We Know: All About Car Auctions
What types of car auctions are there?
There are several kinds of car auctions, and they include:
- Car repossession auctions. Cars that are repossessed by banks and other lenders are
put up for sale through auctions.
- Government and law enforcement auctions. Police and other law enforcement agencies, as
well as federal, state, and local government agencies take possession of cars for many reasons and
sell them through auctions.
- Online auctions. These include eBay and other online auctions.
How do car auctions work?
Car auctions are often held in a particular location usually at a regularly scheduled time, such
as once a month or four times a year. In most cases, anyone can attend and bid on a vehicle as
long as they have the means to pay for the vehicle on the spot.
How do I find car auctions?
There are several ways to find them, including the following:
- Phone or email federal, state, and local government agencies and inquire it they have
car auctions, and if so, where and when. Do the same with banks and other lenders. Auction
houses are another source for information on when lenders and other customers will be holding
- Online auction directories will locate car auctions for a fee. Choose one that offers a
- Car auctions are occasionally advertised in newspapers.
If you are interested in purchasing a vehicle at a car auction, keep the following
- Most car auctions give prospective buyers time to inspect the vehicles but you usually cannot
drive them, and in some cases, you cannot even start them. Warranties are not provided, either.
- Before you attend a car auction, have an idea of what you want to buy, what it is worth, and
how much money you are willing to pay. You should be able to get a history on the vehicle from
its VIN number through CarFax or other vehicle history report companies. Be sure to also get the
- If possible, have the vehicle inspected by a mechanic before purchasing.
- If you win the bid for the vehicle, you will need to pay immediately so you will need to
arrange financing ahead of time if you do not have the full payment in hand. Inquire what
payment methods they accept.
- There is usually less bidding competition for older vehicles that may have some cosmetic
issues. With these cars, you are less likely to overpay in a "bidding war."