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How to Prepare for an Online Car Auction?

By Mike Richards Updated: 10/15/2019 Posted: 10/21/2015

Jumping into an auction before you know the basics about how auctions work can be risky. That’s why knowing what is expected from you as a bidder and a buyer will help you have a more positive experience.

Not Every Auction is Open to the Public

Anyone is free to bid in a public auction. However, some auctions are “closed” or “private”, open only to people or companies with a dealer license.  Although private auctions are closed to you, a broker can provide you access so that you can bid on more cars.

Popular Mechanics advises potential bidders to be realistic about their ability to maneuver the bidding process efficiently. If they aren’t capable, hiring a broker to manage the process for them will end up getting better results.

Think about the type of car you need and what you can realistically afford. If you need something energy-efficient to commute to work, buying a sports car or an SUV will be a mistake. Don’t allow yourself to get caught up in the bidding process and make a bid on a vehicle because it seems like a good deal. If it isn’t the right car for you, it isn’t a good deal at all.

Do Your Research

Do your research before you bid. There is a great deal of knowledge to be found online, including car values. Check out the values of cars you are interested in at Kelley Blue Book, the most trusted source for car values. If you are thinking about buying a new, used, or salvage car, there is information related to these values as well.

Be aware that these vehicles are sold “as is” and it can be difficult to spot some types of damage or operating problems. Acting like a car expert when you aren’t one can result in you buying a vehicle that isn’t what you think it is. A car broker, on the other hand, knows what to look for and can help you find the best value.

With suitable preparation, you will be able to recognize the right vehicle and know the maximum amount that you should pay for it. Resist the urge to go after a car no matter what. There are thousands of vehicles for sale at auction. If the first one gets away, the next one won’t be far behind. This is one area where flexibility in your plan can result in spending more than you can really afford.

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