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How Do I Choose Cars at an Auction?

By Mike Richards Updated: 05/22/2019 Posted: 10/16/2015

Whether you are going through a local auction or you are looking for an online auction, you have to know how to choose the best cars to bid on and potentially buy. If you start looking for cars in an auction without understanding anything about the vehicles or the process, you could end up buying the wrong vehicle.

Here are some tips that will help you on your search for the best cars on the auction block.

What Do You Need?

The first thing that you should consider is what type of vehicle you need. How will you be using the vehicle? Are you hunting for a truck that you can use for work, or a car that just helps you get around town? How large does it need to be? When you know what you need, it helps you start to narrow your choices.

You also need to think about the age of the cars on auction. Ideally, you will find something that’s less than ten years old and that doesn’t need to have too much in the way of repairs. With many of these vehicles, damage is part and parcel of the deal.

Some have salvage titles, and that means you need to repair them before you can get a rebuilt title and register them. Repairs aren’t always a bad thing. Given the cheaper prices of the cars on auction, you may be able to buy the vehicle and get the repairs for cheaper than if you had simply gone through a used car dealer.

Always take the time to learn about the history of the vehicles you are considering. Once you’ve narrowed your choices to three or four of the cars on auction, you should dig into the car’s history as much as possible. Look at the VIN, the title, and determine more about what you will need to do with the vehicle to get it in shape and road ready again.

If there is only body damage, it might mean that the repairs are relatively minor. However, you should also look at things such as the mileage on the vehicle. A car that has high mileage, even if it isn’t that old, could be trouble down the line. Average mileage, or low mileage if you can find it, is ideal.

The Auction Process

Depending on how you find the cars at auction, in person or through an online auction, the process is slightly different. Through an online auction, you will not be able to inspect the vehicles personally. However, you will be able to see photos and get the history of the vehicle.

If you are bidding in person, it can be easy to get carried away with your bids, so take caution. Have a budget in place that accounts for the repairs, and make sure you don’t ever bid too high. It’s better to back out and start looking at another vehicle rather than overspending on one.

If you are buying cars on auction on the web, you might want to consider working with a third party dealer. Not only can they take care of the bidding for you, but they can also get you into dealer auctions, which have even more vehicles from which you can choose.

When finding cars in an auction, the goal is always to get the best possible vehicle at the lowest price. By researching the vehicles and taking your time, you can find some fantastic buys.

Explore our Vehicle Auctions, as well as finding more information about How These Auctions Work.