You will need to pay a fee to enter your car into an auction and you may be able to set a reserve depending on the vehicle.

Usually you need to have the V5C registration (or logbook) and a valid MOT certificate to hand when you submit the car into auction.

The highest bidder on the day takes ownership of the car immediately on payment to the auction company. You will then receive your money from the auction company, minus the commission fee, within a few days.

If the car does not achieve the minimum reserve price you will still own the car and have to take it home. There is usually an additional fee for non-sales.

British Car Auctions (BCA), Manheim and SMA are some of the biggest car auction companies in the UK.


Selling via auction can provide a quick and trouble free sale as most cars tend to sell.

If your car is a popular model in good condition with a service history you should have no difficulty selling the car and may get a reasonable price.

Once the car is sold you can expect a payment from the Auction House to be received quickly and efficiently.

Should the car develop a fault following the sale, the new owner has no comeback against you.


Unless you set a reserve, you have no control over the sale price and price is very dependent on the day.

Prices tend to be the lowest of all of the sale options available. The most you can expect to receive is the trade price, which may be a lot less than you receive if you choose to sell privately.

There is no guarantee that the car will sell, and if it doesn't then you will still need to pay the entry fee, plus a non-sale fee.

The auction house will deduct commission from the sale price.

Top tips

Don't be tempted to bid for your own car with the aim of driving up the price as this could backfire, and result in you having to pay the Auction House in order to 'buy' your own vehicle.

Make sure your car looks as good as it can both inside and out. A well-presented car attracts more attention from potential bidders.

Check that all your paperwork relating to the car is together before providing the Auction House with it, as most buyers will want to view this in advance, and the more paperwork you have the better.

Share this post