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!”

Using A Car Buying Agent Or Car Broker To Buy Your Next Car

The world of car retailing is changing, and it means good news for car buyers. The traditional way of buying a car from a dealer’s showroom has been around forever, and it’s a game where the playing field is tilted heavily in the dealer’s favour. The dealer knows all of the numbers involved much better than the buyer, and so knows exactly where margins can be increased and reduced to maximise their profits while still appearing to provide a good deal.

It’s a bit like a casino; the punters at the tables may have a few individual wins here and there, but overall the house always wins. Buying a car from a dealer is similar, in that you might get them to drop the car’s price slightly or throw in some extras, but they get it all back again on the finance package or the other extras you hadn’t realised you even needed (but were convinced by the salesman that they were absolutely essential).

The internet has gone some way to helping buyers, in that you can easily check prices from several different dealerships all over the country. But that’s still only a starting point; a dealer will often be happy to cut the price on a car if they can make it up elsewhere, and it becomes very difficult to stay on top of the negotiations when you have a new car, your part-exchange (trade-in), finance, insurance, options and accessories all making up the final numbers. The dealer is expert at juggling all these balls at once, and they know exactly how much they are making from each part of the overall deal. The customer, usually, is completely in the dark as to how much of a deal they are really getting.

More and more car buyers are now turning to a car buying agent or car broker to help them manage their car purchasing. Here the buyer gets to play on a level field with the dealer, as the car buying agent or car broker usually has the same knowledge and expertise as the dealer to be able to negotiate on every aspect of the deal to the advantage of the buyer.

The other advantage of using a car broker or car buying agent is that it saves you an enormous amount of time. Researching cars and trekking all over town to visit dealerships, getting quotes from different dealers on different models and comparing all the information is a tremendously laborious exercise. A car buying agent or car broker can take car of all the running around and allow you to concentrate on your job or enjoy your recreational time.

So what exactly does a car buying agent or a car broker do?

Let’s explain the difference between a car buying agent and a car broker.

With a car broker, you provide as much detail as you can about the car you are looking for, and the broker sources a vehicle which matches your desired specification as closely as possible.

A car buying agent offers a more comprehensive overall service, usually involving specific advice and recommendations on choosing a car and its specification to suit your needs, as well as the sourcing of the chosen vehicle. If you are not sure on the best sort of car for your needs, a car buying agent’s advice can be far more valuable than the savings he or she may be able to get from the dealer. Choosing a more suitable car can be worth a considerable saving over your whole ownership period, even if the deal on the car’s price is not as significant. Many people have bought a car completely unsuitable for their needs, and using a car broker won’t prevent that. A good car buying agent, however, will help you ensure that you are choosing a car which will do everything you need for as long as you own it.

Fees

Brokers and agents make their money from either a fee charged to the client for their service, and/or a payment or commission from the dealer. This is an important point for you as a buyer; if your broker is being paid by a dealer, they are ultimately working for the dealer rather than for you, meaning they may not be acting in your best interests to secure the best car available at the best price possible.

To ensure that your agent is acting in your best interests and not the dealer’s, you should always look for a car buying agent or car broker who has a clear fee structure and does not take payments or commissions from the selling dealer. The fees should be clearly explained, easily understandable, and relate to the service provided. If a broker advertises their services as being free, then it almost certainly means they are being paid a commission or ‘finder’s fee’ by the dealership. If an agent or broker offers their advice as free, it is unlikely to be a properly detailed and analytical report which covers every aspect of your driving needs.

A car broker will normally charge a fee based on the value of the car they are sourcing. If this is the case, you should be clearly aware of their fee structure before you commence – for example, if the relevant price threshold on their fee structure is £30,000, then a car costing £30,001 may mean a much larger fee for the broker than a car costing £29,999.

Some agents or brokers will charge a flat fee for their services, and some may charge a fee based on the level of discount they achieve from the advertised price. This means that the more money you save, the more they will make and gives you some reassurance that they are acting in your best interests.

With a car buying agent, there will normally be a fee for their advice and expertise, and a separate fee for sourcing a vehicle. Again, you should be aware of how their pricing works, but don’t be put off by the idea of paying for expert advice as it may save you thousands in the long term. You may even use a car buying agent for advice on choosing a car but handle the purchase yourself. This is often the case with company car drivers, who have leasing arrangements in place at their workplace but don’t know which car to lease.

In summary, a car broker or car buying agent can make the process of buying a car much more appealing and advantageous to the average consumer, saving considerable time and potentially a lot of money.

Stuart Masson is founder and owner of The Car Expert, a London-based independent and impartial car buying agency for anyone looking to buy a new or used car.

Originally from Australia, Stuart has had a passion for cars and the automotive industry for nearly thirty years, and has spent the last seven years working in the automotive retail industry, both in Australia and in London.

Avoid Getting Overcharged on Maintenance and Repairs

Let us talk about car maintenance at first. Your vehicle will require maintenance from time to time. It could be simply getting your car engine oil changed or your window wipers need changing. What ever reason your car needs to go to the garage for maintenance, there is no doubt that you will expect to incur some sort of expense.

However there are ways that you can limit your expenses. Some of the most common car maintenance include getting your vehicles engine oil, oil filter and air filter changed. When your car needs such maintenance, it is important that you do a bit of research before you decide to go into any garage that you find in your local area. Seeing that getting your vehicles engine oil, oil filter and air filter changed is a very common maintenance feature, many garages actually offer monthly offers.

The idea of these offers is to get you to come to their garage for the services that you require. Most of these offers that are made available are only found at well known dealer services. You would not expect to find any sort of deal at a local corner garage. The reason that dealer service garages can offer such discounted prices is due to the fact that they have large supplier contracts. The cheaper they are able to get their supplies, the cheaper it will be for the customer. The key to avoiding getting over charged in relation to maintenance and repairs is all to do with taking a bit of time to do some research on the market.

In relation to car repairs, you will have to take a slightly different approach. Regardless of which garage you go to, none of them will give you any offers in relation to vehicle repairs. The only and best way to avoid getting over charged in regards to vehicle repairs is by getting quotes from various garages. In terms of vehicle repairs, you will be better off going to unknown local garages in comparison to dealer service garages. The good thing about local garages is that they will be willing to help you when it comes to car repairs. They will simply state that actual must things that need changing and tell you parts that you can lave un-repaired that wont make much difference.

If you end up going to a dealer service garage for car repairs, they will simply make you repair everything by buying new parts. The good thing about local corner garages is that they will be willing to help you save a bit of money. This can be achieved by visiting a local scrap yard to find spare parts for a fraction of the price that you would have to pay for a new part.

The key to avoiding being over charged in relation to car maintenance and repairs is all to do with doing enough background research.

Finding Used Auto Parts for Maintenance and Repair

Finding a quality used auto part for your vehicle is one of the main components of maintaining and repairing your vehicle. So your vehicle has been giving you problems and now is the time to get it fixed but you do not want to pay the high fees associated with a new part. Well, you are not the only one studies have shown that 8 out of 10 people prefer to save money when getting their car repaired.

To find a used car part you can contact your local salvage yard and see if they have what you are looking for or you can go online to find a reputable used auto part supplier. The salvage yard industry has taken their business to the internet to provide individuals across the world the opportunity to find the part they are looking for. Online inventory lists have been set up to allow customers to find the exact used car part they are looking for and have it delivered right to their front door.

Many people find themselves asking if a used car part means they will sacrifice quality, reliability, and performance. The buying and selling of used auto parts is not something that just came along, actually it has been around well ever since the automobile has. Many used car parts come from automobiles that insurance companies claim as irreparable cars. Irreparable cars still have good quality parts on them that can be used, and some of these parts are only a few years old. A used car part is not something that sits on shelves for years or has been used for years, but rather a part that is quality tested and able to be used on another car.

The key in avoiding any quality issues is communication. Many reputable salvage yards specialize in selling used auto parts that have been tested for quality assurance. It is recommended to find the part you are looking for via the online inventory lists and give the salvage yard a call to confirm the make, model, and year of the used auto part you are looking for. Before purchasing your used car part make sure you find a quality salvage yard to purchase from. A quality salvage yard or used auto parts supplier will offer some form of guarantee on the used car parts ordered.

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!

How to Choose a Good Car Rental Provider

Renting a car can be a great way to get transportation when you do not have it available to you already. A lot of people will fly to the airport closest to their destination but will need to rent a car to get to their actual destination. While this is a great service being provided, some rental car companies are not great as others, but how do you know which ones are the best? What do you need to look out for when researching rental car companies?

Plog research implemented their American Traveler Survey which, Travel and Leisure magazine utilized their reader’s poll and J.D Power and Associates used a survey. All three of these resources have found that Hertz is the car rental company favored the most followed by Avis and then National. Many fans of Hertz say that they always get a low mileage car and great personal service. Fans of Avis love the fact that they usually always get a new car that is always clean, backed by great prices and wonderful people. Many people like National because they allow you to pick whichever car you want within the class-range you chose without charging you extra for it.

Those three car rental companies have ranked top notch against others because of how great and efficient they operate their business; they keep their customers happy and coming back. Great customer service, newer cars with low mileage, location, and rates are all factors that determine whether or not a car rental company is good. Great customer service and smiling representatives always make customers feel a little better because of all the positive energy and lack of negative service. Whenever you come across bad service at a car rental company, it makes you not want to come back because they make you feel as though you are doing something wrong when you rent a car. Having a newer fleet of cars boasting low mileage is important to because you do not want to have an old, high-mileage car that acts it’s age, having mechanical flaws and even breaking down. You, like most people will naturally want the cheapest rates you can get, but where some companies have cheap rates, they find small and menial things to charge you for after you have the car. A lot of companies will do whatever they can to make a few extra bucks, you must be aware of all the company’s guidelines so that you do not have some random hidden fees creep up on you.

If you are planning on renting a car then you must do your research first. Consumer surveys and other resources have shown that Payless, Enterprise and Dollar all rank poorly among other car rental companies, but some people will tell you that they have had positive experiences from those companies; it just depends on the particular company. Naturally though, all of the car rental companies that you always hear about that are award-winning and offer full service will be more expensive. That is why it is important to do your research of all the car rental companies available to you, that way you can ensure that you get the best rates, service and overall experience

Get Better Deals With Weekly Car Rentals

Did you know that you can almost always get a better deal by selecting a weekly car rental rather than several days? This is frequently true and your car rental agent may not tell you about the money you can save by taking this option.

Let’s say that you need to rent a car for a trip, either business or leisure, where you pick up the car on a Sunday night or Monday morning and will be returning the car sometime on Friday of the same week. You may look at the rates for the rental and base your decision in large part based on the daily rental rate for a five day rental. This is a very typical scenario that many people use for both business and pleasure trips.

But in that example, it is definitely worth asking what the WEEKLY car rental rate would be. What you will find a great deal of the time is that a weekly rate on the same car class would be as much as 25% to 30% less than the rate you would pay based on a daily rate for five days.

You should also always ask about specials or promotions that the car rental agency may have going on. For example, a typical agency may quote you say $200 for a weekly rate on an intermediate size car, but based on a promotion they are running that month, you may be able to get a full size car or even an SUV for about the same price. Wouldn’t it be nice to be driving an SUV at the same price you were willing to pay for a much smaller intermediate car? Or maybe for the same price you could be upgraded to a full size car that has a GPS built in.

To save even more money on a weekly car rental, you probably do not want to take the insurance that will almost certainly be offered to you. The agent may even try to “scare” you into taking the insurance they offer, citing how much you will have to pay if you are in an accident, even if that accident is determined to be not your fault. For the most part, this insurance can add as much as $10 to $20 per day to your car rental. Check with the insurance company you use for your own personal car, because in most cases that same policy will cover you in a rental vehicle. Definitely take the time to check with your current insurance company to verify this.

One last tip to save money on a car rental is to allocate enough time to fill the car up with gas before you return it. Most agencies offer a “fuel option” but what happens is that this assumes that the tank is going to be virtually DRY at the time you return it, and that is rarely the case, so what happens is that you have pre-paid for fuel that you did not use. Never allow the car rental agency to fill the car with gas because they typically charge as much as $6 per gallon or even more if they have to do it.

Weekly car rentals can be very cost effective and it is definitely worth checking out your options if you are planning to rent a car for several days.

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.

The Used Car Business and 4 Lies About Starting to Buy and Sell Cars For Profit!

You can start to buy and sell cars for profit with little knowledge of cars and little money. However, here are five lies about this business that I need to reveal now…

Lie Number One: You must have expert mechanical knowledge of cars before you start your used car business. Untrue!

The Truth: Knowing a few mechanical things about cars certainly won’t hurt, but I started doing this with almost no mechanical knowledge about cars. However, there is some specialized knowledge about this business that is totally unrelated to mechanics that you should be aware of before starting.

Lie Number Two: Everyone must has a big expensive car lot and that is the only way to operate. Untrue!

The Truth: You do NOT need to have a small, medium or even large car lot. There are many in the used car business that operate from their own homes.

Lie Number Three: You need tons of money to start in the car business. Untrue!

THE TRUTH: There are many successful entrepreneurs in the used auto business that started with only a few hundred dollars and then pyramided their profits from each car they sold into their next profitable used car deal.

Lie Number Four: You can’t make money selling used cars because the big fortunes can only be made selling new cars. Untrue!

The Truth: The reality is that the profit in new cars is extremely low and always has been low. New car dealerships make their profits from selling new cars due to heavily pushing their customers to buy aftermarket items like rustproofing, window tinting, and many other things they may not need. And lets not forget about them adding extra points on to the loans and the money they make from the repairs they do in their service department too. The truth is that the big money has always been made from buying and selling used cars and the proof of that is how many very old and well established new car dealerships in the US have stopped selling new cars completely and are now fully into ONLY buying and selling used cars.

I sincerely hope this has helped to expose the lies about the lucrative used auto business and shed some truth on it once and for all.

Choosing the Best Car Rental Service

There are many different reasons why people choose to rent a car. It could be because they are on an out-of town or out-of-country trip and need a means of transportation for a certain period of time. It could also be because their cars are being repaired and need another car replacement for short period of time. Whatever the reasons are for hiring or renting a vehicle, often the a main concern for these users is how to select the best car rental company among the numerous agencies available.

In leasing for a vehicle, one always try to get the best possible car at a great price. Start by outlining the budget on car rental. It is best to allot a certain amount that may be slightly over than what is actually needed to be prepared for whatever may come up. Then set out and determine the kind of car is needed. An in-depth information about the car to be rented is very important. Good gas mileage is also a key element in choosing the right car. Be sure to know and remember that trucks, sport utility vehicles and other large cars may be appealing for their capacity or appearance but these car types eat a lot of fuel on the road. The number of passengers needed for the car may also play an important role in deciding which car to rent as to its seating capacity. The make of the car must also be taken into consideration in choosing a car. A sleek car may have a higher chance of breaking down if taken to a rough road or area when it is only suitable in a smooth road or freeway drive. Various cars should be examined for quality to choose the best possible car.

Next step is to look for is the car rental company. This part may prove to be hard as one may search the yellow pages and internet and be lost with the abundant number of companies offering car rental services. It is a must, especially for first time users of car rental agencies, to pick a reputable if not large rental company to assure the user there are no tricks in the deal and that the cars are in good running condition. In an online shopping for car rentals, the user or shopper may find coupons on a particular size and kind of car. These coupons may be printed out or used directly online to avail a slightly bigger vehicle of the same price. The user may also compare the rates provided by various companies. One company may offer a lower cost than the others but the vehicles are in not so good working condition so one must choose the best practical deal available.

The policy and rental agreement of the company must be read and understood carefully prior to rental to be aware of the rules and their implications. If the rental company and car are already chosen, before leaving the lot or location where the rented car is parked, identify if there are already present scratches or clings. If there are part of the car such as the wind shield wipers, which do not work properly, it would be wise to ask for a replacement.