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Coronavirus advice for van drivers

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Here, we aim to answer key questions faced by van drivers during the ongoing government lockdown and enforcement of social distancing measures. We will keep this page updated frequently as the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic changes.

For medical advice please make sure you visit the NHS website.

For advice relating to the UK’s response in any other areas, please visit the UK Government’s website.

To keep up to date with all our latest content, or ask us a question, visit our social channels – Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter and YouTube.

Jump to:
Can I still buy a van right now?
Can I still sell my van right now?
What do I do if my van breaks down?
Will my driving test be cancelled?
Can I still refuel?
What happens if I was due to attend a speed awareness course?
What if my van needs an MoT or service?
Will my van battery die if I don't drive for four months?
What happens if I struggle to make my monthly finance payments due to losses incurred by the coronavirus?
Do I still need to pay congestion charge, LEZ and ULEZ in London?
Can I buy a van right now?
Yes.

Wherever you live, you can buy a van online and arrange customer collection or home delivery. If you’re interested in buying a van right now, you can get in touch with the individual retailer via phone, email, text or chat to find out if they’re offering ‘click and collect’ services or home delivery.

Government guidelines confirmed that car dealerships in England could re-open from Monday, 1st June 2020; provided they are able to meet the COVID-19 secure guidelines to protect shoppers and workers. Dealerships in Northern Ireland could re-open from 8th June 2020. As car dealerships open, it is likely van dealerships open too.

An easing of restrictions across the UK has meant dealerships can re-open in England and Northern Ireland, and customer collection services have been given the go-ahead in Scotland and Wales.

Please ensure you check the government guidance issued in your country, as this varies:
England
Northern Ireland
Scotland
Wales.
What are we doing to help you feel safe when buying a van?
It’s important you feel comfortable when buying a van, and that you know a dealership has taken appropriate safety measures for their forecourt before you visit, which is why we’ve introduced new features to Auto Trader adverts that highlight the measures the dealerships are taking for you.

These currently include:
  • COVID-19 safety measures
  • Live video viewings
  • Home delivery
You can learn more about those features here.

We encourage everyone to follow the NHS guidelines on COVID-19 (coronavirus).

Ahead of booking a visit to a dealership, make the most of the online experience by:
  • Researching your next van – you could compare expert reviews or create a shortlist in your Auto Trader favourites.
  • Where possible, arranging a live video viewing of the vehicle to see it in advance.
  • Contacting the dealer ahead of time with any questions – you can use the extra time to properly research van finance options and double check the latest listings on site.
  • Booking an appointment in advance.
  • Taking sensible steps, such as bringing your own pen, if you feel uncomfortable using those provided.
For any medical advice, check the NHS guidelines for the latest updates.

Remember, you must self-isolate for 14 days if you, or any of your household, show symptoms of COVID-19.
What are dealerships doing to help you feel safe when buying a van?
As dealerships are permitted to re-open (once their government allows them to and they have social distancing and sanitisation measures in place), we’re helping them show via their adverts on Auto Trader the measures they may be taking to make it easier for customers to visit showrooms and forecourts.

Retailers across the UK are determined to keep you safe and healthy throughout the car buying process, so this dedicated spaced in each ad will highlight the measures they’ve adopted. Such measures may include:
  • Operating by appointment only (you can make an appointment on Auto Trader, just use the email, call or chat buttons on the ad).
  • Click and collect services, allowing you to stay safe while picking up your car yourself.
  • Adhering to two metres social distancing on forecourts.
  • Complete sanitisation of vehicles.
  • Using staff personal protection equipment (PPE), sneeze screens and other health and safety measures.
  • Making PPE and hand sanitisers available to customers.
Look out for the COVID-19 safety measures icon, to see what they are doing for you.
Can I still sell my van right now?
You can still list your old van on Auto Trader. Demand may not be as high in the current environment, but as sole traders and small businesses begin returning to work it is still likely you’ll receive enquiries from prospective buyers. Use our three-step tool to create and upload your van advert.

If you are thinking of listing your van for sale, it’s important to clean and disinfect it. Whilst there are no guarantees that this will remove all risks, it does show you are taking a responsible approach. Looking after each other at this time is essential, so if you can’t disinfect your van properly, consider delaying listing it until you can.
What do I do if my van breaks down?
Breakdown services have remained active throughout the lockdown and will continue to do so. We may find, however, there is more pressure on all services at this time, so consider the purpose of your journey and any risk involved. Try to stay at home as much as possible, if you can.

The AA has reassured their customers that they will attend to them if they have a problem on the road. They’ve also updated their app and phone line to help identify anyone who has a problem who has coronavirus symptoms or is in self-isolation, to reduce risk of exposure.

AA CEO Simon Breakwell explains “we’ve already taken a range of steps to maintain our service to you, but you may experience a longer wait than usual when contacting us on the telephone while the COVID-19 situation continues.” He also added that “if that happens I apologise in advance and promise that we will return to normal telephone service as quickly as possible.”
Will my driving test be cancelled?
The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) placed a three-month suspension on driving and motorcycle tests in England, Scotland and Wales from 21 March 2020. An exception was made for critical workers, who could apply for emergency tests.

To date, no further update has been given but we will inform you when the situation changes. More information and updates are available on the Gov.UK website.

At the time of suspension, a DVSA spokesperson told us that “a testing service will still be available to those who have a critical need, such as the NHS and drivers delivering goods across the UK.”

If your test has been postponed, “the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) will automatically rebook your test, free of charge, as soon as possible. DVSA will send you another email with the new date and time as soon as it’s been rebooked.”
Can I still refuel?
Whether you can refuel or not depends on whether you have symptoms of COVID-19 coronavirus and or are ‘at risk’ or not. To check if you are ‘at risk’ please check the NHS website.

If you have no symptoms and are not ‘at risk’, using self-service pumps like the ones at many supermarket filling stations to minimise risk of contact with the virus. Also use disposable gloves when handling the pump or and using payment terminals. If possible, try to go when it’s quiet and avoid any human contact.

App-based payment systems like Shell’s Fill Up & Go allow you to pay for your fuel on your phone. If you use this, you should wash and or disinfect your hands afterwards. You’ll also still want to wear gloves when handling the pump.

If you have symptoms, have been in contact with someone with coronavirus or are ‘at risk’:
The current NHS advice says you should stay at home for 7 days if you have symptoms of coronavirus or if you live with someone who has symptoms, then all members of the household should stay at home for 14-days after the first person shows symptoms.
What happens if I was due to attend a speed awareness course?
Due to the current coronavirus situation, all classroom courses have been cancelled until Monday 3rd August 2020 and have been replaced by Digital Classroom Courses.

Some drivers have since attended digital speed awareness courses. Check the National Driver Offender Retraining Scheme (NDORS) website for the latest information.
What if my van needs an MoT or service?
MoTs have been granted a six-month extension from 30 March 2020 on vehicles that are deemed roadworthy. If your van isn’t roadworthy, or you aren’t sure, you need to put your safety and the safety of other road users first.

To date, there haven’t been any updates on when MoTs will resume, but this may change as lockdown shifts so visit the Gov.uk website for more details.

You must keep your van in roadworthy condition, and if you don’t have an up to date MoT you have to arrange one as soon as possible. We have a detailed article on this update, which you can read here.

If you, or any member of your household, are showing symptoms of coronavirus then you have to stay indoors. Once again, please read the NHS guidelines for accurate advice.

Servicing

Manufacturer service intervals are important but not a legal requirement. For newer vans, some dealers may be willing to collect it from you and then deliver it back once the service has been done.

If you’re not using it anyway, you could just wait on the basis you won’t be adding any wear and tear in the meantime. Make sure you check the small print of any service contracts, warranty conditions or similar to make sure there are no obligations to have the service by a certain date and call the dealer or manufacturer.
Will my van battery die if I don't drive for four months?
If you’re not using your van during lockdown, you may face issues such as flat batteries, tyre spots, or some rusting on the brakes.

This can be a pain, especially if you have to reset or re-code alarms and in-van stereos. So, what are your options here? Ideally, you should take your van for a 30-minute drive once every couple of weeks (depending on the age, make and model).

If you won’t be driving your van at all, you could buy a cheap trickle charger and regularly plug it in to top the battery up, leave it all day or overnight as required. If you’re lucky enough to have a garage, you could get a smart charger that only draws current when required and can be left plugged in all the time, keeping the battery in tip-top condition for when you do get back on the road.
What happens if I struggle to make my monthly finance payments due to losses incurred by the coronavirus?
Finance companies have teams within their customer services division, who can assist customers experiencing financial difficulties. Ask them about options such as payment plans to assist, which will depend on individual situations.

Contact the customer services department of the specific finance company your agreement is with, not the dealer you bought the van from.

Not all finance providers will have the ability to offer payment holidays, so you may need to assess what other household debts you have to look at all your options.

For independent advice on finance contracts, contact Citizens Advice or, for general financial concerns, you can try the Money Advice Service, who are independent and can provide web chat services and more.
What happens if my van lease contract is due to expire/start while I’m self-isolating?
As with most business sectors, the answer is likely to vary from company to company. Contact your lease provider, who should be able to arrange a solution with you.
Do I still need to pay congestion charge, LEZ and ULEZ in London?
From Monday 18 May 2020, congestion charges resumed in London Low Emissions Zone (LEZ) and Ultra-Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ).

From 22 June 2020, the congestion charge will be increased from £11.50 to £15 and applied until 10pm, seven days a week.

For up to date information about TfL’s response to coronavirus please visit the TfL website.
This article represents Auto Trader’s opinions and interpretation of the current situation and does not necessarily reflect the latest government guidance and advice. Please always consult the latest government guidance and advice before taking any decision based on this article.