If you’re in the market for a decent car at an affordable price, few places are better to go searching than your local auto auction. Here you may find high quality cars for work and leisure to be won at amazingly low prices. Yet some may be nervous about the cars being auctioned, would like to know where they come from, and wonder how auctions can sell them so cheaply. Listed below are a few places where a car listed for sale at an auto auction may come from:

1) Trade-In at the local dealership: Those purchasing a new car often have an older model to get rid of. People often “trade up” to the newer models. When a person trades their vehicle in at the dealership, the dealership in-turn sells the vehicle to the local auction house. The auction house then sells the vehicle to the public or to another dealership in the area.

2) Salvage yards: Hey, from time to time, natural disasters happen and cars are at the forefront of the aftermath. During Hurricane Sandy, over 100,000 cars were damaged beyond repair. These cars can also be sold at an auto auction. The disclaimer on purchase usually mentions “sold as is” or “sold with no title”. Another popular term you may notice is “sold with salvaged title”. This means the buyer understands this vehicle has severe damage and cannot be registered with a clear title (depending on the particular state’s laws).

Auto auctions themselves originate from a number of different places such as local jurisdictions (the police department, economic development office, etc…). These departments may sell goods from tax seizures, jailed inmates (in some cases you can find really nice cars prisoner cannot keep) and old office fleets. No matter where you decide to venture for your auto auction, please do your research and be sure you know exactly what you’re purchasing.

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