A Beginners Guide To Buying A Car At Auction

A Beginners Guide To Buying A Car At Auction

Create a Pickles Account

This way you can start looking at cars and create a ‘saved’ list of the cars you want to look into further. And you will need an account when you want to start bidding online on vehicles, otherwise, you register at the branch on auction day.

Create a Shortlist

The first thing I do is go to the upcoming auctions listed online and search for cars at my local branch, which, for me, is Sunshine.

From those lists, I create a saved list and print out all the cars I’m interested in. I make sure I check the condition reports and make any notes for myself for when I go in to look at the cars.

You can search by auctions or you can search by make & model names.

Go Look At the Cars

Every time we have purchased a car from Pickles, we’ve been in the week/weekend prior to have a good look at each car on our list.

It is pretty much the same as going to a dealership, the only thing is you cannot test drive the cars as there are so many parked in one big shed. But usually, we make sure we’ve either test driven the same car at a dealership or read heaps of reviews on the car.

Most of the time, we are fairly confident of what we already want and it’s a matter of waiting for that car to come up for auction at Pickles.

When we bought my Territory, we knew that’s what we wanted and had 11 cars on our shortlist. We inspected them all and narrowed it down to the 3 we wanted to bid on the following Tuesday.

We made sure we checked everything on the car’s condition report, its servicing history and spoke to the people on site, they were super helpful.

Do More Research

Once you’ve got your shortlist, I suggest doing some research on what the cars are going for and their market value. Look at similar cars or the same vintage and kms, and do some comparisons.  Prices People Pay helps people realise a fair price when buying or selling used cars. They do this by providing actual data from recent auction sales in Australia. It and is a great way to find out what the car is worth. Check it out here: https://www.pricespeoplepay.com.au/

Just be 100% confident this is the car you want, as there are no refunds if you change your mind after purchase, and the auction cars don’t come with a statutory warranty. It’s important that you thoroughly check the condition of the car before buying.

It all sounds a bit scary but really it’s just about being prepared and knowing what you’re doing, which I hope by reading this, it gives you the confidence you need!

We’ve bought 7 cars at auction now, so I feel I know a thing or two now 😉

Set Yourself a Budget

The difference between buying a car traditionally and via an auction is that it can be easy to get carried away. These auctions go VERY fast and you’re usually bidding with car dealerships and those experienced at auctions.

You can bid onsite, but I’ve always bid online. And like I said, it goes FAST.

On each of the cars I wanted to bid on, I had a firm limit noted. That way when I was entering bids, I knew when to tap out and wait for the next car if I didn’t get it.

You also need to factor in tax and registration costs for the vehicle as this is not included in the purchase price.

That all being said, when I bought my Territory, it was the second car I bid on (lost the first). And I got it well below my budget. Around $8000 below what the same car was going for at a dealership!

It is well worth it.

Get Ready To Bid

Make sure you’ve noted down the time of the auctions. And set yourself up at a desk (I highly suggest doing it at a desktop rather than phone). With no distractions and a good internet connection.

Have your cars all printed out, with notes and budget ready to go. Omg the anticipation, this is so exciting, right?

Are you scared or unsure about bidding or how to bid? Or worried about how fast they go? Then I suggest before any of this you sit in on some auctions to get a feel for it. I had seen my father in law do it before. So I had a little bit of an idea when I did it for myself the first time.

Again, being prepared is the key and the potential saving on a car from an auction is well worth it, I promise.

Bidding For Your Car Online

Bidding online is actually really easy. So easy that the first time I did it I didn’t even realise I’d snagged my car, haha. All you do is enter your bid in the box and hit enter!

It’s important to note, the auctions go FAST! Like lightning speed, so make sure you’re not distracted and watching the bids.

I would also read through the Pickles Terms & Conditions, to be full across all aspects before bidding.

Winning Bids

Once you’ve won or lost, the bidding will just move straight into the next car. Once it’s been processed, you’ll receive the paperwork in your email. This will have instructions on what to do next.

Picking Up & Paying

You will have one working day to collect and pay for the car. Otherwise, you will forfeit the sale and the deposit will be lost.

I simply paid with a bank cheque and picked up my car and drove it home that day! You will need to apply for temporary registration of 72 hours to drive it on the roads. Make sure you contact your states traffic authority, EG. VicRoads to do this in Vic.

What’s Next?

Once you’ve got your car, you will likely need to arrange a roadworthy certificate in order to register the vehicle. Your receipt from Pickles will need to be provided and tax on both the vehicle and registration costs will apply.

It is important to be mindful of these additional costs when calculating what you are prepared to pay at auction for a vehicle.

If you are still wondering about the process or the different ways to purchase with Pickles. I suggest reading their FAQ page, which details answers to dozens of frequently asked questions.


Looking for Something?