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Van Doors

Have you thought whether you'll need 1, 2 or even 3 doors on your new van? Would rear access, side access or both be ideal? Would barn style, tailgate, sliding or curtain side best suit your needs?  With today's van drivers truly spoilt for choice on the door front, you're sure to find the perfect combination of door style and configuration to suit your needs.

Types Of Van Doors

Some vans only offer rear access to the cabin area, whilst others are fortunate enough to come with doors both at the side and at the rear. No matter what you use your van for and what you're transporting, one door style is certain to suit you better. 

Remember too, that whilst some van door styles are more commonly found on some van body types, it may be possible to have a different style of door fitted, so make sure you check with your leasing consultant about what’s possible.

4 main types of van door on the market:

• Barn doors

• Tailgate doors

• Sliding side doors

• Curtain side doors

Barn Doors - Fast, Easy, Full Van Access

  • The most common type of rear-access door, especially for medium and larger sized vans
  • Hinges are attached to the side of the van, to allow full access to the interior of the van
  • Doors are manually operated (so fast to open and close)
  • Smaller in width (vs. tailgates), so require less rear-clearance (depending on the items coming in/out)
  • Offer more privacy for van content (vs. the tailgate door) as you can open one door and leave the other shut
  • If you often need forklift or pallet truck access, the lack of height obstruction is ideal (vs. e.g. a tailgate)
  • Easier to catch anything that may be lose in the van (vs. tailgate door), as you can open one door at a time
  • Roof space ideal for carrying extra supplies (vs. tailgate) and easy to access (simply stand on the van floor)
  • Can suit those who sometimes have loads that exceed the van length as it is legally permissible to have one door open when driving (so long as the number plate is visible on the closed-door side)

Tailgate Doors - Great Visibility, Easy Loading/Unloading

  • Commonly seen on car-derived vans, micro-vans, kombis and minibuses
  • Hinge runs along the top of the van to enable the door to open upwards
  • Open door offers protection from weather when loading/unloading, plus useable workspace
  • Large rear window offers much more light (vs. barn doors) and great rear visibility
  • Ability to close the door via an electronic button can be  easier on the operator over time
  • Less likely to cause damage to goods and people (vs. barn doors, which can swing or slam in strong winds)
  • Their better visibility and light makes them a good option if the van has a fair amount of personal use


  • When open, the door’s edge can be an ongoing hazard for those at a similar head height
  • Additional height is required when door is open (which can cause problems in car parks)
  • Electronic opening makes the door slower (vs. barn doors) to open and close 
  • Usually not compatible with forklift use, as the roof represents a height obstruction

Sliding Side Doors - Ideal For Urban Work

  • Seen on all types of van with the exception of car-derived and micro-vans
  • Can park very close to other vehicles, even if loading/unloading
  • Ideal for urban work where parking spaces are smaller
  • Doors can be on one or both sides (especially useful for drivers doing multi-drops) as well as possible doors at the rear 


  • Sliding doors reduce storage space on both the internal side wall and the exterior side wall (for mounting)

Curtain Side Doors - Full Side Access, Ideal For Urban Work

  • Seen on medium to large sized vans
  • Sliding side doors are made from canvas to facilitate easy loading/unloading
  • Provides access to the whole of the side of the van - either on one or both sides, plus possible doors at the rear
  • Ideal for urban multi-drop work


  • There is no opportunity for storage structures either on the inside nor on the outside of the van's sides

Loading Assistance - Rollers And Tail-Lifts

If you’re transporting heavy or bulky machinery, equipment or supplies, you might benefit from additional loading features such as van rollers or tail-lifts.

Rollers sit on the floor of the van and enable items to be moved across the van floor with relative ease. Rollers can usually be easily introduced once you have possession of your van and aren’t something that need necessarily affect your van choice too much (so long as the van floor is flat).

A tail-lift on the other hand, is a mechanical device permanently attached to the back of the van. They aid with loading and unloading heavy items from the truck to the ground, or visa- versa. Tail-lifts not only reduce the need for heavy lifting but can also remove the need for a forklift truck. Tail-lifts come either already fitted to the vehicle or can be installed afterwards.

How To Choose The Right Van

Now you've got a better idea of what to look out for in terms of van doors, why not explore more of our guides on How To Choose The Right Van.

Alternatively, simply get in touch with one of our specialist van leasing consultants on 01656 337337 or contact us at enquiries@selectcarleasing.co.uk

Engine Types & Location Back to How To Choose A Van

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