When it comes time to buy a new car, you have many choices. There are dealerships, used car lots, Craigslist, newspaper wanted ads, trade publications, eBay motors, and online car auctions like SCA’s Phoenix auto auction. Bidding on cars online offers you the largest selection of vehicles at much lower prices than if you went into a dealership or used car lot. Before you decide to bid online for your next car though, there are some things that you should know in advance, especially if you have never bought an auction car or truck.
Choosing an Auto Auction
Once you start looking for a car to buy, you will notice that there are many online auction sites available to you. Unless you have a dealers license, look for any auction that allows the public to buy. Sites that carry classic cars like hot rods and muscle cars are usually open to the public, and people can bid online as well as in person. These car auctions, such as Mecum, normally have very expensive vehicles on the auction block.
Public auctions have sellers such as government agencies, financial institutes, insurance companies, and rental car companies. These companies sell their vehicles at auction to try and recoup as much money as possible from settled claims and repossessions.
You want to look for an auction that has a good selection of vehicles. Those vehicles may be wrecked, but they are still in good condition with a little work from you. It helps if you either are or know a mechanic when it comes to bidding at an auction. If not, find a friend who knows about cars to help you choose your next car.
Watch the Auction Action
Once you have decided on which site you will be bidding on, take a few days to watch the auctions. You will have to register to use the auction site, but once you do, you should be able to see ongoing auctions. Some sites have auctions running every day, so find one that you can watch for a few days. You want to see how the cars are bid on, how much money is being spent, and the overall condition of the cars and trucks. This will help you understand the process.
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What Type of Vehicle Do You Want?
Since there are so many cars, trucks, and even motorcycles and RVs going up for auction, make it easy on yourself and figure out what you want in advance. Do your research to determine what make and model will best suit your needs. Then find online groups, factory websites, and dealerships that offer more information on your chosen car or truck. You might find that the car of your dreams has several recalls on it. As you research further, you might find something else that you want instead.
How Much Money Are You Going to Spend?
One thing to remember is that the price of the car will be lower at an auction than at a dealership or even by looking through the classified ads. This means you can buy a better model or a more expensive trim level than you might have originally thought possible.
The sales price of the auction car does not include sales tax, transportation fees, auction fees, or other fees like tag and title fees. This is why you should have a budget in mind before you even start the bidding process.
Once the auction starts, the bidding can get fast and furious, and you don’t want to get caught up in a bidding war that destroys your budget. This is where you might want to set a maximum bid and walk away if you reach it without winning the auction. There will be always more cars.
Read the Description Carefully
Every vehicle up for auction has a listing page that gives you crucial information about the car or truck listed. It will tell you who has it for sale. If it’s an insurance company, it may be a wrecked vehicle. If it’s a finance company, there might be no damage at all to it. Rental companies and municipalities sell their high-mileage vehicles, so look for that information on the listing. If the seller is not listed then you might want to avoid that auction; that vehicle may be a car that has been sold and resold because it’s a lemon.
In addition, you will see a condition report and many photos of the car, so take your time to read everything before you commit to bidding. You may have to pay for a car history report, but if you are serious about the vehicle then you will want to know its full history. Those reports should tell you if the car has been in an accident or recently serviced.
Title status is also included on the listing page, so you will know if it is a salvage title or not.
While internet connection is not as sketchy as they were in the 1990s, there are still pockets in the country where connectivity can be dicey. If you have a satellite connection or are relying on a hotspot then you might want to secure a better connection before you start bidding. It would be a shame to be winning a bidding war when your connection dropped.
These tips will help get you started on your bidding process. There will be a lot of cars moving very quickly, so stay focused on what you want from the auction. The most important tip to remember is to have fun.