8 Tips For Bidding On a Car at Auction


Everybody loves getting a good deal on a car, and while auctions may be good places to find vehicles for cheap, there are pitfalls you have to know. Not everything is what it seems. Bidders pushing up prices, faulty cars that have not been maintained or need of major repairs, and dubious sellers not being completely honest about the history of cars can be obstacles that may prevent you from buying the car you fancy. Read the following tips, and you will know what to do as you enter the exciting world of car auctions.

1. Do your research

Before starting, you have to do your research and find out the price of every car that gets your attention. Don’t guess; you have to know exactly how much it costs. You might end up paying a lot more than you would like if you don’t do this part of the process. There are several resources online you can use to find the real value of the cars you are interested in. Additionally, you can take a look at your local newspaper and check out the advertisements.

2. Arrive early

Getting to the auction before other bidders will give you an advantage. Check the listings and make a plan for your budget. Once you have an idea about which cars you would like, go to each one of them. Take a close look at all the vehicles you fancy. Inspect them carefully. The paint, the engine, carpets, and odors are all factors you have to consider before you bid. If you spot anything suspicious, you might have saved you a big headache.

3. Pay attention to the details

There is no need to rush before bidding. Listen to what the auctioneer has to say first. Pay close attention to the description of the vehicles and any troublesome mechanical issues that could be present. Often, you will hear the auctioneer mention the car is “sold as seen.” That means whatever you see is what you get, and the seller is not responsible if you are getting junk. If you are confident you can fix almost anything, then you might be able to get a pretty good deal. On the other hand, if you don’t have the mechanical aptitude, you may have to stay clear from anything that involves an expensive repair. Be honest with yourself and think if you can handle the problem.

4. Check the merchandise

Another step is to check the condition of the car you want. Look at the engine oil and make sure it’s clean before you consider buying it. If it isn’t clean, that’s a bad sign. Moreover, look at the VIN of the vehicle located at the bottom of the windshield. Make sure that number matches the one found in other parts of the car such as the driver’s door. If that’s the case, it may mean the car was rebuilt and you may be looking at trouble waiting to happen.

5. Consult with a friend

Not knowing about cars can be a problem. You might need a new set of eyes to help you. A friend that is well-versed in repairing cars or even better a mechanic is a great asset to bring to the auction. Some vehicles may look in mint condition for the average person, but once a skilled individual checks them out, they may tell a different story. You can also ask someone else at the auction; however, they might be biased, so it’s always a risk.

6. Be patient

If you are not experienced in car auctions, patience is your best friend. Bidding on the first car that gets your attention is tempting; still, you should refrain from doing so. You will get a better deal on upcoming cars, so watch the scene carefully then bid.

7. Keep an eye on the competition

You won’t be the only person bidding at the auction. Monitor other bidders and determine if they are interested in purchasing the vehicles or just trying to increase the price. There is a chance that some bidders are not looking to buy a car at all.

8. Stick to the budget

As you bid on a car, don’t let your emotions get the best of you. It’s common for people to get carried away in a bidding war and pay way more than they wanted to. Keep your head cool and realize a better deal will present itself if things get out of hand. As soon as you see the price exceeding your budget, let it go. You don’t want to overpay even if that means taking the bus back home.

Purchasing a car at an auction can be a rewarding experience, but you have to know what you are doing. Examine every car that captures your interest. Make sure you can identify mechanical problems at the spot or bring someone that can do it. Be wary of other bidders and keep your emotions in check before overspending. Don’t worry. It won’t be long before you get the deal you have been looking for.


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