What is a Conversion Van?
A conversion van is a passenger van that has been outfitted with specific features by a third party customization business. Conversion vans can be customized to accommodate passengers with special needs, create extra room and luxury while traveling, haul office/business equipment, etc.
The term “Conversion Van” encompasses a wide array of custom automobiles, uses, and specific features. This can make shopping for the perfect conversion van and selecting the very best features for your needs a bit confusing at times.
However, buying a used or new conversion van doesn’t have to be a hassle! At Classic Vans, we’ve been helping our customers make informed decisions regarding their transportation needs for over 25 years, and we’ve used this knowledge to build a conversion van buying guide to help you find the perfect van with the features you need most in an automobile.
Why are You Shopping for a Conversion Van?
I am in a wheelchair or need to transport someone else who is in a wheelchair.
If you are searching for a conversion van to accommodate a wheelchair, there are a few things to consider before making your purchase. When giving the specifications for your conversion van, be sure to take into account the height of the wheelchair and the height of the wheelchair’s occupant in order to ensure adequate headroom.
Think about where you would park your conversion van most often. This will help you determine whether you need your van’s wheelchair ramp placed on the side or rear of the vehicle. Wider handicap parking spots can allow for side-ramps, whereas tighter spots may not be able to accommodate. Keep in mind that, if the wheelchair occupant intends to drive the conversion van at any time, placing the ramp on the side may be the most convenient option.
I’m looking for a conversion van or camper for travel purposes.
Conversion vans intended for camping or travel are often referred to as campervans and are outfitted with accommodations in the rear of the vehicle. The amenities within these accommodations can vary depending on your desires and needs. It is important to remember that with the intent of travel also comes the need for your van to be outfitted with electricity capabilities, whether that be battery power, gas, or electricity.
Campervan amenities can include anything from refrigerators and toilets to showers and even water-heaters, depending on the model you choose and the cargo space it provides. Be sure to discuss the capabilities of the van you choose with your customizing company to get the most out of your space. The possibilities are endless!
I need a conversion van that can store equipment for my business.
Many businesses invest in conversion vans for the easy mobility and storing of vital work equipment. This can be especially true for lawn care businesses, HVAC companies, or any business that requires the movement of heavy equipment to service its customers.
Luckily, conversion vans can easily be outfitted with accessories that makes safely storing and transporting this equipment easier than ever. Vans can include built-in shelving or custom storage modules that can help you maximize your van’s cargo space.
Add-ons for the outside of the vehicle can also be purchased for efficiency. Buyers have the option of choosing racks, whether on top of the van or at the rear, to give those awkward items like ladders an organized place to be.
Finally, partitions are recommended in conversion vans bought to move bulky equipment. A partition keeps the driver and passenger safe from loose items in the cargo area and can even help with organization.
I’d like a conversion van with mobile office capabilities.
Mobile offices are becoming more and more popular for those wanting to maximize productivity while on the go. Conversion vans can be outfitted to make this mobile productivity work as well as possible, complete with comfortable chairs and a conference table for passengers.
Vans built for this purpose can include electrical outlets to keep laptops and other electronics charged and ready. There are also the options of on-board desktops, televisions, media players, video conference equipment, etc. so you’re never without the technology you need.
Work space can also be completely private, with the possibilities of sound-proofing the vehicle and full separation from the driver (with an intercom in place for when communication is necessary).
I need a business van that can be used to transport large groups.
First, consider the amount of people you will be transporting. This will help determine how many seats your van will need. You must also examine the types of passengers you’ll be carrying. Are they children? Adults? Handicapped? Be sure to mention this to your customizing business when deciding on features and discussing the maximization of your space.
Seating options for this type of conversion van are numerous, with seats ranging across the board for your specific needs. Options include:
- Benches with either one, two, or three person capacity
- Varying types of seatbelt restraints (for children or adults)
- Forward folding or Bed-fold/reclining options
- Adjustable headrests or no headrests at all
- Optional armrests
- Folding seat bottoms for extra storage
- Rear facing benches
- Many more!
Mini-Vans vs. Full-sized Conversion Vans
You are definitely in need of a van, but how to decide between a conversion van and the common minivan? Here’s what to consider:
Conversion vans are available in a variety of sizes and shapes to fit your needs, whereas minivans are most often only available in their standard size.
The standard minivan will typically run much cheaper than a completely customized conversion van. Obviously, the more accessories you desire, the more the price will increase.
Minivans seat around seven to eight passengers comfortably, whereas conversion vans can be outfitted with even more seats if a larger seating capacity is one of your requirements.
Minivans and conversion vans are often the highest rated vehicles on the market, making them ideal for families or transporting large amounts of people in general.
Families that have small children are often looking for a vehicle that maximizes rear-seat accessibility for taking care of the kids. Both minivans and conversion vans are relatively easily accessed. In many cases, seats can be removed or stowed for easier access in both types of vehicles.
Minivans have removable or fold-away seats in the rear cargo area, which can translate to increased cargo space for travel and transportation needs. Conversion vans can be customized to include this option and can even be outfitted with built-in storage units if your primary need is transporting items securely and as efficiently as possible.
Both minivans and conversion vans have easily accessible rear seats. Both vehicles can also be outfitted with family features that can make traveling easier. Onboard WiFi, heated seats, built-in DVD players, and Bluetooth connectivity are only some of the options available with certain minivans and conversion vans.
Should You Buy a New or Used Conversion Van?
Should you take advantage of the new technologies and luxuries of a brand-new conversion van, or save some money on a used option? When making this choice, there are several major factors to consider to make sure your experience is as satisfying as possible. They include:
Brand new conversion vans are obviously going to be much higher than used conversion vans. If cost is an issue in choosing your van, used vans can often be just as functional and are worth pursuing. However, maintenance costs may increase if you decide to purchase a used vehicle, so inquire about its history.
New conversion vans are going to be outfitted with the modern technologies and features that many desire with a purchase as large as a conversion van. These technologies may come with a used conversion van, but can potentially be added if your funds allow.
If you decide that a used conversion van is right for you, mileage should definitely be a factor when choosing your perfect van. Used conversion vans with higher mileage will cost less, but maintenance requirements and expenses are likely to increase rather than lower.
When buying a used conversion van, be sure to check the vehicle’s warranty to ensure it is certified and still in effect. New conversion vans most often come with the manufacturer’s standard warranty.
The Ability to Choose
For many customers, being able to completely customize a conversion van from the start of the van’s production is a desirable possibility. Everything from the seat color to the specific inner workings; it’s all your choice if you choose to buy your conversion van new. Used vans can often be customized, as well. However, keep in mind that the cost will rise with customization.