Auction Do’s and Don’ts

Here are some pointers for those new to the auction scene:

Select the most appropriate auction. While internet auctions, such as those on eBay Motors, can occasionally bring up good offers, the best deals are usually found at local brick-and-mortar auctions. The vehicles are typically sold at trade-in values. As a result, instead of paying $12,000 at a dealership for a 2014 Chevy truck with 86,000 miles, you could be able to acquire one at an auction for $8,000, according to the Blue Book’s database.

Look for “open” or “public” auctions that do not necessitate the use of a dealer’s license in order to participate. Other specialty auctions sell only a specific type of vehicle, such as police cars, pickup trucks, or automobiles utilized by government employees, among others.

In most cases, you can attend public auctions for free, but if you intend to bid, you may be required to pay a charge of approximately $40. Most auctions accept cash or cashier’s checks as payment, and most auctions need a deposit immediately and full payment within 24 hours. Some auctions will accept credit cards, but they may charge a fee of up to 5 percent for this service.

Before you place your bid, have a look. After you’ve found a reputable local auction, visit it numerous times just to observe the action before attempting to purchase a vehicle. Learn how quickly the vehicles go over the auction block, the platform where they are auctioned, and become accustomed to this pace. Larger auctions may have numerous lanes of vehicles in continual action, which can be very distracting. Take attention of how other buyers bid and the tempo with which the auctioneer delivers his or her speech.

Evaluate the danger. For more information, check the auction’s website to see if the vehicle is covered by any type of warranty. Many people employ a “stoplight” system, both online and at the auction itself, to guide them through the process:

Green light: There are no known problems in the vehicle, and arbitration is available to deal with any mechanical difficulties that have not yet been detected.

Yellow light: Indicates that the vehicle has known problems that are not susceptible to arbitration.

Red light:  The vehicle is being sold as-is. According to Huang, “if the engine blows up, you’re out of options.”

Make sure everything is in working order by inspecting and verifying. Most auctions will allow you to see the vehicles before bidding, but most will not allow you to do a test drive. All you can do is sit in the car, turn the key in the ignition, and potentially shift into gear. Most online auctions include either a “condition grade” (on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being brand new and 3 being average wear and tear) or a full list of flaws and mechanical faults, depending on the sale. Even so, make certain to obtain a vehicle inspection report for any vehicle in which you have a significant interest. On the other hand, some people warn that even these reports may be missing critical information, such as water damage.

Bring a friend with you. Bring along a car-savvy buddy or perhaps a mechanic if you have the opportunity. But, whichever you choose to be your wingman, be sure to tell them what you want to buy and how much money you have to spend. It is their responsibility to keep you from being overexcited.

Cast a wide net and see what comes in. “Be open-minded,”, rather than falling in love with a single automobile. Review the “run list” online the day before to see what vehicles are available for purchase so that you may target a few that meet your requirements.

Decide on a bidding range. As soon as you’ve narrowed down your list of probable prospects, evaluate the trade-in value of these vehicles using online pricing guides.

“Make this price a part of your mentality and don’t go above it”

What you should avoid doing

  1. Almost as crucial as knowing what you should do is know how to avoid falling into deadly traps.
  • Overbidding. While you are in the throes of excitement, it is possible to fall prey to “the red mist” phenomenon, in which your judgment is clouded by the excitement. You could be the target of the auctioneer’s attention, and he’s waiting for you to raise your bid. If you’ve reached your limit, turn your back to the person to demonstrate that you’re not interested.
  • Signaling was inadequate. Due to the high volume of traffic and the machine-gun banter of the auctioneer’s voice, it’s easy to miss the cream puff you’ve been eyeing up all along. Attract the attention of the auctioneer early in the process so that he or she is aware that you will be a bidder. You should keep in mind that you will only have a few seconds to decide whether or not to purchase the item.
  • Bidding against a shill is difficult. Huang claims that dealers may occasionally bid on their own vehicles in order to push up the price. If a bidder is known to the auction crew or appears to be an insider, you should be particularly cautious about not exceeding your bidding limit.
  • Purchasing a lemon is a bad idea. Even if the car history report is clean, it is your responsibility to do all in your power to inspect the vehicle for mechanical problems or body damage. Read automotive forums on the internet to find out whether the cars you’re interested in have any mechanical issues. Make a checklist and go over the vehicle completely with it.