Auctions can be incredibly exciting when you know exactly what you want and how much you want to pay for it. It’s a lot of fun to get into a bidding war and still feel like you walked away with a good deal. However, there’s an art to auctions that many people aren’t aware of. It’s this lack of knowledge that can get people into a heap of trouble. knowing that when it comes to AAA car auctions, each vehicle is usually sold as-is. That is more critical than knowing how to use your AAA card. Get your facts straight before you venture into the lion’s den.
The Deals Are There — Sometimes
For those prepared to go the extra mile to get a good deal, you should know that they are out there. Car auctions clear out excess cars that can’t be sold anywhere else… but that doesn’t inherently mean that the cars are lemons. Often, they’re chosen for auction because they’re not fashionable or popular at the given moment not because they were in an accident (where the owner’s license was then suspended for not going to traffic school). Yes, there are also some real clunkers being sold that have been nothing but headaches for the owner and may not even be good for spare parts.
The deals are difficult to find, and they can be even more difficult to take a chance on. You’re not allowed to take the car for a test drive around the block, and you’re not allowed to take it to a mechanic to see just where it’s been. It can be extremely nerve-wracking for a conscientious and responsible person to take a chance on a vehicle they’ve never seen before, no matter how good the price may be.
Use Your Senses
Get a good handle on the car you want to buy by using your senses. You’ll want to check out the paint, the visible part of the brakes, the tires, and the pavement below it. Leaks, new paint, dents, and damaged brakes can all be seen if you know just where to look, and they can all be a sign of prior damage. You can also usually tell if the car has had any type of water damage by it’s scent. A musty smell could mean that it’s been sitting for a little while waiting for the auction… but a mildew scent is not a good sign. A small dent or a bad paint job doesn’t mean that the car isn’t a good buy either… but it is something to consider before you move forward on raising your bid.
Other Practical Steps
Check the dipsticks to ensure that all the fluids are clean, and look for the VIN on the car wherever you can. If the VIN on the dashboard isn’t the same as the VIN inside the trunk, then you may have a car that was severely damaged in an accident. Look up the car’s vehicle number on Kelley or Edmund’s before you start getting too excited. Also, be careful when it comes to bidding. If you have a vehicle in mind that you feel reasonably confident is for you, you’ll need to really set your highest price in mind before you start. It’s not unusual for bidders to get so wrapped up in their desire that they end up going way higher than they imagined.
And beware of people at the auction who may be placed there simply to drive prices up! They may have no interest in the car and are only gauging your reaction to see just how high you’ll go.