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  • Buying a used car: auction or dealer?

    Where should you buy your next car?

    Car auctions have grown in popularity in recent years, thanks largely to television shows, but are auctions the best place to buy your next used car, or is it better to stick to a recognised dealer?

    One of the main reasons for buying a car at auction is the potential savings to be made. It depends on the make and model of course, because popular models in good condition are always likely to attract fierce bidding, but if you’re lucky and know what you’re doing, you can land yourself a real bargain at auction.

    Auctions can be pretty exciting and intense. For some buyers, the thrill of the chase is one of the main reasons for attending auctions. It’s a form of gambling and basically you’re up against other bidders and waiting to see who blinks first! Auctions also have the surprise element, because you’re never quite sure what’s coming next - or how much it’s going to sell for.

    On the other hand…

    One of the best ways to get a feel for a car is by taking it for a test drive, but you can’t do this at car auctions in the UK. They’ll let you hear the engine running but unless you’re an experienced mechanic, you’re unlikely to hear if anything is wrong. At auctions, you pay your money and take your chances; with a dealer, if something does go wrong, the car will be covered by a warranty that can also be extended for a longer period.

    When you buy from a dealer, you have the opportunity to ask as many questions about the vehicle as you like; at an auction, you’re on your own. With a dealer you won’t feel rushed into making a decision; at auction, you have to make your mind up in seconds! Finally, when it comes to price, you may pay more buying a car from a dealer but for that you get the service and back-up that gives you added peace of mind.