Although most modern panel vans are capable of more than 200,000 miles, most operators still choose to de-fleet them before they've covered a quarter of that distance.
Alternatively, fleets could run vans until they become too unreliable and then scrap them, a policy which Glass's says has some merit. At present, however, popular vans with fewer than 40,000 miles on the clock sell strongly, while those with between 50,000 and 75,000 miles still offer a good chance of a profitable sale, assuming their condition is acceptable.
For the best older vans, retail sales are usually possible with up to 100,000 miles showing, but above the 100,000-mile mark, most dealers believe the potential problems outweigh the risk.
George Alexander, Glass's chief commercial vehicle editor, said: 'Little will change until legislation, coupled to financial incentives, is created to favour more sensible full-life cost considerations, including that of recycling. Then, keeping vehicles in harness for perhaps five years with very high mileage could make sense.'
He said franchised dealers have both their own and their manufacturers' reputation to protect and cannot afford to dabble in anything other than late-plate, first class stock with minimal mileage.
Alexander added that independent dealers need to be increasingly aware of the powerful consumer protection legislation which can be used against them and few are interested in stocking high mileage vehicles that offer limited profit.