10 Things You Should Know Before Going to a Car Auction

10 Things You Should Know Before Going to a Car Auction

Attending a car auction is a great way to get a car for an extremely low price or to pay a fair price for one of the rarest models in the market.

Depending on the type of auction you attend, you’ll either be bargain hunting or checking out some rare and unusual cars. If you’re bargain hunting, there are several risks involved in the car you think you want to buy. You won’t know why the car is at the auction and will only have a short time with each vehicle. Here are some tips to help you have a successful auction experience.

Go With a Trusted and Experienced Friend

The first time you go to an auction can be an overwhelming experience. You need someone experienced with cars to provide you with guidance and information. Many sellers try and hide flaws in the vehicles heading to the auction block; your expert friend can help you avoid buying one of these models by pointing out the flaws. Pay attention to what they tell you, and don’t buy a vehicle that has issues your friend points out; there could be other problems underneath.

Perform a VIN Check on Any Vehicle You Might Want to Buy

Some sellers are purposefully deceitful about a car’s mileage; others might only list the mileage since the engine was replaced and not the complete mileage of the car. A VIN check will give you much of the history of the car. This is your background check on the vehicle. If there are any red flags, cross that car off your list. Also, compared the VIN in the windshield with the VIN on the engine. If these numbers are different, the engine was replaced at some point in the vehicle’s life.

Don’t be Afraid of a Few Dents and Dings

You’ll see cars in various levels of repair and function at a car auction. Don’t be afraid of a few dents and dings or a ripped seat or two. These cosmetic items might belong to a car that has excellent working parts. It’s much easier to fix a few dents and get a paint job than to replace a transmission or rebuild an engine. You might have a diamond under a few rough spots.

Check the Value of the Vehicle Before Bidding

The excitement of bidding at an auction can be overwhelming. Before you know it, you’ll be caught up in a bidding war that might cause you to pay more for a vehicle than it’s worth. Look up the valuation on various sites before bidding, and don’t overpay. This is extremely important if you come to the auction to get a bargain on a car.

Once You Win, the Car is Yours

If you have the winning bid for a car, you’re responsible for it from that moment forward. Some high-end and public auctions might have shipping methods available to you, but not all will. When you attend a car auction, you need to have extra funds available to cover shipping the vehicle to your home. You’ll notice many bidders attending these auctions drive trucks with car trailers on the back, ready to carry home the car they bought with their winning bid. This is a good idea and shows you’re prepared to take a car home.

Stick to Your Set Limit

The fun of bidding can take you through some feelings of exhilaration you haven’t felt anywhere else. Things move fast at a car auction, and you’ve got to be ready to show some restraint by setting a limit and sticking to it. Don’t go over your budget for any car; this will ensure that if you win a bid, you can pay for the vehicle, and you have a car you’ll be proud that you bought. Sometimes, you win when you walk away from a vehicle without being the highest bidder.

Check The Car Over Carefully

Before the bidding begins, cars are on display to allow potential buyers to review them. Check the fluids and pull the dipstick on the car. This will help you know if the car has been well maintained. Look at the tires and see if they look ok. Bring a flashlight and check out the brakes and brake pads. These consumable items tell you a lot about the care of the car. If everything checks out, you should feel pretty good about bidding on that car.

A Bank Repo Could be the Gem You Want to Buy

Some of the cars offered at government and public auctions are terrible and only offered because someone might buy them. If you’re looking for that hidden gem that gives you a great car for a bargain price, look for bank-repossessed cars. These cars are often well-maintained and can be a great buy. Banks sell these cars to recover some of the money lost when the car was repossessed from the previous driver.

Attend Your First Auction as a Spectator

If you know someone that is a regular at the car auction events in your area, ask them if you can tag along. When you’ve never been to an auction, it’s a good idea to get to know the working parts and the people involved in the process before you attend one where you’ll buy a car. Other than the caller and the sellers, there are different types of bidders. You want to know if there are people at the auction to pump up the price of a car. Often, these shill bidders are there to receive a kickback from sellers or the auction house.

Many People Get Bargains at a Car Auction, You’re Not Alone

When you do go to an auction to buy a car, you’re not the only person trying to get a bargain on a car. There could be some used car dealers that have small lots that use this tool as a way to build their inventory levels, other bargain hunters, and car restoration companies. You’re competing with all of these people. Stick to your budget, review the cars carefully, and don’t despair if you miss out on a winning bid for one car. There are many others to choose from.

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