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Public Auto Auction


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"Planning On Attending A Public Car Auction? Well, Be Ready To Bend Over And Let The Public Auto Auction Officials And The Car Auction Regulars Have Their Way With You...
Unless, You Arm Yourself With Our Public Auto Auction Tools For Survival And Turn The Tables On The Most Grisled Veterans Of Public Car Auctions Around The Country!"


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Keep Reading And You Will Be Able To Stand Tall With The Knowledge Necessary To Come Away From Any Public Car Auction In The Country With A Great Deal On The Vehicle(s) You Set Your Sights On.


I have spent more than 35 years in the automobile business. Much of this time has been spent attending and working with auto auctions. Whether it is a dealer only auction, a government auction, a repo auction or any kind of Public Auto Auction, I have spent many hours in the barns. During those years, I have never forgotten the primary tenant of making money on used car purchases. "You make your money when you buy...not when you sell"
That is a good message for the public auto auction buyer to take a moment to digest. If you do not arm yourself with the necessary tools, (Knowledge) before attending a public auto auction at which you ultimately make a purchase, the likelihood that you will make a purchase for far more of your hard earned dollars than necessary is great. In fact, the chances that you just flat get screwed is pretty much a given! Buy the car right and you will have the right car!


The first myth to dispel is that it is simple to get authorized to purchase vehicles at dealer only wholesale auctions. Don't waste your time with the B.S. information some guys online try to make you believe. Whether it be a small 100 car per week auction or a multi-thousand unit Manheim Auction, you are going to have to present a dealers license and a financial statement proving your worthiness to do business there. Sure, you can find someone with a license willing to buy a car for you for a fee, but the bottom line is, less and less are doing this because there has been so many banned from auctions when they are caught with a retail buyer "on their arm"


Now with that out of the way, let's talk about where you can purchase auto auction vehicles. Public Auto Auctions are held at various locations around the country. You can find quite a few in the eastern part of the country that hold their public auto auctions weekly. There are many highline public auto auctions that are held numerous times during the year. Barrett-Jackson and Mecum are two that come to mind immediately. Then many of the government auctions are held on a monthly basis in most metropolitan areas around the country.


You can find in-depth information about government auctions at
Government Auctions. Many of the articles you find regarding government auctions are pretty short on actionable information. Consequently, I decided to write this article with a couple of questions actually asked by real people asking real questions about public auto auctions.

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Are Cars With A Salvage Title Worth Buying If They Are Much Cheaper Than The Same Model With a "Clean Title?"


Most would give you a resounding no for an answer. However, the true answer to that question is at best subjective. If you are looking to buy a vehicle with a salvage title and have no way to inspect it thoroughly before purchase, you would be foolish to take the chance. With 35 years in the business, I
NEVER purchase vehicles with salvage titles. That said, there are times when a vehicle with a salvage title can be a viable purchase. If the damage was repaired appropriately you will end up with a vehicle far below the price you would have to pay for the same model with a clean title. The only way however, to be sure that this is the case is to have a highly skilled mechanic and a highly skilled frame and body man check the vehicle out for you. The odds however, of being able to do this at a public auto auction before the sale is slim.


Why Are There Non-Refundable Deposits At Public Auto Auctions?


When you place a winning bid on a vehicle, you, according to the terms of the public auto auction, that you agreed to, made a binding contract to purchase the vehicle. If there were no deposit requirement, there would be no way short of going through the expense of a lawsuit, for the auto auction to enforce the contract. If you have already paid $300 in the form of a deposit, the chances are strong that you will complete the deal.
If the auction would simply let you walk off without completing the purchase as you promised to do by being the final bidder, they would be left without a sale. Your inconsideration would have kept them from selling the car to the next higher bidder if they had no way to enforce your promise to pay. The deposit at the least allows them the defer some of the loss you caused by not allowing the next bidder win the vehicle. They provide the public auto auction as a service to you. When the winning bidder walks from the deal they agreed to, someone else has to suffer. If the car was consigned, either the consignor or the car auction will have the take a loss if the car does not get paid for.


Go Prepared To Win Or You Will Surely Lose

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Bottom line is that if you attend a public auto auction, you will want to prepare yourself ahead of time for a successful trip

1. Get to the auction early. It is much easier to bid when you have prepared yourself ahead of time.

2. Check the car(s)out that you want to bid on as thoroughly as possible. Some public auto auctions will allow you to drive them ahead of time. If it is a government auction, you will not be allowed to drive the vehicle before the sale. You will also be buying it as is, so BE CAREFUL. Personally, I refuse to buy any auction car as is unless I can drive it ahead of time.

3. Look the body over carefully. You can spot different finishes if the car has been partially painted. A quick test for a full repaint is to feel inside the door post for a ridge that would arise due to a repaint stopping at that area.

4. Bondo is easy to spot. However, it is still beneficial to carry a magnet with you to test questionable areas. Just remember it will not help you on fiber glass or aluminum bodies.

5. Check the tires and the shocks the best you can. These are an expensive fix that many don't give enough consideration.

6. Check the oil. Make sure there is no sludge on the stick or that it isn't burnt.

7. Check the transmission fluid. You need to have the car running to get an appropriate reading of fluid level. However, more important is to make sure there are no shavings on the stick and there is no excessive burnt smell on the stick. A tranny can be a real wallet buster if it is bad. If you are able to drive the vehicle ahead of time, be sure to check the shift points of the transmission.

Be sure to rev the engine high enough to tell if there are any tell-tale rattles in the lower or upper engine. This could indicate anything from broken pistons, to bad connecting rods. Either way, be prepared for a major engine rebuild or replacement.

8. Check the hood and roof carefully for hail damage. Look at them from different angles. Often times you will be able to spot problems from different angles.

9. Make a list of the cars or car you are interested in. Write down a maximum price that you are willing to bid based on your research of the make and model you are going to bid on.

10. Last but not least, do not get caught up in the bidding. If the unit you want goes past your maximum price, STOP bidding. I have seen thousands of cars through the years bring insane money because bidders got caught up in the action. When you are done, leave a happy buyer, not one who let the auto auction and attendees have their way with you!

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