You can get better deals at auto auctions than almost anywhere else – if you know what you’re doing. Here’s a checklist, so you’ll be prepared.
Find Your Favorites
Before you go, target a few favorites from the inventory listing,
Establish in your mind – and better, on paper – the price you’re willing to pay.
Search auto forums to find personal experiences with your selected models. Do due diligence on the favored few vehicles you’ve targeted, using Nadaguides among other sources.
Do Your Own Check
Check out the vehicles at the auction house. Usually, there is a pre-viewing session the day before the auto auction proper. At the pre-viewing, you can pop the hood, check underneath for fluid spills, and start up the engine. But you can’t test drive it.
Find auctions selling newer cars, and auctions where the public, not just dealers, are allowed to attend.
Visit more than one auction to get a feel for the process.
If possible, have an inspection done at the auction house.
In The Mood?
Observe the mood of the crowd while bidding.
Head Over Heart
Don’t be entirely against ‘falling in love’ with a car. But don’t do it often.
Just Walk Away
Always be prepared to say ‘No.’ There’ll be another auction in a week or so.