Transport experts ‘shocked’ by unsafe van conversions
AN influx of unsound van-tohorsebox conversions has led professionals to call for industry standards for these vehicles.
Steve Jebb, of Powys Equine Trailer Specialist, sees many vans that have been poorly converted.
He said buyers can be distracted by the “pretty paint job” and not notice that safety may have been overlooked.
“We are constantly shocked by the lack of quality that goes into some of these conversions,” Mr Jebb told H&H.
“With no industry standards or government enforcement of [such standards], just about anybody can build ‘horseboxes’ and continue to exploit this market where people don’t need to take another test to drive them.”
Mr Jebb said around 90% of the van conversions his company services, inspects or repairs do not have a safe bulkhead fitted between the cab and horse area, as well as having unsound walls or flooring.
Tristan Olivier, of Rockstar Horsebox Services, agreed action needs to be taken.
“IT’S scary what’s out there,” Mr Olivier told H&H. “People realised there was a market for buying a cheap van, taking the body off and putting a box on the back, then selling for 15 times what they bought it for.
“Something needs doing, but the problem with horseboxes is they fall into a funny area. They’re not cars, not motorhomes. There should be [standards] but the problem is finding someone, or an organisation, that wants to take the matter on.”
Mr Olivier advised anyone buying a van to horsebox conversion to find out as much as possible about the vehicle before parting with any cash.
He said horseboxes should be thoroughly inspected by potential buyers, inside and out.
“It’s always worth getting it checked by a professional if you’re not confident doing it yourself,” he added.
“It’s more about getting people to know what they’re buying rather than trying to get the industry to change.
“People just jump in [3.5tonne vans] from cars and sometimes they can be a bit blinkered as they think they are finally buying what they’ve always wanted.”
Mike Gazeley, director of Gazeley Coachbuilders, also advised buyers to research potential vehicles thoroughly.
“Sadly, some people look at a horsebox, see fancy paintwork and think it’s a really good truck and buy it,” he told H&H.
“Most honest sellers are quite happy to have a horsebox independently inspected.
“Unfortunately there are always going to be builders and sellers out there who don’t care about how safe the vehicles are and we’re never going to stop that, but together we can help reduce the number of them.”
Buyers are advised to check lorries before
purchase. Library image