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What to consider when buying project cars in auctions

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Buying project cars in auctions

Auctions are noisy, exciting, fast-paced and unapologetic. It’s easy to get swept up in all the commotion and come out having accidentally blown your budget by $5000.

Buying project cars in auctions

Here are a few tips to ensure that you avoid doing this and emerge the happy owner of your latest pet project!


A budget is always a good idea

You need to go into an auction with a maximum budget and be steadfast about maintaining it. But you’re looking at a car that has leather seats for only $200 over your max price! You may yell this at your mate, or internally in your head, but it’s vital to stick to that budget! These small variances from your max-spend can add up, and in the long run, it isn’t worth spending extra money on a trend that will go out of date. Australia is hot, and the ladies in your life won’t thank you for making their legs stick to your car seats.


If the car you’re buying doesn’t run, or is interstate, you’ll need car transport. Door to Door Car Carrying are experts movers of classic and non-running cars, and deliver to your door.


How much time and money do you want to spend fixing it up?

Remember, your budget isn’t just about what you will be spending on the car as it comes. There are plenty of additional fees to consider such as insurance, inspections and certificates. Sometimes it costs money to even enter a car auction. And this isn’t including inevitable repairs, which is something you will need to estimate before you buy the car, by assessing its needs based on the information provided online. All of these fees should be included in your overall budget.

Time is another costly factor that car lovers tend to forget about. If you have all the time in the world to fix up this car as a hobby project, then perhaps this doesn’t apply to you. But if you’re looking to modify and enhance the vehicle in order to turn a profit, you might want to consider the time it will take to do just this, and whether or not the car in question will be worth it.


Remember that you can’t test drive

Coming out on top during an auction is all about doing your research beforehand. Make sure you read all the fine print about each car you are looking to bid on, on the auctioneer’s website before attending on the day. Be sure to do the following before bidding:

  • Check the service history to see how well it has been looked after.
  • Make sure the most expensive parts are well maintained so that you aren’t forking out an obscene amount of money on replacements, unless you have calculated this into your budget.
  • Make sure that the car has a detailed condition report. Knowing the history of the car you are buying is important because it will assist you to make decisions on how to repair and upgrade it.
  • Test drive a similar car if you are able (perhaps a family member or friend has the same model in a different year?) to see if it suits you. Check seat adjustments, blind spots and sight lines.
  • Many auction houses will allow you to inspect the car before it is auctioned. If you want a second opinion, bring along a friend or mechanic for assurance and opinions. Getting a closer look is always a good idea.


Keep a cool head

Finally, it is important to keep your cool at the actual auction. Attending a few as a spectator before it is your time to shine is always a good idea. This way you can judge the common trends, notice and avoid others’ mistakes, and get a general idea of how the system works. And remember – think with your head, not just your unbridled enthusiasm for all things cars (though this will definitely help your shouting skills).


What to consider when buying project cars in auctions