7 Tips for Buying a Car at an Auction

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Car auctions can be a great way to get good vehicles for a low price. However, buying cars at dealer auctions can be confusing, especially for first-timers. The following 7 tips for buying a car at an auction can help you become a pro in no time:

1.      Plan Before You Go

Buying a car at auction starts before you ever leave your house. You may be able to do some research about where the vehicles came from before heading to the auction. You can find out if the sale will be a public auction or a police auction.

Police auctions are generally up-front about the kinds of vehicles you’ll get, and their state of repair. Vehicles sold at public auction may be in need of more serious repairs.

2.      Consider Extra Costs

You should plan for the extra costs associated with buying a car at an auction. Cars sold at dealer auctions will often require repair work. Budgeting for these costs can save you from breaking the bank at the car auction.

You can also consider towing costs. Not all vehicles sold at auction can run when you purchase them. Some auction buyers need to arrange to have the vehicle towed so it can be repaired.

3.       Be Car Literate

Cars at auction are typically sold as-is. That means that you’ll be stuck with whatever you purchase. If you aren’t a car buff, you can bring along a friend or family member with a good grasp of mechanics.

4.      Trust Your Instincts

Decide on the level of repairs you are willing to make before going to a public car auction. You might find some cheap vehicles once you arrive, but if they are beyond your ability to repair, they probably aren’t worth it. You can often learn a little more about the cars on offer by checking out car rankings online.

5.      Check out Vehicle Histories

Most people carry their cell phones with them everywhere. You may be able to get the vehicle identification number (VIN) for cars that catch your eye. You can use this number to check the car’s history before placing a bid. VINs are generally located on the:

·         Windshield

·         Car Door

·         Trunk Lid

Be aware that if the VIN numbers from the windshield and the door or trunk do not match up, you could be dealing with a vehicle that went through major repairs. The VIN can also reveal if a vehicle was recalled for a serious issue.

6.      Check the Fluids

You won’t be able to drive a car around before bidding on it at a car auction. However, you can generally open the hood and get a look at the engine. Check the dipsticks for the car’s transmission fluid or oil. Make sure the fluids are clean and clear before bidding on the vehicle.

7.      Bid with Care

It’s a good idea to resist jumping directly into bidding. You should pay attention to the behavior of other bidders at the car auction. Know your budget and don’t get too attached to one vehicle. Keep your options open and let a car go if the bids get too high.

Purchasing a car at an auto auction can save you a significant amount of money. Keep these tips in mind to be ready if you decide to buy a car at an auction.

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