Finding a cheap 15 passenger van for sale in the USA can be quite difficult if you do not know where to look. These large people movers are a great choice for private schools, clubs, and even large families. However, these types of vehicles can be quite expensive to buy new, which can be especially problematic for larger families that are already financially strained. As such, in this article we take a look at everything you need to know to get a high-capacity van at an affordable price.

What Sort of Van Should You Buy? Economy vs. Power

One thing to note before you start looking at different vans is that there is a wide range of classes of this size of van and each is suited to different purposes. If you plan on moving people over long distances, particularly on expressways and highways, then you are best to opt for a more economical model in diesel. If you want the ability to transport a lot of people but also want the option of loading up with heavy tools and equipment for short trips then you should opt for a more powerful model over an economical one. It's simply a matter of balancing out how much you want to spend on fuel vs. how much power you need.

Where to Buy Discounted 15 Passenger Vans?

Private Used Sales - The first stopping point for anyone should be private used sales in their local area. Keep an eye on the newspaper and online classifieds for people selling the type of vehicle that you are after. You may be tempted to buy from a used vehicle reseller but keep in mind that their prices are much higher because of their overheads. Private sellers do not have overheads and they can offer much better deals as a result. The only negative of buying this way is that you don't have any buyer protection. Refer to the section below on what to look for in a good used van in order to make sure that you get a good deal.

Private Auctions

Private auctions are hosted by professional auctioneers and they sell auction off vehicles for owners that need a fast, guaranteed sale on their van. Auctions can be a mixed bag in terms of deals. Sometimes no-one else will bid on a vehicle and you will be able to pick it up for an extremely low price and other times people will get stuck into bidding wars and the price will go up beyond what the particular vehicle is worth.

Repo Vehicle Auctions

These function the same as private auctions except these vehicles are being sold off by finance companies in order to recoup their losses on their debts. This means that you can often get pretty good deals since most insurance companies just want to recoup their losses quickly.

Police Seized Auctions

Police seized auctions are the best type of auction to get a bargain. This is because every single dollar made by the police at these auctions is considered profit and they are not concerned with getting an extremely high sale price.

Online Auctions

If you want to bid on vehicle auctions from the comfort of your very own home then you can indeed do so. There are a number of websites that offer auctions like this but the most popular and safe one by far is eBay.

Write Off Vehicles

If you need an extremely cheap buy and if you do not mind doing some repair work then buying an insurance write off may be a good option for you. Vans that have been written off have usually suffered a large amount of damage to their body work or they have received some significant damage to their engine. In the first case it is fairly easy to just find new body work to replace the damaged parts. In the case of engine damage, however, you will need to be prepared to put in a lot of mechanical work in order to get the van in working order again.

What to Look for in a Good Used Van

As you may have noticed, a lot of the best ways to get a cheap 15 passenger van is to buy used. However, there are a few things you should be aware of when you are buying used, otherwise you could end up getting a poor deal (or even ripped off). The following points are different things you can look for or do to ensure that you get the best deal possible.

Financial History Check

If you have found a van that you are seriously considering purchasing then you can mitigate one potential risk by having a financial check performed on it. In many places, if a vehicle has unpaid debt attached to it then the new owner can be liable for it. While it costs a small fee to have such a history check performed, it's worth paying to avoid buying a vehicle with bad debt.

Mechanical History Logbook

A vehicle with a fully written out service history is a highly desirable buy, especially if all of the major services have been done by the manufacturer. A well-written logbook is a general sign that a vehicle has been cared for by a responsible owner.

Wheel Damage

Heavy scratches on the wheels themselves can mean that the vehicle is unsafe to drive without replacements. It can also give you an indication as to whether the vehicle has suffered any suspension damage, such as from running over a high curb.

Engine Block Damage

It is generally a good idea to avoid any vehicle that has evidence of damage to the engine itself, as this is the most expensive part of the vehicle to fix.

Frame Damage

It's a good idea to spend at least five to ten minutes inspecting as much of the frame as possible for cracks or bends. If the vehicle has been repaired by the owner then this might be the only way of identifying that the vehicle had been in an accident.


It is especially important to check for rust in the frame and body of the vehicle in coastal areas, where there is a lot more salt in the wind. Light rust spots on stainless steel and chrome are not a problem but rusting holes in the body and deep rust in the frame should be avoided at all costs. Buying older vehicles from coastal areas is a bad idea in general, unless they have been very carefully looked after.

When looking at cheap 15 passenger vans for sale, it is generally a good idea to follow the guidelines mentioned above. Remember that this is a large investment and you should always focus on getting something that is suited to your needs, even if you have to spend a little bit more.