In 2016, Americans purchased a record-breaking number of cars and trucks — 17.6 million, to be exact. It was the seventh year in a row that the country set a new high for the amount of car purchases made. If you’re in the market for a car or just thinking about getting in the market soon, you may think that your only option is to head to a traditional dealership, but that’s not the case. You have more options nowadays, and one of the best is buying at an auto auction. Here are some benefits of taking the auto auction route.
Where do auto auction cars come from?
Before you buy from an auto auction, you should know where the cars are coming from. Impound lots are one common source. Impound lots are where cars go after they’re seized from their original owner. Sometimes people can no longer make their car payments, which leads to their vehicle being repossessed. If you’ve ever had a car towed, you know that it’s expensive. Some people decide they simply don’t want to pay the fees for getting their car out of the tow yard. If that happens, it becomes the property of an impound lot.
Have you ever seen a car just sitting on the side of a local highway? If authorities can’t find the owner of the car, it will go to an impound lot then to an auto auction. Now you may not find a lot of luxury cars at auto auctions, and you shouldn’t expect to. But if you like searching for diamonds in the rough, then auto auctions are worth checking out.
Be sure you’re going to a public auto auction, though. If you try to go to one that’s only open to licensed dealers, you’re going to get turned away at the door. There’s no sense in wasting your time driving out to non-public auto auction.
Auto auctions are exciting
If you’ve ever bought a car the traditional way, then you know the process starts out exciting but quickly goes downhill. When you arrive at a dealership, you’re excited to check out the cars and maybe take a test drive. But hard sell tactics can be a quick turnoff. With methods like that, it’s no wonder people are frustrated by dealerships. When that happens, buyers are much more likely to check out online or in-person auto auctions.
Auto auctions are less predictable and more exciting. There’s a sense that anything could happen. If possible, you need to check out the list of available vehicles before the auction starts. Reputable companies will post their auctions online at least a few days before the bidding kicks off in earnest. That allows you time to research the car models and gather as much information as possible. Once you place a bid, it’s hard to take that back. Impulse purchases work fine for candy at the grocery store checkout, but they don’t work as well when you’re buying a vehicle that sets you back a couple thousand dollars or more.
Remember that auto auctions are all about finding a good deal. If that’s not your first priority, then you probably aren’t going to enjoy yourself that much. An auto auction car is a great idea if, for instance, you’re looking for a car for your teenager who is just learning to drive.
Make sure to pay attention to the title status of the car that interests you, as well. When you buy a car with a clear title, that means you’re buying something that doesn’t have any liens or other baggage. Getting a car with high mileage is a worthy risk in some cases, but buying a car when you don’t know the status of its title is not worth it unless you have a ton of patience.