Van Dictionary: Common terms & phrases explained. - Vanzone
Give us a call
Give us a call

 02922 678 010

Van Dictionary: Common terms & phrases explained.

Van Dictionary: Common terms & phrases explained.

When buying a new van, there are plenty of terms that can leave you scratching your head.

This glossary or “van dictionary” if you like, should help to remove confusion and help you know what to look for when buying a van. That being said, if you’d rather talk to someone, contact us here   or call us on 02922 744 401, our team will be happy to help with any queries you have.

Van Glossary:

What is an ABS?

This is an anti-locking braking system. This prevents skidding when braking heavily, it allows you to have steering control whilst stopping you in the shortest distance possible.

What are Barn Doors?

These are doors at the back of the vehicle that open outwards.

What is a Box Van?

This is a van with a square-shaped cargo area built onto the chassis, intended to give a larger load volume.

What is Braked Towing Weight and Unbraked Towing Weight?

If your trailer has its own brakes, the maximum weight that you can tow is referred to as the Braked Towing Weight.

If your trailer does not have its own brakes (meaning it will be stopped by your vehicle’s brakes), then the maximum weight you can legally tow will be called the Unbraked Towing Weight.

What is a Bulkhead?

The Bulkhead acts as a wall, separating the front of your van from the back. This protects the driver and passengers from any load in the back and gives extra security for the contents in your cargo area.

What is the Cabin?

This is the area where the driver and passengers sit.

Van Dictionary: Common terms & phrases explained. The Van Cabin.

What is the Cargo Area?

Also known as the “Load Space”, this refers to the area of the vehicle which is designed to hold cargo/payload.

What is a Chassis Cab?

The Chassis Cab is the bare bones of a van. It’s the 4-wheel frame with the driver and passenger section (the cab) on top, but no cargo area – like a lorry without its trailer.

From here we can convert a van into a tipper, a drop side or a box van.

Van Dictionary: Common terms & phrases explained. Van Chassis Cab.

What is a Conversion Van?

These are vans modified by a company that didn’t build the van itself. For example, vans converted into camper vans, those with refrigeration built into the back or those with a modified cargo area – for example a Dropside/Tipper/Luton/Box Van – are all Conversion Vans.

What is a Crew Cab?

Also known as a Crew Van, a Doublecab/Double Cab-in-Van or a Kombi.

This is a van that has an additional row of seating (usually meaning 5 or 6 seats in total), but it still has a cargo area/load space.

What is a Dropside?

Designed for easy loading, the rear space of this van has a flat bed and sides which can be put down for easy access.

What is EBA (Electronic Brake Assist)?

This is a braking technology that applies extra pressure to brakes in case of an emergency.

What is EBD (Electronic Brake Distribution)?

When you brake, this technology will distribute the braking force in the best way possible to adapt to the current conditions.

What is ESP (Electronic Stability Programme)?

This technology helps to prevent skidding, thus helping to prevent the driver from losing control.

What is Euro 6 (a Euro 6 Engine)?

This is the current European Emissions Standard that new engines must meet. This has been put in place to reduce engine emissions. All brand-new vehicles that we sell meet this requirement.

What is a Euro Pallet?

These are the standard pallets used for transportation across Europe. Measuring 1200mm x 800mm.

What is a Glass Frail Kit?

This is additional racking fitted to the side of a van, most often used to carry glass.

What is GAP Insurance?

If you pay for a vehicle over a long period of time (for example, if you lease it), after some time – due to depreciation – it may not be valued as highly as the amount you have left to pay.

Meaning, if your vehicle is damaged or stolen, the insurance may pay out less than you still owe. There’s a gap between your payout and your monthly payments.

GAP Insurance covers this gap. If you must make a claim, you have peace of mind knowing you’re covered for the value you must pay for the vehicle.

What is Gross Train Weight?

This is the maximum legal weight of the van, trailer, and any load – all combined.

What is Gross Trailer Weight?

This is the maximum legal weight of your trailer and its load combined.

What is Gross Vehicle Weight?

This is the legal maximum weight of your van and everything in it (including the load and driver).

What is HP (Horsepower)?

This is the power of the engine (1 horsepower is how much energy it takes to move 250kg for a distance of one foot, for one second).

What is Kerb Weight?

This is what the van weighs when it’s empty.

What is L1/H1, L2/H1, L2/H3…?

L refers to the length of the vehicle and H refers to its height. The number after each letter represents the relative size. The larger the number, the longer/higher the vehicle.

For example, an L1/H1 van and an L2/H1 van would be different lengths (L2 being longer) but the same height.

What is an LCV (Light Commercial Vehicle)?

This refers to any vehicle used for the carrying of goods which can weigh up to 3.5 tonnes when holding a load.

What is the London Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ)?

This is an area of London in which you will be charged a fee to drive (if your vehicle does not meet current emissions standards – at the time of writing these are Euro6 Diesel and Euro4 Petrol Standards).

What is the Load Space?

Also known as the “Cargo Area”, this is the area of the vehicle which you can use to carry a load.

What is the Load Width?

This is the width of the load you can carry in the Load Space. (Minimum will be measured between wheel arches. Maximum will be measured between the walls of the van).

What is a Luton Body?

This body is built onto the chassis cab to provide a large amount of load space. It usually extends over the top of the cab and can have features added to assist with loading, for example, a power-assisted tailgate.

What is LWB (Long Wheelbase)?

Measuring from the centre point of the front wheel to the centre point of the back wheel gives you a vehicle’s wheelbase.

The longest wheelbase is the LWB, then MWB and the shortest wheelbase is the SWB.

What is MWB (Medium Wheelbase)?

This is the wheelbase length that sits between long and short wheelbases. You can measure the wheelbase of a vehicle from the centre point of the front wheel to the centre point of the back wheel.

What is PAS (Power Assisted Steering)?

This feature enables a vehicle to turn with less effort from the driver.

What is Ply Lining?

This is the name given when the inside of a van’s load space is fitted with plywood – this protects the van itself from damage when loading, unloading and carrying a payload.

Van Dictionary: Common terms & phrases explained. Ply Lining.

What is PS?

This is the German translation for horsepower – an alternate notation for the strength of an engine.

For example: 100ps van.

What is Racking?

This is the name given to draws, shelves and frames built into the back of a vehicle allowing more organised storage.

What are Roller Doors?

These are doors that slide vertically.

What is a Roof Rack?

A form of racking fixed on top of the vehicle, which allows you to store items on the roof.

What are Side-Loading Doors?

This is the sliding door(s) on the side of the van which allows access to the load space, facilitating easier loading.

What is a Single Cab?

This is a van which can carry up to 3 people with just one row of seats.

What is SWB (Short Wheelbase)?

This is the shortest of the wheelbases, having the shortest distance between the centre of the front wheel and the centre of the back wheel (when compared to MWB and LWB).

What is T-Charge?

Although there are some differences, the T-charge is the old name for London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ).

What’s a Tailgate?

For a van this is a single door with a hinge at the top, allowing the door to open upwards.

For a truck this is the short door at the back of the load-bed, it is hinged at the bottom and will open downwards.

What is a Tail Lift?

This is a hydraulic platform at the rear of a vehicle that allows goods to be loaded more easily.

What is a Towing Limit?

This is the maximum weight a vehicle can legally tow.

Van Dictionary: Common terms & phrases explained. Trailer Towing Limit.

What is a Turning Circle?

This is the minimum space needed for a vehicle to make a U-turn.

What are Twin Rear Wheels?

This refers to a vehicle with four wheels on the rear axle (instead of two). This spreads the weight of the vehicle and its load more. This means a vehicle should have the capacity to carry a heavier load.

Note: Often a light commercial vehicle with twin rear wheels can (legally) carry less weight than the standard version. This is because the gross vehicle weight of a light commercial vehicle cannot exceed 3.5 tonnes.

What is a Warranty?

The Warranty outlines what a manufacturer promises to replace or repair, should anything go wrong with your new van after purchase, the warranty also outlines how long they are willing to do this. Standard warranties last 3 – 5 years.

We have more information about a manufacturer’s warranty in our blog here.

What is the Wheelbase?

Measuring from the centre point of the front wheel to the centre point of the back wheel gives you a vehicle’s wheelbase.

If there is still anything that you’re uncertain of, give us a call on

02922 744 401

Our team will be happy to help with any queries that you may have.

Subscribe for our special offers and exclusive discounts

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Read another article

Get this offer!