How to Buy Auction Cars

car auction people
Car Auction People

People who follow my websites have probably seen my articles on how to buy auction cars. I have written several posts on this subject primarily on Since that location now has hundreds of pages of content the really good articles about the car auctions subject have gotten buried in the massive amounts of automotive information available there.

Friends and longtime followers are familiar with my history in the auto repair business but might forget when it comes to auctions I not only attend events, purchased automobiles but also my prior work experience as a management level employee for some of the larger companies.

Since I am familiar with all angles of the process and like to talk about the subject I decided to share some important tips on how to buy auction cars with visitors to the auto repair information blog. One of the most exciting things about auction day to me when I was buying cars was the very real chance to get a genuine bargain.

Auction car buyer beware

In most cases there are some high quality automobiles available. Unfortunately these can be mixed in with units that are not so desirable. Because of this situation it is recommended to have the vehicle checked out by a mechanic. When you buy cars online send an inspector out to evaluate the automobile before shipping takes place.

There are a bunch of different companies that provide this service and the prices will vary. One company I am affiliated with is Alliance Inspection Management, LLC. They provide a full report in writing which is nice to have when it comes time to resell the automobile.  Auction houses realize that the quality level of their inventory fluctuates.

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auction cars
Auction Cars

Most reputable companies will stand behind units sold under a green flag. Some will provide extra services to certify the vehicle’s true condition before money changes hands. As an example the company I worked for offered a frame certification for vehicles purchased through the auction. This was a guarantee that no frame damage was present. If it was discovered later a full refund would be available up till 90 days after the sale.

The frame inspection certification was around $75 and well worth the money. A vehicle that is involved in a heavy accident will in some cases suffer from frame damage. This reduces the value of the vehicle immensely. Often frame damage vehicles are impossible to sell.

Another interesting tip on how to buy auction cars would be to find out more about the seller. When the car originates from a rental agency or a lease company these can often be the vehicles with not only the best physical condition but the best overall condition. Lease companies and rental companies have guidelines for maintenance and care. This protects the value of the vehicle when they go to sell it.

If you are searching around a new car dealerships used-car inventory, pick out a few vehicles you like and ask them to run a vehicle history report. You’ll be surprised how often dealerships will supplement their trade in inventory with vehicles from the local car auction. The used-car managers at these dealerships understand that some of the best quality vehicles are lease returns and retired rental cars.

On the other hand if the automobile originated from a place that sells cars this can be an indication that the vehicle was either hard or impossible to sell on their own lot. It doesn’t automatically mean that it’s a bad automobile but it does mean that extra caution should be applied. As an example I was the service director at a high-end used-car lot.

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Almost all of vehicles originated from the auction. The owner of the dealership had a policy that if of vehicles sat on the lot for more than 90 days he would take it back to the sale and try to flip it for a small profit. He would use the money to buy a different automobile so that his inventory stayed fresh.

One of the best tips I can provide on how to buy auction cars is to take someone with hands on experience along with you the first couple of times you go. The first time you buy at auction is also the most dangerous. After you go a few times you’ll look back on the first trip and laugh. Hey, have you learned something about going to auctions? Share some tricks and treats with site visitors in the comment section below!