Car Auction
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Are Car Auctions Worth It?

By Mike Richards Updated: 10/15/2019 Posted: 07/31/2019

So, you’re thinking about buying your first auction car? You may be worried about hidden fees, or about what you can afford. Are auction cars worth it? Can you only buy salvage cars at online auctions? And what does that really mean? What auctions can you access online? Let’s explore these, and other points, along with some tips to buying your first auction car.

The process in which products are bought and sold by putting them up for bidding is called an auction. In an auction, the product goes to the highest bidder. Auctions are held for several products worldwide and have become very popular lately, especially those of the online variety.

Among the many products you can find up for auction are cars. These have become more and more popular in recent times. Why? Because car auctions are a way for car buyers to get their hands on great vehicles at very reasonable prices.

car auction live

Types of Auctions

There are four main types of car auctions. They are as follows:

  • Public auctions
  • Private auctions
  • Government auctions
  • Online auctions

Public Auctions

At public auto auctions, you will find vehicles at very low prices, much lower than at your local dealership. The “public” in public auto auctions means that they are open to anyone. There is no need for any special license, unlike private auctions. There is a wide variety of cars to choose from and the best part is that the prices are very reasonable. No seller could ever compete with the prices at car auctions.

At public auctions you will find cars in a variety of conditions, including some damaged or salvage cars. You also need to remember that vehicles are usually sold “as is”, meaning that there are no guarantees or return conditions. So do make sure that you inspect the vehicles you are interested in carefully to avoid disappointment.

Further Reading

When you are buying a car from a public auction is to always ask questions. Get as much information as you possibly can about the auction before attending. This will help you with the bidding, but also prevent potential scams. It is very important that you talk to the people who have had experience with buying cars from public auctions before. This would come very handy when you go to purchase the car on the day of the auction. Do your research not only about the auction itself, but about the vehicles you may be interested in.

copart dealers auto auctions

here is a rule in the auctions that should be followed. The best way to get the best car on reasonable rates is to reach the place of the auctions as early as possible. This can help you get your favorite car on a very reasonable bid as the bids are not that high in the morning

Always set a budget for your purchase before going to the auction and stick to it. Don’t go over budget, even if you find a car you really want. More importantly still, don’t get dragged into a bidding war. If the price reaches your limit, just walk away. The point of buying at an auction is to save you money.

Private Auctions

Unlike public auctions, private car auctions are set up only for private auto vendors, that is, car dealers. These are not open to the general public, since you need a dealer’s license to enter. These auctions are where many local car dealers get their inventory. At these auctions you would find vehicles in much better condition than at public auctions, including near new and new vehicles. Dealers attend these auctions to buy cars at very reasonable prices. They will then add their markup to them before selling them on to their customers.

As these are closed auctions, most people have no way to attend them and take advantage of the much lower prices offered at these auctions. But it is not difficult to understand that if you could buy at these auctions, you could save a lot of money compared to buying them at your local dealership.

Salvage Car Auctions NJ

Government Auctions

These car auctions are usually organized and set up by local governments, police departments or some other government body. These car auctions may include all kinds of vehicles (including trucks and even boats) that have been confiscated or seized by the authorities. You will also find old police and government vehicles at these auctions. This is because government bodies use these auctions to sell on their old vehicles when they upgrade or no longer need them. This means you will find vehicles at very low prices in these auctions.

Online auctions

Online auto auctions also offer very low prices. In this they are not that different from the other types of auction. However, online auctions have even more advantages. First of all, you don’t need to leave your home to attend an auction. You can browse vehicles and do your bidding without leaving your house.

Another benefit is that online auctions will offer you a huge selection of vehicles from all over the country. For example, at Auto Auction Mall you will be able to browse hundreds of thousands of vehicles. That’s a lot to choose from and you are sure to find what you need. You may even be able to have access to the online version of private auctions. Some platforms like Auto Auction Mall have their own dealer’s license to bid on your behalf, giving you access to better quality vehicles at the same prices dealers pay for them.

On top of that, online auction platforms offer dedicated customer support to help you through the whole process. They will handle paperwork and even arrange for the vehicle to be shipped to your address.

Online Car Sales

Why are Cars Sold at Auction

The reasons why cars are put up for auction vary a lot. In the case of private auctions, this is just the normal way in which dealers get a big chunk of their inventory. Manufacturers sell their vehicles at auctions, and, in many cases, so do companies with their company cars, and car rental businesses.

Auctions are also use to dispose of excess stock. Cars that have been at the car dealerships for too long without anyone buying them them usually make their way to auctions. At auctions, these are sold at much lower prices, making auctions a great opportunity for car buyers.

Some of the cars are salvage cars. This can mean several things. Often, it means that the car was damaged (either in an accident, flood or other event) and the insurance company estimated that repairing the vehicle wasn’t worth its value. The insurer then pays the owner, takes the vehicle and puts it up for auction to retrieve some value. These cars may be very damaged, or they may have only minor damage. They can be repaired, re-registered and put back on the road.

Example Online Auctions


Top Tips for Buying a Car at an Online Auction

1. Check Values Beforehand

There are many resources that can tell you a car’s overall value, including Kelly Blue Book and Edmunds. Prices, however, may vary locally, so it’s worth checking Craigslist and local classified ads as well. With that information, you’ll have a better idea of the vehicles you are interested in are actually worth it.

2. Look Beyond the Surface

Problems with the paint of dents on a car may not look very good, but they might hide a car in perfect working condition. On the other hand, a perfectly fine looking car may have hidden mechanical or electrical problems.

3. Check the Vehicle’s History

A vehicle’s history can tell you a lot about its current condition. So check the car’s VIN and look up if it was in any accidents, what kind of damage it suffered and if it had many owners. With those details, you may be able to estimate if the car is more trouble than it’s worth.

4. Remember There Are No Warranties

Always keep in mind that vehicles are sold at auction without any warranties or guarantees. This means that you cannot return the car, nor can you get the previous owner to pay for repairs. In other words, vehicles are sold “as is”. So there is always some risk in buying a car at auction.

5. Consider Repair Costs

Not everyone is capable of repairing their own vehicle. If you’re thinking of buying a car that needs repairs, take into account what you can and cannot do. There is no point in buying a cheap vehicle if you’ll then spend a lot of money paying for repairs.

6. Stick to Your Budget

Auction bidding can be very exciting, especially if you really want that car. But don’t let yourself be carried away. No car is worth busting your budget and spending more than you can afford. And it’s likely that you’ll find another great car at another auction soon enough.

So are car auctions worth it? On the whole, yes, they are. And this is especially so in the case of online auctions. At online auctions you will find an enormous variety of vehicles at very reasonable prices. And you will be able to bid from the comfort of your own home and with support available at the click of a button.