Author Topic: How to buy a car at auction?  (Read 2236 times)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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  • Posts: 14
How to buy a car at auction?
« on: December 21, 2014, 12:57:59 PM »
I have a neighbor who recently bought a car at auction.  I am not a "car guy" and neither is my neighbor.  However, the husband of my neighbor's wife's coworker (say that 5 times fast, lol), is part of running an auto auction 4 times per year and so he gave this man a price range and group of cars and was able to get the car at a very low price.  I am told this type of action is one where a dealership would also normally buy cars and so there is quite a bit of money to be saved (the amount the dealership would mark up the car).   I might be able to go the same channel for our next car, though that is at least a couple years down the road, but is this a smart idea?

Has anyone done such a thing with good or bad results?  And if so, since I am mostly out of the process, is there anything to suggest before making a purchase at auction?

Thank you in advance for your posts.


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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  • Posts: 67
Re: How to buy a car at auction?
« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2014, 11:49:41 PM »
We used a minister who is also an approved auction buyer to purchase our 2010 Honda Odyssey. We ended up saving about $2k. We were able to view cars through a web portal (using the ministers credentials) that included detailed descriptions and objective assessments. If not for the ability to see the vehicle online and participate in the auction through a phone call with the minister, I wouldn't have done it.

Mr. Frugalwoods

  • Bristles
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  • Posts: 296
  • Location: Greater Boston Area
    • Frugalwoods
Re: How to buy a car at auction?
« Reply #2 on: December 22, 2014, 06:25:20 AM »
I don't think I'd ever buy a car I couldn't take for a test drive and look under the hood.  Just too much risk, and too many shady people trying to pass janky cars.


  • Pencil Stache
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  • Posts: 714
  • Location: Central Illinois
Re: How to buy a car at auction?
« Reply #3 on: December 22, 2014, 01:19:02 PM »
Absolutely don't do it.

(1) You aren't a car person which means you won't know what to look for.

(2) The prices are usually cheap; however this can be more than eaten up by repairs required. Since you don't do your own work, this could potentially be big $$.

(3) Most auto auctions do not allow you to drive or really inspect the cars. Big risk here.

(4) Car dealers hang on to the worthwhile trade-in's, the rest go to auto auctions for the second rate used car lots to get (exceptions are those dealers that simply have too much inventory, and businesses just getting rid of old equipment - but that will mostly be vans, etc.).

You might get a fine vehicle for cheap but since you are not your own repair shop I think the risks are way too big for the potential reward.


  • Handlebar Stache
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  • Posts: 1097
  • Location: Southern California
Re: How to buy a car at auction?
« Reply #4 on: December 22, 2014, 02:14:37 PM »
Unless you're a mechanic, don't. I bought a car $1500 below blue book but ended up putting $1800 for repairs. The guy I went with supposedly knew cars.....