Going to a Used Car Auction? Here Are 3 Tips for UK Bidders
Attending a used car auction in the UK can be very exciting, especially for first-timers. Although a vehicle auction is a great place to find affordably priced transportation, there are some policies, procedures and behaviors you should follow to be sure that you don’t overpay.
Here are 3 tips gleaned from successful car auction buyers.
Tip #1 – Set a Budget and Stick to It.
Be aware that some used auto auction houses do not accept credit cards, a potential benefit for you, since this restricts you to a cash purchase and forces you to stay within your means. You will be required to leave a deposit immediately after you win a vehicle. Once the deposit is handled, you’ll be able to drive the car to ascertain that it is as advertised. If you discover a problem and still want the vehicle, you should be able to negotiate a lower price. Also, make sure there’s a guarantee on the car to assure that it’s not stolen and that there are no outstanding finance issues like bank loans or liens involved.
Tip #2 – Bid Intelligently
In general, it’s usually not a good idea to bid first, since other bidders at a used automobile auction might perceive that you’re very interested in the car. Remember that there are regular attendees at most public auto auctions who will recognize newcomers and try to take advantage of them by bidding against them just to increase the price. Another bidding tip when you attend a used cars auction is that you should not bid immediately after someone bids higher than you. Take some time and wait to see how the auction will play out. Eventually, you should be able to identify the expert bidders at a used auto auction, since they may be using hand-held computers or referring to a trade book that contains standard used car prices. Follow their cue and never bid higher than they do. Also, if no one is bidding on a car or the bidding is sparse or slow, there’s probably a very good reason. It’s possible that the vehicle was offered previously and failed to sell because the owner set the starting bid, also known as the “reserve,” too high.
Tip #3 – Use Your Eyes and Ears
Pay special attention to how a car sounds when it is driven into the arena of a car auto auction. You may be able to pick up a knock or a tick or a ping that indicates engine problems. If the driver seems to be giving it the gas excessively, this might mean it stalls or that if it stalls it will be hard to restart due to a weak starter or battery or ignition system. When the driver stops the car, listen for abnormal squeaks or squeals in the brakes. If the car shudders or lurches, the disks or drums of the braking system might be rusted or out of round or that the brake shoes or calipers are worn. If you watch very carefully, you may see the driver using the emergency brake to stop the car. This speaks for itself: Do not bid on the vehicle unless you’re prepared to undertake the repairs yourself or pay for the services of a competent mechanic.
With a little discipline and some shrewd bidding, even a newcomer to a used car auction in the UK has a good chance of coming away with a good buy.
A public car auction is a great way for buyers in the UK to scoop up an automotive bargain. Sometimes, though, the organized chaos of an auto auction might be intimidating for first-time bidders. Here’s some information to make your visit to a public vehicle auction a successful one.
Crucial Information Bidders Need at a Car Auction
As a car is driven into the auction hall, the auctioneer usually gives the prospective bidders information about the vehicle. This information, usually provided by the seller, is critically important to making an intelligent bid at a public auto auction. The amount of information may vary from car to car, but it can include the auction lot number, age, technical specifications, tax information, general condition and MOT (Ministry of Transport) certificate. A MOT certificate means that the car has been inspected and tested to assure that it meets minimum standards related to environmental and road safety standards. It is not in any way an assurance that the vehicle will be roadworthy for the duration of the 1-year MOT certification. Also, it’s is not a substitute for regular maintenance like oil changes, etc. Cars over 3 years old require an annual MOT and it’s illegal to drive a vehicle without one. Although this information may also appear in the auction’s catalog, if the auction house provides one to the bidders, you should listen carefully to what the auctioneer says about the car.
How Cars at Auction Are Categorized
There are 2 basic categories in which cars are grouped in a car auction for the public: “as seen” and “all good.” A car labeled “as seen” means that it’s generally older and cheaper in price. When you buy this type of vehicle, you’re agreeing to accept all of its faults, known or unknown at the time of your purchase. Although there are bargains to be had in this category, prospective bidders should inspect them as rigorously as possible. If you’re not as well versed in cars as you’d like to be, it might be a good idea to take a savvy friend with you to a public automobile auction if you plan to bid in this category. Cars labeled “all good” generally purport to have no major issues with engine, drive train, brakes and steering. If you buy an “all good” vehicle, you usually have one hour after the sale to discover any major problems with the vehicle’s systems. You should report these immediately in order to receive a full or partial refund of the purchase price.
Public auto auctions in the UK are popular ways for buyers to find reasonably priced vehicles at fair prices. It’s important to keep a clear head and not get caught up in the emotion of a public car auction. Only then will your purchase price be a fair one.