Buying a car at an auction may seem like a much cheaper option than buying one from a used car dealership. However, there is always a chance that you may get tricked into buying something that can give you a pretty tough time. There is no straightforward answer to the question, are car auctions worth it? It can be a great experience, or it can be a disastrous one. We will answer this question by discussing how things work at an auction.
There Are No Guarantees
First and foremost, you should be ready to take chances. At an auction, there are no guarantees, and the seller cannot be held accountable for selling something that turns out to be a complete waste of money. Cars are sold at an “as is” condition, which means whatever it is, it is in front of you, and whatever you may finf inside is a chance you will have to take.
While you can look out for other things in a physical auction, online auctions can pull a fast one on you very easily. Always check if there is some legal action that you can take, if there is ample information available, and if the seller can be held liable for selling something that contradicts the information provided.
Having no guarantees is a risk that will always be there, given the limited time you get to judge a car and, that too, without running it.
Examine As Thoroughly As You Can
At auctions, there is a lot of rush. Moreover, you cannot test drive the car; you can only look at it before quickly deciding whether or not to place a bid. In the best-case scenario, they will run the engine. However, they can still pull some tricks to make the engine sound like it is all perfect. Be very vigilant in your examination.
You may want to bring someone along with you at an auction. Given that there are no guarantees and that there is only so much you can check before buying the car, we would suggest that you must always bring someone with you who is an expert in cars. Even if you have a good eye for cars, bringing a friend will only help you since two sets of eyes are better than one, especially when there is so much uncertainty at a car auction.
Things to look out for are dents, paint jobs, and other repair indicators. Even though almost all the cars at an auction will be showered and made to look their best, you must look for signs to differentiate if repairs are minor or major.
Another thing to keep in mind is that if you see a car with dents and a bad paint job, it may be the case that the seller didn’t think that it was worth the effort. The car can be a total wreck, and you may not want to bet on something like this.
Moreover, to check how the car was kept and driven, if possible, check for the engine dipstick for oil. The quality of oil tells you if it has been maintained well. Since people don’t check this often, the seller may not have given a thought to changing it.
Since there are cars that were previously totaled, you may want to check for the VIN numbers throughout the car. They must be the same everywhere, a car cannot have more than one VIN number, nor can two cars have the same VIN number. A difference in the VIN is the best indication of wreckage or replacements. If the seller has not made it common knowledge, and you identify a discrepancy, you should most probably drop the car.
So whenever you are at an auction, you have to ensure that you give your best at examining the car. However, the risk still persists. You may drop a car that has a great drive based on a few dents or you may end up getting a shiny good looking car with zero performance.
Pumping Up the Prices
At an auction, it is imperative that you keep an eye out for people only there to jack up the prices. It is not uncommon that inside the auction, people are present to hike the prices. You may see them being present on every lot and bidding uncontrollably. Everything at an auction is happening very quickly, and there is almost no time to stop and think once the bidding begins. In this case, these inside people use your adrenaline rush against you.
It is quite common that in the heat of the moment, people’s judgment can become clouded, which can lead to you spending more than what you had planned or buying something that was not worth it.
Being mindful while bidding, it is important not only to save yourself from the price hikers present at an auction but also to sensibly make a decision. Make a budget and stick to it. It is recommended that you do not get carried away at an auction, as even if it is not the price hikers, the results may still be the same.
When it comes to the price, you can easily use online tools that help you find the value of a used car. You may not want to go above that value. These values are taken out incorporating various factors, and the results are fair. However, at an auction, the cars often don’t meet the pricing metrics through fair price tools. Checking the car list and values against them online can help you set up a better budget; keep this in mind when bidding. If the values go beyond the fair price, be vigilant, take the hint that something fishy is going on and move on.
Are Car Auctions Worth it?
With all this information, we can now conclude that it is up to you to make it worth it. You can find some deals that are great or you can come back home with a piece of junk. It all is dependent on how you tread while at an auction. A key takeaway here is that at an auction, it is best to return empty-handed than with something that will over time only cost you more and will have minimal resale value.
So do not get disheartened over not making a deal at an auction; there are many other options when it comes to looking for used cars. There are a lot of used car dealerships that can help you find a perfect car that offers great value for money.
If you are keen on buying at an auction, whatever may be the reason, we would suggest that you should visit different auctions, see how things work, get an experience before you go to actually buy a car. Acclimatizing yourself with things can really help you get the best deal out there. We will reiterate that you should not rush into making decisions, you should not let the rush cloud your judgement and you should stick with your budget.
Staying mindful of all these pointers can help you make the best of your car auction experience. We hope you get the best deal out there.