Finding the right Sprinter van for sale can be hard work, but it’s totally worth it once you’ve got your rig fully setup and you hit the road.
When things get difficult, just imagine yourself boondocking in your own Sprinter camper van, snuggled up in the platform bed, gazing at an amazing forest, or canyon view. Knowing you have a good, reliable van to live or holiday in will make the wait worthwhile.
In this article, we’ll look at new vs. used Sprinters, where to find Sprinter vans for sale, and we’ll give you some tips on buying your own van.
Why Sprinter vans for sale, especially 4x4s, can be hard to find
Sprinter vans are a niche market. 4×4 Sprinter van campers and conversions are even harder to find. The reason is simple: there just isn’t enough demand to justify a bigger production and most vans that come out of the factory are bought by businesses for commercial use.
In addition to that, they’re reliable and durable vehicles, which means that those who buy this type of van don’t need to sell them for many years after their purchase.
For these reasons, there aren’t many Sprinter camper vans for sale. When they come up for sale, they are snapped up quickly by aspiring van lifers or small businesses.
However, in the last few years, sales for new Sprinter vans have gone up a little. This, combined with their growing popularity among campers, hopefully means that more vans will be available on the market in the future.
New vs. used Sprinter vans for sale
The first question is obvious: should you buy new or used?
If you want to buy a 4×4 Sprinter van for sale, you will likely need to buy new, as there aren’t many out there at all.
For an “empty” Sprinter, you can choose between a new or a used vehicle.
Finally, for a conversion, you can go for either a used van to convert, a used Sprinter van conversion for sale, or a new van to convert.
There are advantages to buying new and used, so it’s important you weigh all factors before making a decision.
New Sprinter camper vans for sale:
- You can customize the van exactly how you like if you’re doing a DIY van build
- You’ll benefit from a warranty for a few years
- The conversion will likely be done by professionals and with good quality materials
- It will have that “new vehicle” feel, with everything looking perfect, which is always nice
- You can be sure the van has never had an accident or dodgy repairs
- You’ll have to wait a few months before you can drive away in your Sprinter van
- It will lose value as soon as you start driving it
- Newer vans are more complicated and sometimes they need a few fixes before all the options start working as they should
Used Sprinter camper vans for sale:
- It’s cheaper
- You can get an almost new van for a much lower price than if you bought it directly from the manufacturer
- You can get the van very quickly, no need to wait on production
- If you’re not 100% sure that the van life is for you, buying used is a good way to test it out
- It retains value for longer than a new van, if you don’t put too many miles on it
- You may spend months looking for one
- It will have a shorter life span than a new one
- You’ll likely find some surprises on the road, some of which may be expensive to fix
- If the van is very old, you’ll probably need to invest in some sort of rebuild
- You won’t know how well it’s been looked after
Tips on choosing a used Sprinter van
Like with any used vehicle, there are common problems and things to look out for when buying a used Sprinter van. Here are our top tips on what to check before you buy:
Service and maintenance history – check these thoroughly to make sure servicing has been done regularly and to find out what has been replaced or broken through the years.
Paintwork – The paint easily chips off of Sprinters, so it’s worth studying the bodywork carefully and repairing any chips and deep scratches in order to prevent corrosion.
Injectors – The seals around the high pressure diesel injectors can leak. Listen out for any puffing sounds coming from the engine, which are a telltale sign of a leak.
Suspension – Wandering or knocking from the suspension points or uneven tire wear usually means worn bushes and wrong suspension alignment.
Propshaft – The propshaft can fail at around 100,000 miles, so have it checked by a professional if the van is old.
Doors – The doors can warp with age, so make sure they close well, without any gaps.
Rust – Check the whole vehicle for rust and if it’s excessive or untreated, run away.
Each model has slightly different weaknesses, so make sure to research the specific model you’re looking at to find out specific flaws. Even the year of production can make a difference.
Top places to find a Sprinter van for sale
While there aren’t many Sprinter vans on the market, there are a lot of places to look for one, so don’t get discouraged.
We’ve selected the top places where to find a Sprinter van for sale – whether you’re looking for a new or used sprinter van for sale.
1. Craigslist (new and used Sprinter vans for sale)
The most obvious place to search is Craigslist, in either the “RVs + camp” or “trucks + cars” sections. On the top left corner of the page, select “dealer” or “owner” based on what you’re looking for.
Be prepared to travel around your state to reach potential sellers – a viewing is usually worth the road trip, as you can learn some things by inspecting the van. It’s easier to find Sprinters for sale in areas with plenty of camping options, so bear that in mind.
Some places to look online for a Sprinter van for sale are San Diego, San Francisco, Denver, Salt Lake City and Seattle, which are all very outdoorsy places.
2. Facebook Marketplace (used only)
If you use Facebook, the Marketplace tab is a good place to look for a Sprinter van for sale. All you need to do is insert the city you live in and click the category “vehicles.” You can then narrow the search down using the filters on the left.
Ads on Facebook Marketplace aren’t as detailed as those on other platforms, so make sure to ask for more information on the van before you make the trip to see it.
3. Autotrader (new and used Sprinter vans for sale)
On Autotrader there are van and RV sections, which make it easy to look for a Sprinter. Many dealers sell on the website and each of them has been reviewed, so you can check if they’re trustworthy before engaging in any communication.
For most vehicles sold by dealers, the website offers a basic history check, which includes a check on the van ever being reported as stolen, as a write off or scrapped, and as imported or exported.
You can even opt for financing the van, where available, if you need to.
4. Ebay (new and used Sprinter vans for sale)
There’s a decent amount of Sprinters and conversions for sale on Ebay, too.
You can buy from both private sellers and dealerships. All users have ratings based on their selling and purchasing history. Just type your keyword into the search bar and narrow the search down using the filters on the left sidebar.
You can sometimes apply for a loan directly on Ebay, if buying from a dealer. Ebay is a safe platform which offers free Vehicle Purchase Protection up to $100,000 for non-delivery, missing title or major undisclosed defects.
5. Mercedes-Benz dealerships (new and used Sprinter vans for sale)
If you’d rather use a dealership to make sure everything is well documented, opt for a Mercedes-Benz dealership that’s close to you. It usually costs a little more than going via a private online listing, but the service is generally very good.
This way, you can actually tour and drive the Sprinter van before you buy, which is a great way to make sure it’s a good fit.
Some dealerships, such as Mercedes Benz of Knoxville, offer nationwide shipping of Sprinter vans for a fee.
If ordering from a dealership, make sure you check all options included for your new Sprinter if you’re turning it into a camper. You’ll want swivel seats and roof rails, for example.
6. Sprinter van Facebook groups (used only)
There are many active Sprinter groups boasting thousands of members on Facebook.
This is the ideal place to look for a Sprinter van conversion for sale, especially for a DIY one.
You can also find brand new 4×4 Sprinter vans for sale in these groups is oftentimes, dealers are members of the groups and post new vans up for grabs.
Being part of the groups is also a great way to connect with other owners and ask for tips and information. For example, you could post questions about a specific model and its common issues, or meet up with someone near you, so you can see a conversion in real life.
7. Campervan for sale Facebook groups (used conversions only)
These allow ad posting for sprinter van conversions for sale only, so if you want to buy a ready-to-go van, it’s worth having a peek.
These groups are mainly for trading, so you won’t find much advice or information. Joining will allow you to keep an eye on the ads and follow threads, in case there are any price drops.
8. Sprinter van online forums (used only)
Forums are also a good place to check. The major one is Sprinter Source, which allows classified ads on a specific forum.
Sprinters don’t come up for sale on forums very often, but you could set up an alert to get a notification via email when a new for sale thread is opened.
9. Sprinter van conversion companies (new Sprinter vans for sale only)
If you want a brand new van and a professional conversion, then why not go directly with a Sprinter van conversion company?
It will save you time and hassle, as you’ll only have to deal with one company. You will also have a chance to forge a relationship with, and get to know, the conversion professionals in advance, so you can discuss you conversion at length.
Of course, you can also buy a good condition used van from a dealer, and then get it converted by one these companies.
10. Warner Vans of Utah (new, used and rentals)
Looking for a 4×4 Sprinter? Then, if you can make the trip, check out Warner Vans of Utah, who get new 4x4s in stock every week. They claim to be the first Sprinter-van-only dealership in the USA.
They sell both new and used vans and they can also install upfits, such as stove tops, water filtration systems, solar panels and more.
Given that Sprinters are their specialty, you can count on their knowledge being on point, so they’ll be able to answer most questions you ask.
11. The Sportsmobile forum (used conversions only)
Want a van that’s been converted by Sportsmobile, but you can’t afford it? Look for a used one.
On the Sportsmobile forum, you’ll be able to find ads for used Sportsmobile Sprinter van conversions for sale. Most are in great condition, as they’ve been refurbished in the last few years. On the forum, you’ll also find other van conversions, both DIY and professional.
12. MercedesSprinterCamper.com (used only)
This website is a collection of ads for Mercedes-Benz Sprinters for sale. There’s a really good nav menu on the left sidebar, so you can easily find the model you’re looking for.
Tips on buying a Sprinter van for sale online
A Sprinter is a hefty purchase, so be careful when buying one online, rather than from a well-known dealer. Here are our top tips on buying a used Sprinter van online.
- Always go to see the van in person before sending any money to the seller
- Request more pictures or information to check that the seller is responsive
- Don’t give the seller any of your details other than a way to get in touch with you
- Check that the vehicle is in the same condition as advertised
- Verify that the seller is the owner of the vehicle before making an offer
- Clarify if the deposit is refundable in case you change your mind
- Avoid paying via an instant transfer method – choose a standard bank transfer where possible
After you find the van, you’ll want to check out our list of the best conversion kits for a DIY van.
Getting a Sprinter van for sale
Are you ready to find the right Sprinter van for you? Don’t rush the search process – the right Sprinter van for sale is out there, somewhere, waiting for you. You just need to look carefully.
Go look at as many vans as you can before you make an offer, so you can familiarize yourself with the pricing-condition balance and you get an eye for the defects. Best of luck!