Don’t Lie to Yourself

If you aren’t mechanically inclined, find someone who is and can attend the car auction with you. Even if you think you can handle a simple problem after watching a few YouTube Videos, you will be sadly mistaken. That little oil change could turn into something much more expensive.

Keep a Sharp Eye

You can’t take the vehicle for a spin at a public or government auction. Cars at government and public auctions are sold on visual inspection. Make sure you look for paint overspray, vehicle puddles, less than perfect sheet metal, or scored disc brakes. Use all of your senses including your hands and nose. If the car smells off or musty it’s time to run away.

Don’t Always Believe What you See

A patch of bondo, some touchup paint, and a polish can make a car shine; this type of restoration work can blur reality making the vehicle look better than it is.

Look Past the Superficial

Weathered paint isn’t something you should be too concerned with if you are bidding at a government auction. That Sheriff Silverado may have a small dent from a bump in the parking lot, but it is probably not a sign of misuse.

Check the VIN

Write the VIN number down. You will find the VIN number at the bottom of the windshield. If you can’t find it, check for other places that it might be such as the trunk lid or under the door. If the numbers don’t match up and you are getting ready to bid at the car auction be aware as numbers that don’t match could mean the car was in a major traffic accident requiring extensive repairs.

Knowing what you should expect if you have never been to a car auction is important. Do your research and take along a mechanically inclined friend who could help you avoid the inevitable with time consuming and expensive repairs.

Subscribe to the Powell Auction Blog and learn more car auction tips and tricks from the experts. Subscribe now.