Van hire glossary

Van hire glossary of terms

To help explain some of the terms and phrases you may come across when renting a van we have created the following van hire glossary.


An industry standard which defines a car mode. This is usually in the format of vehicle category, vehicle type, transmission and fuel type. This allows for easy comparisons to be made across manufacturers model ranges.

Barn doors

Large rear doors which open outwards and which provide easy access for large items.

Box van

Often referred to a Luton van is often used for furniture removal. As its name suggests, it looks as though it has a box mounted on the chassis of the vehicle.

Check In

The return location where the rental agreement ends.

Check out

The original location where the van is collected and the rental agreement begins.

Crew cab

Has two rows of seats which is suitable for a driver plus two passengers in the front, plus an extra three people.

Dropside vans

Have sides which can be lowered outwards to allow easy access to the side of the vehicle.

Incident Report Form

Form to be completed when the van has been returned which notes any damage to the vehicle since collection.

Load space

The internal space in a van that can carry items.

Long wheel base LWB

Larger vans often used for transporting furniture or larger items, also see wheel base.

Maximum laden weight

Is the weight of the van plus its load. In most larger vans this is 3.5tonnes (3500kg).

Medium Wheel Base MWB

See wheel base.

One way

This refers to the rental of a vehicle which is collected at one location and returned to another.

Panel van

A small van having a body similar to a car.

Pay on arrival

A hire agreement to pay when the van is returned.


The maximum weight a van can carry.

Pick up vans

Vans which have fixed sides, with an open top, which often have a tailgate which can be lowered for easy access.

Pre pay

A hire agreement where payment is made before the van is collected.

Rental Agreement

The formal contract between hirer and supplier.

Rental Period

The duration of the rental agreement. This may be a matter of hours or several days.

Roller doors

Doors which slide vertically to allow access.

Side loading doors

Sliding doors, which allow easy access.

Single cabs

Have one row of seats, suitable for a driver plus one, or possibly two passengers.

Short wheel base SWB

Small van suitable for small loads. May be more manoeuvrable than a long wheel base van.


A vertical panel which lowers outwards. It is usually hinged from the bottom to allow items to be lifted on to the van.

Tail lift

A hydraulic platform which allows the user to lift heavier items on to the van platform.

Tipper truck

A truck with a rear platform which can be mechanically lifted to a certain angle to allow easier unloading.

Unladen weight

The weight of the van with no passengers or luggage.

Wheel Base

Indicates the size of the van denoted by the distance between the front and the rear wheels of the van. The longer the wheel base, the longer the van is and hence the larger the load which can be carried.

Extra large wheel base XLWB

Suitable for transporting large items, also see wheel base.

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