Whether you’re in the market for a new vehicle or you’re looking to pick up a used one, shopping for cars, trucks, and SUVs is never easy. Yes, you can go directly to a dealership or you can search through the classified ads for a car for sale by a private owner. Neither option is particularly appealing.
There is another way. The world of car auctions is a vast and varied one, and it offers many advantages over traditional car buying experiences for both new and used cars. However, car auctions come with their own challenges as well. Here’s how to navigate to the mall of car auctions to get the most out of it without falling into any pitfalls.
The Best for Used Cars
Most people think car auctions are reserved for finding good deals on used cars, and they’re partly correct. Many of the auctions that are open and available to the public are focused on used vehicles.
These cars are typically being sold off at auction by large-scale car dealerships with an overabundance of cars that were returned after a lease but have since sat on the lot for some time. While selling these cars at auction might mean the profit margin for a dealer might be lower, it’s better than no sale at all.
Additionally, a good number of these cars might be from sources such as federal and state law enforcement officials, as police often seize and impound vehicles that they will then auction off to the highest bidder. Finally, auctions are a good source for salvaged vehicles – usually cars that have been totaled due to damage. A salvage car is often available at a cut-rate price, but you’ll have to have it restored before it’s drivable again.
Even Better for New Vehicles
However, there are plenty of car auctions that specialize in new vehicles a well. These are usually a bit harder to get into because the target bidder for these car auctions is the car dealer directly. In fact, these private auctions are quite often referred to as “dealer auctions” because you can’t get in without a valid dealer’s license.
However, this doesn’t necessarily mean a non-dealer can’t get into such an auction. If you’ve got a close friend or a family member that has a dealer’s license, you can easily ask them to bid on your behalf on a new car. You can even go with them as a dealer’s assistant.
Meanwhile if you don’t know anyone in your life that can help you, you can go online and find access to certain dealer’s auctions thanks to specialized companies that provide proxy bidding services. These companies have their own dealer license that they use to follow a non-dealer’s instructions, bidding on vehicles or buying them outright if available. They’ll even ship them directly to your front door for an additional fee.
Never Go It Alone
Whatever you’re looking for, either a new car or a used one, you should never just try to bid at auction without being prepared. Do as much research as you can beforehand, both on the auction itself and the cars that are listed as going up on the block.
Enlist the aid of someone you know who has some knowledge of how car auctions work, especially if you’re planning on attending an auction in person, as these can be confusing.
At the same time, make sure you do your due diligence before using an online auction site to bid on vehicles. Make sure the site is a legitimate one and that there haven’t been any major complaints lodged against it. Make sure you read all the fine print of the site’s terms and conditions, as you don’t want to be taken unawares.
Meanwhile, if you’re going to be bidding on a used car and you’re using an online site to do so, make sure the site you’re using provides plenty of information on the vehicles up for auction so you can run the VIN through a title search service like Carfax so you know where it’s been and what’s happened to it.