Buying a car can be a stressful transaction. First, you need to research the make and model you want, and it’s at this point you discover there are simply endless choices! Do you want to drive one of the US brands, such as Ford or Chevrolet? Or perhaps you trust the Japanese giants – Toyota and Honda, for example – and want to continue with those? Then there’s choosing the right dealership!
We all know that car dealers will give you the hard sell, and it can be off-putting. That’s why we want to talk about public car auctions and why they might be the way for you to go. We’re not talking eBay of Craigslist here – and if you are using those resources, we advise you take great care – but auctions held by dealers. What happens at a public car auction?
What are Public Car Auctions?
Car auctions – like most other physical auctions – were put on hold during the pandemic, but most in the US are now open once more. Many auctions of this type are for trade only, but we are talking about those that are open to the public. You can have a good look at the cars on offer, check them out for damage and problems, and then start bidding!
We recommend you arrive early so you can examine the cars properly, and also look for those auctions where a car has a ‘Buy it Now’ price, which means you can simply agree a deal without bidding. However, you can get bargains if you wait for the actual auction. But what if you can’t get to the auction location?
Should I Buy a Car at an Online Auto Auction?
When we say online auto auction we are talking about an auction that is also a physical one yet allows online bidding. The only problem with buying at an online auto auction is that you do not have the chance to see the car up close beforehand. Many auction houses will offer you a ‘walk around’ video and they are obliged to ensure all descriptions are as accurate as possible and not misleading.
This method of buying can get you a superb bargain but may also leave you disappointed, so be sure to research the history of the vehicle by using the VIN. This is a unique number given to every vehicle manufactured anywhere in the world and can give you some insight into the history. Also check if the car has been an insurance write-off, as some are put back on the road.
Getting the Best Deal
Both attending a public auction and following them online can be quite exciting, but don’t be tempted to bid on something you don’t really want. Public car auctions are frequent and stock changes regularly, so rather than compromise on a model that is not quite what you are looking for, go to the next auction and you may find your ideal car among the inventory.