car auction website

What Cars Can I Buy at an Online Auction Site? 

By Mike Richards Updated: 12/11/2017 Posted: 10/22/2015

There are many ways to buy a car. You can go to your local dealership and talk with a salesperson. You can go online and buy a car on Craigslist. You can even bid on a car at eBay. You can also go to one of the many online auction sites that have cars for sale. Some will require purchasers to have a dealer license while others will not.

As to the kinds of vehicles you can buy from online auction sites, the answer is simple – any kind. You can buy salvage vehicles, repo cars, used cars, classic and luxury cars, and even brand new cars. If you’re buying new, though, chances are that you will have to have a dealer license, know a dealer who will allow you to buy under their license, or use a company that will bid on your behalf using their dealer license.

Is There a Risk?

It really depends on the type of car you’re looking to buy. If you’re buying new, the risk is minimal. On the other hand, if you’re looking to buy used, the perils and pitfalls are essentially the same as if you bought a used vehicle off a car lot or by means of a private sale. There’s often a reason why these cars are no longer wanted.

On the other hand, you could be buying a lease buy-back. Many people trade in their cars every couple of years, and rather than see a car sit on the lot and depreciate, dealers will often send lease buy-backs to auction. You can get a really good deal on a vehicle that’s hardly used.

A salvage car, on the other hand, is useful mainly to someone who loves restoring cars as a hobby, or who is hoping to restore it and then turn around and sell it for a profit.

Be Cautious

When you’re buying online, you’re not going to be able to test drive the vehicle, or for that matter, even start it before you bid. Cars that are sold at auction, be they actual “real life” events held in huge venues where all manner of cars are available to actually examine, or online events where the only examination you can do is by means of pointing and clicking, are usually sold “as is”.

The seller is required to disclose certain information. For instance, if the odometer has rolled over, that has to be disclosed. But other things, not so much. Just as an example, a car could be listed as “in drivable condition” but that won’t tell you if there’s squealing in the timing belt, if the transmission is clunking, or if the heads need to be rebuilt. “Mint” means only that it looks great.

Find Out Who’s Selling the Vehicle

If the vehicle has come from a new car dealer, or a bank, the chances are you’ll get a roadworthy vehicle. On the other hand, if it’s being sold by a used car dealer, it’s buyer beware. That means that the dealer couldn’t sell the vehicle on his lot, so he’s cutting his losses selling it at auction.

The Final Word

So, what kind of vehicle can you get at an online auction? New cars, used cars, salvage cars, repos, classics, luxury car, just about anything that you’d buy anywhere else.

Cars end up at auction for myriad reasons. The original owner couldn’t make the payments, the car has been sitting on a lot for too long, the dealer needs to make room for new inventory, the car was totaled, and so on. Virtually any kind of vehicle you might want can be purchased at an online auction.

You don’t have to be a dealer to bid – you can use a company that has a dealer’s license and will submit a proxy bid on your behalf for a reasonable fee in certain dealer auctions.

In this day and age, people often bid on cars without ever seeing them other than in photos, and without being able to test drive or examine them. Online auctions are typically highly regulated, and you can safely bid on, and win, almost any type of vehicle you may want.

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