Buying Tips

Before you begin, first let us share a few essential tips to help you get the most from the auction.

As you’d imagine, during 100 years in the car and commercial vehicle auction business we’ve racked up a lot of experience, which we’re always happy to share. That's why we've put together this essential guide, sharing handy buying tips that will help you get the most from your auction experience and help you bid and buy like an expert.

Register and search online

First, register on our website and search for the vehicles you’re interested in. You’ll find up-to-date auction catalogues for every sale, plus images and lots of information for the majority of vehicles, which may include our condition reports and gradings. You can then use all this information to help make a list of vehicles you'd like to bid on.

Get here nice and early

Manheim auction centres open upto two hours before each sale starts, so you can explore the lot and closely inspect all the vehicles you’re interested in (remember to check auction centre opening times before you visit, to find out what time they open). 

Once there, make sure you study the details on the entry form displayed on the windscreen. This shows you the vehicle registration and VIN numbers, mileage, any MOT information and service history details, plus lots more.

Some vehicles may have had extensive repairs, which are registered on a vehicle database. This will be declared on the entry form as VCAR (Vehicle Condition, Alert Register). Extra care should be taken when buying a vehicle which is declared as VCAR on the entry form.

Set your budget and stick to it

Always work out how much you want to spend and stick to your budget. Our auctions are fast-paced and exciting, so it’s easy to get carried away. Remember to include the buyer’s fee in your calculations too. This is the amount that gets added to the price you bid for the car – it’s basically the cost of our auction services . For buyers of commercial vehicles, VAT will be added to the hammer price.


Always listen to our auctioneer

Our auctioneer’s job is to help make the auction as clear and straightforward as possible, so please make sure you always listen to what the auctioneer has to say. You’ll hear information about the vehicle before bidding begins, including service history information, MOT and mileage details, plus whether there’s a V5C document available or not.

What about the paperwork?

If the car or commercial vehicle you’re bidding on doesn’t have a V5C document this won’t affect your right to title of the vehicle, and you can get a new V5C by filling out a form available at most Post Offices. 

Please bear in mind that although the DVLA recognises Manheim's auction receipts as proof of purchase, you'll still need a V5C to tax the vehicle. This could take up to 6 weeks to arrive from the DVLA.

You're the highest bidder. What happens next?

If you’re the highest bidder when the hammer falls, you’ve been successful. Congratulations! 

There are still a few things to do, so please make sure you go straight to the auction clerk (you’ll find them at the rostrum, usually next to the auctioneer) to provide all your details. 

The auction clerk will tell you whether your bid was accepted or provisional and what to do next, including where to make your payment.

Provisional bids explained here

Sometimes, the auctioneer will accept something called a provisional bid. This simply means that the highest bid was lower than the vehicle's reserve price. If this happens, we'll contact the seller to see if they will accept your bid, or even negotiate on your behalf. 

We'll always try to get an answer for you before the auction ends, although there are occasions when this may take a little longer.

These handy tips should help you get the most from every Manheim auction. For more help and advice,
simply call 0333 136 1750

Where next?

For more answers to the questions you want resolving, take a look at our Frequently Asked Questions.


If you’re ready to start buying or selling with Manheim, register for an account today.

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