If you are interested in bidding on salvage cars online, you may have done some research and learned that some vehicles were previously the property of government agencies. If that’s the case, your question would be if these cars are safe to buy.
In this blog, we will advise you on what to look out for when buying cars at government auctions, or if there are other better ways to buy vehicles from other online car auctions.
What Do Government Car Auctions Sell?
Government auto auctions usually allow people to bid on cars that were either in use by local law enforcement authorities, or were seized as part of a government bust. These auctions may hold everything from old police squad cars, almost-brand-new cars confiscated from criminals, or a government official’s vehicle that was in an accident.
Depending on your luck, there may be a huge assortment of vehicles available at these government auctions. Also, you may get great prices for these vehicles.
So in order to make the most of government auctions, here are some tips for you:
1. Researching Government Auction Sites
If you are interested in buying your vehicle from government auctions, the first thing that you need to do is to check ads and online publications about the events. These include your local newspapers and government auto auctions websites, which will provide you with information on any upcoming auctions.
You will also find that they provide you with the picture of the item and a detailed description of each object. When researching the cars, make sure you check out its vehicle history, make and model of the car, any manufacturing defects, and the physical condition of the vehicle.
This can give you a bit of an idea about the vehicle you want to purchase. Unfortunately though, you may not be able to give it a mechanical inspection. This is one of the reasons why inexperienced buyers should remain wary of government auctions.
2.Condition of the Car
Many people wonder whether they should buy a car from a government auction. The answer to that depends on the car itself. Many government vehicles have had an easy life, particularly if they are driven in mild climates and smooth highways. Others may have to endure busy traffic areas, broken roads and high mileage, which may make them worse for wear.
That’s why it is important to find everything you can about the vehicle, including its condition, where it was used, how it was used and if it sustained any corrosion or damage.
If the car was a squad car, it may have been driven harden than a car issued to a mayor. It may also be riddled with holes from computer equipment, light bars, and antennas. So make sure you examine the car inside out for any damage before you set your heart on it.
3. Consider the Market Value
Since government auto auctions are very popular, they can be fiercely competitive. Government employees, independent auto dealerships, auto brokers, and taxi companies all vie to bid on them. Although most of these government vehicles have a low starting bid, it can rise well above the actual market value once the bidding starts. Therefore, always do your homework so that you don’t overbid.
4. Setting a Price
One of the most important things that you need to consider when bidding on a government car is your budget. Make doubly sure that you know how much you are willing to bid. Do not forget to include other costs like other fees, repair costs, delivery charges, and any decorations for your car.
If you want to find the right budget for your car, it will require a lot of research. You can look through classified ads to find out how much other people are willing to pay for similar vehicle models. You can go online and look at cars with the same features and similar condition to the government car you want to buy and see how much it realistically costs.
Once you have finished all your research, you will need to set a price for your car and not go over it in the heat of the moment.
5. Figure Out Your Payment Method
Another important thing to take into account is to figure out what your payment method should be. Will you pay in cash, check, or online? If you are buying an expensive car, chances are that you will be unwilling to carry that amount of cash to the government auction. Whatever your mode of payment is, you need to sort it out before going to the auction as you will be required to pay before you can take home your car.
Additionally, if you delay in your payment, you may be charged with a hefty fee by the auctioneer for storing your vehicle.
6. Don’t Get Too Attached to a Vehicle
One of the most common trick many car auctioneers use is to encourage people to imagine they are sitting behind the wheel of their newly acquired car. This tactic is meant to make you think of the government car as your own and you can get attached to it.
When this happens, you are more likely to overbid against your common sense. So keep a cool head during the bidding process and do not let the auctioneer force you into making a purchase that you will later regret.
7. Check the VIN Number
Your vehicle identity number is of utmost importance so make sure you do not forget to check it. Buying a car with a VIN number that does not match the one written in the car documents is the biggest mistake you can make.
If you don’t have the right VIN number, there is no way to ascertain that you actually own it. You won’t be able to insure it and the car could be stolen or may have hidden damage that you may be unaware of. So, no matter how low the price is, it is not a good idea to bid on this type of car.
If you are an experienced car buyer who has bought vehicles from government auctions before, you will know all the ins and outs of the process and it will not seem daunting to you. However, if you haven’t attended an auction before — particularly a government car auction — it can be difficult to easily navigate through it. Hopefully, the tips above can help you out.
Government auctions have a lot of uncertainties, particularly when it comes to the condition of the car. If you would rather not spend hours researching how to circumvent a government auction to buy your dream car, another great option is buying a car from an online auction.
Online auctions, like RideSafely.com, have a huge inventory of thousands of used and salvage cars, including those from government auctions, auto insurance auctions, and Copart auto auctions. You can check out cars that you may never have otherwise discovered and bid on them online, without the hassle of going to a physical location, and without the added pressure of an auctioneer forcing you into buying a car you could do without.
The sheer amount of variety, the convenience, and ease of use are reasons why many people opt for online auto auctions these days rather than going to government auctions.