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Saturday, December 10, 2016

An insider's guide to auctioning for a car

Auto auctions are an opportunity to find dream cars
By Lillian Connors

Car auctions usually attract two types of bidders. Low-riders who want to bid for the high-end classic cars and penny-wise drivers who want to buy a reliable used vehicle for an affordable price. When it comes to auction rules, high-end auction events where you can buy a 1967 Ford Mustang and online auctions that sell Corollas and Altimas are basically the same. They are usually based on the open ascending price auction concept, where contestants are trying to outbid and outsmart each other, by offering a bigger sum.

During these dynamic and passionate struggles many bidders become delirious and end up with an overpaid car wreck. This comprehensive guide will help you to outbid your opponents and buy a reliable used vehicle on a public or online auction.

Choose the right auction

There are two types of auctions that sell regular used cars. Government auctions sell old government cars, police cruisers and taxi vehicles. These cars usually come with a known background and high mileage, so government auctions are not the place where you’ll find a well-maintained used vehicle.
Public auctions are organized by dealerships and auction houses. There, you can find much better deals, but you should stick to the well-known and respectable auction companies. You can recognize them by their elaborate online vehicle catalogues, allowing you to review the current auction offers, choose your favorite vehicles and place bids.

Review the auction catalogue

Auction inventory give astute buyers a head start
The auction catalogue is your prime source of information about the offered vehicles. Most online catalogues come with similar categories that range from model specs to vehicle condition assessments, we learn from the guys behind Slattery Auctions. These assessment are sometimes conducted by auction house mechanics, but in most cases the data is simply entered by vehicle owners. You can use auction websites to inquire about your favorite cars, but most experienced bidders rely on personal inspections.

Examine the desired vehicle

If you’ve ever bought a used vehicle, you know that personal inspection is the most important part of the purchasing process. Before meeting the auctioneer or the car owner, check the cars’ value on the Kelley Blue Book.

You should keep in mind that the owners who sell their cars in ‘As is’ condition don’t offer any warranties. These cars have very low starting prices, but they usually come with much higher mileage and one or a few engine defects.

Bidders who don’t know much about cars, should definitely hire a professional car mechanic, who will inspect the car’s engine, transmission and brakes. You can check vehicle’s exterior yourself, by looking for dents, scratches and corrosion. When doing this type of check, don’t believe in everything you see. Sellers often use wax, polish, spray and touch up paint, to make their cars look shiny and spotless. Used cars are never as good as they look.


If you attend the live auction event, find a place where you can be seen by the auctioneer. Observe other bidders during the process and look for suspicious actions. Bidders who are too active are often hired by car owners in order to surge up the vehicle’s price.

Online car auctions require completely different skills. One of the ways to secure a winning bid is to place it the moment after the auction closes. If you don’t have the time to follow the auction process, you can download a sniper program that can keep track with other bidders, and place bids up to the amount of money you’re planning to spend. Keep in mind that bidding can be very addictive. Don’t get carried away during the process, because you will spend hundreds of dollars more than the car’s actual worth.

If you manage to outbid your opponents, most respectable auction houses will deliver your new car to your address. If you’ve bought a pricey vehicle ask them to transport it in an enclosed trailer, so you don’t need to worry about shipping damages.

Author the Author: Lillian Connors believes that the question of business goes far beyond the maximization of profit through different money-grabbing ploys. Instead, she likes to think that ethical principles should be at the core of every commercial venture, paving the way for much more balanced distribution of wealth on a global scale. You can check her out on LinkedIn.

Images: Author owned and licensed