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Top 5 Ways to Save Money At Car Auctions 

By Daisy Emah-Emah Posted: 05/20/2022

Car auctions can be overwhelming and a money-eating experience if you don’t know the ropes; especially for newbies and sometimes, even experts who miss a step and can end up losing money.s. But with the right information, you can save money and enjoy a seamless process. 


To begin, you need to have a full-proof plan and strategy if you want to save money and avoid buying a lemon. In-depth research and a thorough understanding of the requirements for purchase, payment, and fees as well as the terms and conditions of purchase and other policies is a must if you want to leverage wholesale auctions either for business or personal purposes. 


classic auction


Others include getting adequate information about the vehicle you want to purchase by requesting a vehicle history report and having an idea of the current value of the car so as not to overspend on a car not worth the amount. 


In the case of salvage/damaged vehicles, having a ballpark figure for repairs and restorations and long-term maintenance costs of the vehicle will help you figure out if your winning bid is a deal or a loss when all repairs are done. 


It is only when you are able to check these boxes, that you can walk into an auction with a saving mindset and a higher chance of getting an awesome deal. 


To help you better understand the steps you need to take, we will give you a breakdown or checklist of sorts with more detail on how you can save further in a car auction…


How To Save At Car Auctions

1. Do Your Research

One of the best ways to save money is to carry out proper research and due diligence before committing to a car auction. This is the bedrock of safely purchasing a car from any auction. This step is very important but many times it is the most common mistake. Don’t just research the car you want to purchase but carry out research on the auction platform you intend to use. 



Research on the car will help you avoid landing a lemon. Arm yourself with information about the cost, maintenance, payment method, auction fees and charges, location of purchase, etc. Don’t let anything take you by surprise if not you lose money. 


2. Budget and Set A Max Bid 

This is the second most important step to saving money in a car auction. Setting a budget will give you an idea of what you will spend. Research is crucial in identifying the current and estimated cost of the vehicle – making budgeting easier. Your budget should have auction house fees, the purchase price of the vehicle, repair cost, transportation, etc.  



Proper research and budgeting will eventually save a few thousand dollars from unnecessary expenses. Also, you need to set a max bid – this is the highest amount you are willing to bid on a car. Avoid bidding above your budget if you want to save money, and avoid bidding wars. 


It is very easy to get carried away during auctions and exceed your budget, especially if it is love at first sight for your vehicle of choice. 


3. Be Wary of Physical/Mechanical Damage Cars

Heavy physical damages like blown tires, oil leaks, or other heavy damage may need to be forklifted during transportation. They also can be rejected as regular RO-RO by shipping lines and will have to be containerized. This will cost you more money to transport and you’ll end up not saving money.  


This must be factored into your overall cost!


damaged car


Mechanically damaged vehicles affect the mechanical parts of the vehicle such as the engine. Any damage to your engine may cost you an arm and leg to have fixed or replaced. This is assuming the parts are readily available. 


You may have to pay extra cash to have it trucked from the auction house. 


4. Make Sure The Title is Exportable

The vehicle’s title is legal proof of car ownership – and it’s a  very important document especially if you are buying for export. If the vehicle has an unsatisfied lien, or bill of sale, or the vehicle is listed as a pending title – it will not be eligible for export or accepted by US customs. 


Vehicle Title


For a car for export with a pending title, you will need a storage period of 30-40 days for the title to be made available. During this time you will have to store your vehicle – making you spend more on your purchase. To save more, avoid vehicles with pending titles, missing titles, or other titles that are not exportable.  


In the case of pending titles, if you can factor in the extra costs and offset it on your bid cap and then win the vehicle at the reduced max bid amount, then you might only need to factor in the extra wait time and not cost…especially if it is a vehicle that is not readily available at the auction and is a must buy.


5. Avoid Flooded Vehicles

Flooded/fire-damaged vehicles affect the interior and mechanical components of a vehicle. To save you money, these vehicles are a no-go area if you’re looking to export because many shipping companies would reject them as regular runners.


Some may accept them but only as a non-runner RORO. This means Towable RORO or FOrklift RORO that comes with some extra/heavy costs.  


Car floating in floodwater – computer-generated image


This means you will have to switch to containerized shipment if the shipping company accepts. This cost more money. You also need to think about the repair cost for such a vehicle – it MAY be cheap or bite deep into your pocket. 


THere’s really no telling exactly how much you will need to spend to make the vehicle drivable again.


Further Reading

  1. 5 Sites you Need to Check Before Buying a Used Car 
  2. What Should I Check For When Buying a Car
  3. Everything You Need to Know about Buying Used Cars
  4. How to Get the Best Vehicle History Report on Auction Cars for Sale 



Final Words!

There is no guarantee of how used car auctions can pan out. Not always but sometimes, unforeseen money-eating situations may prop up after your purchase. Being prepared before time will save you a few more dollars than not being prepared.


Pay extra attention to purchases for export – as you don’t want to spend money on a vehicle that cannot leave the port because of a rejected title. 


Save yourself stress and money by getting adequate information on the car you want to buy. Request the vehicle history report which gives you information on the vehicle. If you can afford it, request a physical inspection – this gives you a detailed breakdown of the current condition of the vehicle. 


You can also take advantage of wholesale auction experts like Auto Auction Mall to assist you to save on your purchase. With an excellent support team to assist you throughout the entire process. You will also receive assistance with budgeting and estimates. 


 All you have to do is sign up, make a deposit and begin bidding on your journey.


Sign up to get started!