car auction

As you may well already know, London’s Ultra Low Emissions Zone has recently undergone a major expansion – it now covers all 32 London boroughs. That means it’s been higher up on everyone’s agendas than ever before, and factoring into buying decisions not just in the nation’s capital, but in other areas up and down the country too. Here at RAW2K, we have a long history of running some of the UK’s most popular online car auctions, so here’s one question we’ve been hearing increasingly often from our customers – should I buy a non-ULEZ-compliant car at auction?

Well, to be honest, that rather depends! You’re likely to find yourself in one of three general scenarios.

You’re planning on driving the car

If you’re buying the car to drive it yourself (or buy it on someone else’s behalf for them to drive), you’ll need to ask yourself a couple of key questions. They’ll generally be something like:

  • Will you be driving the car in London?
  • If so, how often?
  • How long do you plan on keeping the car for?

Depending on your answers to these questions, you may find yourself faced with a bit of maths. Many non-compliant cars are likely going to be cheaper than compliant vehicles – some significantly cheaper, in fact. So essentially, you need to work out whether you’d be saving more money by buying it than you’d be spending it by driving through the ULEZ.

If you’re only planning on driving it relatively infrequently through London boroughs, that cost saving may be significant. If you reckon you’ll be travelling through London fairly frequently though, you may find those savings dwindle quite rapidly. How long will yours last? Do you think it’ll ultimately be worth it?

Crucially, you’ll need to think about how long you’re planning on keeping the car. Numerous recent studies show we’re keeping our cars for longer than ever – but if you’re planning on selling yours within a year or so, then you might not need to worry so much about non-ULEZ compliance.

You’re planning on salvaging the car

If you’re only planning to dismantle the car, then its non-ULEZ compliance might not be a huge issue. Emissions compliance is applied to the operation of the vehicle as a whole, so if it’s not going back on the roads as a single entity, then you’ll have less to worry about.

There are, after all, plenty of useful parts on almost any given car that has little to no bearing on its engine emissions, such as wheels, windscreen wipers, fluids, filters, and small electronic components. These parts can be especially valuable on those like Mercedes vehicles, whose parts can often be more difficult to find than those of Ford or Volkswagen or similar marques. However, it’s possible that emissions restrictions can make certain engine parts more difficult to sell, so be conscious of that!

You’re planning on “flipping” the car

If you have a plan to “flip” the car – in other words, take it apart to sell on later – then again, whether or not that’s worth it will really depend on a number of factors. Crucially, it’ll depend on where you’re based, and where you’re planning to sell it to. If you’re outside of the ULEZ and you’re aiming to sell it to customers who similarly aren’t in London, you may not have all that many issues. But if you’re based inside the boundaries of the ULEZ, or aiming to sell to customers who are, just be aware that this might be trickier!

That said though, maybe if you have a firm plan in advance then you may consider it a worthy investment – or at least prepared to take the gamble. That’s fine, as long as you’re aware that it’s a gamble!

Whether you’re looking for a ULEZ-compliant car or a non-ULEZ-compliant car, there’s no better place to start than right here. Here at RAW2K, we’ve got a huge range of salvage cars to choose from in our online car auctions, including not just models from the likes of Ford and Volkswagen, but also other world-famous brands like MercedesHonda, and Peugeot. Our auctions are refreshed on a daily and weekly basis, so there are always bargains to be found. Why not take a look around, and see what you can find?