Top 10 Tips for Buying a Car at Auction

  • Posted 24 Apr

Top 10 Tips for Buying a Car at Auction

Approx. reading time: 2 minutes

Some of the best deals can be had when buying a car at auction, but some of the worst deals can also be found there to.

Follow these tips on buying a car at auction to avoid buying a lemon or worse, buying a car that breaks down the minute you leave the auction house.

10 Tips for Buying at Auction

  1. Before you do anything, always read the conditions of sale. Listen to what the auctioneer is saying and make sure you’re aware of any added costs to the final sale price.

  2. Before you attend an auction, visit some car yards and look at the types of cars available. Determine the type of car you want to purchase and what that type of car typically sells for. Compare that against private sales on sites like to get a fair indication of what to expect come auction time.

  3. If you’re new to car auctions, it’s a good idea to attend a few first before making a purchase. Aim to leave your wallet at home so you don’t feel tempted! Auctions are fast paced, so understanding the flow of them will help alleviate some of the stress and stop you from making some rash purchases.

  4. Aim to have any car’s you’re looking at inspected by a mechanic. In most instances, car auction places offer prior inspections, take advantage of this and have your local mechanic give them the once over.

  5. If you have any questions about the car you’re bidding on, speak to the auctioneer BEFORE the auction begins.

  6. If your mechanic comes back with some minor issues, such as new brake pads, oil change, muffler repairs or new tyres, remember that these things all add up. Factor them into the overall amount you’re willing to pay for the car.

  7. Once you get to the auction, get a feel for who you’re likely to be bidding against. Who are you dealing with? Are you dealing with any dealers, or is it the public? If you’ve only got dealers interested in your car, this is a good thing as they will likely keep the price down.

  8. Understand what requirements need to be fulfilled if you’re successful. You may be required to make a deposit there and then. You’ll more than likely need to make full settlement within 24 hours and you’ll also have to arrange for the car to be towed if it’s unable to be driven away. Keep these factors in mind before bidding.

  9. Watch out for ‘import’ vehicles. Check with the auctioneer that it can be re-registered and exactly where it’s come from. If you can’t get any clear answers, walk away.

  10. Finalise your finance. Auto auction loans are possible, if you don’t have the cash to buy what you really want. Arrange this before attending the auction so you know how much money you have to play with.

Buying a car at auction can be a great way to find a vehicle that you wouldn’t normally have access to at a car yard. Just keep these tips on mind so you don’t walk away with something that doesn’t meet your needs or turns out to have issues a few weeks later.

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