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I'm thinking about buying my next car at an auto auction and was wondering what it was like and how it works? Do I need to bring cash or will an official bank check be good also?

Anybody know of any in the RI/MA/CT area?

I figure I can get a newer car for my money but don't know how reliable they are, so give me all your tips and what to watch out for.

Thanks
 

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Auction

Sammy,

I go to auto auctions all the time so I can let you know whatever you need to.

Firstly, are you going to a public or dealer auction. If you are going to a public, you generally will only find older cars - note I said generally.

Usually you pay around a $200 deposit which is applied toward your purchase. or refunded if you don't buy. This is just so you don't bid on something and then not follow through on buying it.

Get there at least 1 hour early so you can look at the cars. All the cars have the keys in so you can start them and let them idle etc. If you find one you like, spend a lot of time looking it over. Then decide how much you want to spend on it.

Go to the office and give them the number of the car you are looking at and ask if it is a consignment or from a dealer. Then ask them how much they want for it. If it's a good enough price ask them if you can buy the car now before it goes through auction. If not, sit and wait. When the auction is going on stand next to the guy on the floor who is taking the bids. Generally you can't understand a word the auctioneer is saying so if you stand by this guy he will let you know what the price is up to. Then bid away but don't go over your limit.

Sometimes the cars have reserves (just like ebay) so it may not sell. So, afterward go to the office and ask them to call the owners and find the least they would take for it.

Hope this helps.

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
drinkdontdrive, thanks for the great info. Most likely I will be going to a dealer auction. What are the deals like? Like take for example a 1993 BMW 325 that generally can sell for 10K at a dealer, how much of a difference would the auction be if I bought it straight from there?

Also, do the cars have to meet specifications in order to put it up for auction or are there chances of getting a lemon? For instance, how would you be able to tell if a timing belt has been changed or if the clutch is almost worn out?

Finally, I don't really know a dealer, would I be able to go to a dealership and ask them to take me along for a small fee and what exactly do you mean by "ask if it is consignment or a dealer"?


Thanks,

Sam
 

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You can get a really good deal if you go regularly

I would say don't rush on anything unless you absolutly love the car. Like dont buy something you kinda like cause it was real cheap unless your planning on selling it. Some auctions require a 10% cash deposit ( if so be careful cause there are thieves that know this). Get a carfax account and have somone check it up for you while your at the auction, or pay a private dealer beforehand to do it while over the phone. Alot of the cars were salvaged/reconstructed at the auction I went to so be careful alot of them are tempting but I would be on the safe side and not touch them. Also Don't get it if it shows up that it was in Texas, they got alot of washed titles that come from there, not true in all cases but most of the time it is cause ppl know the loophole and take advantage of it, thats why texas buys the most salvaged vehicles. My uncle bought a 97' nissan kingcab w/2x,000kmiles in 2000 for $3k with clean history, and sold it for $6,500. Also If its a large auction check around for auto rebuilders( they seem to set up shop in neighborhood) they pickup alot of good deals too some not salvaged, and they will always have someone from there business going to the auction so you can hook up with them and they can give you an free estimate on repair if you decide to get a car that is slightly damaged on the spot so you know what the car will cost you total. A mechanic is good to but there is only so much they can do there. Good luck
 

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Sammy

Sammy,

Generally, at a dealers auction you will find incredible deals - you should be finding at least $3000 less than what you would buy it for if you were buying from a dealer.

As for knowing about the vehicles history - that is the risk you take buying at an auction. They don't come with any history on the vehicle except for what status the title has - eg clear, salvaged etc. Timing belts, water pumps etc are unknown.

If you have time you can either leave the auction and go home and Carfax it, or have someone you can call to check it for you while you are there.

I would be very very surprised if you could get a dealer to bring you in if you go and ask them. What you should do is one of 2 things

1 - Go to a local public auction. They have certain cars that are dealer only cars. Watch the people that bid on them. These are going to be really small time dealers. Then pounce on them, ask if they are planning on attending the dealer auction, and then tell them you will pay them if they will let you go with them. BUT!!! Tell them you will only pay them if you buy. There is no point on paying someone $200 to go in with them and then not buy anything. From what I have seen at public auctions - finding someone should not be a problem.

2 - Wait outside the auction and ask someone going in who looks like they could use $200. BUt, once again - don;t pay anyone to bring you in - only pay them on the basis that you buy a car.

Don't pay more than $200 for someone to bring you in. Anymore and you are going to be biting into your profit/savings.

What I mean by dealer/consignment is that in public auctions, the cars up for sale are usually trade ins that are too crappy to be put on the lot, so they just sell them off at auction to the public. Also, generally public auctions accept consignment cars in which they have a specified price to take for the car, and if the auction gets that price then it will sell. It is for public selling to public.

Hope this helps, let me know if you have any other questions. Take care man

Drinkdontdrive
 

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In MA there is a dealer auction--ADESA located in Framingham, MA. In order to bid you must be a dealer (new or used). Each dealer must be registered and his account maximum is fixed. I have attended as a "guest" of a used car dealer many times when seeking a whole car vs a salvage. There are also luxury sales for "high-line" vehicles such as BMW, Lexus, Mercedes, etc. on specified dates. In my experience, most of the vehicles put through the auction either have high mileage or other problems. Those vehicles which are exceptional, tend to get the most attention and thus the price is often close to trade-in. The problem with an auction vehicle is that there is no warranty other than if some major problem is ID'd shortly after resale. You or the person bidding on the vehicle must be expert in autobody/mechanical repair as you may start the vehicle, check the trans in place, but that is it. The rest must be visual inspection. The auction house only lists a lot number, stock number, serial number, year, model, doors, color and mileage.

You can also determine the auction prices of pending vehicles by looking at the sales results of the previous months auction. This info is also available from the auction center and will provide year, model, mileage, and auction selling price.

Another source for a vehicle is your local banks and credit unions. They may be able to provide you a list of vehicles on which they are foreclosing or have already foreclosed upon.
 

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I have a house right down the street from one of the larges auto auction in GA. It is a big joke on every Saturday morning (the auction is Fri. night) That the interstate is littered with broken down cars afterwards. Now this is the public auction not the dealer, but the dealers use tow trucks. I know a few people who have baught cars at the auction. My friends civic lasted 3 days before he found out it had a hole in the block. This is what you find at the auctions. I know the local auction house has its own mechanics and body shop. They will inspect any car for you for $25. You can also get estimates on repairs right on the spot. The carfax is a good idea, but not all cars that are totaled get reported. Some are just sold, rebuilt, and re-sold. I have known to many people that have been burned by the auction, so I will never buy from one, unless I am planning on ripping all the internals out and making a hybrid.
Later!
Lee
 

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It depends - the public ones usually gives you 5 business days to close the transaction.

I know cause my first sight of any Legend was a G1 coupe back in 92' public auction (yeah - i know, its pathetic!).
Not knowing anything about it i research the damn thing for a whole week hoping another Legend coupe shows up again.
Lo & behold a week later at another public auction w/ these so called "US Marshall" cars a G1 two tone Gold Legend coupe shows up.

Well the rest is history. (I do have a slight delay registering the car because it has a Federal gov't car title which my MVA never seem before).

hint-
-you must know mechanically what to look & listen for when inspecting a car,if it sound anything abnormal - skip it.
-one dead givaway is the cleaniness of the oil. If its too dark or too new - I'll skip also.

-I also suggested looking at used car thru private sale too. i have brough a few at or below trade-in value.
 
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