Preparing to Attend Your First Auto Auction

auto auction

There are many ways to acquire a pre-owned vehicle, often at a steeply discounted rate. One of the biggest gambles is to show up for an auto auction. In the one hand, there’s a decent chance you’ll walk away with nothing—or worse, spend your hard-earned money for a vehicle that’s in suboptimal shape. Then again, you may get a phenomenal value on a car or truck, and find the whole thing to be worthwhile. If nothing else, auto auctions can be a lot of fun, and they’re great ways to get to see a wide variety of cars up close and personal.

Depending on where you live in the country, there may be more local auctions than you think. California is home to a high number of auto auctions; are especially well-regarded. But even before you start seeking out nearby auctions, it’s important to have a good sense of what to expect, and how to prepare for your first auction experience.

Here are some tips we recommend as you get ready to attend an auction:

Do your homework, and clarify what kind of auction it is. Some auctions are open to the general public, but others are open only to dealers. You’ll want to know which kind of auction you’re dealing with before you show up.

Find out if vehicles are being pre-inspected. At some auctions, vehicles are inspected in advance and ensured to meet a certain threshold of quality. In others, the vehicles may be in various states of repair. Again, do your homework and know what you’re getting into.

Don’t show up to the auction at the last minute. You’re not going to want to bid on a vehicle without spending some time inspecting it first. Give yourself plenty of time to arrive, look over all the cars that are being auctioned, and inspect the ones that appeal to you.

Bring a mechanic friend with you. If you don’t necessarily know a lot about cars, you’ll want to be accompanied by someone who does. Enlist the help of an auto-loving friend to help you look under the hood and make sure the car you’ve got your eyes on is in good working condition.

Make friends with other attendees. If you have a chance to chat with a dealer or a frequent auction-goer, do so, and ask what kinds of cars this particular auction typically sells. Any insider information you can get will potentially be helpful.

Try to get a vehicle history if you can. If you have time and technology on your side, you may be able to run an AutoCheck or CarFax report to get the full history of a particular vehicle, which will enable you to make an even more educated decision.

Attending an auction is an experience like no other—and who knows? If you play your cards right, you may get to leave your first auction in an exciting new automobile! Join page to learn more about new and used cars.

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