5 Essential Things to Know About Car Auctions

Car auctions are a great place to get a good deal on a used vehicle. There are different types of auctions, including dealers-only that require you to have a dealer license to purchase. If you don’t have a license, government and public auto auctions are where you will have to go to purchase. While it is possible to buy a great car at an auction, there are five essential things you need to know before you make that first purchase.

Understand Payment Options

If you are the winning bidder, you will have to pay for your purchase using cash or a loan you’ve already secured from a lender. If you are using a loan, you will need to pay a deposit when you win, so make sure you verify how much it will be and how it can be paid before you even start bidding.

Set a Budget

Getting into a bidding war can be exhilarating, but it can also lead to you overpaying for a vehicle. Make sure to set a strict budget before you arrive, and most importantly, that you stick to it no matter what.

Be Proactive

It’s no secret that car auctions are often the end of the road for some vehicles. The best way to make sure you don’t purchase a vehicle that has been flooded, totaled or is in some other way not able to be titled is to run a VIN check. There are plenty of smartphone apps that allow you to do this quickly so you know whether to bid on a vehicle or walk away from a potential lemon.

Seller Tricks Abound

Sellers at car auctions know a variety of tricks that can help mask some major engine issues on a vehicle. If you don’t know what those tricks are, talk to your friends and see if they do. If so, have him or her attend the auction with you so you don’t get duped into buying a car with serious problems.

Reconsider Used Car Dealer Options

Used car dealers typically bring cars to auctions when they are unable to sell it directly to a customer or to another dealer. If you are interested in a vehicle that is being sold by a used car dealer, you need to go over everything thoroughly, and make sure you run a VIN check. Otherwise, you might end up paying for a car that isn’t going to be reliable.

If you’ve purchased a vehicle from an auction, let YourMechanic give it a thorough inspection for your peace of mind and safety.


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Pardeep

21 years of experience
1068 reviews
Pardeep
21 years of experience
Ford Fusion L4-2.0L Hybrid - 75 Point Safety Inspection - San Jose, California
I have ordered a 75-point inspection of the car since my dealership claimed it had an oil leak and the timing cover replacement was due (this kind of repair costs in the ballpark of a thousand dollars). I mentioned the need for a second opinion on that since the car had been bought relatively recently from that dealer (certified pre-owned) and not very actively used. Pradeep performed the safety inspection in a very timely manner and addressed my main question by honestly concluding that there was no leak but just some dust collected over time. This has saved me much time and money. Finally, I was also very glad to learn a tip on how to find a matching paint for a body scratch from him.
Ford Escape - 75 Point Safety Inspection - San Jose, California
Pradeep immediately found the suspension problem I was worried about and fixed it. We had just purchased this car and now feel a lot better about it now that he has checked it out.

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26 years of experience
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Hyundai Accent L4-1.6L - 75 Point Safety Inspection - Sunnyvale, California
Honorio not only told me what is going on with the car but was so honest about everything. Looking forward to having Honorio taking car of my requests.
Acura RDX - 75 Point Safety Inspection - Palo Alto, California
Honorio went above and beyond my expectations. He was honest about which repairs needed to be done even though my service revision decreased his income. Will absolutely use again!!!! Thank you!

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Nissan Versa L4-1.6L - 75 Point Safety Inspection - Lakewood, Washington
Robert is a rockstar. I can't express enough (again) the quality of his work and his ability to work around our schedules here. Honest, professional and courteous. I would recommend his services to any and everyone.

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Mazda Protege5 L4-2.0L - 75 Point Safety Inspection - Vacaville, California
Professional, clear, & courteous when discussing results of inspection & recommendations going forward. If I still live in the area when I need to do future services, will definitely book again.

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