Join Date: Dec 2007
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I work at the car auctions so i'm able to offer some advice here. Buy a catalogue prior to the sale and put a line through any car in the general sale, these are private sellers and are likely to have faults and problems.
As has already been mentioned look out for fleet disposals and main dealer part ex's, most will have lots of stamps in the book and been well looked after servicing wise. Find out when the timing belt change is done and compare to the mileage. If the belt is due a change at 60k and the car has 57k then its probably been disposed of prior to the expensive service. If it has 73k its probably been done as part of the schedule.
Its worth going to the auction first time and just observe/get a taste of how they work. If traders are not bidding on a car there's a reason so leave it. Take into account auction costs as well, a £3000 car will cost about £230 extra in indemnities and admin fees. And the golden rule, stick to your budget and don't get bid happy.
Currently in saabguy's garage:
2002 Citroen C5 SX 2.2 HDi