Missing vehicle documentation and undisclosed maintenance issues are some of the most common problems associated with buying repossessed cars. Most repossessed vehicles are sold without warranties, and the true condition of a repossessed vehicle is often unknown or explicitly hidden from the buyer until after the purchase.
Repossessed vehicles are sold to the public primarily through independent dealers, financial institutions and auto auctions. Vehicles sold through auto auctions generally carry the most risk, as many of these vehicles lack documentation or cannot otherwise be sold through dealerships or by the lenders that repossessed the vehicles. Cars sourced directly from banks, credit unions and independent dealers are easier to have inspected prior to purchase, but typically sell for higher prices than those at auto auctions.
The condition of each vehicle varies wildly depending on the condition it was in prior to being reclaimed, as most vendors do minimal reconditioning outside of interior and exterior cleanup. In some cases, vehicles sold off the lot have lasting damage from their previous owners, which can range from minor dings and scratches to larger, more costly interior issues. Buyers should be vigilant when considering these cars for purchase, as some dealers and auctions purposely conceal the amount of maintenance they require so as to sell them for a higher price than they are worth.