With hundreds of auto auction vehicles to choose from, how do you know which is the best place for auto auctions? For instance, online salvage auto auctions like SCA offer cars from insurance auto auctions and other salvage auctions all over the United States. They handle more than 300,000 cars, trucks, motorcycles, SUVs, and more every year. Like Copart Car Auctions which specializes in insurance car auctions, they are open to the public and no dealer license is needed for you to get direct access to auto auctions.
So, how do you choose the right car auction when there are so many to select from?
Here are some helpful tips when looking for auction cars to bid on:
1 Types of Auto Auctions
There are two main types of online auto auctions:
- Dealer Only – A dealer-only auction is closed to the public. It’s where dealerships go to get rid of excess inventory and buy cars that they think they can sell on their lot. Many of the cars for sale have plenty of miles on them. New car dealerships don’t want cars on their used car lot with a lot of miles, because those don’t appeal to their target markets.
A Honda dealership will not want a 130,000-mile Ford Taurus on their lot since their regular customers are looking for new and used Hondas. The dealership will take the Taurus to the auction where someone who has a used car lot with mixed makes and models on it will bid on it for their dealership.
- Public – The public auctions are open to anyone. For instance, at a government auction, you’ll find a large selection of all types of vehicles available, including RVs, boats, and sometimes surplus home and office goods. Banks, insurance companies, and finance companies also bring their cars to the auction.
The types of cars and trucks that end up at public auctions can be vehicles that have been in an accident, have been repossessed, have been confiscated, and have been used by municipalities.
Oftentimes, the vehicles are damaged like those you would find in an insurance salvage auction, but they are fixable with a little know-how and time. In the case of repossessions, there may be nothing wrong with the vehicle at all, and police auctions may give you access to vehicles with no damage.
2 Online vs In-Person
Since many of the local auctions are dealer-only and closed to the public, you may find that your best source of auction cars will be online. There are many benefits to shopping online for your next car, such as:
- Never needing to leave your home to buy your car
- Have access to records and reports before you bid
- Can order an in-person inspector to look at the car
- Can see all of the damages on the vehicle beforehand, via photos
- Have access to hundreds, if not thousands, of car auctions
- Can use the website’s search engine
- Can pre-bid and let the auction run its course without worrying about missing a bid
- Can use the buy-it-now option if you find what you’re looking for
3 Tips for Buying at a Car Auction
While there are a lot of benefits of buying at auctions, there are a few things to keep in mind before you decide on the car of your dreams.
- Don’t overbid – Know the budget you have in mind before you start to bid, so you don’t get caught up in the action and spend more than you want to spend. This is where pre-bidding comes in handy. It sets a limit to what you’re spending. Also, don’t forget to figure in the buyer’s fee — this varies from auction to auction — the sales tax, tag, title, and other fees into your total. If you have shipping expenses, then figure for those too.
- Know the car – If you know which car you want, make sure that you do your research on it. One of the best places to find out more about any vehicle is online message boards dedicated to the make and model vehicle you’re interested in. That is where you’ll find out if the car has chronic brake problems or mechanical problems like surging. You’ll also find out if there have been any recalls on the vehicles. You can learn a lot by reading about other people’s car problems.
- Losing an auction – Losing an auction is not that much of a problem since there are so many cars available. It is better to go to the next auction than overspend on the one you didn’t get.
Choosing the right car auction for you will mean that you can find the car you’re looking for at a price you can afford. Even if you have to repair it, you could save a lot of money by buying your next car at an online auto auction like SCA. Stay focused on the vehicle you want and bid to win it.