What is Salvage title? Buyer Tips

How Do I Buy a Car in an Online Car Auction?

By Mike Richards Updated: 07/26/2022 Posted: 06/13/2017

Those who are looking to save thousands when they buy used and salvage cars have discovered that online car auctions offer everything they want and more. Through these websites, one has access to an inventory of thousands upon thousands of used and salvage cars that rotates on a daily basis. This makes it incredibly easy for these buyers to find precisely what they’re looking for at a price that more than makes sense.
Given this, you might wish to try online car auctions for yourself. You wouldn’t be alone! Because of this, we’re going to review how you can get started and buy a used or salvage car in an online car auction.

Sing Up for an Online Car Auction Site

The first step, of course, is signing up for an online car auction websites. Now, when you do this, be sure you’re paying attention to what site you’re using. There are some that are open to the public, and some that are not. This latter category of auction sites includes services like Copart, Adesa, Manheim, IAAI and others.

Conducting Your Search

Once you’ve found an online car auction site that’s open to the public, you can begin your search. You’ll quickly discover that there are cars of virtually every make and model available. What’s more is that they’re run the gamut in terms of quality from totaled salvage cars to like-new used vehicles.

In terms of finding what’s going to work for your budget, needs and resources, work with the auction specialist assigned to you. This individual understands the marketplace and will know what used and salvage cars are going to be ideal for your situation. What’s more is that this individual can also give you access to auctions that are not available online, thereby expanding your options.

Making Your Initial Deposit

Eventually, you’re going to find several vehicles in which you’re interested. At this point, you will be required to make an initial deposit in order to start bidding. Generally speaking, the size of your deposit will equate to one-tenth of what your maximum bid can be. For example, were you to deposit $400, then you would be able to bid up $4,000 on used and salvage cars. Take note, though, that every site has different requirements for what the minimum size of this deposit can be.

Making Final Payment

With your deposit made, you can begin bidding. Again, make sure you’re taking advantage of the auction specialist assigned to you. He or she can help immensely when it comes to devising a bidding strategy that will get you the best deal possible.

Once you’ve won a vehicle, you’re only a few steps away from taking possession. You will need to complete payment of the final bid price (with your deposit applied to the balance) with five business days or less, typically speaking. Once that’s been done, your auction specialist will work with you to arrange shipping and delivery, and that’s it! You’ve won a car in an online car auction!