I’m still educating myself on vehicle auctions.  I’ve made contacts with friends who used auto auctions to purchase cars and a dealer.  I can provide information on the various auction businesses in Michigan, and that will provide information that dealers may use, especially since some businesses work only with dealers.  I’m intrigued by the possibility of finding and buying a car I want at a better than normal retail price.

I posted earlier tips for buying seized autos, but today I want to share an article from a simple buyer and a woman buyer at that.  This story happens to be from Canada where Jacq purchased a loaded 2008 Mitsubishi Outlander XLS 4WD for $11,000, about half of the normal retail price.  She shares nine steps for buying a car at auction.   Briefly, they are

1.  Find an open auction with newer cars not restricted to dealers (We have Michigan auctions on this site).

2.  Check the auction’s inventory and choose a few cars that interest you (in your price range).

3.  Inspect the cars that interest you in person and check for obvious problems.

4.  Learn all you can about the cars that interest you–value, reported problems, user satisfaction.

5.  Determine you maximum bidding price, then hold to it.

6.  Visit a couple of different auctions to get a feel for how they work before  you place your first bid on a car you want,

7.  Check the mood of the bidders.  Some days a crowd will be frugal and bidding will be low, and then at other times, the bidders are willing to spend and bid high.  Be prepared to walk away.

8.  Don’t let yourself get too much into the spirit of the thing; do not exceed your maximum price (set when you were thinking calmly and reasonably.

9.  Take advantage of the on site inspection services some auction houses offer.

I’d add that you should acquaint yourself thoroughly with the particular auction’s policies, so that you are prepared to follow their procedures, once you’ve won the car you want.  This article also includes a video of an auction house in Charleston.

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