Tips for Buying a Vehicle at Auction

Posted: 06/19/2017

Buying a Vehicle at Auction

Looking for a deal on a car? Want to purchase a vintage vehicle? Need a DeLorean to finally realize your dream of going back to the future? People participate in vehicle auctions for many reasons and if you’ve done your homework, they’re not as scary as they may seem.
From company fleets to estate sales, auctions are often an ideal liquidation method for many types of vehicle sellers. To take full advantage of auto auctions, here are some things to consider:

  • Do your homework - Check the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) and invest in a Carfax vehicle history report (or a report from a similar service). You’ll learn about the history of the car and its past owner(s). Even though K-BID requires any salvaged or marked titles to be disclosed in the item description, it never hurts to get the full history of a vehicle.

  • 360 degree inspection - We highly recommend that you inspect the vehicle in person and to bring someone with that has mechanical knowledge. Look for a new paint job, warped metal, leaking fluids, wet interior, strange smells and even check inside the glove box. Leave no stone unturned and no tire un-kicked. Some auctions will allow you to test drive or test "ride" along, make sure you take advantage of this.
    Remember, the auction company doesn’t always have a complete history of the vehicle or an intimate knowledge of it's condition. Make sure that you are doing your own homework to determine the value.

  • Know yourself - When it comes to your mechanical prowess (or lack thereof), it’s important to be honest and acknowledge if you truly do know the cost of replacement parts and if, once you’ve got those parts, you know what to do with them. If you aren’t an experienced do-it-yourself mechanic, buying a vehicle at auction can mean expensive repairs by a professional. If a vehicle is listed “as is,” it means exactly that.

  • Know the rules -Read all available information (or talk with the auction representative) to get to know the rules of the auction. Be sure you’re familiar with any taxes/fees and if you need cash, a credit card or an approved loan if you’re the winning bidder. If you’re unsure of the process or have a question, ask the auctioneer or auction company.

  • Location, location, location - If you are participating in an online auction and purchase a car in a different city or state, be sure to get shipping details and figure in shipping fees. If you bid at an in-person auction, you’ve already done your homework to find out if the car is drivable, right?

  • Feel free to contact K-BID, if you have questions about the auto auctions on our site or check out some of our Current Auctions, you might just find your next vehicle!