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Car Auction Buying Secrets Revealed
Get to the auction early! I know that sounds really simple – but then buying a used car at a used car auction is not rocket science. You just have to bear in mind some simple and basic rules of thumb and you should be fine. So, get there early and have a good look around. Take your time finding the car you want and make sure you have your Kelley Blue Book, NADA guide, or Edmunds book if you're going to a used car auction to get an idea of the car’s value.
When you find a car you like, open all the doors, trunk and hood and find the VIN stickers and make sure they match. If they don’t the car is either stolen, was a wreck or has been rebuilt from different cars. In any event, check out the VIN number. Call a friend on your cell phone (or use your pocket PC) and get them to check it out online. There are several services that will give you a report online instantly. Remember the auctioneers have a vested interest in any information you get from them – so be prepared to verify your facts independently.
Of course, there are several types of ‘auction’ available to you. These include online auctions like eBay and yahoo, police and government car auctions, public auctions, insurance salvage auctions and wholesale auctions. Though the last two are normally only open to dealers.
Keep in mind that online car auctions are not so different to public car auctions. Once you have won your bid you are committed to buy. So it pays to run the same VIN checks and it may well be worth setting up an inspection period with the seller. So that you can have a certified mechanic inspect the car and determine if there is anything unsatisfactory about the car that was not disclosed at the auction.
Police and government car auctions are not really much different to public car auctions. In other words, you are not likely to get your car ‘dirt cheap’. You won’t be the only one there bidding for a ‘dirt cheap’ and before you know it you can easily end up paying way over the published price. For my money, bearing in mind that these cars may not have been maintained or driven for months, I’d rather not pay more than trade price for a car at one of these auctions. Otherwise, what’s the point of being there?
Finally, once you have purchased your car, and despite the pitfalls, there are genuinely thousands and thousands of happy customers out there – give serious consideration to taking out an extended car warranty.
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