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Regular short trips pose problems for Euro5 LCVs

Date: 15 February 2012   |   Author: Hugh Hunston

BCA reports that vans of all types are in demand

Vans with Euro5 diesel engines that are used largely for stop/start short-distance urban trips could give their operators a problem on both technical and RV fronts, according to valuation guide Cap.

The firm has warned that the new generation of Euro5 lower-emission power units, fitted with particulate filters, can easily clog up during a series of short-haul operations.

John Watts, Cap's used van pricing specialist, said the result could involve expensive repairs or replacement parts, and result in the future used market "factoring in" the potentially detrimental impact of a Euro5-engined vehicle.

He said many particulate filters required specific drive cycles to work efficiently, and if they do not achieve certain operating temperatures they can be prone to clogging.

This applies particularly to low-speed, short-distance journeys carried out in conurbations. The issue can be aggravated by future, often self-employed owners regularly following that kind of driving pattern.

Operators can avoid the problem by following manufacturers' guidelines and driving faster for periods to burn off carbon particulates. However, dashboard warning lights encouraging this action are often ignored. Watts warned that Euro5 filters are not routinely covered under warranty.

This comes as BCA reports a severe shortage in used LCVs, which is expected to impact small businesses.

The auction house has released a document entitled The Used LCV Market Report 2012, which claims that the knock-on effects of lower new van sales since the recession and the fact that fleets are running vans for longer, has severely restricted supply and made affordable used vehicles difficult to find.

The report was complied by Professor Peter Cooke of the Buckingham University Centre for Automotive Management, who commented: "Small businesses as a group are the largest buyers of used vans and typically prefer vehicles up to five years old.

"However, availability is falling because of lower new van sales since 2008 and the trend for larger businesses to hold on to vans for longer."

He claimed the LCV market could be affected for a number of years and that the average age of available vans is set to increase, while the number of vans on the road in total is set to fall.

He continued:?"There will be fewer 'first-time' used vans coming to market for buyers to choose from, which will affect price, and impact used LCV supplies further down the supply chain."