If your smokey old heap rattles rather than roars and takes a while to get going in the mornings it may be time for a trade in. But at a time when every penny counts, is a new van really affordable? Help is now at hand - thanks to the government's scrappage scheme. So what is it and what does it mean for your old van? Confused.com finds out.

What is the scrappage scheme?

Anyone who wants to trade in a vehicle that's 10 or more years old gets £2,000 off the price of a new one. The £300 million scheme applies to cars and vans and began on May 18, 2009. It will continue until early 2010.

Is your old van eligible?

If your van meets the following criteria, it's eligible for the scrappage scheme: * Weighs no more than 3,500kg * Is first registered on, or before, August 31, 1999 * Is currently registered with the DVLA in your name and has been registered to you for at least the previous 12 months * Has a British address on the registration certificate * Has a valid MOT certificate when you order the new van

What type of new van can you get?

If your old van fits the bill, now's the time to start shopping. But before you find the right one for you, check the manufacturer is participating in the scheme. The current list includes: Citroen, Fiat, Ford, Isuzu, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Peugeot, Renault and Renault Trucks, Vauxhall, Volkswagen and Iveco. To qualify for the scheme, your new van must also: * Weigh no more than 3,500kg * Be first registered on, or after, May 18, 2009 * Be new at first registration in the UK with no former owners * Be built to British specification * Be registered to the same name as your old van

How do I participate in the scheme?

If your old van ticks all the boxes, and the new van you have your eye on is part of the scheme, simply speak to a participating dealer. They'll verify the vans, take care of paperwork and arrange for your old smokey heap to be sent to the scrap yard. All you need to do is drive your new van home - safely!

Why should I buy a new van?

Go green: Modern vans are more economical and environmentally friendly. This means you'll save money and do your bit for the environment. Get high-tech: There's the benefit of modern technology. Your new van could come with: sat-navs, air conditioning, fancy stereo, ESP stability programme and better security. This last point could help to drive down the cost of your van insurance. Do your research with our Van Insurance Buyer's Guide.