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Are Cars Available in Online Dealer Auctions of Good Quality?

By Mike Richards Updated: 05/22/2019 Posted: 07/06/2017

Online dealer auctions are an incredible way for an ordinary consumer to purchase a used car. From the comfort of your home, you can browse an inventory of thousands of used – and salvage – vehicles. Simply put, you will never be able to get the level of choice you get with online auctions through any other means.

Best of all, though, online auto dealer auctions give you the chance to save up to 70% or even more on the purchase of a vehicle. When people hear about savings like that, though, they think things sound too good to be true. In fact, they wonder if the kinds of cars they can bid upon are actually good-quality vehicles.

The truth is that the quality of the vehicles available at online auctions runs the whole gamut. Of course, this is to be expected. After all, the vehicles you’ll see on a used car dealership’s lot run the whole gamut, too! If you understand where the vehicles come from, though, you should be able to separate the wheat from the chaff.

Used Cars and Where They Come From

The significant portion of cars you find in online dealer auctions will be ordinary used vehicles. As mentioned, these vehicles vary in quality just as they would through a used car dealership.

In fact, one of the primary sources for used cars in online auctions will be vehicles that are being cleared off by used car dealerships. In addition to this, you’ll also find used cars that are being auctioned off by governmental entities, like law enforcement or border protection. Finally, there may be some vehicles that are being auctioned off by owners.

The Question of Salvage Cars Available at Auction

The other significant portion of cars available in online auto dealer auctions will be salvage cars. These kinds of vehicles are often misunderstood by newcomers to online auctions.

In a nutshell, salvage cars are those which have had their policies paid off to their owners at 75% or greater of the car’s value. Obviously, this can happen when a vehicle is in a collision or another kind of catastrophic accident. However, there are other reasons.

For one, vehicles that have been stolen and subsequently recovered after a policy has been paid out are designated as salvage. In these instances, the ‘salvage’ designation does not denote the quality of the vehicle. In fact, such a vehicle may be in as good or even better condition than a similar ‘used’ vehicle.

You Can Find What You’re Looking for in Online Dealer Auctions

Ultimately, determining a vehicle’s quality will come down to you. Online dealer auction websites will provide you with the VINs for the vehicles available. You can, in turn, use these VINs to request history reports through third parties. By doing this, you should be able to assess the quality of any given vehicle. Ultimately, this provides you with even more protection than you might get through a used car dealership! Many will even ship used cars worldwide.