Do Your Research
You won’t get to test drive the car you bid on before making your claim, so if you’re considering a particular model, take a look at a car guide or research it on the internet beforehand, this way you’ll know what questions to ask, or what information to look for.
Have a Price in Mind
You’d think that a used car would go for a discount, but this isn’t always the case; many models will go for more than retail price due to overconfident bidders. If you know the amount a vehicle is worth before you start bidding you’ve got a better chance of keeping within budget and getting a deal.
Understanding the Mechanics
Not all of us understand what goes on beneath the hood of a car, but if you’ve got a basic idea, then you have a better chance of bringing home a quality vehicle. Public auctions are often packed full of cars that won’t sell at regular retail locations; usually due to mechanical issues.
Look Beyond the Surface
Keep in mind that many of the dealers looking to rid themselves of these vehicles have probably tried other methods of sales already, and may have spruced things up. Unfortunately, a new coat of paint and some polished rims aren’t going to keep the car running once you get it off the lot.
Check the Build
When you’re giving a vehicle a once over for potential buying, check the VIN or Vehicle Identification Number located on the windshield. If the number arises anywhere else and be sure they match, if they don’t you could be looking at something that was rebuilt or remodeled using another car’s parts.
Many auction vehicles will be marked “as is”; this means exactly what it sounds like. The car is to be purchased in the shape it’s in, and won’t be repaired or under any kind of warranty should something go awry once you get it home.
Check Out the Competition
If you’re new to auctions, keep an eye on other bidders to see how they react to certain makes and models. Watch out for people who seem to make offers on every vehicle shown, as they may be working for the sellers to raise prices.
Check the Fluids
When you’re poking around under the hood before your bid, take a look at the dipstick to be sure the fluids aren’t congested with debris.
Arriving before the auction begins will give you time to thoroughly investigate what will be up for sale, and see if there are any interesting prospects before you jump right into bidding.
Go For Green
Most auctions use red, yellow, and green lights to signify the condition of the vehicle. Always check for a green, or at most a yellow light, unless you’re looking for spare parts.
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