Buying a car at auction can be 10 to 30 per cent cheaper than shopping for a second-hand car at your local dealer.

Here are CarsGuide’s tips to ensure you come home with a winner.



1. Preparation is the key

Knowledge is power when it comes to car auctions, so you need to make sure you are fully informed about what the kind of car you want to buy is worth.

Be sure to check the car's true worth with's car-valuation service which uses industry sales data to give an accurate price range, depending on mileage and features.

Preparation tips from Brendon Green, General Manager of Motor Vehicles at Pickles Auctions, Australia's leading vehicle auctioneers:

  • It's important to prepare as fully as possible before immersing yourself in an auction's rapid-fire environment
  • Attend a few auctions as an observer before you're ready to bid, to get acquainted with the process
  • Set your budgets prior to auction, check condition reports and read through the service history
  • It is vital to inspect the cars in person beforehand

2. Look beneath the sticker

So how do you avoid buying a money pit when you can't take a test drive?

It's a simple rule: time spent preparing beats time spent repairing. Make sure the car you're bidding on is well-maintained, and check the service history carefully.

If the service history is patchy or incomplete, be aware of the hidden costs you may be taking on with what might seem like a bargain.

Auctioneers will offer information about the car's condition and services in a detailed report, usually online and at the auction site. This document is your only evidence that a car has been properly maintained. If the condition report is missing or incomplete, walk away.

Choose cars offered with a roadworthy certificate. It makes insurance and registration easy, as well as saving on unexpected costs such as brake pads and tyres.

Because you can't drive any of the cars before bidding it's a good idea to test drive similar vehicles ahead of time to decide if your choice is right for you. Check things like sight lines, the comfort of the seats, whether it feels powerful enough for your needs, if it has ISOFIX attachments, and the general ergonomics.

You can inspect cars before they're auctioned, however. If you're concerned that you'll overlook something, you can hire professional vehicle inspectors or bring your mechanic along.

3. The bottom line

Buying at auction can be from 10 to 30 per cent cheaper than the dealership, according to Pickles Auctions, or, if you're really lucky, even higher.

The price you get will be highly dependent on how many other people there are on the day seeking the same car, or model, as you. Remember, bid with your head, not over it.


If you’re looking to purchase your next vehicle at an auction, but unsure about the process for accessing finance, talk to one of our friendly brokers today.

For more information, you can view the full article here.


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