Sold! The pros and cons of buying at car auctions

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Sold! The pros and cons of buying at car auctions

Finding a new car that meets your every expectation (and your budget) can sometimes be as rare as finding a four-leaf clover. However, attending a car auction may allow you to find the car of your dreams at the price you can afford. Below are some of the advantages and disadvantages of buying at car auctions.


The advantages of buying at car auctions


There is a wide selection

Car auctions are ideal for those who have not yet found the exact make and model of the car that they want. Shopping from dealerships often means moving from one lot to the other in vain hopes of finding the exact make or model you want, often having cars that don’t meet your standards being aggressively sold to you.

At a car auction, you will find the variety of cars is much more diverse and often there are very specific models are on offer. You can view each car on site on the day of the auction or online from the comfort of your own home, making the viewing process easier and more pleasant. Because numerous vehicles are being turned over at every auction, there is a replenishing supply to choose from.

The price is right

Many car auctions offer highly reasonable and affordable prices for their cars. This means you will be able to afford a luxury model car, an SUV or even a sporty little number without breaking the bank. These highly bargained prices are one of the major perks of buying from car auctions.

If you are looking for used vehicles that were very well-taken care of, look for those indicating ‘fleet use’ in the details. Fleet use means that these cars were most likely part of a commercial fleet, and so the drivers had to be very cautious when driving and caring for them. These vehicles offer great value at an affordable price.

Some cars are still under warranty

Some of the cars on offer at car auctions may still be under warranty, which is highly beneficial for any new owners. Finding a car that is still under warranty will allow you to contact the company for assistance whenever a problem occurs with your vehicle.

Having remaining time on the warranty saves you money on having to take out a new one immediately, so you can focus on other costs that you may incur with the car. You will have to read the fine print of the warranty in order to find out what, if anything, is still covered. If you need to take out a warranty, look for one that can continue directly after the current one ends.


The disadvantages of buying at car auctions


The car is sold ‘as is’

It is important to keep in mind that at an auction, the vehicles are all sold ‘as is’, meaning that what you see is what you get. This could mean that the exterior is not completely up to standard with regard to rust or hail damage or that the engine needs work.

You are also unable to take the car from the premises of the auction house to be checked by a mechanic in order to ascertain any underlying problems. ‘As is’ means that the auction house is under no obligation to refund or help you should the transmission fail as soon as you leave their grounds.

You are not able to test drive

A car auction is in no way similar to a car dealership. You are more often than not unable to test drive the car of your choice before the auction, and at most you are allowed to turn the car on, listen to the engine, check under the bonnet and view any log books if they’re available.

When examining the car, there are certain aspects to look out for, especially when you are unable to test drive it. These aspects include the cleanliness of the exterior and interior, whether there are any visible oil leaks, how the engine sounds and the condition of all belts and hoses. If you perform these quick inspections before the auction, you will be able to ascertain whether or not the vehicle is worth bidding on.

Resale value may be lower

Buying a car at auction is highly affordable if you have a tight budget and a very specific model in mind, however, the resale value of the car may be significantly lower than a new or used vehicle.

Cars at auctions may not be second hand, but third or fourth hand cars, which means that you will not be able to have a high asking price should you try to sell the car from an auction. This can be detrimental if you are planning on using the money from this sale to purchase another car.



If you are considering buying a car at an auction, be sure to weigh all the pros and cons before making the final decision. You may find the perfect car to suit your every need but if you are liable to pay for all damages once leaving the lot, you will need to add these costs into your budget.

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