Car Auction Tips

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Is it safe to buy a car through a car auction?

Buying Cars Through Car Auctions

As long as you are careful, buying a car through a car auction is safe. Car auctions, just like any other auctions, have their fair share of fraud. If you do the proper amount of research and are careful with whom you are dealing, you can safely buy a car at auction. As with all auctions, a successful transacation depends on knowing both the market value of the goods on which you are bidding and the quality of the seller from whom you are buying. Before buying cars at auction, work on your general car knowledge -- in terms of car prices and the costs of maintenance and repair. You should also have an idea about where the cars at the auction are from and what condition the cars were in prior to auction.

What should I do if I want to auction my car?

How To Auction Your Car

If you're thinking of selling your car, your best bet is to sell it through retail sources rather than at auction. Car auctions tend to only generate wholesale prices for automobiles. If you are only selling a single vehicle, selling your vehicle through the means of regular retail, either on your own or through a car dealership, will usually generate a better price. If you are a car dealer looking to sell cars at auction, you should realize that there are many additional costs associated with the auction process. If you are participating in an live auction, make sure to factor in the transport costs for the cars and the brokerage fees charged by the auction organizers. Realize that online auctions also usually charge a percentage of the selling price and often transportation fees. Be aware that once the auction begins, it's up to you to convince buyers to bid on your cars. You don't want to have to end up transporting unsold cars back home.

Are there online car auctions?

Online Car Auctions

There are many online car auctions. However, like any online auction, the quality of the goods varies and there is always a chance for fraud. If you are set on buying a car through an online auction, make sure you carefully research the site that you are using. Some of these auctions are conducted through government offices, and by and large there goods are described and reported fairly. As for other online auction sites, you should make every effort to research the car that you intend to buy. Services like Carfax offer reliable background checks on cars and it's smart to find out where the car has been before you spend your money.

Are there any precautions that I should take at a car auction?

Precautions You Should Take Before A Car Auction

Here are some basic precautions you need to take before participating in a car auction. Before heading to the car auction, you should have an open account with a company like Carfax so that you can easily check the backgrounds of the cars in which you are interested. Bring copies of the Kelley Blue Book and the NADA guide to check auto prices. Make sure to notice if all the car's Vehicle Identification Numbers (VINs) match up. If possible, have a friend near a computer that you can reach by cell phone to check the VIN numbers through Carfax. Take care to examine the car itself for signs of past damages. Uneven wear patterns on the tires suggest alignment problems, which may have been caused by previous accidents.

What should I keep in mind when buying a car through an auction?

Things To Keep In Mind When Buying Cars Through Car Auctions

If you want to get the best deal possible at a car auction, you need to have a very accurate idea of the value of the car that you want to purchase. There are a few major steps that you need to take to analyze the value of the car. First, find out the history of the car. Was it refurbished? repaired? salvaged? Past damage will detract from the car's value. You can look up this information with a car background check service, such as Carfax. Using a resource like the Kelley Bluebook will help you gauge the proper price of the car, as can other pricing publications that are more geared towards auto auctions. Resources like the Black Book and the NADA guide also provide good pricing information.

Can I buy classic cars through car auctions?

Classic Car Auctions

There are plenty of car auctions that target classic cars. In fact, it is the largest subgroup within the car auction market. However, buying classic cars can be a little more risky, as these cars' increased age can lead to problems with maintenance and past damages. Luckily, classic cars are well covered by industry publications. With some very basic research and a Carfax report, it is pretty easy to gauge the approximate price of the car. That being said, owning a classic car is not for auto amateurs. While you may be tempted to buy a classic automobile to satisfy your car phantasy, remember that classic cars require a lot of care and maintenance. If you're not careful, the savings that you realize through a car auction can quickly be negated by maintenance and repair costs.

What legal protections do I have when participating in a car auction?

Legal Protections For Car Auctions

There are very few legal protections that apply to car auctions. At most car auctions, the cars are sold "as is", which means that if you agree to pay for a car, you are stuck with it, no matter what the condition. Remember that verbal agreements with the car sellers are non-binding. Only agreements made in writing, in terms of the title of the car and its advertised descriptions, are considered legally binding. Your best defense is a good offense. Go into the car auction prepared to check each car through Carfax and to verify prices through the Kelley Blue Book and the NADA guide. In order to protect yourself, it is wise to always assume the worst -- assume that the seller is not being totally straightforward with you, and to trust your intincts.

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Susan Sayour