What Is The Best Used Car To Buy?

If you are like most used car buyers looking for a good deal then you are looking to spend as little as possible to get you rolling. If spending as little as possible is your main focus in buying a used car then you should be shopping with a strict set of criteria that any car must meet in order for you to consider buying it.

There are a number of factors that affect the cost of owning a car both short term as well as long term. Here are a list of factors to consider when looking to spend as little money as possible when buying a used car:

1) the car must not be too expensive to buy
2) the car must be in good mechanical overall condition
3) parts for repairs must be readily available and affordable
4) the car must meet reasonable expectations of longevity
5) the car must be economical on fuel costs
6) the car must be economical on insurance costs

These are general guidelines that are based on the cost to buy, maintain, repair, insure and drive the car. A car that meets these requirements will have the greatest likelihood of costing the least both up front, but also in the long run when you factor in the ongoing costs of driving the car.

What is the best type of car for a small budget?
If you are shopping within a tight budget but require a car that will be consistently reliable for the foreseeable future then you really should be shopping for a four cylinder car that is front wheel drive and has four doors. Additionally you do not want the vehicle to be newer than 5 years old and no older than 12-15 years old.

Vehicle Age
The age of the car you are buying will be one of the most important factors in determining the value of the car. In addition to being an attribute of the condition of the car itself, the vehicle year will also affect the insurance quotes that you will get on the car, the availability and cost of replacement parts, as well as the resale value in the future should you want to sell the car.

Buying a brand new car
Buying a brand new car is a rewarding experience to be sure but seldom a wise investment since a new car will devalue instantly as soon as you assume ownership of the car. This measurable loss in equity is a result of the car no longer being brand new and thereby losing its most valued attribute. For any person looking to buy a car on a budget a brand new car will almost always be a bad decision. If you are intent on buying a new or nearly new car, the value of your buying dollar will go much further on a car that is even six months or one year old.

Buying used cars 1-5 years old
Used cars in the category are a substantially better investment than cars that are brand new. The large depreciation of the car when it transitioned from being a new car to a used car has been experienced by the current or previous owner. A car in this age range will be less likely to experience mechanical failures than cars moderately older, which is important as replacement parts are more expensive and less available than cars which are a few years older. Additionally the insurance premiums you are quoted for newer cars is substantially higher than a car which is a few years older. This is a very important factor for any used car shopper which falls into a moderate to high risk category due to age, experience or previous claims on their insurance history.

Buying used cars 5-10 years old
Used cars in the age range of five to ten years old represent the best likelihood for a good long term car investment for a thrifty shopper. The insurance rates on these vehicles will be much lower than newer vehicles and replacement parts should be readily available and cost effective to buy. The purchase price of used cars in this age range are low and the possibility of finding an undervalued car to buy for cheap is high if you shop around enough. There is a sharp drop off in price as cars age from the five year to the ten year point. A used car that is more than ten years old will be priced according to its condition more than its age.

Buying used cars more than 10 years old
Once a car is more than a decade old it will be priced for sale according to its condition and vehicle reputation alone. It can be expected that used cars of this age will require regular maintenance and ongoing repairs for the remainder of its life. Some older cars will sill run trouble free for years while others will need repairs on a regular basis just to keep them on the road.

A used car buyer shopping in this age range must be comfortable with performing vehicle repairs and maintenance themselves or have a dedicated monthly budget to allow for ongoing repairs.

Additionally a used car in this age range can develop a problem which will be very expensive to repair such as an engine or transmission failure so the importance of being able to buy a used car that is in good condition is even more important. Rust and rot can also become a pressing issue for cars in this age range, especially in colder climate areas where road salts are used to keep the roads cleared in winter. A ten year old car that has not been maintained or rust proofed located in a cold climate could easily be rotted beyond repair on the frame or sub frame. Vehicles in this age range are likely to be the least reliable and are recommended only for those who are capable with DIY repairs on an ongoing basis and carrying a basic tool and emergency kit is a must at all times.

As you can see there is more to consider than simply the price tag when it comes time to buy a used car. There is no such thing as the best used car, only the best used car for your needs and your budget.

Simple Tips For Knowing When It May Be Time For A 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.

Be Cautious Where You Take Your Classic Car or Muscle Car

Classic car owners, including those with muscle cars, street rods, hot rods, antiques and vintage trucks, are facing uncertain times as car thefts are on the rise, and actions from thieves are becoming more bold and brazen.

I recently came across a story written by a man who owned a Daytona Blue 1963 Corvette Coupe with all matching numbers. The all-original classic sport car had an immaculate dark blue interior where only the carpet had ever been replaced. The 327 engine was said to produce a rhythmic loping that not only brought a smile to your face, but got you day dreaming of having this beauty parked in your own garage. Then disaster strikes and you’re snapped out of your dream and into his nightmare!

The owner of this beautiful piece of American history took his prized car to what he called a small “backwoods” show that a friend and he decided to go to in the spur of the moment. As owner Jacob Morgan, of Bakersfield, CA described, “The event was an annual but rather unofficial gathering of classic car buffs and I was thrilled to bring my car down. Unfortunately, the part of Florida that the event was being held was extremely dry due to drought. About three or four hours after arriving, a man who owned a red GTO (I could not tell you the year because frankly I did not care afterward) decided to start up his ride for the spectators. It was just one backfire but it was enough to start the dry grass ablaze–and guess where my Corvette was parked?

Nearly thirty classic cars were consumed by the blaze started by that backfiring GTO and my Corvette was one of them. Of course I had the car properly insured but they just aren’t making 1963 Corvettes any longer and the only one I could find that was similar cost $10,000 more than my policy’s payoff. I guess if there is a moral to my sad tale, it is to avoid backwoods car shows at all costs because they are unregulated, disorganized, and very dangerous to classic cars like my beloved 1963 Corvette Coupe.”

This may not be your traditional way of losing your prized classic car, muscle car, street rod, antique car, vintage truck or other collectible old vehicle, but it does drive home the point that we need to exercise care in even the most innocent surroundings like a car show! Freak accidents like Mr. Morgan experienced can and do account for many losses to enthusiasts – not just theft or vandalism.

Sadly though, theft isn’t a rare thing and the methods are becoming more bizarre. Guy Algar and I have had pieces stolen off one of our own vehicles that we were towing back to our shop while we stopped for a quick bite to eat! We’ve had a good number of hubcaps taken over the years. And, we actually had the brake lights ripped off of our car hauler while we were in a parts store one day picking up parts for a customer! We’ve had one customer tell us the story where he had taken his wife out to dinner and had carefully parked his 1969 Corvette at a local restaurant, under a big bright light, and in what appeared to be a “safe” area, only to come out 45 minutes to an hour later to find all his emblems and trim taken right off the car! Thieves have been known to take the entire car hauler (with the classic sitting on top) right off the tow vehicle’s hitch ball and transfer the hauler to their own tow vehicle when people are on the road, at a car show, or some other type of event. These are bold moves by people who do not fear the consequences.

Other thefts that have been reported around the country have included:

    • Dr. Phil just had his ’57 Chevy Belair convertible stolen from the Burbank repair shop he had brought it to for repairs.

    • A 1937 Buick, valued at over $100,000 was taken from a gated community parking garage in Fort Worth, Texas.
    • Tom of New Mexico reported the theft of two of his collector cars to Hemming. Tom owns about half a dozen collector cars altogether, and to store them all, he rented out a storage unit. Unfortunately, when he went to check on them recently, for the first time in about six months, he found that two were missing – a 1957 two-door Chevrolet Belair and a 1967 Mercury Cougar GT.
    • There was also a report of a man from Jefferson City, Missouri, who actually recovered his own stolen car, a 1969 Chevrolet Camaro that had been stolen 16 years before, after seeing it in a Google search!
    • In a Los Angeles suburb, a woman came home to a garage empty of her prized 1957 Chevy Bel-Air which had been valued at more than $150,000. The beautiful convertible had been featured in several magazines and TV shows and won dozens of awards at car shows around the country. A neighbor’s surveillance camera caught the actions of the thieves and revealed that the Bel-Air was pushed down the street by a pickup truck which had pulled into her driveway just minutes after she had left. The thieves likely loaded it onto an awaiting trailer. It’s thought that the thieves spotting the car at one of the car shows, followed it home afterwards, then waited for the opportunity to steal it.
    • A Seattle collector was the victim of a targeted “smash-and grab” from the warehouse where he kept his cars. The thieves apparently ransacked the building and drove off with a 396/425 four-speed 1965 Corvette Stingray; and a 20,000-mile 396/four-speed 1970 Chevelle SS.
    • A 1959 Chevrolet Impala was stolen during a Cruise Night. The owner got good news-bad news when the police tracked down because while they did recover the classic car, he had put in a claim for the theft with his insurance policy after the theft many months before, so the car went to the insurance company rather than being returned to him. Apparently detectives recovered the Impala from a chop shop nearly eight months after it was stolen, repainted and modified.

    • Hemmings News also reported of a reader whose 1970 Ford Maverick was stolen from his home in Missouri. The car was found and returned, but the investigation apparently revealed that the thief had been watching the owner for 2 years, with the intention of stealing it and using it to race with. Chilling thing to find out.
    • A 1979 Buick Electra 225 Limited Edition was stolen out of a grocery store parking lot in suburban Detroit with the thief escaping with an urn inside the trunk that contained the remains of the owner’s stepfather!
  • After saving for over 40 years, a man from Virginia bought the car of his dreams, a 1962 Dodge Lancer. Buying his dream car, he began his restoration project, which was about 60 percent complete when he relocated to Texas. Without a garage to keep it in after his move, he stored it in a 24-foot enclosed trailer along with a 1971 Dodge Colt he planned to turn into a race car, and kept the trailer parked at a storage lot. At the end of July, the trailer and everything in it disappeared.

The last story actually has a happy ending because it was recovered due to alert shop owners being suspicious of person wanting to unload a Lancer for only $1,500 including the many boxes of parts. After some research, the owner was reunited with his car. Guy and I have been approached on numerous occasions by people wanting to sell their vehicles. Some have hardship stories and the callers are willing to unload the car for a real bargain. We’ve always walked from these offers, primarily because we’re not in the business of buying and selling cars (we’re not dealers or re-sellers), but also because we’re cautious of a “too-good-to-be-true” price. One call in particular did make us very suspicious, as the woman caller insisted that the sale had to be completed by Monday (she called our shop over the weekend) and the price was extremely low for a rather rare model Mustang. Alert shop owners can be instrumental in aiding in the recovery of stolen classic cars.

But not all stories have a happy ending like this. Classic cars, muscle cars and antiques can make their way to chop shops, end up damaged and abandoned, and even being re-sold on Internet sites such as eBay and Craigslist!

Just yesterday, I reported on a 1954 Chevy Pickup truck which was stolen from a woman’s driveway in Oklahoma City. (Ironically this article was already written and scheduled for release today when the news hit. I’ve added her case because, unfortunately, it emphasizes how common thefts have become.) She wisely reached out to the Hemmings community of enthusiasts for help. Hemmings.com has a huge following, referred to as “Hemmings Nation”, and appealing for help to a community of enthusiasts like this can be instrumental in helping to give vital information to police and authorities who can help track and recover a stolen classic car. We applaud the work that Hemmings does.

And, the methods that thieves are using, as you can see, are as varied as the types of vehicles! Even seemingly innocent little car shows and gatherings are places you need to exercise a little caution and care. As I reported in a July article, carjackings involving classic cars are even becoming more commonplace.

Surprisingly, in some cases, the Internet has been helpful in aiding in the recovery of classic cars and muscle cars. There have been numerous stories, much like the Camaro owner above, and a man who found his 1949 Ford through a listing on Craigslist (the two men responsible were arrested and charged with disassembling a vehicle after the owner positively identified it as his) where owners have been able to locate their cars in Internet searches.

For those not so fortunate, insurance is the only consolation. We highly recommend classic car or “collector” car insurance. There are a number of companies that provide this specialized insurance, and it is generally well worth the cost. Classic Car News provided an article, Purchasing Classic Car Insurance, containing a list of companies along with links to contact them. I also recommend Hagerty Insurance’s publication, Deterring Collector Car Theft, which has tips on theft prevention.

In addition to the quick-strip thefts, thieves usually always alter, remove or forge VIN numbers, which make identification of the car or truck more difficult. Vehicle Identification Numbers (VINs) are serial numbers for vehicles that are used to differentiate similar makes and models. Much like social security numbers, every vehicle has a different VIN. VIN plates are usually located on the dashboard on newer cars, but are often found in the door jams of older models. VIN plates can be switched with another vehicle for a fast coverup.

The point here is to be aware of your surroundings, including where you park your car. Don’t take it for granted that just because you’re at an event with fellow enthusiasts that something bad can’t happen. Take preventive action by securing your old car or truck. Guy Algar suggests, “Don’t forget to take precautions even at home. You may feel safe parking your ride in ‘the safety’ of your two car garage, but remember, even if you don’t have windows where people can peer in and spot your valued car, thieves can also follow you home from work, a cruise, or even the grocery store and plan a theft after surveilling your home and learning your schedule. If you have a ride that catches people’s attention, remember that it can also catch the wrong attention!”

Selling Your Car at Auction – A Beginners Guide

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!

Electric and Hybrid Cars – The Wave of The Future

It seems like we’ve been waiting forever for electric cars to come along, but after more false starts than you’ll see at the London Olympics this year, it looks like the electric car is finally here to stay.

Now, we need to start with some boring terminology: A true electric car (EV, for Electric Vehicle) has no petrol engine as backup, so you are reliant on the batteries having enough charge to get you to where you need to go. The Nissan Leaf is the best-known (and best) electric car currently on sale.

regular hybrid uses an electric motor and/or a petrol motor, depending on the circumstances. You don’t plug it into a wall socket as the batteries charge while you are driving. A typical journey, even a short one, will use both electric and petrol power to drive the wheels. The Toyota Prius is the most popular and best-known hybrid on sale around the world.

plug-in hybrid, “range-extending” electric car, is technically more of a fancy hybrid than a true EV although it drives more like an EV than a regular hybrid. In practice it might be a huge difference or none at all, depending on how you use the car. A range-extender, or plug-in hybrid as it’s more commonly known, has a petrol engine which can be used to power the electric motor once the batteries have drained, but the petrol engine does not directly drive the wheels*. The Vauxhall Ampera/Chevrolet Volt twins are the leading example of this type of car, and they claim an urban fuel consumption of 300mpg (yep, that’s three hundred. Not a typo!)

A car running on an electric motor is usually very quiet (eerie silence or a distant hum instead of a clearly audible petrol engine) and smooth (no vibrations from engine or gearbox). The response from the car away from rest is both immediate and powerful, as electric motors generate huge amounts of torque instantly. They’re quiet from the outside to, to such an extent that the EU is considering making audible warnings compulsory in the future as pedestrians simply won’t hear an electric car coming.

In terms of exciting handling, electric cars are usually not brilliant, it must be said. They tend to be very heavy and usually run tyres & wheels more beneficial for economy than handling. But as a commuter vehicle around town, they are zippy and efficient. Plus they generate less noise, heat and pollution into the street so a traffic jam of Nissan Leafs in the city would be a lot more pleasant for passing pedestrians.

The batteries on a typical electric car only give it enough range for a few miles (although a true EV will have a bigger battery pack as it doesn’t have to fit a petrol engine & fuel tank as well), so the cars use various means to charge the battery while driving. Usually this involves converting kinetic energy from coasting and braking to electric energy to store in the batteries. The Fisker Karma even has solar cells in its roof to charge the batteries as well.

However, a longer journey will inevitably mean that the batteries are drained. In a fully electric car that means you have to stop and charge the batteries, so hopefully you parked near a power socket somewhere and have several hours to find something else to do. In a hybrid, the petrol engine will start up to provide the power. In a regular hybrid like a Prius, the car effectively becomes an ordinary petrol car, albeit with a fairly underpowered engine pushing a heavy car around so it’s not swift. In a ‘range extender’ like the Ampera/Volt, the petrol engine provides energy to the electric motor to drive the wheels, which is more efficient in both performance and economy. Depending on how you’re driving, any spare energy from the petrol engine can be used to charge up the batteries again, so the car may switch back to electric power once charging is complete.

So what does this mean in the real world?

Well, how much of the following driving do you do? We’re assuming here that the batteries are fully charged when you set off.

Short trips (<50 miles between charges).

These sort of journeys are ideal for electric cars and plug-in hybrids, as the batteries will cope with the whole journey and also get some charge while you drive. A regular hybrid will still need to use the petrol engine, although how much depends on how you drive it and how much charging it is able to get along the way.

Medium trips (50-100 miles between charges).

These are the sorts of trips that give EV drivers plenty of stress, as the traffic conditions may mean you run out of juice before you make it to your charging point. A plug-in hybrid or regular hybrid will be fine because they can call on the petrol engine. In a regular hybrid, this means the car will be petrol powered for most of the journey. In a plug-in hybrid, it will be mainly electric with the petrol engine kicking in to top up the batteries if needed late in the journey.

Longer trips (100+ miles between charges)

Not feasible in a fully-electric car, as you will almost certainly run out of electricity before you get there. The regular hybrid is basically a petrol car for almost the whole journey and the plug-in hybrid is majority electric but supplemented by petrol in a far more efficient way than a regular hybrid.