A Beginner’s Guide to Car Auctions

If you’re looking to buy a new car, you might be considering purchasing through a car auction. Car auctions are becoming popular ways to purchase cheap and reliable cars, but navigating the process as a beginner can be stressful and confusing.

Car Auctions

It’s necessary to know the ins and outs of car auctions in order to avoid wasting your money on a car that’s unsafe and unreliable.

Types of car auctions

There are a few different types of car auctions, and each has a slightly different bidding and buying process. In government auctions, vehicles with known histories are typically sold in bulk. If you’re considering attending a government auction, it’s important to keep in mind that there will likely be more competition than public auctions. It’s also unlikely that you’ll be able to drive the car before placing a bid.

While public auctions have less competition than government auctions, they should be approached with caution. Cars at public auctions are often those that failed to sell at wholesale dealer auctions, so it’s not uncommon for them to have rough repos and no guarantee of mileage.

Salvage cars for sale in USA usually find favor among serious hobbyists who are looking to tinker with salvaged cars, and can be difficult for beginners to navigate. Since no federal laws in the United States require the disclosure of flaws, damage, or recalls on cars being sold at auctions, it may be best to have someone more experienced to guide you through the process.  

Do your research

Cars at car auctions are sold solely based on visual inspection, so you should be looking for signs of repair on each car. Telltale signs of needed repair often include oversprayed paint, rough sheet metal, and scored brake discs. It’s also essential to approach good-looking cars with caution, as polish and touch-up paint jobs are relatively cheap and could be hiding bigger issues.

Before attending any auctions, conduct some research to obtain a general idea of what used cars are worth in your area. Although researching prices through local, classified listings require extra effort, it’ll pay off in the long run when you avoid overspending on a car. Additionally, searching through online listings will help you find out about ongoing local auctions.

Check the VIN

Before bidding on any cars, write down the VIN. The VIN can be found on the base of the windshield on most cars. Make sure to check other places on the car, such as the door and trunk lid stickers, to ensure that the VINs match. Generally, you should avoid any cars with mismatched VINs. These cars might have been involved in a major accident and may be unsafe or unreliable. On the same note, avoid auctions that don’t allow you to check VINs prior to placing a bid.

Don’t overspend

It’s best to visit a few preliminary car auctions in order to get a feel for the bidding process before actually placing any bids. Bidding quickly turns competitive and it’s easy to get caught up in the heat of the moment or feel overwhelmed. To prevent overspending, don’t let yourself become too attached to one vehicle. If possible, bring a more knowledgeable friend along to help guide you through the process.

Car auctions can be great ways to score reliable cars at low prices. All in all, it’s important to remember that walking away from an auction empty-handed is better than driving away with a car that costs more than it’s worth. Car auctions aren’t for everyone, so if you’re a more picky shopper, you’ll need to be willing to set aside some personal preferences.

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