There are two main types of car auctions; the government or municipal auctions and the public auctions. The difference is the government auctions tend to sell off fleets of vehicles that were once old police cars or taxi fleet cars. Sometimes it can be a fleet of company vehicles that has been grounded and replaced, and all the cars have been placed into the auction ring.
Many times at these types of auctions, all the vehicles will have been regularly maintained by the organization that owned them and fixed by experts when in need of repair and the clock readings are often very accurate. But be warned because you may not have an opportunity to drive the car you will eventually be bidding on, so a keen eye is needed.
Public auctions were once a great place to get a second hand car. But those days are in the past and more often than not a public auto auction is a place you may want to avoid unless you are highly proficient in mechanics and repairing vehicles. Clocking (where the milometer has been turned back) can be a drawback at some public auctions. Many auto auctions actually put a car up for auction and clearly state up front that the mileage on the clock may not be guaranteed. You may bid on a car that has 150,000 miles on the clock but find it has been clocked back from 350,000 miles.
Try and remember when buying a car at an auto auction that although it may look shiny and new and well polished up, in reality it may need several repairs done on it under the hood. If you are incapable of carrying out even the most basic repairs of a vehicle you may want to leave this area alone.