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A Guide To Car Auctions

Nothing quite beats the excitement of a good auction. The buzz around the salesroom as the anticipation reaches fever pitch, the nervous anticipation as the lot you are interested in gets closer to its moment in the spotlight and the thrill of the hunt as you lock horns with other bidders. When the auction in question could see you driving home in a new car, well that just serves to heighten all of these emotions! While there are fundamental tips that are universally applicable to all auctions, car auctions do come with some specific pitfalls and as such must be treated slightly differently and with a sensible amount of caution. Lets look at how you should approach the whole experience.

Why a car auction?

Car auctions are growing in popularity in the motor industry and they provide a memorable experience and the opportunity to drive away with a bargain.

Choosing your target

Before the auction begins you should have chosen your desired car based on a range of criteria and research and once the auction starts you shouldn’t jump horse or you could end up buying an inferior car as a result of poor research. Check the cars properly before the auction. Inspect the ones you are interested in and look at the information and service history. If possible, on the day of the auction, if you are not very car-knowledgable, bring someone who is good with the technical elements to give a simple inspection of the engine, bodywork, electrical systems, interior trim and tyres.

Beware the speed!

Car auctions are notoriously fast paced. No sooner has a lot come up for sale than you will be swept away in a frenzy of hands raised and surreptitious gestures to confirm a bid. You will need to be quick witted and speedy on the draw, Western style

Listen carefully to the auctioneer

Especially when you’ve not paid enough attention to the particulars of the lot in the catalogue or had the car inspected but even if you have, it is very, very important to listen to what the auctioneer says as he introduces a lot. His description is actually legally binding and supersedes all previous descriptions in the catalogue or on the internet. There are some key terms that should be listened out for, including:

Specified faults – listen to what is said here.

No major mechanical faults – this means you’re safe when it comes to the engine, gearbox, suspension and drivetrain of the vehicle.

Sold as seen – this is auction speak for you’re on your own. The car may have mechanical and cosmetic issues and there is unlikely to be any recourse after the auction.

Set yourself a budget

It is very easy to get carried away at an auction and it is definitely not a situation that you want to find yourself in. The very best way to avoid having to shell out more than you can afford is to set yourself an affordable budget and write it down on your hand or on a piece of paper that you hold during the auction to reinforce your budget and avoid buyers remorse.