(806) 244-4453 Fax

How To Buy A Used Car At Auction Without Getting Scammed

Friday, January 5th, 2018
car auction buying tips

Buying a car at an auction can give you a great deal, but there are some tips you should follow to ensure you don’t get scammed. Keeping the old saying “buyer beware” in your mind is a good idea as you search for your new vehicle. You should also know what you are looking at mechanically, because you cannot take your choice to a mechanic for a checkup. Used cars bought at auction are sold as is, and the sale will be final. Use the following tips when purchasing a car at auction to keep from getting scammed.

Ask for a vehicle report before the auction

When you plan on bidding for a car at an auction, ask to see the vehicle history report ahead of the sale date. This report is the best tool for protecting yourself against a scam. Some sales will offer you a guarantee on the engine, body, and frame for 30 days, but will ask for a fee. You can ask for an extended warranty after winning a car, but you should ask before the sale if this is even an option. Not all car auctions will offer history reports or extended warranties. You could try to bring someone with you who is knowledgeable about automobiles to inspect the vehicle before you begin bidding.

Understand the indications given by the auctioneer

At a used car auction, there are typically lights placed above the auctioneer to indicate the vehicle’s condition. As a buyer at the auction, it is your responsibility to understand what these different colored lights mean. Not all auctions use the same lights for the same meaning, so you will want to make sure you know the colors before bidding.

The most typical colors used are green for drivable, while yellow indicates that there may be concerns with the car. A red light will usually tell you that the particular vehicle is being sold as is. If a blue light appears, this says there is no title present for the car. However, the seller will be given a specific amount of time to deliver the title after the car auction.

Arrive at the auction early

Arrive at the auction early and bring a Kelly Blue Book or NADA guide with you to look the vehicles over and verify their listed prices. Smartphones are also used to check car prices online at pricing websites or on other auction sites. Check out the vehicles that you are interested in bidding on. Open all the doors and the trunk to look for the VIN number stickers and make sure they are all the same. If the VINs don’t match, this will alert you that the car is either stolen or has had parts replaced from other vehicles.

Issues to check for on cars

There are issues to check for on cars you’re interested in bidding on that can alert you to bigger problems. If you notice the tires are wearing unevenly or balding, this could indicate the alignment is off and the car could have been in a wreck. If the title being given is a rebuilt title, make sure the value has been reduced by at least 30% for the price of the car.

Check for excessive scratches, dimples, paint chips, and dents, and make sure there is no evidence of leaks on the window seals. You should also make sure the carpet has not been replaced, as this could indicate the car was involved in a flood. Check the entire vehicle over to make sure it appears just as it would have on a car lot. Make sure that no replacements or cover-ups show anywhere that would indicate damage is being covered up.

Bid cautiously

Car auctions are an exciting way to get new vehicles. However, bidding can become a frenzy on hot-ticket items, and you may find yourself getting caught up in a bidding war. Remember to bid cautiously when at a car auction and never offer more than you can afford. Spending too much on a car takes away from the real value you were expecting when bidding at the auction.

Contact the auction experts

To learn more about how to bid at a car auction, contact the experts at High Plains Auctioneers today. You can call us at (806) 244-6776 or Contact Us by email for more information about buying or selling at auction. Don’t forget to check out our Upcoming Auctions to see what we have available!