Selling Your Vehicle at an Auction

How to Get More Money for Your Vehicle at an Auction

Selling your vehicle can be stressful, annoying and, in many instances, flat-out exhausting. You never know who to trust, and often you aren’t getting full market value for it because you’ll likely have a stranger from Kijiji or a used car trade-in appraiser trying to grind you down in price.

Have you ever considered selling your vehicle via auction? It’s a quick and easy way to sell your car fast. By selling through a Public Auction sale, you’re exposing your vehicle to a competitive buying environment. We handle the negotiations based on the price and vehicle info you provide to us — while you sit back and wait for it to sell.

Here are some things we can recommend from our 20+ years in the Car Auction business that may help you get the best value for your vehicle at an auction!

Service and Maintenance

You’ll want to go through the necessary service process on your vehicle before you sell. It goes a long way to do this beforehand to ensure we won’t have to declare any minor issues.

  • Does the car start without needing an additional boost? A new battery is a cheap fix that will help you add value and show people that the vehicle is in good running condition.
  • Are there any dashboard lights illuminated? Something as simple as a check engine light, or even an empty gas tank can diminish the value to a potential buyer.
  • Be sure that the tires in good condition. An affordable option we see often is to find a spray-on can of tire shine. You’d be surprised at how little effort this requires, and it helps even the most weathered tires look new again!

Checking all of these boxes is a quick + simple way to be sure your car doesn’t have any minor issues, which in turn will help you get the best value for your vehicle at a car auction! It’s all about the first impression with potential buyers. If the party interested in your vehicle signs out the keys from our secure office location but goes to view the vehicle only to see that there are dashboard lights on indicating an issue, they’ll immediately begin to wonder if there are other issues. If at first glance your vehicle looks like it hasn’t been washed or cared for in months, they might assume that the vehicle was not well cared for.

Making sure the vehicle dashboard is free of warning lights is not only impactful, it’s usually a fairly easy fix!

Example #1 – Something as small a TPMS light can steer a potential buyer away. This means the tire pressure monitoring system needs attention, which may cause a prospective buyer to assume the worst. However, this is an easy fix. Any auto parts store in Calgary will have a code reader in-store that you can use for free to get those lights cleared or get information on how to fix them.

Example #2 – If you have a hole in your tire, patch kits are widely available and inexpensive. Making sure your tires are in good condition and ensuring they are holding air are essential factors that will help sell your car fast.

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Vehicle Cleanliness

As we’ve mentioned above — first impressions are everything when it comes to selling your car. From our 25 years of experience in the Car Auction industry, people tend to lean towards the vehicle with a clean, polished interior over the one with coffee stains all over the center console and fast food wrappers in the back seat.

Here’s a short checklist of things to keep in mind:

  • Wipe the dashboard, center console, mirrors and the rest of the interior to rid of any dust, stains or debris
  • Dispose of any garbage or personal items
  • Vacuum the carpets + seats
  • Purchase an air freshener to leave in the vehicle. From our experience — more common, recognizable scents tend to be more popular with buyers.

Vehicle Book-In & Declarations

When your vehicle is going through the book-in process, it’s essential that you are fully transparent and declare all issues with the car.

Common problems that you’ll want to provide additional information on to avoid an unsuccessful vehicle transaction include:

  • Motor Issues
  • Address any illuminated engine lights
  • Rear-end
  • Out of Province
  • Vehicle Status

During this process, our industry-savvy staff members will happily work with you and decide what the best option is to go about processing and selling your vehicle. If you’re new to the whole process or haven’t been able to find what you’re looking for so far, we’d recommend taking a look at our roundup of the most reputable Canadian auction sites where you can choose amongst various online auction sites to help you find a solution that’s a fit for you.

How To Sell Your Vehicle At Graham Auctions

Bring your automobile to our secure storage facility

Graham Auctions is located at 84th St NE just off McKnight Blvd & Stoney Trail. You can access us off McKnight by taking the gravel road, OR you can take the Trans-Canada Hwy/16th Ave to 100th St NE, then get onto 32 Ave/Township Road 250 & right onto 84th St.

Need more help? ➡️ See directions to Graham Auctions

Book your vehicle in for auction at our Main Office

Selling your car with Graham Auctions is fast & easy. We also accommodate contactless drop-off in Calgary to help keep the entire safe for everyone.. We also accommodate contactless drop-off in Calgary to help keep the entire safe for everyone.. We’ll collect some information including the year, make, model & mileage. If there are any known issues with the engine or transmission it is the owner’s responsibility to make that declaration during the book-in process.

Here’s what you can expect:

  • Provide your vehicle info
  • Have an Auctioneer or staff member help you with pricing your vehicle
  • Kick back — Let us do the leg work to sell your car fast through our weekly auto auction

We have an industry-savvy & knowledgeable staff to assist you in pricing your vehicle, but if you’d like some other resources, we also offer the Canadian Black Value Book. Finally, we run Carfax reports on every vehicle to provide us with the full history of every vehicle in our car & repo lot. This ensures the protection of both the buyer & seller. That’s it! We’ll immediately get it up onto our website available for pre-bidding, get the word out everywhere about our vehicle sale that week and put it through our live car sale the following Saturday.

Get Paid

Lay back and get the best return on your vehicle while letting us do all the work. We’ll contact you immediately regarding any reasonable bids lower than your set reserve price. With a successful sale of your vehicle, it’s now time to collect your cheque and get paid! Payment through our weekly auto auctions will be ready and waiting for you the following Thursday after the vehicle sale. That’s it!

Do you know anyone looking to buy or sell a car? Let them know about the best car auction in Calgary! (Feel free to use the share buttons on this page to save yourself some time!)

Please Note: There is no run fee to sell your vehicle, however, we do charge a 10% commission. If we don’t have any offers after 2-3 weeks running through our Online Car Auction, we’ll recommend that you either lower the reserve price or come and pick up your vehicle.

If you found value in any of the information you see here – you might want to consider checking out these online auction tips!

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The editorial team at Graham Auctions is a group of industry-savvy staff led by folks with over 25 years of direct experience in both the Calgary and surrounding Alberta Auction industry. We aim to create customer-oriented content in hopes that our existing and future customers participating in the auction find it to be a helpful resource come auction time. You will also find informational content relevant to the auction house, upcoming live, online + silent auctions and the latest news around online auctions in Calgary.

12 thoughts on “Selling Your Vehicle at an Auction”

  1. Hi Kean! You can always see the cars for sale through our online auction catalogue.

    A quick way that will always take you there would also be by clicking the “Bid Now!” button in the main menu.

    You can also arrange to come in and view them in-person.

    Have a fantastic day!

  2. Hi there,
    I am considering auctioning my car and would like to confirm a few details.
    Would the vehicle need to be registered and insured?
    Do you offer the option to tow the vehicle in (as it is not insured/registered currently)?

    I currently reside overseas (Australia) with no upcoming plans to return due to Covid.
    The vehicle is currently in storage, and therefore is not currently insured. The title has been transferred to my dad’s name, where the car is being stored.

    The car is a 2007 Pontiac G5, 2-door, in great running condition, with some minor rusting on the bottom of one door. It has been involved in one minor accident in 2007 causing body damage only (no impact to the engine). It was professionally repaired through my insurer.

    Any information you can provide would be most helpful. Thank you.

  3. In regards to the above question………does the vehicle need to be insured and registered ?and can they be test driven before making a bid?

    • Hi Shannon!

      Yes, vehicles should be insured and registered before they leave the auction location.

      We also strongly encourage customers to preview and test-drive all vehicles within our secure lot before bidding. This ensures buyers are comfortable with the lots they are bidding on.

      If you have any additional questions please feel free to reach out anytime or check out our frequently asked auction questions page.

      Have a great day!

  4. I’d like to buy a car that I saw , but I wouldn’t be able to pick it up until Tuesday night after work is there a fee for storage for the days? and what is the latest I could pick it up on Tuesday?

    • Hey Robert,

      All vehicles need to be paid for within two business days and picked up during our regular business hours. There are no storage fees, however, if you need to make arrangements to pick the vehicle up at a later date you can do so by contacting our head office at

      Have a great day!

    • Hey Tony,

      The best place to see the cars for sale in our upcoming vehicle auction is through our online auction catalogue which is updated every week!

      Have a wonderful day!


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