What happens when you buy a car at an auction?

One of the most interesting ways to buy a used car is to head to an auction. It can be a great way to examine a wide selection of vehicles and can potentially offer some incredible deals. However, there are a number of things to think about. We want to have a closer look at this topic here. It is something you may end up doing if you start your own car broker service.

The auctions

Car broker serviceThere are auction houses all over the UK dealing with almost any kind of goods you can imagine. Some specialise in vehicles. If you want the best chance to find a deal on a vehicle, look for an auction with a large catalogue.

Typically the first thing you will need to do is register your interest in attending an auction. Make sure you check to see if there are any restrictions on attendance; some auctions are purely for car dealers so brokers and private buyers won’t get in.

After registering you should be able to see the catalogue of vehicles prior to the auction. In most cases they will now be online. You can browse to see the full range of lots for the day. Several useful details should also be available, including mileage, age, and condition. Take note of the lot numbers; this is the order the vehicles will be shown on the day.

On the day of the auction there should be a period prior to the start when people can view the vehicles. This is important because there is no chance to do a test drive. You have to judge by looking at the condition and how it sounds on start up.

As the auction progresses, people can place bids on vehicles they are interested in. Bidding will continue on each one until the highest bidder remains. This sets the final sale price. There will likely be additional fees here too, including commission and VAT.


There are a number of benefits from buying used cars at an auction, even if you choose a car broker service. Let’s look at the main ones.

Firstly, each auction can offer a great selection of vehicles. Each catalogue will generally feature a wide selection of makes and models. So, there is a high chance there will be something for most needs. It will also make it easier to compare to other lots.

Secondly, auctions can offer impressive deals. There is always a chance you could save money if you compare to buying from dealers. Keep in mind many dealers buy at auction and then add a little when they resell so they make a profit. It all depends on how much interest there is and how high bidders are willing to go.

Leading on from this, you have a fantastic amount of control. You are free to bid up to whatever limit you set. Then, if you don’t want to go higher, you don’t have to. An important thing to do is ensure you don’t get caught up in the moment and start bidding recklessly.


It is also important to consider the potential drawbacks of auctions. Again they apply even if you choose a car broker service.

The most important is that you can’t get a complete idea of each vehicle. Each sale is as-is, so there is always some risk that issues are lurking you can’t see until you get to drive the car. There could be costly mechanical problems to fix.

Another major drawback is all sales are final. Typically there won’t be any kind of cooling-off period; if you win a lot, you agree to pay including all fees.

Generally the used vehicles won’t come with any kind of warranty. The only time a vehicle will have one is if it is still within the manufacturer’s warranty period.

Finally, there are some cases when vehicles won’t be drivable. Sometimes they won’t have an MOT or will have been written off and being sold as needing repairs.

Do you want to establish your own car broker service?

Auctions can be a really fantastic way to buy vehicles. They are great for dealers and private buyers looking for bargains. Many car brokers will also attend while trying to source vehicles for their clients. So, it is a good idea to ensure you know what to expect.

If you are thinking about broking and starting your own car broker service, you can find out more on our website. There is plenty of info about how it works, benefits, and more. In addition, we have fantastic materials to help you get started. The full business package is a really good investment.