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Auction Tips

Auction Tips

Choose The Right Location First. 

Our site provides several options for searching for the nearest location to you. We have search tools for finding complete up-to-date information on any public auto auction in the U.S. We include all contact information including physical addresses, emails, phone and website listings.

Start With a Short List of Vehicles You Have An Interest In. 

Keeping your list of vehicles that you are interested in very simple and short is the best idea. You should only have a list of vehicles that you will have time to properly inspect. Don’t try to spend too much time on a vehicle you may not really want to purchase. You should only spend time on units that you know you can actually afford.

Have a Plan Ahead of Auction Day and Stick to It.

Many buyers make the mistake of showing up for the auction sale only an hour or so before the actual sale time. This is one of the biggest mistakes when buying at a public auto auction. You can end up buying a vehicle that may have mechanical issues. You can also end up paying more than you should have for a unit. You should already have done your research on the history and condition of the vehicle. You should also have decided what the limit you are willing to pay for your purchase. If you plan to finance a vehicle you should already have your financing sources lined up to make your purchase on the day of the sale. Some public auto auctions provide some types of financing. Here on our site we provide several good sources to help handle your auto financing needs.

Research the Vehicle History.

When it comes to researching the vehicle history and condition there are several sources you can use to assure you that you are buying a vehicle that has been serviced properly and  has been taken good care of.

Whether you go to Carfax, AutoCheck, or the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System, it’s worth seeing what the car you plan to bid on has been up to. A vehicle history report won’t tell you everything, but it’ll give you some idea of just how much wear is on the vehicle. “Those are important because they’ll flag the big items: Has the vehicle been in an accident? What sort of maintenance history has been recorded? Are there any open recalls or recall service?

Always Be Extremely Cautious and Alert.

Keep in mind that public auctions are a uniquely different setting where the return and refund policies can vary by location. Auction attendees should become aware of the refund and return policies as soon as possible; most public auction houses provide less that 24 hours to report an issue. Never be afraid to ask questions. The auction staff is usually very friendly and ready to assist you in sharing information about policies and how the auction works.

“Inspect What You Expect.”

Make sure there are no discoloration spots around the car or paint over spray in the window areas and the door jams, which could signal the car was in an accident, You can also use Vehicle Identification Number lookups (sites like CarGurus have VIN lookups to see relevant vehicle history information. Inspect the vehicle for signs of water damage too — including salt residue on the carpet and door panels. Do your visual inspection to prevent issues or  losses.

Bring Your Own Mechanic To Check the Vehicles Over.

It is a very good idea to invest in an experienced mechanic to check any vehicle over thoroughly. You may want to ask a friend or family member that has auto experience  to come along with you to assist in the inspection of vehicles you have an interest in. Better to be safe than sorry. Usually the auction will not object to you having someone to assist you. It is in the best interest of the auction company for you to make the best possible buying decision.

“As Is” Means “As Is”.

Typically most vehicles you will purchase at a public auto auction will be sold “AS IS” with no warranties or guarantees unless otherwise announced by the auction before the bidding starts on the vehicle. Any verbal promises announced by the seller are not legal or binding. So you should listen closely to all announcements about the vehicle and pay close attention to the light system. Once you are the winning bidder you are the owner of the vehicle no matter what the condition of the vehicle might be. This website gives you access to several good companies that will sell you an extended warranty plan for the vehicle you might choose purchase.

Always Know the Condition of the Title to A Vehicle Before You Bid.

After you purchase any vehicle at auction you will be given a document known as a “title”. The document is your receipt of ownership. The auction company guarantees a title to all vehicles sold at a public auto auction. You should receive this document usually within 30 days. Most states do not allow the sale of a vehicle that does not have a good clean title to an individual who is a non-dealer. When receiving the title from the auction you should inspect the document to assure that it is not stamped as a “Salvage Title” or “Flood Damaged Vehicle”. These types of vehicles can not be insured or registered in some states. Another item to pay close attention to is the mileage showing on the title to ensure it matches the odometer and other paperwork you received from the auction company.

Always Come To the Auction Prepared To Pay For Your Purchase.

Most public auto auctions require payment at the time of your purchase soon after you “win the bid” on a vehicle. If it is arranged before the start of the auction you may be permitted to return the next morning after the auction for payment if approved by the auction company. By paying the next day you will not have to carry large amounts of cash with you during the auction. For your convenience, this website has very good sources for you to finance your vehicle. Some public auto auctions also offer their own financing that you might qualify for also.