How To Buy Classic Cars Online

Buying a Classic Car requires thought, research and some planning. Classic cars are usually bought by enthusiasts to use and enjoy. It is not easy to make a profit from buying and selling classic cars.

Make a project plan and do your best to stick to it

You may see a tempting classic car restoration project listed in a newspaper or classic car magazine or on the Internet that may only be one or two thousand to buy and could be worth ten times as much once it is restored.

Practically though, have you the skills to carry out the restoration of the chassis, engine, interior, and the exterior ? If you need to find a specialist company to undertake some or all the work your ten times buy price may just come down to zero or very little profit indeed. Indeed in many cases the cost of restoration when added together will exceed the market value of the car. If you plan to keep the car and enjoy using it then this is perhaps an acceptable price to pay but do not expect to be able to sell the car at a profit particularly in today’s “credit crunch” economy.

Before you start looking – do you have enough storage space ? Do you have enough working area (remember once stripped down, the bits can take up an awful lot of space). No old car likes to be kept out in the open, not even with a plastic sheet to protect it from the rain, frost and snow and even the worst masochist won’t like working out in the open when it is blowing a gale! Lying on a cold concrete garage floor is bad enough but working outside in all elements usually puts a restoration project on hold permanently !

Where to look for your classic car.

Look in the your local newspaper, classic car magazines, the Internet or even just take a stroll down your street. There is no shortage of old cars to buy. But what if you are looking for something special? Well, let’s face it, these days the easiest place to look is on the Internet.

Go to Classic Lots (link below) and you will find thousands of classic cars from a rusty Mini for £100 to a Ferrari for £500,000. This excellent site also includes all the classic cars available on Ebay.

Once you have identified the car that you want, read between the lines and look at the background of the pictures.You can learn a lot from what is not said as well as the way a description is written.

I am always cautious when it says “selling it for a friend” and yet there is no contact number for the friend so you can make personal contact. When the subject of mileage is omitted from the specification box and the description… why?

Keeping in touch with reality is essential. IF IN DOUBT – CHECK IT OUT!!!! Answer those niggling questions. In the pictures you can see what looks like oil on the ground. Is it from the car you are buying? Is that mud or rust?

Ask yourself four questions. Why do I want the car? How much can I really afford? How far do I want to travel to view or collect it? and then the most important question of all… Do I really know enough about these cars to commit X thousands of pounds on a piece of pretty (or perhaps rusty metal)?

So, buying a classic car on an online auction? Well, I would advise you to adopt the following rules before commencing such an undertaking, and before you make a bid !

Remember if you are the highest bidder (assuming if there is a reserve that it has been met ) and you win the auction then you have entered a legal contract to buy that vehicle (providing the seller has described the vehicle correctly).

Do not expect to go to collect the car and having viewed it to be able to haggle over the price or to walk away. Buyer beware, and if at all possible always view the car in person before you place your bids. If do not feel confident in being able to asses the condition of your prospective purchase take along someone who has the skills to give you an honest opinion of the condition of the vehicle. You may also wish to consider using the AA or RAC who both provide professional pre-purchase inspections – if the seller seems reluctant to allow this inspection walk away !

Viewing the car before bidding

If you have decided to go and see the car then arrange a viewing and if for any reason you can’t make it, let the seller know, it’s only courteous not to waste their time just as you don’t want them wasting your time.

Things to take: a jack, perhaps some axle stands for safety, a torch, gloves and at the very least, a list of points you want to look at.

When you get there take a quick look around. Has the car been kept outside or has it been garaged, this can give you a good indication of the condition you can expect of the body and or chassis. Are there other rotting hulks just lying around, maybe the seller just buys any old junk they can find and try selling it on, not much chance of the car you have come to see having had a service any time recently.

Take a walk around the car and look for the tell tale signs of sagging which could indicate suspension problems or perhaps chassis problems. Do the doors and panels line up correctly, another indication of chassis problems or perhaps the car has had a bump at some time. Is it even one car or was it once two? Any repairs? Have they been completed well or have the repairs been bodged? Do the tyres match? What condition are they in? Check for rot in the body or in fibre glass cars/panels, look for stress cracks. Check the areas which are most prone to rot ie. arches, sills, doors, boot and bonnet. There are many different types of panels that can be used to effect repairs on a car and because of this the quality of repairs can vary.

Check inside the car. Windows, front and rear screen, are any of them leaking? Is the headlining damaged or dirty? Lift the carpets where you can, check for water and any rot, maybe even holes in the floor? Check the floorpan and joints, don’t forget inside the boot, the floor and spare wheel area. If you are happy so far with the body etc. try the engine (you did check all around the engine compartment didn’t you?). Will the engine start from cold? If the engine is already warm perhaps the seller is trying to hide something, maybe cold starting problems, maybe he had to get a jump start or a tow just to get it going? Listen for any knocks, look for smoke. If you see blue smoke on startup that quickly clears it could mean the valves are tired and leaking oil into the combustion chambers. If the smoke does not clear that could indicate a very tired engine, something that will have to be added to the budget, not only for investigation but for the repairs.

Clouds of steam on startup could indicate a blown head gasket or even a cracked cylinder head. Remove the radiator cap and look for “goo”. It is cross contamination and a good giveaway of cylinder head problems. Black smoke, probably just an over rich mixture but could just as easily be a worn carburetter.

Knocking. Well, it could be for a number of reasons, light tapping on the top of the engine could be a worn camshaft or a small end on its way out. Knocking from underneath could be a big end bearing breathing its last. An expensive repair. A rumbling noise could be a main crank shaft bearing on its way out, yet another expensive repair. Check the various hydraulic fluids and water levels. Look for any stains around the compartment and on the engine. Does the radiator smell of anti-freeze? Is there any oil lying around? Not a good sign. Keep the engine running for a while, some problems won’t show up until the engine is warm. If the car is driveable, take it for a spin. How does it “feel” on the road, does it “pull” to the right or left? Is the clutch “spongy” or firm? Does braking throw the car into oncoming traffic? (eek!) Wiggle the steering wheel, any clunks? When you accelerate does the car lurch in any particular direction?

OK so far so good. Now, the car may be 20 or 30 years old so it is not going to have all original parts. Brake shoes, clutch, spark plugs, points etc.. if they are the original parts, they are not going to be working very well by now! But seriously, if you are looking at an older car, does it have any of the original panels? Is the interior original? These points can add value to the car but the seller may try to pass off parts which were made last year in China as “original parts”.

Check the paper work. Does it have all of the required paperwork with it? Check the logbook, a very good place to start and don’t be fobbed of with “We have just moved house and can’t find it at the moment, I will post it on to you..”. Never buy a vehicle without a logbook unless you know exactly what you are doing. It is also useful to have any old MOT certificates and any receipts are good as well.

Valuing classic cars.

How much to pay? Well, the actual value of a classic car will vary considerably. It depends on condition, make, model, year and of course, what is it worth to you? Just how much would you pay to have that special car sitting on your drive at home?

Be realistic! Just because you can isn’t a good enough reason to buy a chassis of a 1926 Rolls Royce if you have no idea where to get the rest of the car and no idea of what to do with the parts if you can get them. Providing you followed the advice above on checking the car over, you should have a good idea of whether you are bidding for a car you can drive away or one that will take months before it even has wheels.

If you read the magazines, talked to the owners club and browsed the Internet to get a good idea of what your aimed for car is selling for, then you should have a price in mind that you will pay for the car depending on its condition.

Most classic car insurance policies include an agreed value based on the market value of the car. At the end of the day, it is up to you and your budget. If you feel happy with what you have paid for your car then that is all that matters.

The basic rules for Internet Auctions.

Identify what you want – and have some idea how much you want to pay. Set a budget

only you know what you can afford to spend, or borrow. Use classic car magazine price guides and real adverts to see what your classic will cost to buy. Ideally hold back 10 percent to cover any unexpected problems. Calculate running costs by looking at mpg figures. Get insurance quotes: classic cars can be covered on cost-effective limited-mileage policies and are often surprisingly cheap to insure. Remember also that pre 1972 vehicles also have no road fund licence to pay. Talk to owners about how costly your classic will be to run.

Join the owners club. A huge resource of expertise can be found in owners clubs. Not only will they have some of the best looked-after cars but they have huge amounts of knowledge on the subject of buying and running your chosen classic. They often have cheap insurance and parts schemes, too.

Get an anorak ! No really – buy some books on your chosen classic, read magazines and become a classic-car bore. Research on the Internet and visit Classic Car Shows to talk to owners. You can never know too much.

Select a range of examples available… and do not let the cash burn a hole in your pocket. There are thousands of cars for sale every day so be patient, if it is not there today, it will be soon.

Check the sellers location – are you prepared to travel to inspect and then collect the car if you win the auction. Do you need to consider the cost of having your new pride and joy collected by a car transport service or could you hire a trailer and collect it yourself ?

Check out the seller. Read all the feedback for the last three months, negative feedback should ring alarm bells Ring him/her and get to know about your seller. Why is it being sold etc. Things like “Why are you selling the car?”, “Does it come with any spare parts?”, “How long have you had it?”, “Is there any rot?”, “Does it have any history?” MOT’s, receipts etc. can be helpful for the rebuild. If you know any specifics about the car you are enquiring about then ask any of the questions you feel you need answers for. It could save you a long drive and time away if you have the necessary information before you leave.

If a vehicle has less than 3 months MOT ask the seller if they would be willing to send the car for a fresh MOT – to correct an MOT failure could be expensive.

In the event of a car being sold as an MOT failure, ask the seller to specify the list of failures, then give your local garage a ring and ask them to give you a quote for the work that needs to be carried out. this will give you some idea of the costs involved in getting the vehicle through its MOT It will save you time and money in the long run, no point in bidding on a vehicle that is going to be to costly to put back on the road.

Keep copies of all emails sent and received between you and the seller. they will come in handy if a dispute or conflict arises over the description of the item or any promises the seller makes you.

Check if the seller is a private individual or a dealer – there are many people who buy junk from car auctions and then simply try to pass them off as their own vehicles for a quick profit.

If the seller is a trader passing themselves off as a private seller and they are willing to lie about their status what else are they willing to lie about!!

If the vehicle is being sold by a private seller, ask them how long they owned the vehicle for? is the logbook registered in their name and at their home address? if it is a genuine private sale, then the answers to the above questions should be yes!! if the answer is no to any of the above walk away.

A few examples of the excuses usually given by traders posing as private sellers for not having the vehicle registered in their name “I bought the car for wife/husband or family member and they don’t like it” “insurance to high” (people will usually always get an insurance quote before buying a car)”wife/husband did not like the car” “too big or too fast” or “they failed their driving test” “I bought the car as a stop gap”

ring any bells? I am sure you have heard at least one of the above and I have heard them all.

Remember it is a Legal Requirement to register a vehicle in your name regardless of how long you intend on keeping the car.

A reputable trader should and will disclose the fact that they are a trader, remember if you buy through the trade they may have certain obligations to rectify any problems with the car.

In the event that you have bought the car without prior inspection, before you go to collect the car, print out the item page and take it with you. If the seller has mis- described the item in anyway, you will have proof in your hands to argue your case.

If buying from a private seller, always meet the seller at their home address which should match the address the car is registered at. If there is a problem at least you will have an address to go back to. Do not agree to “meet on the Tesco car park as it will be easier than finding my house ”

When you go to collect the vehicle if you are unsure about the vehicle or the seller walk away. Never part with your hard earned money until you are satisfied.

Once you have handed your money over, you will not be able to get it back! If you have not viewed the car do not pay prior to collection, if you do you will have little choice but to take the car away or lose all your money.

What’s the worst that can happen if you walk away? the seller will give you negative feedback. its better to have one negative feedback than a car which is going to cause you lots of problems and cost you time and money. You can always argue your case with the online auction site and you may get the feedback comment removed.

As a winning bidder you have a legal obligation to complete the transaction,however the seller has a greater obligation to be honest about themselves and the item they are selling. If the seller has misdescribed the vehicle and you do not complete the transaction they are very unlikely to take legal action against you for not completing the deal. Remember however if you simply change your mind and walk away without good reason the seller may take steps to recover the money from you.

The basic rules apply even if you are buying from a trader or private seller if something sounds to good to be true then it usually is !!!

 

All About Car Modification

Modifying your car has been a popular pastime for many years. By modifying your car you are able to put your own unique personal touches on the vehicle to make it stand out from the rest. There are many cosmetic modifications that don’t make the car run any different, but then that’s not the point 90 percent of the time! More often car modification is done just to make your car look better or give it a more aggressive race like appearance. These types of modification are simple and will make your car stand out from the rest with very little work. As for the cost of car modifications, that is an altogether different story. Parts are freely available off the shelf from companies such as Spareco, Koni and Spax. For example you can buy Spax suspension, Janspeed exhausts, Momo rims and steering wheels, body kits, light alloy pedals, leather or led lit gear knobs, Corbeau race seats and even race harnesses.

Getting a new set of wheels for your vehicle is a popular choice. There are many alloy wheel styles to choose from. Another popular modification is having your windows tinted. Tinted windows can help keep the glare from the sun out and also makes it harder for others to see into the car. I.C.E or In Car Entertainment is vital to any car modification project. Enhancing your cars audio is extremely popular and the range of products and options available provide DIY car modifiers with a world of choices. Products to choose from include the popular iPod Car Adapter kits, USB, CD & MP3 Stereos and, multi CD changers, front and rear parking sensors (some have video), plus the leads, tv screens and tools required to fit everything. Leading brands include: JVC, Dension, Panasonic, Connects2, Dashmount, Parrot, Alpine, Autoleads, Kenwood, Pioneer & Sony.

Today car navigation systems such as Motevo, TomTom, Garmin and Pioneer navigation systems are key ingredients when modifying a car. Even satellite or GPS Navigation systems come in hundreds of shapes and sizes. The main types of in-car navigation systems are in-dash mounted navigation systems, portable GPS systems, hand held systems, motorcycle and marine systems and finally the remote navigation systems where the GPS system is plugged in to your car radio for instance. When buying a new GPS system its often better to opt for higher resolution screens as they make the map information easier to see. Large memory and a decent control chip make for smooth and efficient operating, the last thing you need is slow loading and in accurate positioning. Most GPS systems have large touch screens, working with a stylus can be tricky so it does help and lastly pay particular attention to how visible and mobile you wish your model to be. If it’s a permanent fixture in your car then bigger models are great, but if you need to take it in doors after use, a smaller model may be the answer. Car security is a factor not only when modifying your vehicle but also when insuring a car with lots of expensive audio equipment in it. Phone you current car insurance company and find out what you can do before your insurance starts costing you more. They will no doubt also require an upgrade to your car security system and there are simply so many companies out there the likes of Viper, Tracker and Clifford. They all sell various systems such as standard car alarms, remote car start systems and GPS tracking systems. GPS stands for Global Positioning Systems. Professional fitment is recommended and car security shoppers should always insist on a certificate of fitment from the dealer fitting the car security system.

If you want to give your car a sporty look without spending a fortune you can have racing mesh fitted for the front bumper of your car. This looks good and can also improve the airflow around the engine compartment. “Eyebrow extensions” is another way to customise your car. These extensions are usually plastic and are fitted to your car’s head lamps. You can get these in a variety of colours and are relatively inexpensive. Car engine mapping is also relatively cheap to have done and performance gains can be substantial. It is recommended that you have engine mapping performed by competent, well known companies as they are best able to advise you of other crucial safety features you should improve when doing so. Up-rated brakes being one of them and more expensive tyres make for better high speed performance and traction to handle the additional engine power. Consider upgrading the oil you use in your engine when you have this done and use an high quality performance air filter, fuel filter and also replace all perished water and oil hoses frequently, if you haven’t already done so. Engine mapping or chipping is basically re-programming your cars CPU and it is given new instructions on how to fuel your engine. The more power you ask for the more gas / petrol your mapping will request along with other parameters such as increasing the airflow to the engine by tricking the motor into thinking the air is colder, this produces more power. All this power comes at a cost though. Most cars that have upgraded their engine management systems do so for more power, not efficiency and in doing so use more fuel and rev higher too. Cam belts should be replaced more frequently and if you plan any engine modifications have a word with the manufacturers about what you plan to do.

There are many things that can be done to modify a car. An entire industry has been created by the need for body styling, engine tuning, lowered suspension and big bore exhausts. Any part of a car can be modified and making modifications is a statement of individuality and personal style. The most popular cars for modifying are usually small, low insurance group hatches. Always update your car insurance company with the latest modifications to ensure your cover is not withdrawn due to something you thought may be OK which they do not. Other insurances like car breakdown cover and gap insurance cover should not be affected by modifying your car, unlike your car warranty policy which will almost certainly be affected. Give your car warranty company a call and make sure your cover will still be provided before you make any changes.

Popular Cars to Modify

Peugeot
All of the cars from Peugeot are popular cars to modify. You can even modify the 106, 206, and 306 pugs. The Peugeot 306 GTi is one of the most popular hatches to modify and tune. You can find a wide range of 306 body kits and tuning parts. Second hand Peugeot vehicles are reasonable and can be found almost everywhere. The insurance group starts off low so it makes it affordable for most. These cars have the potential to make a street racer that you can be proud of.

Citroen Saxo
The Citroen Saxo is one of the most modified cars because there is loads of modifying parts available. You can find everything from body kits to suspension. A popular choice for modifying is the Saxo VTR because it can go from 0 to 60 in less than ten seconds. It also is very fuel efficient and takes corners well. There are plenty of places to get parts and garages that work on them. You can modify a Citroen Saxo to be a real head turner.

Vauxhall Corsa
The Vauxhall Corsa is one of the cheapest and easiest cars to modify. They are also very cheap to insure even when they have been modified. Parts are readily available and they are reasonably priced. The Corsa B is a definite favourite for modifying.

Honda Civic
The Honda Civic has always been a popular car to modify. It has grown in popularity due to the film, “The Fast and The Furious.” The Honda Civic EK is one of the more popular hatches to modify. You can find a wide variety of Honda Civic body kits and tuning parts.

VW Golf
The VW Golf can be modified to look cool and there are plenty of parts available for the later Golf’s. Volkswagen Golf VR6 is a poplar car to modify and there are plenty of body kits and tuning parts available.

Famous Cars

Some modified cars have become popular because of being in a film or on a TV show. Some are noted for their superior performance and some are known for the celebrity driving them. Below are a few of the cars that are considered icons today.

1967 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 Fastback was the star of the 2000 film “Gone in 60 Seconds.” In this film the car does some unbelievable stunts, including jumping over 15 feet of cars.

1963 Volkswagen Beetle became famous in the “Herbie” series films. Herbie was a little Beetle with a Porsche 356 engine who gave the big boys a run for their money.

1969 Dodge Charger became a muscle car icon through the television series, “The Dukes of Hazzard.” It had a confederate flag painted on the roof and the doors were welded shut. The modified Charger R/T, called the General Lee seemed to be always airborn.

1982 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am was made popular by the television series, “Knight Rider.” The modified Trans Am known as KITT was a hyper intelligent crime fighting automobile. This car could do everything including, see, hear and smell.

1974 Ford Gran Torino was made famous in the television series, “Starsky and Hutch.” It was a powerful muscle car with a 351 Cleveland and 4 barrel Holley carburetor. It was driven hard by two California detectives in the series.

1977 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am was made famous in the series of “Smokey and the Bandit” films. It was a powerful 6.6 liter 200hp muscle car that everyone wants to own.

1970 Dodge Charger was just one of the many fast modified cars in the film, “The Fast and The Furious.” This is a classic move that all gear heads love to watch over and over.

2003 Mini Cooper S-R53 was made famous in the 2003 film, “The Italian Job.” This little mite packed a supercharged 1.6L Tritect engines and was involved in some intense chase scenes.

1979 Ferrari 308 GTS was made into an icon by the television series, “Magnum PI.” The mid-engine V8Ferrari was featured in the original series. The show and the amazing performance of the 255hp GTS made people flock to the nearest dealer to buy one in the 1980’s.

There is a downside to modifying your car. If you don’t have a specialist or someone experienced in modifying your particular make and model of car, you may be wasting your money. You need to select the right combination of modification to gain the most out of your car. If you select the wrong combination you will have spent a lot of money for nothing. Another thing you should remember is modifications to your car may affect the warranty. It will also make your insurance premiums higher. You also have to be aware that some engine modifications can violate regulations and emission laws. You have to make sure that any modifications to your car are safe and won’t disrupt the reliability and stability of the vehicle. Sometimes modified engines are often touchy and require premium fuel.

It is easy to get caught up in the whole modification process and end up modifying the car too much. The rule of thumb should be; less is more. Otherwise you will spend huge amounts of money, which could add up to more than the car is worth. Also, if it is over modified it can be hard to sell and most dealers won’t offer a deal to do a trade in for the car. Just keep these factors in mind when you are going to modify your car to express your style and personality.
Enjoy your new car!

 

How To Sell Car In Auction

With many people struggling to make ends meet and TV adverts with catchy jingles tempting you to sell your car for quick cash, it can seem appealing. Your car (next to your house) is probably your most expensive piece of equity and with this in mind, it can be tempting to sell it, purchase a cheaper make or model and pocket the difference.

Car auctions, whether they be physical or on-line, can be a good way of selling your car, safe in the knowledge that an experienced auctioneer has yours, and the auction house’s, best interest at heart. You may think that these things do not always necessarily go hand in hand but bear in mind that the auction house will take a percentage of the purchase price (buyers fee) as commission so it is in their interest to get you as much money as possible!

So, let’s start with the basics:

What is a car auction?

Car auctions have a long history within the automotive industry with many different types of business using them to either sell excess stock or purchase new stock for resale.

They are extremely popular in the USA and Japan and are gaining popularity in the UK where they are no longer seen as dirty places. This is mainly thanks to the industry making a concerted effort to change the reputation of the sector and make it more appealing to all people, not just those ‘in the trade’.

Car auctions sell cars, commercial vehicles, motorcycles, plant equipment, and some of them will also sell large goods vehicles and possibly caravans and motor homes.

Auction houses do not own the vehicles which they sell. They merely act as a shop front for many different types of seller. These can include leasing companies, fleet management companies, dealer groups, banks and financial institutions, governmental bodies, police, and of course private individuals.

Let’s look at each of these different sellers more closely:

Leasing Companies

Leasing companies rent vehicles to companies or private drivers for a set period of time (sometimes as little as 1 year) so the vehicles put into auction are usually young models with a good mileage and because the cars are usually leased from new, they may have only had one person driving them whilst going to a meeting twice a week! When the lease or rental period ends, leasing companies will enter their old stock into auction as their customers are more interested in leasing brand new vehicles. These companies are usually owned by banks or financial institutions.

Fleet Management Companies

These are similar to Leasing companies in that they lease their stock to organisations but differ in that they will supply their customers with a whole fleet of cars and manage that fleet on behalf of their client. Again, when the rental period for the fleet ends, the companies wish to take advantage of the capital wrapped up in their stock in order to replace it with new models.

Dealer Groups

If you have ever part exchanged your old car at one of the large, glass fronted dealers or showrooms, chances are it has subsequently been put into auction and sold. Dealer groups will also enter old or unsold stock (known as overage) from their forecourts in order to keep their showrooms looking fresh with the latest that the manufacturer(s) have to offer. Of course, buying a vehicle at auction which has been entered by a dealer group can be a bit riskier than the leasing or fleet companies as if someone has part exchanged their old car, you have to ask yourself why did they do it, what sort of person where they, how well did they keep it and how many previous keepers has it had?

Banks and financial institutions

Banks and financial institutions can fall into fleet and leasing companies as many of them have these elements within their respective corporate families and follow the same trends. However, banks can also enter cars into auctions that have been repossessed from their customers after defaults on loan or mortgage repayments. Obviously a car itself is of little or no interest to a bank, they are only interested in the value and the money which can be made from it.

Governmental bodies

Government bodies will run fleets of cars for their staff and key executives and will update this fleet on a regular basis with the old stock being put into auction. Separate Government departments will also enter a wide range of vehicles at auction from ex-defence Land Rovers or staff cars, to lawn mowers and diggers used on the local playing fields or in the local cemetery! Local Government may also enter cars into auction that have been seized by bailiffs follow non payment of bills such as Council Tax (depending on the Local Authority in question, these can be quite high end models).

Police

Police forces will auction vehicles seized from convicted criminals to either compensate victims, break up an illegal estate or regain public money gained fraudulently. The police also auction a variety of other items seized for similar reasons and may do this through an auction house or by holding their own property auctions. As well as these lots, all police forces will also run a fleet of undercover or unmarked vehicles and these will need to be constantly updated, with the old stock being put into auction to raise funds for the force.

Private individuals

This is the category of seller that we are really interested in. Private sellers can enter and purchase cars from auction and if their car is not sold first time round, they can tell the auction house to keep putting it in until they receive an acceptable bid. Be warned though, auction houses will charge you for each time they enter the car so if you have sold your car after a couple of sales, you may want to check your reserve price or rethink your options.

How does it work?

Most auctions work on the same principal; your prospective buyers bid against one another, raising the amount which they offer with each new bid they make until their competitors drop out and they are left as the highest bidder. All of your bidders will be in the auction hall (although an online element is becoming increasing popular) and all bids are made in the open. This type of auction is known as an ‘English Auction and its formula applies to the majority of vehicle auctions.

When your vehicle arrives at the auction centre, it will be inspected by the auctions technicians who will highlight any scratches, dents, scuffs, rust, etc and value the overall damage costs. It can be important to consider this when you think about your reserve as trade buyers will have a good idea of the vehicles value and of the damage costs and will factor this into their bidding. The damage cost will not be shown to any buyers, it is purely for the auction house’s records.

Your car will then be photographed and ‘lotted’, the process whereby your car is entered into a sale. It will be assigned a lot number and will be placed in the auctions yard to be viewed by the buyers.

At the same time, your vehicles details will be published online for buyers to look at before they arrive at the auction. This is a good way of building interest in your car and most auction houses will send our copies of their latest catalogues to their buyers.

You should do your best to ensure that you car is entered with all of the paperwork and material which you have relating to it:

  • V5c Registration Document
  • Hand book
  • Any other manuals (SatNav, radio, etc)
  • Service book
  • Historic garage receipts of details of work carried out
  • Locking wheel nut key (if your car has one)
  • Any other information or items that came with your car when you bought it

All of these things are important to buyers and if you were buying a car, you would expect to have everything that you could have relating to it so think of these when you enter your car.

Of course, you will also have to leave your key and any spares with the auction.

In the auction halls…

When your vehicle is lining up to be driven into the auction halls, buyers will start to look closely at the car, looking for any damage and they may open the doors to look at the interior. Buyers are not usually allowed to test drive cars or look under the bonnet so this process of final inspection is important to them.

Once your car is in place in front of the auctioneer, the cars details and any special features, such as extra interior features, alloy wheels, etc, will be read to the audience. The auctioneer will then start the bidding with an opening bid below your reserve. If there is a great deal of interest in your car, bids can rise fast with many people competing. Eventually, the auctioneer may drop the increases in size to amounts that the last couple of bidders feel more comfortable with. This could mean that you see increases of £50 for your car rather than the £500s you were seeing right at the start. The buyer with the final highest bid has now bought your car as long as their highest bid was over your reserve. At this point the buyer has entered into a legal contract.

If the final highest bid did not quite meet your reserve, the auctioneer may class this a provisional bid and the auction will then attempt to negotiate between you and the buyer. At this point, you can ask for more money or demand that your reserve be met. If you go too high and the buyer pulls out, the sale will fall through. It is a balancing act between what the buyer is prepared to offer and the minimum amount you are willing to accept.

If you reach an agreement, the sale will go through as normal.

If agreement cannot be reached, you have the option to take your car out of future auctions and keep it, or enter it again in the hope of getting a better bid. Hopefully this won’t happen and you will sell your car but if you have to consider this you should remember that many auctions are used by motor traders who attend most weeks and if they see the same car go through each week, they will be less inclined to offer a high bid. Auctions will also charge you for each time you enter your car, with some also charging storage after a certain amount of time and sales, so you should consider these costs when thinking of the money you intend to make from the sale.

How much will it cost?

The fee to enter your car in an auction can range from £15-£30 depending on the size and reputation of the auction house and will be deducted from the total sale value of the car. This fee will be payable each time you enter your car in to a sale if it does not sell.

On top of this, there will also be commission deducted from the sale price. This will be on an increasing scale and will depend on the sale price of the vehicle in question. Always check with the auction house before you enter your vehicle and shop around the auction houses local to you to get the best deal.

After the sale

Assuming that a deal has been reached or that your vehicle sold straight away, the auction will not give any of the vehicles paperwork to the new buyer until full payment has been made. Once this happens, the auction will pass all material relating to the car to the buyer.

Most auction companies will also deal with the legal change in ownership on your behalf and will communicate the sale to DVLA Swansea with the vehicles V5c Registration Document on your behalf, as you do not know the buyers details. Some auctions charge for this service so check at time of entry.

Car auction companies are usually pretty quick in sending you the money for your car and can be as quick as a couple of days after the sale, usually by cheque or bank transfer. The entry charges and commission taken by the auction will usually be details on a remittance advice sent to you once your money has been sent to you.

Other things to consider:

When you are thinking of putting your car into an auction, you may want to think of these things which can increase your chances of getting a sale:

  • Is the interior clean?
  • Having crisp packets, drinks bottles or cigarette ends n the ashtray is not appealing and you would not by a car like that so why would anyone else?
  • Do you smoke in your car?
  • If you smoke in your car, try to banish the smell of stale smoke as best you can. Smoking in cars can also lead to burns on seats, trim and just about anywhere else so be aware of them.
  • Have you got a complete or good service history on your car?

Buyers look at the service history on your car to see how it has been kept. A good service history usually mean that the rest of the car has been looked after properly. Main dealer stamps are highly sought in service history but your local approved garage will suffice.

Is there any tax left on your car?

Selling a car with tax allows the buyer to drive away with that car on the day they bought it. If your car does not have tax, they buyer will need to insure it, then sort out the tax before they can drive it. Since auction houses will not pass any vehicle documents to the buyer before full payment is made, this can lead to a great deal of hassle for the buyer as they will have to go away, sort the insurance, come back and pay for the car, go away and sort the tax (now that they have the MOT certificate), come back and finally drive away.

Trade buyers buying many cars will not worry about the hassle factor too much as they will get their new cars delivered by transporter, it mainly matters to them for the resale value which tax can add onto their forecourts.

When does the MOT run out (or does it even have one?)

Selling your car with MOT gives your car a boost in auction as buyers will just see it as an added expense if it does not have one. Your buyer will also need to have a valid MOT before they can ensure the car!

Are there cosmetic things that could be tidied or corrected before you enter it?

Are there stains on seats or interior trim that can be removed? Is there a brake light bulb that could be replaced? Are there stickers on the windows that could be removed?

Is it worthwhile sorting out that scratch before you enter it?

Getting a small scratch or dent repaired before you enter your car can increase the chances of it selling as it will not be noted on the damage report (as long as it is a good job!)

Do you have a spare key, SatNav disk, or old garage bills in the back of a cupboard somewhere?

You should do your upmost to ensure that you give everything associated with your car to the auction along with your vehicle. Things like spare keys add to the value and old garage receipts let your buyer know exactly what has been done, added, changed or mended to their new car as well as who done it.

Obviously, if your car has built in SatNav, you should include the disk for this along with any instruction manuals.

Remember, auction houses will inspect your car and so will our buyers sonly sort out scratches or other problems if you feel you can be a good job of it otherwise it just means that someone else has to redo your attempt meaning more cost and time!

This article is only meant as a guide as all auction companies have different processes, fees, client base and ethos but I hope that this article has given you some insight into the considerations of selling your car, van, lorry, tractor (or any other vehicle) at a car auction and if you do decide to follow this route, good luck!

In my next article, I will be talking about how an auction works from the buyers side.

 

Time To Get New Car

The question of when to buy a new car can pop up into any car owner’s mind every now and then. A new car is a good investment when it comes to safety and performance. While having a used car is not a bad thing to have, buying a new car may be better option if you are able to afford it. This article outlines some things to consider when thinking of buying a new car.

Factors to Consider When Thinking of Buying a New Car

The costs of maintaining and repairing an old car as well as the changing needs dictated by your life style are often the key points that let you know when to buy a new car.

1. Letting go of your old car

While your old car may have served you very well, you may have noticed that the repair costs have been piling up. Maintenance and small repairs are quite normal for cars as they grow older. However, major problems with the old car can cost you more money than the car is actually worth. Major structural or engine damage can point you to the direction of getting a new car instead of having this repaired.

You can also tell when to buy a new car when you’ve monitored that the car’s performance has been dropping off. A significant indicator of this is your car’s consumption. Newer cars have consumptions of 30 miles to the gallon and above. If you’ve noticed that your gas consumption has significantly increased, you can compute for yourself that you are spending a lot more money on gas.

You can do a quick check of your monthly or annual costs to maintain and repair the car. If the monthly costs start to become as high as the amount you’ll be paying for a new car, then it is time to consider buying a new one.

Most people consider buying a new car when their old one is in the range of 5 to 10 years old. This is because you can resell your car at a good price at this age. The money can then be used to help buy a new car.

2. Needing a new car for business or family

The growing and changing needs of a car owner can dictate when to buy a new car. Having a family of your own usually means having to buy a new car. A large minivan is a great help in keeping up with the kids. It can comfortably seat a family of four while also being able to carry groceries and luggage. It may be time to upgrade to a new car when this time comes.

Having a business can also mean you need a new car. Your old car may simply not be able to handle the needs of your business. Whether it is shuttling inside the city, or hauling materials you need, a new car can provide the needs of your business.

3. Adding a car

Buying a new car may not necessarily mean maintaining just one car. You can choose to buy a new car as an additional car. This is a good option if you need another car for your family. Two cars can help your family move quicker as both parents can go to different places using these cars.

If your old car is still working fine and the maintenance costs are reasonable, you should definitely look into purchasing a new car in order to meet your needs.

Costs Involved in a New Car

A new car will definitely cost more than an old car. There are perks however such as warranties. There are even car manufacturers that offer extended warranties.

Insurance costs are an additional cost involved in buying a new car. Because the car is new the premium may be higher. You have to pay for a comprehensive insurance plan to cover damages to the car and other property. This is however not such a bad thing. Accidents can happen and you do want to protect your investment.

Maintenance costs such as oil changes and other periodic services can be a bit higher if you need to go to the dealership for services such as oil change possibly to keep your warranty from being voided. This is however a value added service which does add to the resale value of the car. In the long run, this type of maintenance will help you protect your car.

New Car Financing

One of the better deals you can get with a new car is the financing aspect. There are several loans or financing plans you can enter into with both a dealership and a bank for auto loans. Through financing packages, items such as loans and some maintenance services can be added on as freebies.

If you are dealing directly with a dealership, you should be very assertive in getting what you want at the absolute lowest price. Dealers usually work on commission or a percentage of the sales. They will try to push for add-ons and the sticker prices. If you are firm with them and can haggle well, you can get discounts on your new car.

Banks will have more requirements but the interest rates can be very affordable. Be sure to compare with other banks and credit institutions so you can grab better deals. Again be firm and assertive and try to negotiate for the best deal possible.

A down payment can be a very powerful leveraging tool. With cash on hand you can negotiate for better terms on monthly payments and interest.

Why Buy New?

If you can afford to buy a new car, then do go for it. A new car will usually perform better and initially cost less to maintain than an older car. It can be cheaper to run as well since modern cars have standard fuel efficiencies. These savings can help in seeing the car pay for some of its costs.

Peace of mind above all else is what a new car may offer you. When your old car starts to give you doubt, or when you do feel that it is beginning to pinch your wallet too much, you will know if it is time to buy a new car.