Car Auctions Near Me
What is Salvage title? Buyer Tips

Buying US Auction Cars from Nigeria: How Can I Be Sure of What I’m Buying?

By Femi Amisu Updated: 07/09/2022 Posted: 11/02/2018

A car auction otherwise known as an auto auction is a method of selling new or used vehicles by an auction system where the cars go to the highest bidder, the person willing to pay the most to get the car. Auto auctions are really popular in the United States. In most cases, a license is required to participate at these auctions. Buying US auction cars from abroad can be confusing.

Buying US Auction Cars

Nigerian car lovers are gradually shifting to online and U.S. based auctions to source their cars as a result of many negative experiences. Undoubtedly, the savings on the cost of the car is also a huge factor. But considering the fears of buying a car that has been reported stolen, involved in a significant accident or been flooded with electrical systems compromised, it’s not difficult to understand why. Nigerians are rapidly developing a preference for buying directly from US car dealers and auction sites like Auto Auction Mall.

Further Reading

Going back to the primary reason why prospective car owners and dealers make purchases from U.S. auctions, cost, the prices for the vehicles are usually cheaper, depending on the conditions in which they arrived at the auction company. To maximize profit, an alarming number of Nigerian car dealers buy cars that have been salvaged from one accident or the other with minor to major faults.

Thanks to strict U.S auto industry regulations on used cars, prospective Nigerian car owners feel more comfortable buying directly than from car dealers in a bid to avoid falling victim of patched up cars that may look good on the outside but are riddled with problems on the inside. Assuming that you have never bought any vehicle first hand, it is natural that you’d be bothered about the car you’re bidding for.

Auto Auction Mall is an online vehicle auction marketplace that gives you access to a vast auto inventory from auction platforms you’d ordinarily require a license to use. Bidding on is usually quite easy and if it seems overwhelming, there are experts and specialists available to assist you with answers and even the purchase process.

But before you start buying, bidding or attending live online auctions, how can you be sure of the condition of the car you are about to pay for? What assurance do you have about the condition of the car?

How Can I Be Sure of What I’m Buying?

The car inventory on Auto Auction Mall comes with as much information about the status of the car, mileage, and condition. There are also pictures to provide as many views of the car including the interior and the engine compartments.

To provide an extra level of detail, cars in the online inventory as with other auction sites come with titles such as clean, clear and salvage to provide some information about the general condition of the car.

However, it is important to note that auction cars are sold on an “as is, where is” condition and Auto Auction Mall doesn’t provide any guarantees or warranty about the condition or state of the vehicles on its platforms. Which also means that you’ll be inheriting whatever issues that you find when it gets to you.

I Don’t Know The Statuses You’re Talking About?

For Auto Auction Mall, you have the option of buying either clean, salvaged or rebuilt cars. Clean cars are used cars with little or no damage. If damaged, there are usually minor dents and scratches. Salvaged cars, on the other hand, are cars that have been in an accident and have incurred some significant level of damages that though are repairable, the insurance auction or company has deemed it too expensive to fix.

However, this does not apply to Nigeria because the cost of labour and parts is significantly lower than in the US. Rebuilt cars are cars that have had their damages fixed. The thing is, if you’re buying a salvaged vehicle, then there’s the possibility that your car will be in either of these conditions:

  1. Vehicle Starts

When the status of the car you want to buy states “Vehicle Starts”, it means that as at the time of arrival of the vehicle to the auction company, the vehicle started with or without a jump and was able to run on idle. This does not automatically mean that it would when it is shipped to you. As a matter of fact, using AAM as case study, you’ll find that they do not offer any guarantee or warranty that the vehicle will start when you finally receive it. The status is only determined the test is carried out at the arrival of the vehicle.

2. Starts and Moves

This means that when the vehicle arrived at the clearing house it could start with or without a jump, it could be put into gear and could move forward under its own power. This doesn’t ultimately mean that it would move when it is delivered to you. Most auto auction companies only test and carry out inspections when the vehicles arrive. They don’t inspect afterward and cannot guarantee that you would receive the car in the same condition.

3. Doesn’t start at all

This means that the car did not start as at the time it was brought to the auction lot.

To be sure, prospective car owners have the option to go further and make use of car inspection services.

Car Inspection and Inspection Opportunities.

The auto auction companies can only give you so much information about the said vehicle. As an extra layer of certainty, you may carry out an independent inspection of the vehicle before going through with the auction. To do this, you will either have to personally inspect the car, ask a friend to, or hire a car inspection company to carry out the inspection.

Unless you are in the United States or in the state where this auction is taking place, personal inspection is ruled out. If you have friends and family members in the United States or you plan to hire a car Inspection Company, then here are some pros and cons for both options.

Pros and Cons of Inspection by Family or Friends.


  • First of all, they are closer and will be there in time for inspection before the auction is completed.  
  • Your family members or friends will be utterly honest about the status of the vehicle
  • Since they’re there, a physical inspection will be carried out on zero cost.


  • Your friend or brother might not know enough about cars to revert on the actual status of the car.

Pros and Cons of Inspection By A Car Inspection Company.


  • You get a professional auto mechanic from the car inspection company to advise you.
  • You’d be given a comprehensive report on all parts and components of the vehicle that was checked.
  • Some companies extend their services to purchasing and shipping.


  • It comes at a cost.

Some Car Inspection Service You Might Want To Try.

Having someone in the US to carry out your car inspection is okay, but hiring a car inspection company is safer. I know you’re probably thinking of which company to hire, don’t worry we’re on it. Below are some companies that offer these services if you need an extra degree of certainty about the car you want to purchase


1. Automobile Inspection

The automobile inspection company is one based in the US. Their job is to carry out a thorough inspection of any vehicle of your choice before you purchase it.  Their inspection service covers used or new cars, trucks, vintage cars, classics, and even motorcycles. They operate toll-free in the United States of America and Canada. With Automobile inspections, you’d be sure to get comprehensive reports, an adviser, inspection, purchasing, and even shipping benefits.

They run two types of inspections; the basic reports and full reports inspections. The basic reports inspection happens between 30-0 minutes and the report submitted doesn’t exceed three pages. Those three pages will contain reports on major issues like the damage level, lights, instruments, navigation, any signs of post-factory paintwork, the status of the underside and the condition of the interior. The vehicle will be taken on a short ride to inspect the brakes and the steering if there is time. This basic inspection will cost $199.

The full report inspection covers everything above and more. The inspector will spend an hour and thirty minutes inspecting the vehicle. He’ll have maximum time to check the underside, the engine, for evidence of flood damage, corrosion, drive the car around  and check for any issues with the brakes, steering, transmission, transfer case, and suspension. This full package will cost $349.


2. AiM Certify

This is another inspection company that promises in their words, “optimum inspection services”.  AiM Certify is one amongst the top five companies that specially handle car inspection. Here are some of the issues assessed by AiM certify; frame damage, interior and exterior status, engine condition, drivability brakes, and electronic components. After the inspection, you’ll be given a report with pictures, comments, and advice from the inspector and vehicle grade.

AiM Certify offers four packages at different costs, see them below;

  • Preferred- $129
  • Plus- $149
  • Premier- $349
  • Commercial- $199

Source: AiM Certify.

Car Inspector.Us

Car Inspector.Us is a company that offers both inspection services and several others like technical support, claims management and document auditing. The inspection entails checking the levels of all assessable fluids, evaluating the interior, exterior, and undersides for signs of damage or repairs and testing the operation system.

A report including photographs of the condition of the car will be handed to you after the inspection. However, unlike the other companies, Car Inspector.Us do not test drive vehicles at auctions. Since most auction houses frown at test driving the vehicles or even taking tools with them for testing, the company decided to hold back on inspection by test driving.

Source: Car Inspector.Us

Lemon Squad

The Lemon squad is an inspection company that operates throughout the United States. They believe they can prevent you from buying lemons. Their inspection entails carrying out complete computer diagnosis of the engines, transmission, and ABS. It also involves inspection of the total drivetrain, the steering, suspensions, brakes fluid levels and inspection for accident or flood damages. After the inspection, you will receive a comprehensive report with images showing the condition of the vehicle.

The Lemon squad offers inspection for vehicles in three packages and they are;

  • Exotic-$199
  • Standard-$149
  • Classic-$264

Source: Lemon Squad

Car Inspector. Com

Car inspector is the last on the list but certainly not least in ranking. If your car auction is taking place in Los Angeles, then you’re in luck because this company is located there. Their inspection entails checking for defects in the interior, paint, body, lights, signals, door-locks, and seats, wipers, navigation, steering, windows, A/C and heating.

They also check for leaks, flood damages, rust, defects in the brakes, and the engine. A test drive is also done to ascertain the smoothness of the engine. Also to check for noises, vibrations, and to check the transmission operation and shift response.

Source: Car Inspector. Com

There are also countless other inspection services that may cost more or less depending on the level of inspection they propose to carry out. A simple Google search will bring them up. Whichever option you settle for, these car inspection services are the final and most trusted way to get final assurance about your prospective car purchase if the conditions and images provided on Auto Auction Mall car inventory doesn’t cut it for you.