(806) 244-4453 Fax

What You Need To Know Before Buying A Car At Auction

Monday, June 19th, 2017
car auction bidding

Many people attend auctions to bid on a variety of different items, including cars. Auctions are a great option for any car buyer, not just those looking for classics. You can get a great deal on everything from a plain sedan to a base model pickup. Often times, if you practice the right bidding methods and do some research, you can get these cars for a great price.

Auctions for these types of cars have boomed as the economy stays stagnant. Buyers who were formerly able to qualify for an auto loan find that they now need to shop with cash. For many people searching for a car, auctions are a simple and cost-effective solution. There are two types of car auctions known as government and public auctions. The following is a quick rundown of both types of auctions, as well as a few tips to help you get a great deal on a vehicle.

Government auctions

At a government auction, you will likely see a number of retired police cruisers. These vehicles will have known histories, so you will have a good idea about how they were maintained and repaired, as well as their mileage. The benefit of buying a vehicle from a government auction is that you know what you are getting. You won’t get to drive the car before bidding, so you need to have a sharp, critical eye.

The competition at a government auction is fast paced. Often times, taxi companies will purchase old police cruisers to use as cabs. You may also be competing with government employees who are eyeing a vehicle they once used on the job. It is important to understand that you will not be the only bargain-hunter at the auction. With so much fierce competition, it is not uncommon to see a car go for more than retail value. Be careful, do your research, and bid with caution.

Public auctions

If you are looking to purchase a car at public auction, you should have a mechanical inclination or at least know the basics. Many of the vehicles sold at public car auctions will need some work, but others will make the purchase price worth it. Unlike government auctions, you won’t have guaranteed history on most of the vehicles. Some of the vehicles are cars that were quickly reconditioned in dealerships and others are simply junk cars. Even with all of these risks, there are some great deals out there. If you decide to bid for a car at public auction, keep the following tips in mind.

Tips for buying a car at a public auction

If you are not equipped with the tools and knowledge to deal with mechanical challenges, consider asking for assistance from family or friends. Vehicles at public and government auctions sell on visual inspection. Look at everything and try to spot signs of repair, such as crinkled metal or paint overspray. If a car has a musty smell or the carpeting is wet, avoid bidding on it.

Although visual inspections are important, do not believe everything you see. Polish and touch-up paint are rather cheap and often used to cover up issues. A good detail will make an internally bad car look appealing to some bidders. On the other hand, be aware that at a government auction, some weathered paint may hide a perfectly sound vehicle. Small dents may be due to a parking lot thump, not a major issue or wreck. If you are attending a public auction, a car that looks horrible may also be a sign that it has major internal issues.

Know the competition

Do some research before the auction and take your time. Once at the auction, watch the other bidders closely. Look for suspicious moves like a bidder that is active on every lot. This person may be trying to pump up the prices. Finally, don’t get caught up in the bidding. You could end up spending hundreds more than you budgeted, and you may pay more for a car than it is worth. Be ready to walk away if bidding gets out of hand.

Preparing adequately before an auction can help you avoid spending too much, accidentally bidding, or using improper auction etiquette. For more information on how to bid at auctions, contact the experts at High Plains Auctioneers today. Call us (806) 244-6776 or Contact Us by email to find out more information on bidding practices. You can also check out our Upcoming Auctions too see what we have available!