Posted on 01/17/22

How To Purchase A Car At A Public Car Auction

How To Purchase A Car At A Public Car Auction

Are you a public car auction first timer? Are you concerned about hidden fees and being left out in the cold? You might wonder if public auction cars are worth taking the chance.

Is it possible to find salvage cars at public auctions only? Online access to public auctions of autos is possible to avoid having to meet face-to-face. These and other questions will all be answered.

This article will provide more details about how you can buy your next car at an auto auction.

What is a Car Auction?

An "auction" refers to a process in which products are put up for sale and bought by the highest bidder. The product is awarded to the highest bidder, as you may already know.

These events are held around the globe, and the internet makes it easier to participate.

Auctions offer many products, including cars. These auctions are very popular as they allow you to purchase a vehicle for a low price while still having fun.

Why are Cars Sold at an Auction?

There are many reasons why cars are sold at auctions. We see it used by companies with company cars as well as rental car businesses. As we have already mentioned, this is how car dealers get a large portion of their inventory.

Outlet stores and bulk retailers can get rid of excess stock quickly by lowering their prices. The same goes for sellers at car auctions. Stocking inventory is not a science. There must be a way for extra goods to be removed if they aren't needed or left too long.

You can see damage from accidents or other events like floods with salvage cars. These cases are where insurance companies decide it's not worth fixing. In these cases, the insurer will pay the owner and then sell it at an auction to recover some of its value.

Fortunately, they don't always have to be totaled. These vehicles may only be damaged in minor ways, so they can still legally drive and be re-registered.

There are four types of car auctions

These are the main types of car auctions you may have heard about. These include public, private, government, and online. Let's take a closer view.


The word "public" means that anyone can participate. These auctions take place in real space, not online. It's simple to have your car shipped to yourself. Public auctions don't require a license as you would for private auctions.

You'll find cars in every condition, new, used and damaged. These cars are sold "as-is", meaning that there are no returns or warranties. This will allow you to see the situation objectively and without surprises, if you visit one.


Private auctions are restricted to private car dealers only and are not open to the general public. Only dealers are allowed to participate. This is how car dealers get a lot of their inventory.

Auctions offer vehicles in better conditions than public auctions, often new or almost new. Dealers take part in these auctions to save money and then they add their markup before selling the vehicles.


Local governments and other government agencies, such as police departments, can conduct these types of car auctions. As long as the vehicle was seized by authorities, they can be included in these auctions. These include trucks, motorbikes, as well as boats.

You can even buy a retired police car and be Elwood from the Blues Brothers. You have the option! To get rid of them quickly, government agencies auction off old vehicles at low prices when they upgrade to newer models.

Public Auto Auctions Online

Low prices can also be found online. These are very similar to public or government auctions except that you don't need to leave your couch. You've probably ever bought a Pontiac or a police car in your pajamas.

An additional benefit to using an online auction for public access is the fact that you can choose from a wider range of vehicles across the country. There are many options, and you may have already experienced the convenience of shopping online.

Online auction platforms offer excellent customer support. Online auction platforms can handle all the paperwork and logistics involved in auto-auction shipping.

Six Tips to Buy a Car Online

Before and during the event, you have the right of asking questions. You could avoid being scammed by researching the car you are considering.

Are you aware of anyone who has? Ask them questions, and they may just be able to tag along!

You have a greater chance of winning your car at a fair price if you arrive early in the morning. Because bids aren’t as high during this period, it’s a good time to get your favorite car at a reasonable price.

1. Research vehicle values

To find out the approximate value of your vehicle, check Kelly Blue Book and Edmunds. Prices can vary depending on where you live. It is worth looking at vehicle prices on Craigslist as well as in local classified ads.

This investigation will make you feel more informed and prepared. You will also be more confident and make better decisions when you are at an auction. It's possible to outwit someone else, which only adds to the excitement!

2. Find Any Hidden Issues

A car that is damaged or rusty may be a great option. An immaculate-looking car may look like an old golf cart. You should be prepared to dig beneath the surface and look for hidden electrical or mechanical issues.

Find out how to identify problems underneath the hood. Learn how to identify issues based on the sound of the engine.

3. Get the vehicle's history

You can learn a lot about the vehicle's past history by looking into its current condition. To check if it has been in an accident or sustained damage, look up its VIN number. What number of owners does it have?

However, more owners can mean more trouble. Consider gas mileage, wear and tear, driving comfort, and so on. Make a list before you make a bid.

4. Keep in mind, there are no guarantees

As we have said, vehicles purchased at auctions are not covered by warranties or guarantees. You cannot ask the previous owner for repairs or returns. This is the biggest risk you take when you purchase a car at an auction.

5. You can add a cushion for repairs

You should include a cushion to cover repair costs. How much are you willing and able to spend in this area? Do you have the skills to fix it? Or do you know someone who can help you get a great deal from a mechanic?

6. Stay within your budget

Stick to your budget. Buyer's remorse is not something you want. It can ruin the enjoyment of your vehicle. You must promise that you will not leave, even if the car is your dream.

Bidding wars can be avoided by sticking to your budget. You'll live in the car if you allow your emotions to take control. An auction's purpose is not to waste money on a silly argument.

How to find a public car auction

Search Google for "online auctions of cars near me" to find one. You also have the option to check your local newspaper. You'll have more options if you are willing to travel. You can search on Copart for the vehicle type you are looking for, by location or brand.

How to buy at a public car auction

Each public auction car comes with a description. These descriptions are provided by the auctioneers. These documents contain important information such as disclaimers, conditions, and other terms.

You might not be eligible for compensation if you do not include any disclaimers. These are called Category D write-offs. These descriptions will also include the "reserved price", which is the minimum amount the seller is willing and able to accept.

Each car will be referred to by the term "lot" and driven into the auction according to the order they are listed in the catalog. You can listen to the car as it is driven into the hall if you were not there in time for inspections.

Bids are coming in quickly so be ready for them to rise. If you are interested in a car, keep your head clear and use your hands quickly. When you are certain you want to bid, raise your hand, catalog, or numbered paddle quickly and clearly while you catch the auctioneer’s attention.

If the vehicle's reserve price is reached, the car will be sold to the highest bidder. The auctioneer will then give the car a shake and declare it sold.

You will need to pay a 20% deposit to the auction house if you win the bid. You can pay the balance with a bank transfer, debit card, or bank transfer. The auction house may charge admin fees if you use cash or credit.

How does shipping work?

Because there are so many options, auction shipping is simple. They can be shipped via train, truck, or ship.

To get an estimate, fill out the online form or call the auto shipping company. Once you are satisfied with the estimate, you can fill out an order form online or by calling to place your order.

The pickup time and location will be notified to you. You will then receive a notice of 4-24 hours before delivery.

Have fun bidding on the car of your dreams!

We wish you the best and that you don't end up with a lemon. These tips will help you be more prepared and have more fun.

You could even save money if you aren't a skilled gearhead. They might be able to help you during your morning inspections. Good luck with your public auction bidding!

We are happy to assist you.