My life driving a van after twelve months.

IMG_8509In September 2018 I gave up my German saloon vehicle and decided to use my 2006 transporter lwb camper-van full time. I had to take some considerations into place. This consisted of how much driving was I going to be doing each year. How will this work in my day to day and will it make a huge amount of difference.

I have broken down each of the areas that the van will be involved with and my experiences.

Mileage

The company that I work for our customers were previously located were all over the South East of England. Over a period of time this focus moved to London this meant more time in London. The company car I had used to either sit outside my house or in the town parking. The mileage had reduced down and whilst the van was comfortable it would not have been suitable for my previous mileage which was in excess of 30000 miler per annum. I now traveled just over 5000 miles mostly for leisure this was a lot less than before.

Maintenance

With the company now paying me my allowance. I was now responsible for the maintenance of the van. In August 2017 I gave the van a service in preparation for September. I had a good run with no mechanical issues unfortunately in October I had an issue with the clutch. This was purely wear and tear and cost me over £1200.00 to replace. The cost is largely due to the location as a lot of labour time is required. The end result is the van now goes really well and in particular the power. I took the view as I had not spent any money on the van for almost a whole year that this is something I could live with. The cost of fuel was more than my saloon car as would be expected although I now did very low company mileage less than 50 miles a month and the rest was my personal usage. The van had previously being used not everyday and when I started driving it more regularly it did actually go a lot better especially as it was a diesel.

Parking

This was the biggest concern that I considered. In reality when I had to do my main food shop. I had to just park a little further away from the main doors of the food store. I have also started becoming good at spotting spaces in a car park. I only have to do this once or twice a month as I shopped locally which was within walking distance for my basics. I also found some external free parking spaces in side roads especially in the evenings when I went into town I could park without struggling for parking. Again a short walk but the money I was saving made the night out a lot cheaper.

Work

I was first concerned what a few of my clients would think of me arriving with a van. Well I had no funny comments and actually found out that a few had camper vans themselves so became a talking point. It did now mean that my company car allowance less the usual tax would now be coming into account as no car payment to make. This was a major part of the deciding factor in that my mileage had reduced somewhat and the vehicle sat in front of the house most of the time. In some weeks I might use the van twice for longer trips and the depreciation if I had bought a new car would have been painful. The only time I would go back to a saloon is if my mileage went back up to over 20,000 miles per year. My work colleagues once they got over the initial shock of seeing the van in the company parking lot haven’t said anything since then.

Outdoors Usage

This is also where the van came into its own. I no longer had to keep moving stuff out of the car into the van. I could load up my van with my bike and camping equipment and it never reached capacity like it would with a saloon. As my van is a camper-van it helped when I arriving late not having to put my tent up. The time it now takes to clean the inside of the van is perhaps ten minutes a quick vacuum and dust after a busy weekend and it’s ready for the next trip. A few of my friends also have vans and our group aren’t the type who care what other people drive.

Navigation & In Car Entertainment.

I used my phone with google maps. I thought I would miss my built in sat nav but in reality google maps has moved on so much that it gave me accurate travel along with Waze. I also upgraded the original radio that came with the van and purchased a new radio with Bluetooth. I could now listen to my music and pod casts.

Expanding family

I am also moving in with my partner and her two boys in the summer and currently short a seat with a belt as we will be a total of six of us when my girls come to stay. Currently we have to take two cars for any trips away. I have a local company that converts vans and going to see what the cost of installing an additional seat would cost. I will do an update on what I found in the coming months of what I finally decided to do.

Having a Van & Car

My girlfriend has now moved in and she has her own personal saloon. This has grown our family to six in total. Once I can confirm the cost for the additional seats this will sage having to use two cars for travelling. I now use the car for my shorter journeys or when going into town. The best part is that I am not having to pay for two expensive cars sitting on the driveway.

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