Deciding Which Van to Get For A Sprinter Van Conversion

So you want to get a Sprinter Van to convert, but you can not figure out whether to buy new or used? You are not alone. 

Deciding whether to buy new or used is a common question every new Sprinter Van buyer faces. And unfortunately, this decision mainly revolves around your budget and how patient you would like to be. The fact of the matter is a new Sprinter Van will cost you more than a used one, but that should not shy you away from purchasing a brand new one.

Today, we are comparing the benefits of buying new vs. used so you can determine if you should opt for a new Sprinter Van from a dealer or opt for a used Sprinter Van that has a few miles already. 

Buying A New Sprinter Van

The idea of buying a brand new Mercedes-Benz Sprinter is quite an attractive one. Brand new means no problems from abuse or negligent service/driving. Your van will not have many miles on it and will be more than ready to travel across the country without worry. Having a reliable vehicle is essential for peace of mind when you are on road trips. Furthermore, new Sprinters have better warranty packages and offer better financing options

Another benefit to buying a new Sprinter van is all the upgraded features they offer. For instance, new Sprinter Vans have a host of safety packages like blind-spot assist, Lane-Keep assist, active cruise control (Distronic), and 360 cameras. These safety options might be crucial for those who have never driven a large vehicle before, and may even make the difference between being confident driving the large van or not. 

A downside to buying a new Sprinter Van is navigating the current market and the lack of inventory. As of late, there has been a shortage of new Sprinter Vans because of incredibly high demand and production roadblocks which lead to lackluster production numbers. This is especially evident if you’re on the hunt for a  4×4 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter. It could take 6-12 months to get the exact van with all the specs and features that you want. On the bright side, this generally means you’re getting a custom order van with everything that you want on the chassis. If you weren’t a lucky one to snag an open 4×4 allocation from your local dealership, we recommend that you call around and keep your name on a few different waitlists. It’s not uncommon for people to special order identical vans from multiple dealers with hopes that one will come sooner than the others. In this case, you will need to be open to whatever becomes available and ready to purchase without much forewarning. If you’re not 100% ready to make the deal that day, chances are the dealer has already moved onto the next spot in their waitlist. 

Pros & Cons of Buying a New Sprinter Van:

Pros

  • Little to no miles 
  • No uncertainty about prior owners abuse or neglect of the van
  • Complete warranty package
  • Better gas mileage 
  • Better safety packages
  • Better financing options
  • Higher resale value 
  • Custom spec’d van for you

Cons

  • More expensive, possibly even marked up in price
  • Challenging to find a new one due to shortage and high demand
  • It could take 6-12 months to get your new Sprinter Van

used sprinter vanHow to Find A New Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Van

If you are going to buy a new Sprinter Van for a conversion, we recommend starting with your upfitter. Often they will already have set relationships with multiple Mercedes-Benz dealers and know what’s available. If you’re on the hunt for your own DIY project, go to a few Mercedes-Benz Dealerships. Get to know the sales managers who focus specifically on vans. When shopping for a new Mercedes Sprinter Van, there are some best practices to follow to make sure you score the best price:

  1. Call multiple Mercedes-Benz dealerships and speak with the Sprinter Sales Manager, they are often the only person there who sells vans.
  2. Ask about current dealership practice for markups or discounts 
  3. Compare each dealership in stock selection of Sprinter Vans for packages, colors, and overall features.
  4. Build a relationship with the dealer with who you connect with. You may need to communicate with them many times over a long period of time, so make sure you’re working with somebody you trust. 

If you need help sourcing a new Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van, we at ADF can help you do that. If you are interested in something smaller, we do offer compact Mercedes Metris Camper Vans that come customized with whatever you want. Also, if you have recently purchased a new Sprinter Van and do not know where to start with the conversion process, we can guide you in the right direction.

Buying A Used Sprinter Van

If your budget is tight, you may be leaning towards purchasing a used Sprinter Van. Used vans are more readily available on popular online marketplaces like Craigslist, Offerup, and Facebook Marketplace. There are even some camper-specific resources like www.vanlifetrader.com. However, even though used Sprinter Vans are cheaper than new ones, there are some implications you must know before buying one. 

In general, with any used Sprinter Vehicle, you will never know the van’s history. Yes, the auto history of the used van is helpful, but you will never truly know the history of the miles put on a used Sprinter Van. This is especially true for a delivery vehicle that saw most of its miles in stop-and-go situations, which are the most stressful for the van’s drivetrain and engine. Especially if the engine is actually turned off at every stop. The last thing you want is a massive service tab of work from a mechanic after purchasing your Sprinter Van. A good practice is to bring the used vehicle you are interested in into a Sprinter mechanic to check it out before buying one.

As a general rule of thumb, do some homework to piece together the entire history of the used Sprinter Van you are considering purchasing. Do research on the best years for older Sprinter Vans, and double-check your state’s current and upcoming emissions laws for diesel vehicles. Some years are mechanically better than others and states like California have strict emissions laws for older diesel vehicles.

Pros & Cons of Purchasing a Used Sprinter Van:

Pros

  • More affordable than a new Sprinter Van
  • Some older models are mechanically more simple than newer ones
  • Readily available 

Cons

  • You will never 100% know the history of the used Sprinter Van
  • Service costs could add up quickly 
  • Lower fuel mileage 

used sprinter vanAmazon Sprinter Vans For Sale

If you have not already noticed, Amazon has been purchasing a massive fleet of Sprinter Vans over the last few years. In the coming years, there will be a lot of Amazon Sprinter Vans available for purchase. If you are patient, you could acquire one of these vans for a fair price. However, there are a few things you should be aware of when buying an Amazon Sprinter Van. 

Dangers of buying an Amazon Sprinter Van:

  • They are work vans that take a lot of abuse
  • The constant starting and stopping of the engine is not good 
  • They are generally given fast and cheap services
  • You will need to pay a lot for an exterior paint job 
  • You will need to remove many work van materials that could get expensive Which Van Is Right For You? 

Buying a Sprinter Van to convert takes a lot of diligence and patience as you want a reliable Sprinter Van to convert into your adventure van. Buying new is the safest bet which includes at least 3 years and 36,000 miles of peace of mind because of the factory warranty.  A new van will be the most expensive option, as that extra cost essentially buys you a clean slate. Purchasing a used Sprinter van will be more affordable, but could quickly turn into a nightmare of service costs and extra bills depending on the history of the Sprinter Van. 

If you need assistance finding the perfect Sprinter Van to convert, we at ADF can help you do just that. We are a one-stop shop for sourcing and converting Sprinter Vans and would love to assist you in your research/shopping process.