Moving house with a van

Beginner’s guide to van hire: Speed limits, fuel and mileage


Today I’m going to answer some of the most common questions we get about hiring a van.

  • Do I need to drive differently to in a car?
  • What are the speed limits for vans?
  • Is there a limit on how many miles I can do?
  • Do I need to return the van with a full fuel tank?

Driving a van

Moving house with a vanIf it’s your first time, check out our guide to driving a van.

Actually operating the van is easy — the steering wheel and gears and other controls are just the same as those of a car.

What’s different is the size and weight of the vehicle, especially when it’s loaded. As a general rule, you should brake and corner much more gently than with a car. Remember that the van may be much wider than a car.

If the back of your van contains the contents of your flat, then chucking it around like Lewis Hamilton is likely to damage your stuff.

Another problem is height. Medium or large vans are usually too tall to fit under car park height barriers. Don’t be the person who gets this wrong, as your insurance probably won’t cover damage to the roof.

The other big thing to remember is that there’s no rear view mirror. You need to make sure your van’s wing mirrors are adjusted so you can clearly down each side of the van. Use these a lot!

Speed limits

Van speed limits are different to those for cars! 

Speed limit signThese speed limits apply to virtually all vans, including small models like the Ford Transit Connect and Citroen Berlingo. I’ve highlighted where the speed limits are different to those for cars:

  • Motorways: 70mph
  • –> Dual carriageways: 60mph
  • –> Single carriageways: 50mph
  • Built-up areas: 30mph

Mileage limits

Many hire companies rent their vans with no mileage limits. You can do as many miles as you want.

But some companies do have limits, and ignoring them can be costly. One common approach is a maximum number of miles per day, after which you will be charged an additional rate per mile. This can be costly, so check before you book.

Fuel policy

Fuel gauge nearing emptyFuel policy varies between companies, but the usual setup is that the vehicle will come with a full tank of fuel, and you have to return it with a full tank of fuel.

If the tank isn’t full when you return the van, you’ll be charged a refuelling charge per litre that’s more than the local pump price.

Some of the big companies will allow you to pre-purchase a tank of fuel when you pickup the vehicle, so you don’t need to refill it when you return the vehicle. If you do this, make sure you will use enough fuel to make it worth the extra cost.

Finally, most hire vans are diesel. But there are a few small vans with petrol engines, so if you’re not sure, check. There’s usually a label on the filler cap reminding you of the right fuel to use.

If you do put the wrong fuel in, don’t start the engine or even put the key in the ignition. Ring for the assistance number provided by the hire company immediately.

Millbrook Healthcare Peugeot Boxer vans

Healthcare fleet puts 400th Peugeot van on the road

Millbrook Healthcare Peugeot Boxer vans

Millbrook Healthcare has taken delivery of the 400th Peugeot van to join its fleet.

NHS contractor Millbrook Healthcare has taken delivery of 27 new Peugeot vans. The new additions take the firm’s fleet of Peugeot LCVs over the 400 van market for the first time.

The 27 new vans are mostly PEUGEOT Boxer 435 models, with the addition of two PEUGEOT Expert vans and a Luton-bodied Boxer. Millbrook’s role is to collect and deliver equipment to enable patients and those n need of care to remain comfortable and independent in their homes.

The equipment carried in the vans can range of large heavy items such as bed and hoists to smaller items like walking sticks and crutches. To help carry these mixed loads safely, Millbrook’s vans are fitted with internal racking, access ramps and other modifications by Bristol-based conversion specialist Motor On Services.

“We are really pleased to be part of the growing Millbrook Healthcare success story and delighted to be supplying the company with its 400th PEUGEOT”, commented Martin Gurney, Director of Fleet at PSA Group UK, “Millbrook Healthcare transports a wide range of equipment, helping to improve the lives of many people and the PEUGEOT light CV range provides vans ideally suited to the company’s unique needs.”

The latest 27 additions to the fleet will operate from Millbrook’s newest centre near Exeter, which opened its doors in June. The Exeter centre is one of 30 nationwide locations, from which Southampton-based Millbrook delivers more than 800,000 items of community equipment every year.

Europcar UK wins Alphabet Rental Provider of the Year award

Europcar UK wins rental provider of the year award

Europcar UK wins Alphabet Rental Provider of the Year award

Congratulations to partner Europcar UK, which has won the  the Rental Provider of the Year category in the inaugural Alphabet Supplier Awards.

Mobility and fleet leasing experts Alphabet GB selected Europcar UK as a result of its continued focus on development and service improvement in 2016. The judges recognised the wide range of vehicles available, as well as Europcar’s focus on delivering a consistently high customer experience.

Gary Smith, Managing Director of Europcar UK said:

“Winning the Alphabet Rental Provider of the Year award demonstrates Europcar’s commitment to helping our customers keep their businesses moving by offering a wide range of mobility solutions. It also acknowledges the dedication and enthusiasm of the whole Europcar team, working with Alphabet to always deliver a service that focuses on innovation and partnership.”

Manheim logo

Used van sales strengthen in May – Manheim

Manheim logo

Average used van prices rose by 7.3% in May compared to the same period last year, according to auction group Manheim.

The company said that the average used van price achieved in its sales during May was £5,040. That’s 7.3% higher than May 2016 and 10.4% higher than in April, which was disrupted by a number of Bank Holidays.

As usual, average age and mileage both fell last month. The average age of vans sold at Manheim was 63 months, down by four months from May 2016. Average mileage was 77,431, 3.6% lower than in May last year.

According to Matthew Davock, Manheim’s head of LCV, damaged vans remain a challenge. Davock says that the average value of damage recorded in May was £834, 17% higher than in May last year. The variable condition of vans offered for sale means that appropriate pricing is essential, he says:

“Vendors whose reserve pricing reflects these crucial factors are rewarded with buyer loyalty and market leading performances. ”

The group has seen good customer demand at its newly-extended Gloucester auction facility, but Davock sounded a cautious note about demand, noting that Manheim’s buyers had described April and early May as “the toughest months of the years”.

Lower levels of de-fleeted vans may help to support demand in June and there are no Bank Holidays. It will be interesting to see what next month’s figures show.

Volkswagen Crafter Luton

Beginner’s guide to van hire: what type of van do I need?


You’re probably familiar with different types of car, like estate, hatchback and SUV. But you may not be quite so confident when it comes to vans.

The good news is that for most people, there are only really a few types of van you need to know about. The bad news is that similar vans can sometimes be referred to in different ways.

To help you work out what you need when you next hire a van, here’s our beginner’s guide to the different types of van + how much stuff you can fit into each one. You can find more information about vans in our Van Size Guide.

Please remember all sizes and weights given are approximate. If you are unsure about what size you need, check directly with your van hire company. will not accept any responsibility if you hire a van that is too small or too large for your needs.

Small vans

2016 Citroen BerlingoSmall vans such as the Citroen Berlingo usually have a load space about 1.7m long and 1.5m wide. Load height is usually limited to about 1.2m.

Most models can fit two Euro pallets. They’re a good size for tradesmen needing to carry tools and for local deliveries. The maximum load weight (payload) is usually 600-800kg.

These vans often only have one proper passenger seat, although many now have a fold-down middle seat allowing space for two passengers. This can get a bit cramped on long journeys.

Medium vans (a.k.a. ‘Transit’ vans)

Ford Transit Custom Colour EditionThe term Transit van is often used to describe any medium-sized panel van, not just those made by Ford. These vans are the workhorses of the UK economy, chosen by tradesmen, couriers and delivery firms. They do come in different sizes, though.

Unless you book a long wheelbase model (see below) it’s safest to assume that you will get a short wheelbase van, similar to what’s pictured. In this case, expect a maximum load length of about 2.4m, a width of about 1.7m and a height of 1.4m (low roof) or more if it has a high roof.

Maximum load weight is usually 900-1200kg, depending on the model.

This may be large enough to move a studio flat, if you don’t have much in the way of furniture or kitchen appliances. If you have a lot of stuff, then you’ll probably want to move up to a long wheelbase model.

Remember to ask your hire company if you need exact payload (weight) or size information. All vans vary and you are unlikely to know exactly what you’re getting when you book.

Long wheelbase vans

Nissan NV400 XLWB RWD model

An extra-long wheelbase Nissan NV400 van.

The small and medium vans I’ve pictured above aren’t much bigger than large cars. But this isn’t always big enough. If you need more space then one way to go is to get a long wheelbase van. These actually come in two sizes — long or extra long. You may be able to choose when you book, but you may not. If you need something specific, then ring the hire company and ask.

Long wheelbase vans usually have a load length about 3.5m. Extra-long wheelbase vans will add to this and offer 4m or even more. Width is unchanged at about 1.7m, but you’re almost certain to get a high roof, giving load height in the region of 1.6m-2.0m

These may be big enough for a 1/2-bed flat move, as long as your furniture isn’t too bulky or can be flat packed, and you don’t have many large appliances which can’t be stacked (e.g. washing machine, cooker, freezer, etc).

These models are quite big vans and need a big of extra care when driving, especially when reversing or manoeuvring in tight spaces. But they’re easy enough to drive and very useful, so don’t let their size put you off.

Luton vans

Volkswagen Crafter LutonThere’s a good reason most small house removal companies use luton vans for the majority of their jobs. If you’re moving a 1/2 bed property or even (maybe) a 3-bed house then these are the best thing for the job.

Also known as box vans, lutons are not quite as long as a long wheelbase panel van, but are wider and higher. They also have a completely square load space, with no wheel arches, as the box sits on top of the chassis, above the wheels. Sizes can vary, but a typical set of dimensions might be 4m long, 2m wide and 2.2m high.

Because the box sits above the wheels, the load deck is quite high off the ground. To make it easier to lift heavy objects in and out, many luton hire vans have a tail lift, which allows you to raise and lower objects from the ground to the back of the ground. However, not all luton vans have tail lifts. If this is a necessity, make sure you ask before booking.

Automatic vans

If you only have an automatic car licence, can hire an automatic van?

The short answer: No. Automatic vans are not generally available for hire. Unless the hire companies specifically states that they offer automatic vans, you should assume the van will be manual.

If your driving licence only allows you to drive automatics, then you’ll have to find another driver.

You may need to know: Although most manufacturers do make automatic vans, they usually cost extra and very few hire companies buy them. I expect this will gradually change, but not overnight.


Beginner’s guide to van hire: driving licence and age limits


Welcome to the first in a series of posts covering everything you need to know about van hire.

Two of the most common questions we get asked by first-time van hire customers are about driving licences and age restrictions.

Here’s what you need to know.

Driving licence requirements

The short version: If you have a full UK car licence, you can drive virtually all rental vans.

When renting a van, you will also need to provide a driving licence check code – available from (you’ll need your National Insurance number and driving licence).

You may need to know: Your UK car driving licence covers you to drive goods vehicles (like vans) with a maximum loaded weight of up to 3.5 tonnes. Virtually all rental vans in the UK fall into this category.

The only possible problem is if your car licence is for automatics only. Almost all hire vans are manual, so you won’t be able to drive one.

Point on your licence? Most companies allow you to have some points for speeding, but there are usually some limits. Endorsements for more serious offences (e.g. CD, DD, DR or DG) are likely to bar you from hiring. The rules vary between companies, so if you are unsure, ask before you hire.

Age restrictions

The short version: If you are aged between 25 and 75, you shouldn’t have any problems. If you’re aged between 21 and 25, some companies will let you hire a van, but you’ll usually have to pay extra.

You may need to know: Age limits are not set in law, they are chosen by hire companies. Most of the big companies have slightly different rules to each other.

In general, drivers aged 21-25 will need to pay a young driver surcharge. In some cases, companies won’t accept drivers below a certain age at all. Younger drivers may also only be allowed to hire smaller sizes of van.

The rules are even more arbitrary for older drivers. Some companies do not specify any restriction. Others have an upper age limit. This is often 75.

If in doubt, check directly with the hire company you want to use before booking.

Still got questions?

We have more information about age limits for specific companies here.

We also have a lot more information on our van hire FAQ page.

If you’re still stuck, drop us an email or get in touch on Twitter @vanrentaluk

Deutsche Post StreetScooter Ford Transit electric van

Deutsche Post plans Ford Transit-based electric van

Deutsche Post StreetScooter Ford Transit electric van

Deutsche Post will produce a new electric van using a Ford Transit chassis and bespoke electric drivetrain and body.

Electric vans may still be a rarity, but German logistics giant Deutsche Post is making a big commitment to e-power. The group has announced plans to build a new e-van based on a Ford Transit chassis. Production is due to start next month (July 2017) and expectations are for “at least 2,500” of these vans to be in use by Deutsche Post DHL Group by the end of 2018.

Deutsche Post isn’t without experience in this area. The vans will be made by the group’s subsidiary, StreetScooter. As I reported in January, this former startup has already designed and produced a smaller electric van model. The postal group is already using 2,500 of these smaller vans throughout Germany. Plans are now in place to scale up production to 20,000 units per year.

StreetScooter’s new Ford Transit-based electric van will be equipped with a battery-electric drive train and fitted with a special body construction based on Deutsche Post and DHL Paket specifications.

The company expects that this new model will help the project become the largest manufacturer of all-electric medium-duty delivery vehicles in Europe.

It may seem unlikely for a logistics group to be designing and manufacturing its own vehicles. But in my view it’s a sign of the times. Large vehicle manufacturers have been slow to take advantage of this new technology and are perhaps constricted by their need to make models with commercial appeal for a wide range of customers.

Corporate giants such as Deutsche Post have the scale and financial firepower to leapfrog the automotive industry’s development processes. They can — and are — simply producing the vehicles they want using readily available technology. It’s a similar situation to the increasing number of large US companies who are switching away from conventional electricity companies and generating their own green electricity from solar farms.

The automative world is changing, folks. And this is only the start.

BCA van auction May 2017

Used van prices rise as ex-rental stock drives down average age

BCA van auction May 2017

I read somewhere the other day that 50% of used cars resold at 6-18 months old are ex-rental models. I’m not sure if the same statistics apply to the used van market, but what is clear is that the van rental sector has a big influence on the average age, mileage — and price — of used vans going through auction.

Auction group BCA released its used van sales report last week. BCA says that the average used van price in May was £6,452, up marginally from £6,431 in April. The average price was 9.5% higher than in May 2016, but as this table shows, both average and and mileage have fallen significantly over the last year:

All vans Avg Age (mnths) Avg Mileage Avg Value
May 2016 54.42 71,121 £5,892
May 2017 50.28 66,291 £6,452

Source: BCA

The firm says that the decline in average age and mileage is “largely as a result of the influx of younger rental stock over recent months”.

However, Duncan Ward, BCA’s LCV Operations Director, says that rental volumes are easing and described May as a “fragmented” and “patchy” month:

“Buyer demand was patchy during May as professional buyers had a choice from a wide selection of stock and inevitably cherry-picked the best presented and most desirable vehicles.  The Bank Holidays and half-term were additional distractions that fragmented demand during the month.”

This doesn’t sound especially positive to me. It will be interesting to see whether a more settled June follows. If buyer demand remains patchy, average prices could soon start to weaken if volumes remain high.

Questor Insurance logo

[EXPIRED] Discount code for June: Questor Insurance

Questor Insurance logo

The insurance excess when you rent a van (or a car) is often £500 or more. If you want to reduce this to £0, then the hire company will usually charge you an extra daily fee.

One of the best ways to save cash when hiring a car or van is to buy your excess protection insurance from a specialist company, not from your hire company.

Questor Insurance offers excess protection insurance for van hire from just £6.19 per day. That’s much cheaper than some rental companies.

To cut the cost even further, we have a 5% discount code from Questor for you to use in June. Here are the details:



Terms and conditions apply. See Questor Insurance website for details.

The new Volkswagen Crafter

Volkswagen sets safety standard with AEB on all new vans

The new Volkswagen Crafter

The new Volkswagen Crafter will be fitted with AEB as standard from 1 June 2017, as will VW’s other van models.

Volkswagen has announced that it will become the first manufacturer to fit all of its new vans sold in the UK with an autonomous emergency braking system. The decision applies to the firm’s Caddy, Transporter and Crafter vans from 1 June 2017.

Autonomous Emergency Braking, or AEB, is fast becoming one of the most important safety systems on modern vehicles. It uses front-facing radar to apply the brakes automatically and stop or slow the vehicle if a collision seems likely.

AEB is already fitted as standard to many cars, but fitment to vans has lagged behind. Where AEB is available, it’s often an option.

According to Thatcham Research, who conduct Euro NCAP safety testing in the UK, AEB has the potential save more than 100 lives and avoid 120,000 casualties over the next ten years. It can reduce the number and severity of collisions and has also been proven to cut third party injury insurance claims by 45 per cent.

Peter Shaw, Chief Executive at Thatcham Research, said:

“Volkswagen is a trailblazer and should be applauded for being the first manufacturer to fit AEB as standard on all its vans in the UK.  The truth is that we are seeing a year on year rise in deaths and serious injuries involving vans which this technology can help to avoid.”

Volkswagen says that vehicles fitted with AEB benefit from an average insurance premium reduction of 10%.

The firm’s AEB system has two elements, The first is Front Assist — which alerts the driver and applies the brakes if necessary if an obstacle is approaching too quickly. The second element is City Emergency Braking, which will automatically brake the vehicle at speeds of under 18mph if the driver fails to see or react to an obstacle.