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In 2018, 41 million used vehicles were sold in the United States. Experts predict that number to rise even higher in the coming years.
Why is that? Used cars are a bargain. The current Covid-19 stricken economy brings out the deal hunter in all of us.
Given the high demand for used cars, great deals on used car lots are harder to come by than ever. We hear you. If you’re like us, that’s got you thinking auction.
Great deals can be had at the best auto auctions, but learning how to bid is key to winning them. Read on to learn all about auto auctions and how they work.
Benefits of an Auto Auction
The number one benefit of an auto auction is the ability to find used cars at a great price. While used car dealers are the first place we turn for a quality used car, they aren’t a place to find value.
Why? It’s simple supply and demand. As the demand for used cars increases, the supply of great used cars decreases. There are only so many cars on the road.
As the dealers see their inventory dwindle, they know people will overpay for a used model. Buyers find fair value using reputable online pricing guides.
The reason we turn to an auto auction is for value. Auctioned cars often sell for thousands of dollars less than their expressed value.
Find the Best Auto Auction
Not all auto auctions are the same. Do a little research to find the “best auto auction near me.”
There are three types of auto auctions to be aware of, as they all have their pros and cons. These three are government auctions, public auctions, and online auctions.
This is where the government looks to sell off its old vehicle fleet. While it can be many different types of vehicles, the most common for auto buyers are used police cruisers.
The main benefit of a government auction is accountability. These vehicles have a clear history and maintenance record. There’s no funny business with the odometer, and the vehicles are usually in good shape.
Back in the day, government auctions were the place to grab a deal. Today, there is a ton of broker competition looking to buy these sturdy vehicles to use as cabs or sell overseas.
This is what most people think of when they think of an auto auction. A bidder can find a car at a reduced price, meaning there are many available below their stated value.
Public auctions bring plenty of risks. As it is with all auctions, a bidder can’t test drive a vehicle. Often, these cars suffer from severe damage a bidder might not be able to see.
The best online auto auctions feature a wide selection of vehicles to bid on. Because of this inventory size, there is a better chance to find value.
They’re also convenient. A bidder doesn’t have to leave the house.
Like all other auto auctions, test drives are not available. With online auctions, the bidder is even more disconnected from the vehicles. A bidder can’t eye a vehicle or get under the hood.
Tips for Auction Success
Finding success at the auto auction can be tough for a new bidder. Here are some tips and strategies we recommend.
Used car auctions are places to find great deals, but many cars require serious repair. A person looking for value might end up with a car they have to spend thousands to fix.
Car auctions can be a better fit for those with mechanical know-how.
Don’t Jump in Immediately
We recommend inexperienced bidders attend a few auctions to get the feel of the process. Watch how bidding works. Observe which vehicles get the most action.
Inspect and Research
Most public auctions allow bidders to inspect the vehicles before they’re on the block. Do this. Sit inside, pop the hood, and search for any glaring issues.
It’s also important to research a vehicle’s history through its Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). Thanks to technology, vehicle history reports can be found through reputable VIN searcher websites.
Find a Limit
New bidders often find themselves caught in a bidding war over a car they want. These bidding wars drive up the price of a vehicle to the point where it loses value.
New bidders should set a limit as to what they’ll pay for any vehicle, and not get stuck on one particular car. Remember, an auto auction is a place to find value because of the vast inventory. Bidders should keep their eyes open.
A public auto auction can be a hectic place. A new bidder needs to bid in an assertive, forceful fashion to get the attention of the auctioneer.
We understand that some people aren’t comfortable in these scenarios. In that case, a deal seeker can hire a broker to represent them at an auction. The best auto auction broker has the experience to lock in a great price.
Find Value at the Best Auto Auctions
The used car market is at an all-time high. As more cars move off the used car dealership lots, the higher the prices go. Nobody should pay more than what a car is worth.
While finding value at dealerships is harder than ever, a buyer can still find deals at the best auto auctions. Remember, a prepared bidder is a successful bidder.
For more information about auto auctions and used cars, make sure to check out our business and automotive sections.