If you’re planning on attending a used car auction in the near future, it’s important that you go in prepared. Below, we’re going to share 15 tips for buying a car at auction that should help you to get a quality used car at the price you want:
1. Know Thine Auction: At a government auction, cars are presented as they are, warts and all. At a public auction, a car that looks worn or abused is likely worn and abused. Why wouldn’t the seller dress it up?
2. Look… Really Look: Don’t merely concentrate on the superficial elements of a used vehicle. Instead, really use your eyes and look at the small details. The smallest details often reveal the most!
3. Use Your Nose: With used cars, it’s not just about what you can see. Use your nose! A musty smell, for example, is definitely an indication of water damage.
4. Check the VIN: A car’s VIN number appears on multiple parts of an automobile. Make sure that the various VIN numbers match one another. If they don’t, that’s a clarion sign that the car has undergone an extensive rebuild.
5. Check the Dipstick: If you know cars, then you know that the dipstick can tell quite a tale about a car’s history. Don’t skip this vital inspection step!
6. Know the Meaning of “As Is”: It’s always important to remember that cars at auction are sold “as is”. If you buy a lemon, then you’re stuck with a lemon.
7. Banks Are the Best: When you’re looking for a used vehicle that’s going to be in great condition, pay attention to cars being auctioned by banks.
8. Beware Used Dealers: If you encounter a used car dealership trying to unload inventory at auction, be careful! There’s a reason those cars weren’t selling on the lot.
9. Get a Handle on Pricing: You’re trying to get a good deal, but you can only judge a deal if you know what a vehicle’s cost should be. Spend some time with a service like Kelley Blue Book before you go!
10. Know Your Budget: Before you even get to the auction, make sure that you’re perfectly honest with yourself about your budget and how far you’re willing to go.
11. Watch Other Bidders: Keeping an eye on other bidders will give you a sense of who the “players” are. This can help you to identify those who might be simply trying to bump up the prices.
12. Beware the Bidding War: At a car auction, it can be all too easy to get attached to a particular vehicle. Therefore you might find yourself bidding more than you ever intended to. Don’t fall into this trap!
13. Know Your Abilities: If you plan on repairing a car yourself, particularly a salvage vehicle, then be sure you have a firm grasp of your capabilities and also your tools.
14. Visit Before You Participate: If you’ve never been to a car auction before, then go to a few before you actually go to bid. Having a feel for what they’re like will be invaluable when it comes time to place your bids.
The above tips should help you immensely at a used car auction! Remember, though, that can always participate in online used car auctions, wherein an agent can handle much of the dirty work for you!