Author Archives: Van Rental

Moving house with a van

Heading back to uni? Don’t leave home without renting a van

Moving house with a van

Shifting your stuff is much easier in a van than in your parents’ car! Think about sharing with an older driver to avoid age restrictions.

It’s that time again. Students are flocking back to university with all of their ‘stuff’. If this is you — or your son/daughter — then it’s time to start thinking about renting a van.

To help you get on the road and enjoy a stress-free journey #backtouni, we’ve put together some links to help you get started with van hire:

  • To get started, check out our student van hire guide. This includes details of minimum age restrictions at popular hire companies and other useful tips.
  • One-way van hire: this can be a great solution for students old enough to drive themselves back to uni. We highlight some of the main companies offering this service and explain what you need to know.
  • Got questions about driving licence requirements or age limits? This guide should help.
  • Insurance worries? The excess on rental vans is generally £1,000 or more. So purchasing excess protection insurance can help. Most hire companies sell this by the day, but it’s sometimes cheaper to buy it yourself beforehand — see here for ideas and discount codes.
  • First time? Check out our van size guide and our guide to hiring a van for the first time.
  • Finally… if you haven’t driven a van before, don’t leave home without taking a look at our guide to driving a hire van for the first time.

Once you’re ready to book, our unique van hire price comparison engine enables you to compare prices from many of the UK’s largest and most popular van hire companies.

Please don’t leave it too late — as term starts near popular sizes of van are often booked and some companies may raise their prices…

We hope our tips will get you on the road safely, cheaply and quickly. But if you’ve got any van hire questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch on Twitter @vanrentaluk, via our Facebook page or by good old-fashioned email.

Questor Insurance logo

Exclusive discount code: Questor Insurance van hire excess protection

Questor Insurance logo

It’s hard to believe it’s September. The kids are heading back to school and students are thinking about heading back to university.

Whatever your reason for hiring a van, you may want to consider purchasing extra cover to reduce the excess liability on your hire van. The standard excess is typically £1,000 or more, so spending a few pounds on extra insurance often makes sense.

Our exclusive discount code for Questor Insurance should help you to save a few £££ on your van hire excess protection insurance. This code is exclusive to, so you won’t find it anywhere else!

Here are the details:

  • Offer: SAVE 7.5% on Questor Insurance 
  • Discount code: VAN2291
  • Valid from 1 September 2018
  • Expires 30 September 2018

Buy Questor Insurance



Terms and conditions may apply — see Questor website for details.

Van parking

How to stay safe when parking and reversing your hire van

Van parking

Van parking (image courtesy of Volkswagen)

If you’re hiring a van for the first time, there’s a good chance that one of your top driving worries will be reversing and parking the boxy beast.

Figures released by the Department for Transport suggest that you are probably right to be concerned. In 2016, there were 1,350 parking and reversing accidents involving vans that resulted in death or injuries to drivers, passengers, cyclists or pedestrians.

In addition to this, there were many more minor reversing shunts where damage was limited to property, not people.

The human cost of these accidents can be terrible. But even if no-one else is involved, costs can be high. Volkswagen estimates that having a van off the road costs companies an average of £550 per day. Average UK car repair bills — after a collision — clock in at a weighty £1,678.

How to reverse your hire van safely

There are a few things you can do to make reversing and parking much safer.

The first is to ensure that your mirrors are correctly adjusted to provide a clear view down each side of the van. Make sure you familiarise yourself with what’s visible and any blind spots.

Don’t be afraid to get out and have a look. I can’t emphasise this enough. Get out and look! Even the most experienced drivers do this sometimes. There’s no substitute for eyeballs.

If at all possible, make sure you have a friend or colleague to help when you’re reversing into an enclosed space.

Of course, if your hire van has a reversing camera, this will help reduce the risk of a collision. Unfortunately most rental vans don’t have this feature, which is usually an extra-cost option on new vans.

Whatever the situation, make sure you are moving dead slow when you reverse and park. That way, if you do hit something the potential damage to life or vehicle will be limited.

What if I damage the van when reversing?

Any damage to the van when reversing could leave you with a hefty repair bill. Our research suggests that the excess on hire vans is typically upwards of £1,000.

Unless you’ve purchased excess protection insurance to reduce this liability, you’ll be liable for all repair costs up to the full excess amount.

Our top tip

The vast majority of van reversing is completed successfully and without any damage. It’s not that difficult to do if you take care and go slow.

Get a reliable friend to help if possible.

If you’re on your own, take as much time as you need. Don’t hesitate to get out and look.

By following these tips, you should be able to enjoy a safe, damage-free van rental.

Ford Ranger Raptor

Ford Ranger Raptor makes history with Gamescom launch

Ford Ranger Raptor

The Ford Ranger Raptor will be on sale in mid-2019.

Ford has made history by launching the latest version of its Ranger pickup at Europe’s Gamescon video game trade fair, in Cologne, Germany.

The Raptor looks like something out of a computer game and the link goes further than that — the company announced that in partnership with Microsoft, the Ranger Raptor will feature in the Forza Horizon 4 racing game.

The new model will go on sale to real-world buyers in the middle of 2019. Powered by the BiTurbo versio of Ford’s 2.0-litre EcoBlue engine, it packs a powerful punch with peak power of 213PS and 500Nm of torque. Drive is delivered to the over-sized wheels through Ford’s 10-speed automatic gearbox.

The Ranger Raptor’s design is inspired by off-road racing and the larger F-150 Raptor. It gets upgraded FOX shock absorbers and specially-designed BF Goodrich tyres on 17-inch alloy rims. Upgraded suspension is paired with new underbody protection to prepare the Raptor for serious off road use.

However, this won’t compromise the truck’s on-road driving quality, according to Damien Ross, Ford’s chief program engineer for the Ranger Raptor:

“The standout experience of the Ranger Raptor, hands down, is how far you can push it off-road and still ride like a millionaire on-road. Everything about the Ranger Raptor builds on the already outstanding sophisticated feel and functional capability of the Ranger, and then goes further. From a driving dynamic fun standpoint, it is really an exceptionally special vehicle.”

Inside, front-seat passengers are cossetted inside specially bolstered seats and can enjoy the full-range functionality provided by Ford’s SYNC 3 infotainment system.

The Ford Ranger Raptor will go on sale in Europe in mid-2019.

Questor Insurance logo

Bank Holiday Discount Code: Questor Insurance [EXPIRED]

Questor Insurance logo

Just a quick one, as I know you’re all busy preparing for the August Bank Holiday weekend.

We have a 10% discount code for Questor Insurance van hire excess protection.

This code is valid from 21 August 2018 until 31 August 2018.

Remember, as long as you purchase the insurance during this period, you can use it to cover a hire period later in the year (or even next year). So if you’re moving house or planning a trip back to university, it might be worth booking this weekend in order to save some £££.


Please check our van hire excess insurance page for more great discount codes.

Driving in France

Taking a hire van to France? Don’t fall foul of these driving laws

Driving in France

Driving in France (courtesy of Shutterstock / Alfio Finocchiaro)

The French government is determined to reduce the number of accidents on France’s (excellent) road network and has introduced a number of new laws this year.

Most of these don’t apply in the UK, so you may want to read on if you’re planning a quick trip over the Channel in a rented van (or in your car).

Here are some of the main highlights:

  • Speed: The speed limit on secondary (‘D’) roads has been cut from 90kph to 80kph. This is equivalent to a reduction from 56mph to 50mph. According to the RAC, drivers could face fines of up to £670 if caught speeding. And EU speeding fines will now follow you back to the UK, so you can’t leave them behind in France.
  • Mobile phones: French rules ban the use of any kind of hands-free headset or headphones while driving. If you want to use a handheld mobile to make a call, you must park in a designated parking space and switch the engine off.
  • Emergency services: If you need to call the emergency services while in France (or anywhere in the EU) the number to call is 112.
  • High viz, warning triangle & breathalyser: When travelling in France you need to carry a high viz vest/jacket for each person in the vehicle. You are also required to carry a warning triangle and an alcohol breathalyser. This must be an approved ‘NF’ type.
  • Documents: If you’re in your own vehicle, you will need proof of ownership (V5C) plus current MOT and insurance certificates. If you’re in a hire or fleet vehicle, you’ll need a VE103B ‘vehicle on hire’ certificate to prove you have the owner’s permission to take it out of the UK. Your rental company should provide this if you’ve booked a van to take abroad. If not, ask. You may need to arrange this in advance.
  • Glasses: If you’re like me and require glasses for driving, make sure you carry a spare pair with you in the car.
  • Low emission zones: Finally, like Germany, France has set up low emissions zones in a number of cities. At the time of writing these include Paris, Lyon and Grenoble. Even if your vehicle is compliant, you’ll still need a Crit’Air vignette to prove it. Otherwise you could be fined. You can find full details of the Cirt’Air scheme here:

These aren’t the only rules that apply to driving in France, but they are among those which might not be familiar to UK drivers. For more comprehensive guide, check out the AA Driving in Europe guide.

You might also want to check out our driving tips for Europe.

UK van registrations July 2012-18

Is van hire to blame for July’s 5.9% drop in van registrations?


New van registrations fell by 5.9% in July to 23,309 units, according to new figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

The fall — in comparison to July 2017 — continues a trend that’s seen the number of new vans hitting the road drop by 2.7% to 204,005 so far in 2018.

This news isn’t completely unexpected, as I’ve commented before. New registrations still remain at fairly high levels, historically.

UK van registrations July 2012-18

UK van registrations July 2012-18 (image courtesy of SMMT)

Ford is still on top

Ford retained its stranglehold on the new van market in July. Of the 23,309 vehicles registered, 5,707 were either Transit Custom or Transit models. In addition to this, the top 10 best seller list included 1,048 Ranger pickups and 1,031 Transit Connect vans.

The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter failed to make it into the top 10, as did several other popular models, including the Renault Trafic.

Why van hire demand could be slowing

The van hire sector remains a major buyer of new vans, helping to underpin production plans for popular models. But at least one big hire company, Northgate, has announced plans to keep vans on its hire fleet for longer than it used to before selling them.

With more than 40,000 vans on hire in the UK, any changes to Northgate’s purchasing patterns could affect overall demand, especially if its changes are echoed by other big rental firms.

Although Northgate remains a major buyers of new vans each year, it could be that this is one factor contributing to a slight reduction in demand for new vans.

Disclosure: The author owns shares of Northgate plc.

Questor Insurance logo

Exclusive August discount code for Questor Insurance [EXPIRED]

Questor Insurance logo

It’s been a while, but we now have a brand-new, exclusive discount code for van hire excess protection from the good people at Questor Insurance.

As I’ve explained before, the excess liability when you hire a van can be surprisingly high. So we recommend some kind of additional protection to reduce your excess.

If you’re considering buying from Questor, then this discount code should help. Here are the details:




This post contains affiliate links. This means I get paid a small commission if you buy something after clicking on the links. This money helps to pay for the running of the website.

An online scammer

Buying a used van? Don’t fall for these common scams

An online scammer

Online used vehicle scams have “really ramped up” since May, according to CDL Vehicle Information Systems.

If you’re considering buying a used van, my first suggestion is that you should check whether it might be cheaper to rent! With used van prices at record highs, this isn’t as daft as it might sound.

However, my mission today is to flag up three ‘popular’ online scams being used to target used van buyers this summer.

According to Mike Bailey at CDL Vehicle Information Systems (who run, the number of online scams targeting used vehicle buyers is “off the chart this summer”.

A typical scam is designed to get you to pay out money without receiving a vehicle. It’s usually very hard to get any redress, so your cash is often lost forever. According to CDL, fraudsters will often setup fake dealer websites with stock that looks genuine and other convincing details.

However, the good news is that most of these scams fit three common patterns. They’re quite easy to spot if you know what to look for. Here’s what you need to know:

  1. It’s too cheap. If a van (or any other vehicle) is being sold much more cheaply than similar models elsewhere, you need to ask why. Clue: it’s probably because the seller has something to hide. They hope that your greed for a bargain will overrule any suspicions you have. Don’t be that person.
  2. Your calls always go to voicemail: Calling up the seller is often a good test. If your calls always go to voicemail. be suspicious. A reputable dealer is usually quite happy to talk on the phone. If the voicemail tells you to email the seller, then you should be even more suspicious. Any legitimate dealer should be available by phone.
  3. You’re offered a van that’s abroad, but can be shipped to you. This is a classic scam. You’ll probably be asked for some money upfront. Although there are some legitimate vehicle importers in the UK, most of them import stock on their own account and then sell it to you when it’s in the UK. If you’re buying a used van, then there’s no reason to buy an import unless you want something very unusual. Our advice is stick to UK vans.

Using information from police, insurers and the DVLA, CDL performs more than one million vehicle history look-ups every day. In addition to its website, the company provides used car checks for customers including CompareTheMarket, Go-Compare and Moneysupermarket.

CDL’s Mike Bailey says that since May this year, the number of fraudulent online adverts has “really ramped up”.

Mr Bailey says that if you spot one or more of the three telltale signs of scam we’ve listed above, “you are probably being lined up” for a scam. If in doubt, it’s best to walk away.

There are plenty of legitimate used vans on the market, including many thousands of ex-rental vans sold through reputable dealers each year.

X-Class 350d V6 4MATIC

Pricing announced for Mercedes-Benz V6 X-Class

X-Class 350d V6 4MATIC

Mercedes-Benz V6 X 350d 4MATIC

Prices for the keenly-awaited V6 version of the Mercedes X-Class pickup will start from £38,350 +VAT.

The German firm says that UK dealers are now taking orders for the new model, with first deliveries expected from November 2018.

As you’d expect, this flagship luxury pickup comes with a very high specification as standard. All UK models will be double cab with 4MATIC permanent all-wheel drive and a seven-speed automatic gearbox.

The range-topping POWER equipment line will be fitted as standard. In fact, the POWER trim level will now only be available paired with the V6 engine. Buyers of the 200d and 250d models will have to make do with the more affordable PURE and PROGRESSIVE trim level.

Highlights of the POWER specification LED headlights, electric mirrors and keyless entry and ignition will be standard. Buyers will also get include a painted front bumper and chrome rear bumper with built-in step.

Drivers and front seat passengers will enjoy the comforting embrace of an eight-way electrically adjustable seat, that’s wrapped in leather and microfiber upholstery. The dashboard and steering wheel both get leather coverings, which should give the V6 X-Class a genuine luxury feel.

What about the engine?

Of course, the big attraction here is the engine. Merc’s V6 is a 3-litre common rail diesel unit with 258 hp and maximum torque of 550Nm. A modern single-stage turbo with variable turbine geometry is said to provide “particularly agile engine response”.

The V6 engine will be paired with Mercedes’ 7G Tronic automatic gear box and Dynamic Select controller. This will provide no fewer than five different driving modes, including Eco, Comfort, Sport and Off-road.

For more information about the new X-Class, head on over to or swing by your nearest Mercedes-Benz Van dealer.