"Used cars have never been better value for money and buyers can get deals now that they haven't been able to get for many, many years, with great quality as well as great value in almost every price band. But watch out because prices have started to creep up again and there might never be a better time to buy.” These are the words of Tim Naylor, PR Manager, BCA, reporting on the latest used car prices at auction.

The latest monthly Pulse report from leading vehicle auction company, BCA, has revealed that average used car values are significantly lower than a year ago, which means there are plenty of good value cars on offer for motorists to buy.

In December, fleet cars were down year on year by nearly £1,000 (15%) and dealer part exchanges by £350 (also 15%). Year on year average values across the board are down £935, but have started to creep up in recent months, with both November and December posting small increases on the preceding month.

In relative terms, prices for smaller cars have fared better whilst larger cars with high emissions have been more severely hit. And there is a definite watershed in demand at around £5,000 – which can be seen as the upper limit of affordability with finance being hard to come by for private buyers.

“With many vehicles sold at auction being one-owner and direct-entered from fleets and leasing companies, they already represent excellent value for money. But now used car buyers have a chance to get an even better deal and with cars of every age and description and a price range to suit every budget, there will be something for everyone” added Naylor.

He continued “Most first time auction-goers find the process a little daunting and we advise buyers to attend several auctions before buying. Once you have decided what make and model you want, set a firm budget and keep to it. Our bigger BCA auction centres can offer up to 1,000 cars a day, so there is always plenty of choice – if you reach your budget and get outbid, then walk away and find another car to bid on.”

Potential buyers can check online at for the latest details of the sales coming up at the company’s 21 centres around the UK. BCA also offers a subscription online stock locator and catalogue service called Auction View – it holds details of more than 10,000 vehicles consigned for sale at BCA nationwide.

BCA’s top 10 tips for buying a car at auction:
· Don’t buy on your first visit – sample the atmosphere and get used to the pace.
· Do your homework – know what you want before you go to an auction and have an idea what the car you are after is worth.
· Terms and conditions – each auction house has its own terms and conditions explaining how you can buy, what the fees are etc. Familiarise yourself with these so that you don’t get surprised later on.
· Don’t rush – arrive early and take time to examine the vehicle that interests you.
· Do ask questions – ask auction staff, they will be happy to help.
· Check the car – it’s up to you to check the car’s condition, so examine it prior to entering the auction hall. And listen to the engine running as it is driven into the auction hall.
· Budget – set a limit and stick to it. Save some funds for a post sale service and any minor repairs that might be needed.
· Be flexible – if you miss your first choice, don’t give up and don’t throw the budget out the window just because you like the colour of the car you’re bidding on!
· Auctioneer’s description – this is legally binding, so listen carefully. The terms and conditions will explain all the terminology used.
· Bid clearly – don’t wink or tap your nose, simply raise your hand or the catalogue.