Fleet News

Disposals: To fix or not to fix? The riddle is solved

YOU want to get the best money for your vans when you sell them, pretty obviously.

You know that ironing out those annoying little knocks and dings will make them worth more, but exactly where do you draw the line after which paying for repairs won’t be cost-effective?

It’s a conundrum that has been puzzling van fleet operators for many years, but now Manheim Auctions has drawn up some guidelines which will help.

The firm sells 100,000 LCVs a year in its halls – and the damage that they bear tends to fall into very distinct segments.

Manheim owns Dent Wizard, the subsidiary that fixes little knocks and dents without having to resort to expensive traditional bodyshop repairs – and this service is offered to sellers. Thus, by doing a bit of nifty number-crunching, Manheim has been able to work out which repairs are worth the expense and which aren’t by comparing exactly how much extra buyers are willing to pay for dent-free vehicles.

There is no point coughing up £500 for external cosmetics when the van won’t make any more in the halls. In contrast, you could pay out £100 for dent removal and find your van makes £500 more.

Here we look at the most common forms of damage, followed by Manheim’s recommendations in each case.

  • Roof damage caused by loading and unloading Dented roofs are considered as minor damage which is considered acceptable. Recommendation: don’t waste your money unless it’s very badly damaged.
  • Damaged or missing plastic bumper end caps and bodywork trim These are minor elements that only affect the cosmetic looks of the vehicle, but must be addressed prior to sale. With many plastic bumpers being car-like, any impact could have caused ‘hidden’ damage to mounting brackets and panels, which buyers will check before bidding on your van.

    Recommendation: look at each case in isolation and then make a decision on whether to spend money on repair.

  • Interior damage – especially dashboards and seats
    This should be addressed prior to sale as the high cost of repairing dashboards, trims and seats can be off-putting for a buyer.
    Recommendation: smart repair can address many of these interior items without costing a fortune.

  • Unrepaired minor damage – scratches, chips, dents
    Investing in a full valet with three-stage body polishing will always improve the sale value of a vehicle with average damage.

    Recommendation: smart repair can also address this area, but only fix those larger scratches – don’t worry about the small ones.

  • Interior load area damage due to lack of interior ply-lining
    The repair processes for dents caused by unsecured loads are complex and expensive. Most buyers would be put off by a vehicle that requires extensive levels of repair.

    Recommendation: difficult to repair so prepare for a lower used price at auction if a van is badly damaged. Always invest in plywood lining and load restraint systems from the outset.

  • Load area damage on pick-ups, dropsides and tippers
    The load area is considered to be a working zone and buyers will generally expect and accept cosmetic damage unless extremely severe, where metal is distorted or building deposits (cement, Tarmac etc) have been left to cure.

    Recommendation: don’t bother repairing minor damage, but with ‘lifestyle’ pickups such as the Mitsubishi L200 Warrior and Nissan Navara, values will suffer if damage is not repaired.

  • Sill and mid-panel damage on panel vans
    Recommendation: if damage is minor, these elements are not considered a problem to repair.

  • Poorly specified or fitted ancillary equipment eg. roof racks
    Damage due to poor fitment or removal of equipment is potentially an expensive repair area, especially on glazing vans.

    Recommendation: difficult and costly to repair and you will never see the return on your investment – always invest in quality glass racks to avoid damage.

  • Rear door and rear panel damage – caused by low speed impacts
    Unless damage is severe, the odd bump and scratch due to reversing mishaps are generally accepted by buyers.

    Recommendation: investment in fitting parking sensors could reduce the amount of damage to the rear of vans.

  • Poor DIY repairs
    Poor DIY repair jobs make a vehicle look ‘cheap’ and could hint towards sub-standard repair and maintenance practices.

    Recommendation: tidying up a vehicle’s appearance is a worthwhile investment, but don’t spend too much.

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