A Day At The Auto Auction

by Don Elliott on January 5, 2012

Are your considering buying a used car? One way to find a car with a good used car value is at an auto auction. Millions of cars are sold each year at auto auctions. Most of the auto auction transactions are at wholesale auto auctions, open only to licensed car dealers. However, with a little research, you can find a public auto auction offering all sorts of used cars and trucks at values well below the prices on used car dealer’s lots.

Buying cars at an auto auction requires some knowledge of cars and how they work. Car dealers who buy cars at auction factor in any needed mechanical or body repairs into their bid price. For the public buyer, it is necessary to add the cost of any repair and maintenance items, auction fees, taxes, and license fees to determine the total costs.

Buyers are expected to pay in full within 48 hours. Auto auctions do not provide any financing. It is a good idea to figure out what you can afford before auction sale day, arriving at the auto auction with a buying limit clearly established and easily available.

Going to an auto auction can be an interesting and exciting adventure. All sorts of vehicles are offered for sale, some in good condition and others in need of work. Usually the vehicles are driven past the auctioneer who controls the fast paced bidding until the car is either sold or driven off if the seller’s reserve is not met. It is the auctioneer’s job to bring the seller and the buyer together at an agreed price to complete the sale.

Doing research on the cars before the auto auction begins will make the day more productive for you. The auction provides a “run list” which describes the vehicles offered and the order they will be sold. It is a good idea to focus on a few cars, do a pre-sale inspection, establish a maximum bid price, and listen to what other buyers are saying about the cars that you like.

It is not necessary to bid on anything when you go to the auto auction. For first time auction attendees, it is probably a good idea to watch the action and pay attention to the veteran buyers for keys to success in the auction lanes. Because the bidding is competitive, smart buyers know when to walk away and let the other guy pay too much. There will be plenty more cars at the next public car auction and maybe a car with a better used car value for you.  


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