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British Car Auctions

Europe's No.1 Vehicle Remarketing Company
Call 0844 875 3480 Live Online

Condition Grades

Condition Grades

Our goal is for every car offered for sale by BCA, whether online, in the auction hall, or via any other sales channel including any vehicles located 'offsite' will be 'condition graded' accurately, truthfully and objectively.  For buyers, this means optimum confidence in buying stock from BCA.  For vendors, the benefit is consistent appraisal of vehicle condition in advance of remarketing.

Auto Grade

Auto Grade automatically generates a vehicle condition grade based on the defects identified, as opposed to the appraiser deciding on the grade to be applied from 1 - 5 or unclassified.  Auto Grade is a sophisticated software system running on the specialist PDA equipment used by appraisers to record a vehicle's condition.  Auto Grade is for all cars we remarket.  Auto Grade for Light Commercial Vehicles is currently in development, and will follow in the near future.

The software provides the appraiser with a series of stages to go through dependent on the defects identified.  The process is mandatory so that no elements are overlooked in the vehicle appraisal.  Once a vehicle's condition is recorded, including images, the condition grade is generated by the software.  The vehicle data is automatically transmitted from the appraiser's PDA by wireless network, or by 3G phone connection if working offsite, to BCA systems.  Vehicle images and the report detailing the vehicle's condition are then automatically displayed online.

Auto Grade for cars was introduced by BCA in September 2011. The system was developed to provide a consistent and objective approach to vehicle condition grades, and was an innovation in the remarketing industry. Whilst Auto Grade has been very well received by both buyers and vendors alike, we recognise that all of our operational processes including the grading and description of vehicles will continue to evolve, improve and develop in order to meet the changing needs of all our customers.

Why are we making some changes?

Since the Auto Grade launch we have listened to feedback and comments from both buyers and vendors on vehicle condition grading. We have also been working alongside the UK’s industry group NAMA (National Association of Motor Auctions) in evolving and further improving our vehicle condition grading processes. As a result we are making further changes to how we “score” certain aspects of a vehicle’s condition, which in turn affects what level of condition grade (levels 1 to 5) a vehicle will receive. The objective is to help buyers more easily find and identify stock they are most interested in. We will continue to use the numerical grading of 1 to 5 together with an additional “U” grade (unclassified), which sits below the current grade 5.  Some vehicles will also move from one grade to another under the new grading.

On the BCA website, condition statements for any vehicles appraised with the new process from January 2013 will be strongly identified as new – so that you can easily identify these vehicles versus those appraised with the existing process.  However for several weeks, the vehicles on the BCA website will include a mix of stock that includes vehicles appraised with either the previous or the 2013 system.

Vehicle Appraisal

The vehicles we offer come from known sources and their condition is graded. Most of the vehicles offered have a condition grade between 1 and 5 or unclassified. Cars have two separate grading systems depending on if they have been appraised or not. For further information relating to each grade select the vehicle type that interests you:

> Live Online Dispute Resolution & Arbitration Policy
> Motorbikes
> Light commercial vehicles

The purpose of the appraisal is to identify and describe any interior and exterior defects on a vehicle; based on the severity of these defects the vehicle will be given a BCA grade. This is not a mechanical check.

Vehicle Condition Grading - Effective January 2013

Vehicles are checked using a standard viewing angle (SVA) 2 metres @ 90 and 45 degrees and not a bodyline check. Defects will be recorded, and significant defects will be imaged if visible in normal daylight. As part of the appraisal process we will provide images to support defects of significance, however where a panel has a number of defects we may only record and image the most severe defect.

Effective September 2013

When assessing grades and appraisals, please satisfy yourself that you are content with the grading of vehicles and what the grading criteria refers to. 

Please note the individual Kipper view is there for guidance only and should be used in conjunction with written and photographic material when assessing a vehicle grade (please see the grading definitions below). 

BCA will do their utmost to capture all defects on the appraisal, but if any are missed, BCA will only entertain complaints where a re-examination reveals the grade to have changed.

Definition of Defect Types


SMART (Small Medium Area Repair Technique) Repairs:

  • PDR – (Paintless Dent Removal)
  • Alloy wheel refurbishment
  • Minor paint repair (bumper corner, mirror, moulding etc)
  • Glass repair
  • Minor trim repair
  • Touch in type repair  

Minor Body Shop Repair


A body panel which requires a complete repaint

Major Body Shop Repair

A body panel requiring a filler repair and complete repaint

Minor Parts

Included in this are minor interior trim items, body mouldings, wheel trims, badges etc

Structural Panels

Roof panel, Roof soft tops and rear quarter panels


The vehicle may have minor interior and exterior defects that require SMART repairs, IE minor scratches or dents and minor replacement parts could also be required.


The vehicle may require repairs as Grade 1 plus up to 1 major or minor body shop repair. The replacement of more significant internal or external trim parts (excluding panels) may also be required.


The vehicle may require repairs as Grade 1 & 2 plus may include up to 5 minor bodyshop repairs, 3 major bodyshop repairs or a combination of major and minor repairs. The vehicle may include a single replacement bumper.


The vehicle may require repairs as Grade 1, 2 & 3. It may have a combination of major and minor repairs and could include a non-structural replacement panel.


The vehicle may require repairs as Grade 1, 2, 3 & 4. It may have a combination of major and minor repairs or the vehicle may have sustained collision damage and the replacement up to two structural panels may be required (providing there is no other damage on the vehicle).


Vehicles in this grade are simply uneconomical to appraise and fall into one of the following categories.

  • Substantial Accident damage
  • Major Parts Missing
  • Recorded items that exceed the criteria of Grade 5
  • Multiple unrecorded items

Issued: 2nd January 2013

Live Online Dispute Resolution & Arbitration Policy

British Car Auctions is committed to providing the highest standard of service to its customers to ensure that you are totally satisfied. Occasionally however, there may be a situation or circumstances which do not meet your expectations, and in which case we want to hear from you. We promise to investigate your complaint, resolve it as quickly as possible and provide you with a satisfactory conclusion. In doing so we hope this will also help us to improve our service for all our customers. If you have a complaint, please address it to:

The Live Online Manager
British Car Auctions
Tamworth Road
DE12 7DY

Email: liveonline@bca-group.com

Or by telephoning the Live Online Manager on 01530 279120

You must register your complaint before you remove the vehicle from site if you are self-collecting, or if the vehicle is being delivered within one working day of receipt and a correctly endorsed proof of delivery (POD) will be required.

How we will respond

Our Live Online Manager will work with you to investigate your complaint and resolve the situation to your satisfaction as quickly as possible.

In the event that your complaint cannot be resolved quickly and to your satisfaction we will:

      i.       Provide on email or verbal acknowledgement of your complaint within 24 hours.

     ii.       Provide details of who will be dealing with your complaint at BCA and how you can contact them.

    iii.       Advise how long we think it will take us to investigate your complaint.

    iv.        Aim to resolve your complaint within five working days of the complaint being made. In the event that we are unable to resolve your complaint within this timescale, we will inform you, prior to the expiry of this five day period, why we are unable to resolve it at that time, what will happen next and when we expect to be able to write to you with a final response.

If you are still not satisfied

Our aim is to resolve your complaint as quickly as possible and make sure you are completely satisfied. In the unlikely event that you remain unhappy with our response, please write to us with full details, explaining how you would like to see your complaint resolved. The Company’s Network Operations Director will then review your complaint and endeavour to resolve the issue.

We will also advise you if you are eligible to refer your complaint to an Independent Arbitration Service who can be instructed to act via the Live Online Manager at the above address. Please note that the Arbitrator will not consider your complaint until we have had the opportunity to resolve the matter directly with you. We will make every effort to ensure that all matters are resolved, and that both parties are satisfied with the conclusion.


Grade 1
The vehicle is in excellent condition, with only minor defects in panel surfaces that do not require conventional body or paintwork. Limited quality repairs may have been performed.

Notes: Vehicles in a condition for retail sale, requiring no remedial work to body panels, paintwork, upholstery or screen. No items or parts missing. Typical bikes, once subjected to a professional valet/mop, will be suitable for sale to a retail customer.

Grade 2
The vehicle is better than average for its year and mileage. With only minor chips or scratches in panel surfaces that may require minor conventional body and paintwork or paint dent repair.

Notes: Vehicles that would be Grade 1 if some limited minor body/cold metal repairs were carried out, i.e. minor stone chips that would be small enough to repair via a touch in process, scratches to farings, guards etc that could be repaired via localised painting. Dents, e.g. to front guards, that have not broken or creased the paintwork and could be removed via cold metal repair. This does not include fuel tanks.

Grade 3
The vehicle has normal wear and tear, e.g. small scratches chips/ or minor broken parts. It may require minor conventional body and paintwork or replacement of minor parts.

Notes: Vehicles with up to two 2 panels that require body shop repairs e.g. scratches/scuffs through to base or primer, and dents that will not cold metal repair. Unsatisfactory repairs/re-sprays that would require re-finish.

Grade 4
The vehicle shows signs of excessive wear and tear. The panels or shrouds may have dents, scratches and panels that require replacement. Parts may be broken or missing.

Notes: Vehicles that require three or more panels to have body shop repairs.

Grade 5
The vehicle shows signs of severe abuse, or has sustained major RTA damage.

Notes: Any vehicle that has a total loss marker on it will be a grade 5.

Any fuel tank damage will result in a grading of Grade 3 at best.

Please note these grades are given as a result of an exterior assessment, not a mechanical examination.
R = runner
NR = non-runner

Light Commercial Vehicles

It is strongly advised that Live Online LCV buyers access the enhanced imagery now available on BCA Auction View and Commercial Auction View before bidding. Where possible, details of each vehicle will be supported by 6 scalable images displaying 4 external views, an internal load area view, and finally an internal cab view.

To supplement the imaging, a summary Live Online Grade will be applied to give a basic summary of the vehicle’s condition. Please note, LCV Live Online gradings will differ from car standards, as the industry generally accepts that, by their nature, commercial vehicles are more susceptible to wear and tear.

The following grades are therefore only to be used as a general guide based upon each vehicle’s condition commensurate with its age, mileage and usage. (*See footnotes for BCA definition)

Grade 1
Light Commercial Vehicles that are in well above average condition.

Grade 2

Light Commercial Vehicles that are in above average condition.

Grade 3

Light Commercial Vehicles that are in average condition.

Grade 4

Light Commercial Vehicles that are in below average condition and show some signs of excessive wear and tear.

Grade 5
Light Commercial Vehicles are well below average condition. This grade category is the lowest condition banding available to describe any vehicle offered for Live Online at BCA. Therefore these vehicles will show signs of severe abuse either on the bodywork, interior, or both.

Commensurate with age, mileage and usage means BCA will grade light commercial vehicles with an allowance for its age, mileage or usage. For example, it is expected that a 4-year-old LCV with 80,000 miles will have some minor scuffs, wear to fittings, panel damage and soiling to load areas.

This would be deemed to be in average condition and therefore a Grade 3. However if the same condition vehicle was just 2 years old it is likely to be graded as a Grade 4, and if just 1 year old a Grade 5. Similarly, it is expected that the bodywork condition of tippers, dropside trucks and box vans show much heavier wear than the same vehicles cab panel condition.