The Auto Auction Guide for First-Time Bidders

One of the best things about buying cars from a used car auction is that you will have a large inventory to choose from. It is understandable if you are too excited to keep still; after all, you are going to get an awesome car for a fraction of its price.

However, before you get too caught up in your enthusiasm, you need to consider a few things. Unless you want to make an ill-advised purchase, buying a car from an auction needs some preparation. But before we jump into the “technical” aspects, you need to know what auto actions exactly are.


What Are Auto Auctions?

Auto auctions allow buyers to purchase used, second-hand or salvage cars through a bidding process, which usually leads to buying them at lower prices than buying at a dealership. Most car auctions are usually only open to car dealers but there are several car auction services, which present the bid on the buyer’s behalf. Moreover, they will take care of all the bidding work for you, preventing you the hassle of attending actual auctions and getting into bidding wars.

Below, we have listed a few guidelines that can help you make the best car purchase decision.

Figure Out Your Budget:

    Always remember you need to know how much you can realistically pay to buy a car at an auction. Before you even step at a car auction service or an auction building, have a budget range in mind — and then stick to it. It is very thrilling to see a huge plethora of great-looking cars in the market, but the worst thing you can do is bust your budget when buying one and then later regretting it.

    Generally, cars sold at auctions are there because they have mechanical issues, have high mileage or have had past accidents. Your goal to buy a car at an auction should be to get a vehicle at a price below market value — which is essentially what auctions are for.

    Also keep in mind that if you got a great car for a great price, it might need a bit of repairs or some cosmetic work done. Sometimes, sedans or luxury vehicles can require repairs ranging from $300 to $2,000. Make sure your budget can cover the added cost when you purchase a car.


    Buying a car at an auction may come cheaper than the market value, but it still remains a huge investment. Once you have narrowed down your budget, it is time to take a look at the type of cars that you can afford and that can give you the best value for your money.

    Go online and even to car retailers and learn about your preferred cars’ wholesale and retail prices. Then find out if these cars have common issues and how much their repair costs. CarMD offers detailed information about the common types of car repairs, which vehicle has the lowest frequency of repairs and which have the lowest cost of repair. For example, in 2017, CarMD reported that the lowest average repair cost belonged to 2012 Mazda 5 at just $109.30.

Check Vehicles For Early Sale:

    salvage auto auction search

    salvage auto auction search

    Go to online auto auction service and check out their inventory. You will find thousands of vehicles of all makes and models for sale. Take your time to thoroughly check them out. Find out if a certain car’s size fits your requirement or would you like a more recent model. Does horsepower and mileage matter to you? If you see some vehicles you might be interested in, note down their names and the key features you are interested in.


    Once you have created a substantial list of the type of cars you need, you need to narrow down your choices. One way to shortlist your cars is to match it against your budget. Remember, your budget should cover the winning bid price, repair costs, any government fees or registration charges and auction fees. Another way is to find out about the car’s history, with companies like CarFax. This will give you an accurate idea of how many times the car has changed hands and how many mishaps it has been in.

Get Someone Who Knows About Cars:

    Once you shortlist the cars you want to bid on, bring a friend or your local mechanic to check out the car in person, before the auction begins. You will be allowed to lift the hood, check for structural defects or engine issues. This can give you a better idea of the condition of the car and ensure all the features you wanted are, indeed, present.

Ask Questions Before The Auction:

    This should be number one on your list, if you are a first-time auction bidder. Buying a car at an auction can be a daunting prospect and many people are uncertain whether they want to make that move. To alleviate your worries, you can do some homework and find out how the auction works, where the auto auction company gets the cars from, and how you can pay for your vehicle. All of this can be found from the auction service FAQ’s and Help and Support team.

An online auto auction service is one of the best ways you can buy a used or salvage car, with the least amount of hassle. Just follow these simple steps and you’ll be sure to get the car of your dreams.

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