Auto Auction Etiquette

by Joe Ferguson on April 10, 2013

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Trying to get your hands on a good car at a car auction can be a daunting task – especially if you don’t have billions to spend on a dream ride from an expensive, high-profile auction. We’ve devised a quick checklist to help you navigate the auto auction wilderness.
If you’re apprehensive about how to go about finding a good auto auction deal, run through this list before hitting the auction lot.
1.    Be Realistic – Don’t commit to a car that requires too many repairs. Even if a particular car has you drooling, if it requires thousands of dollars’ worth of repairs, it’s probably not worth the work. If a car has a superficial scratch or dent that doesn’t affect functionality, then you’re in the clear. Minor imperfections can usually be fixed on the cheap.

2.    Be Thorough – Examine the car as much as possible. Check dipsticks to make sure the car’s fluids are clear and clean. Study the VIN numbers on different car parts to ensure the car is still in its original pieces. Non-corresponding VIN numbers could mean a dramatic wreck in the vehicle’s past.

3.    Be Observant – Watch the other bidders at the auction. Some people only go to auctions to cause trouble by driving prices up incredibly high, only to walk away while some poor schmuck overpays. Know the kind of competition you’ll be dealing with.

Next time you find yourself at a government or public auto auction, keep these thoughts in mind. Don’t get caught up in the hype; a calm, determined attitude goes a long way at an auto auction.

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