Whether you’re in the trade looking to snap up a dozen vehicles for your forecourt, or you’re a member of the public wanting a bargain, auctions are the way forward. There are certainly some great deals to be found.

But how do you choose which auction to attend? You can easily end up wasting your time visiting an auction that simply doesn’t suit your needs. Here we compare the leading car auction houses so you can decide for yourself which one is best for you.

In this article we will look at a selection of the top car auctions in the business, namely Wilsons Auctions, Manheim Auctions, Central Car Auctions, British Car Auctions and Belfast City Auctions.

First let us take a look at the companies themselves. You don’t want to buy your next car from a fly-by-night business, so a long standing heritage speaks volumes when it comes to reliability. The good thing here is that all of our top car auction houses are well established. The youngest is Belfast City Auctions, which has been going for a pretty impressive twenty five years. Our other selected auctions have been established for fifty years or more!

Now where the difference sets in, is when you begin to look at location and size. Of the five auctions we’re looking at, only two of them are located solely in one place. That’s Belfast City Auctions and Central Car Auctions in Glasgow. The other three hold auctions at a variety of locations around the country. This brings with it both advantages and disadvantages. While the companies with auctions spread out over the country may well have an auction that’s highly accessible for you, you will have limited choice. For these it’s probably a good idea to view the catalogue from home and only actually visit the auction if there’s something you’re really keen on.

However, for Central Car Auctions and Belfast City Auctions, you’ll have more choice so it could be worth paying them a visit in person to see what’s available. This is especially the case for Central Car Auctions who auction more than 2,000 cars every week. For trade buyers, there’s really no contest, the more cars the better. When there are a lot of cars for sale, trade buyers can pick up several cars at once which is a real boon both for saving time and saving money on transportation costs.

There’s also another good reason to venture a little further from home when you’re looking to buy vehicles. If you live in the south, cars do tend to be cheaper the further north you go. It could be worth a longer trip for the profit you could make! The most northerly of the car auctions on our list  is Central Car Auctions in Glasgow which receives both trade and public visitors from the length and breadth of the UK as well as Ireland.

All of these auction companies offer a method of bidding online, so you’re not obliged to visit the site at all. However, if you love the excitement of the auction and prefer to view the cars yourself before buying, then Central Car Auctions stand out as the most pleasant way to do this. With heated halls it’s comfortable in all weather, there’s free parking, free Wi-Fi throughout the 14 acre site and a cafe too.

You’ll find information on the websites of each auction house regarding their process for bidding and their fees etc. and it’s a good idea to read up on this before you go, so you know what payment methods are accepted and such like, but there are some tips that apply to all auctions…

Firstly, time spent doing your homework is time well spent. Have a good idea of what you are looking for, and make a note of the actual value of any cars you’re keen on. Set yourself a budget and stick to it. The worst mistake you can make at auction is to get carried away. The temptation to keep on bidding can be irresistible but once you reach your budget, walk away, there are plenty more cars in the auction after all!

It’s also a wise idea to get to the auction house early, especially the larger ones such as Central Car Auctions. You don’t want to be rushing, especially when it comes to viewing the vehicles. Hurrying this process can lead to making some pricey mistakes. You may think you’ve bought the perfect bargain basement little run-around, when in actual fact that car was being sold purely for spare parts.

When it comes time to bid, always bid clearly, raise your hand or your catalogue and make eye contact with the auctioneer. If you win your auction you’ll then need to put down a deposit immediately. This is likely to be somewhere in the region of £200+ of the purchase price. You’ll then visit the cashier who will take the remainder of your payment and the documents will be handed over to you. The car is then yours, so you must make sure it is road legal before taking it home if you are planning on driving it.

So have we piqued your interest in car auctions? Whether you’re simply nipping over to a Manheim auction in Manchester because one of their 100 vehicles has sparked your interest, or you’re making a full day of it at Central Car Auctions in Glasgow, have fun, good luck and happy bidding!

Website – www.centralcarauctions.com


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