Even if you find a seemingly good deal from a less reputable seller, going with a well-known name will give you some added peace of mind and they’ll be more likely to throw in some extra services in to keep you happy. If you’re looking for a minibus supplier you can trust, The Minibus Centre is a great one to start with as it has a wide selection of vehicles and over 25 years in the business.
Getting one or multiple of your drivers involved in the process will make sure that you get a vehicle that they’ll enjoy driving. They may also give you some recommendations based on their driving experience with the vehicles in your current fleet.
Drivers tend to know more about vehicles in general too and might notice some red flags that will go way over your head. And, if you know someone who knows minibuses, or has the means to hire an expert to perform a summary inspection for you while you’re there, then go ahead as it will give you an additional layer of protection.
Another reason why you want to have one of your drivers there is so you can take the vehicle on a test drive. Make sure that you take the vehicle both on the highway and the main road to see how it reacts at high speeds.
Some of the things to watch out for during a test drive include handling and how the vehicle deals with bumps on the road. Also, see if you can notice any juddering or rubbing sounds coming from the engine and check if the brakes feel firm and responsive.
If the steering is stiff or imprecise, then this could mean that there’s something wrong with the power steering system or fluid. Engine issues can be caused by a wide variety of issues ranging from a faulty time belt to something much more serious.
If the brakes are not responsive, you could simply switch the pads, but this could also be a sign that there’s an issue with the brake fluid system, which is a much more complex issue. Don’t take any of these issues lightly and see if you can get a discount or look at another vehicle.
Two things you will need to pay very close attention to during visual inspections are things like mould and rust. Minibuses can accumulate a lot of moisture, and this can lead to mould forming in the interior, so check if you notice any off smells when checking the interior and be suspicious if lots of air freshener has been used.
You will also need to check the vehicle for signs of rust and water damage. Rust usually starts manifesting around spots like wheel arches, door frames, and under bumpers. Run your hands under the door panels, bumps, and wheel arches to see if you can notice rust flakes, bumps, or holes. If there is rust there, then there’s a strong chance that you’ll have to deal with expensive repairs on the side panels or something worse, so think twice about buying that vehicle.
Buying a used minibus will take more time and consideration since its history will be harder to verify. Don’t rush your decision, know exactly what you’re buying and who you’re buying it from, and always remember to get the vehicle thoroughly inspected before you buy.