How Do You Buy a Car From an Auto Auction?


Quick Answer

Buying a car at auction involves registering for an auction, placing one or more bids on the desired vehicle, and shipping or driving it to its destination. Keep in mind that sales tax is owed on cars bought at auction. This is applied in the state in which the car is registered.

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Full Answer

Although the process for buying a car is simple, getting a good deal should involve a significant amount of research in advance. Make sure to read the catalog thoroughly and identify vehicles that seem desirable. The catalog should include some information about the history of the vehicle. Pay particular attention to whether it has ever undergone significant repairs. Also be wary of cars that have incomplete owner histories.

Typically it is best to attend the auction in person in order to be able to inspect the cars. This is particularly important for public auctions at which cars are sometimes not what they seem. For example, some vehicles have had their odometers rolled back to a lower number. Consider bringing along someone who is experienced with vehicle maintenance to help with the inspection.

During the bidding process, make sure to sit near the auctioneer in order to be visible and seen clearly. Also, set a maximum price in advance and do not break that limit for any reason.

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