If you are thinking of attending a public car auction, then you should know what you’re getting into. There are indeed great bargains to be found in bidding at a public auto auction, but by doing so you are taking some risks as well. You cannot just go into a public car auction unprepared and expect to come out of it with a great buy. The fact is, you need to be very prepared when you plan to buy a car at a public auto auction.
You should begin by setting your expectations. What exactly do you want to get out of attending a car auction? Are you looking to get a good deal on a used car? Or are you planning to bid on some rare collectible? For there are auction houses that specialize in selling collectible vintage autos. In fact, a car auction may provide the best opportunity for you to obtain a rare classic car. But if that is your goal, bear in mind that such cars will not come cheaply and you will have to bid against many other experienced buyers.
Let us say that your goal is to buy a used car at the very affordable price. What do you need to know? First of all, you have to realize that the types of cars sold at public auctions are commonly repossessed or government seized cars. Auction lots are supposed to check if such cars have clean titles, but some of them are not thorough in their checking. And the cars are sold “as-is” without a long-term warranty or buyback guarantee. While you can get to see the vehicles during the inspection period before the auction, you will not be allowed to test-drive them, only get behind the wheel and run the engine.
To make sure that you are getting a used car with a clean title, you’ll have to get its vehicle registration number and run it through a website such as Carfax.com to check its vehicle history. Of course, there is a fee for that service.
A lot of public car auctions require you to pay a registration fee, which can cost a couple hundred dollars or so. Furthermore, if you manage to win one of your bids, you will have to pay the auction lot of buyer’s premium on top of the winning bid that you made.
There is a lot that you need to consider before getting your next car at a public auto auction.