How to Buy Cars at Auctions to Save Big


Car auctions are a terrific resource to find used cars for a reduced price. However, there can be many pitfalls for the uninitiated, so it is essential to understand about the auctions and the tricks to getting the best deal for a dollar.

Find an Auction

Government auctions are among the most trustworthy auction institutions. That does not mean that one should let their guard down and take everything they are told at face value. Government auctions are staged by local governments, the state, and at the federal level. All government-sponsored auction listings are free and easily obtained online. More tips about auctions can be found here.

Avoid Public Auctions

On the other hand, public auctions should be avoided. They have become notorious for scams, hiding faults in cars, and planting bidders to ramp up bidding prices. Stick with government auctions. Be wary of any auction listing website that requires a membership fee. This most often is a sign of a scam, or, at the very least, the site overcharges customers for information that is readily available elsewhere. While some auctions are held online, the majority of auctions are to be attended by bidders.

Research

Before buying any car, research the value of the cars that pose an interest. The Kelly Blue Book is available for reference online, but further research should be done to become familiar with all aspects of a car. Find other sales of the same vehicle to do a price comparison.

Be Prepare

Fully expect to take on a car that will need repairs. Auctioned vehicles are not traditionally mint condition or babied. These vehicles are from impound yards or former government service vehicles like police cruisers. Many of these cars have high mileage and need parts replaced. Don’t buy a car for cheap only to dump cash into repairing it to make it useable.

Make a Detailed Inspection

Knowledge of cars is vital to inspecting a vehicle. Look for any signs of new repairs or suspicious marks, dents, or leaks. If the car has a smell, the seat cloth or floors are damp, or there is new paint, these tricks might be hiding a bigger issue. Also check the oil to determine whether or not the car has been maintained properly.

Be Realistic and Check the VIN

A dent, scratch, or ding shouldn’t be a deterrent to buying an auction vehicle. Don’t expect perfection. These cars are used and will likely bear the signs. Compare the VIN on the windshield to the VIN elsewhere on the car. VINs that do not match can indicate that major repairs have been performed on the car.

Watch Before Bidding and know when to quit: Stand back and watch the bidding process before participating. Get a feel for the people attending these auctions and be on the lookout for plants that bid to raise the auction price and a bidding war will only increase the price of the vehicle. Set a limit. Once the limit is reached, let it go and walk away.

With these simple tips, one can find a great deal on a car at an auction.