What is your choice of make and model of a 10 year old van, and where to find it?
Forgetting about cost for a minute, I would look for a Toyoa Sienna with reasonably low mileage and a proven documented maintenance history. A Mazda or Honda with a good maintennce record would be my second choice.
I would avoid Ford Windstar, Any Volkswagen model, Kia, and any Chryler/Dodge/Plymouthmodels.
You are not likely to find my choice is meaningful. I am not going to drive it, you are. My advice is to check the local adds and check out a few that look promising. Before committing to a deal, have it checked out by your mechanic. At that age, current condition determines the price. A van in good condition will be worth a lot more than one in poor condition.
Take extra care in shopping for an older van. In many cities, vans are used for taxicabs. I will second another post–check the condition of each candidate. At 10 yaars old, the make isn’t as critical as the former service the van had. I would rather have a well maintained Ford Windstar that was a one owner who used the van as a family vehicle than a Toyota Sienna where the former owner was the Acme Cab Company even though the Toyota has a better repair record according to Consumer Reports.
Find the newest, lowest mileage van in your price range. A family-owned van where the family is selling because empty nester’s don’t need a van is a good choice. We’ve had 2 minivans with our kids. The first one was quite a mess because young children were in it all the time. The van we have now is in excellent condition, even though it’s 7 years old and has over 80,000 miles on it. The kids were either teens or tweens when we bought it. I suggest that you look at an Oldsmobile Silhouette. It’s the most comfortable of the 3 GM vans in the generation you are looking at. You should be able to get a typical GL model for about $2500 from a private party. The equivalent 2000 Toyota Sienna will be about $4400. At this age, it’s all about condition and not brand. Ten years is plenty of time to destroy any vehicle, no matter how good the reputation is. And at this age it is extremely important to have your mechanic check it out. Stop back often, Lili, and we’ll help you through the process.
Oh, and where to find it? The local newspaper is a good place to start. Bulletin boards at work or the grocery store are other places people advertise.
Mini Van?, Panel van, Full sized Van?, or box truck type of van? In 10 year category forget brand. Find one in good shape with a good service history. No service history, forget it and look for another.
Most 10 year old vans have had multiple owners and usually little to no maintenance for the last 3 years. If you find one that is properly cared for and in good shape, then buy it.
I have a friend who owns a transportation company that shuttles train crews to and from work. The overwhelming, hands down choice of the crews and drivers is the Chevy Astro AWD models. They tried several other vehicles but none of them passed the test of crews and drivers like the Astro AWD. Just make sure the vehicle you choose is inspected by a competent mechanic and the van has a proven maintenance record.
For a full sized fan, I like the E-250/350. They are built on the same chassis as the super duty trucks and are robustly constructed. For a 10 year old minivan, it’s really a crap shoot, just go for the one that’s the least trashed. Most of these vehicles were used to transport kids, the interiors took a beating, and from what I’ve observed, minivans are often driven by people who are pretty busy and may neglect routine maintenance.