Buying a used: Vauxhall Vivaro

Date: Thursday, March 6, 2014

The Vauxhall Vivaro was launched in 2001 and has carved out a reputation as a highly respected medium contender. Ian Shaw looks at used examples of this popular van

When it appeared in 2001, the Vivaro was a radical departure of design from previous Vauxhall, ne´e bedford, medium light commercial vehicles, most of which were re-badged Japanese models. The van was shared with renault, becoming the French brand’s second-generation Trafic, and the circle was completed when Japanese manufacturer Nissan also took the model, calling it the Primastar.

Cab comfort, high equipment levels and ease of driving were highlights, and while the original engine range included a petrol, most buyers went for the 1.9-litre and 2.0-litre diesels.

For the facelift in 2006, identified by the front indicators being moved from the bumper into the headlight housings, the engine range was rationalised to the 2.0-litre diesel in two states of tune: 89hp or 113hp, with a six-speed manual or optional semi-automatic transmission. available in two wheelbase lengths and two roof heights, the Vivaro offers load volumes from 5.3m3 to 8.7m3.

It’s a well-respected and versatile van, but what should you check when buying one?

Website, which provides information on buying and selling used vans, advises seeing whether the cam belt has been changed on schedule. On most Vivaro engines, the cam belt must be changed within five years or 72,000 miles, at a cost of £270. If it has not been, failure could mean a rebuilt or even replacement engine, costing 10 times that.

Check that the engine management light comes on with the ignition and goes out
a few seconds after you start the engine. If warning lights don’t come on with the ignition, they may have burnt out or been removed to hide a serious fault, so check the abS, engine and stop warning lights. If the engine management lights stay on, the problem will usually
be one of three things: wiring loom, control unit (eCu) or the camshaft sensor. usedvanexpert advises having a diagnostics check completed by a garage.

If the engine won’t start just from cold, the problem may be the glow plugs, while if it has an intermittent starting problem and cuts out, the fuel pump is usually the cause. Poor starting at all times usually means worn injectors,
and this will cause high fuel consumption and black smoke.
To rectify the above problems will cost £500 for glow plugs, £2000 for a fuel pump, and £1000
for the injectors, according to usedvanexpert.

On Vivaros that have clocked up more than 80,000 miles, check to see whether the alternator has ever been changed. There are no early warning signs, but the alternator can break up, damaging the drive belt, which can cause further engine harm. budget for £350 to change it.

Turn the steering wheel from lock to lock and check that it is light and easy and not notchy. If
it isn’t easy to turn, or red oil is visible, the power steering circuit is leaking. excessive noise means the pump may also be failing, says usedvanexpert.

Finally, like any used van, make sure there is a documented history of regular servicing.

Second-hand buys

So how much should you pay for a used Vivaro? The used van locator offered up quite a choice, from 8000-mile 2013 examples at £13,500 to a 2004 model with 106,000 miles on it,

at £1400. The best buys appear to be in the 2008-2011 bracket, and are priced from £4500 to £12,500 with average annual mileages. Like most vans, the higher-specification ones depreciate most, making these quite a bargain.


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