If you’re in the market for your next car, you may have noticed that pickings are slim. Nowhere is this more obvious than right here in Alaska. Chip shortages, supply chain bottlenecks, and inventory shortages have many people wondering where they’ll find their next car. For many, the answer is an auto-auction. You can find tons of cars for pennies on the dollar. It’s quite enticing to the average person when they see that they can buy a Corvette for less than five grand. However, buyer beware: things aren’t always what they seem. Car auctions can be a great place to get a car, but they have their perils too. However, if you follow this list, you can be sure to get a great deal and make sure you don’t get a lemon.
Know What you Want Inside and Out
When you walk onto a car lot, you may know you want an SUV or a sedan but are relatively open to the make and model. At car auctions, it’s important to know exactly what you want before you bid. Then, you will know exactly what issues that type of car has. This is because, unlike traditional car buying, there is no inspection or warranty on a car auction. Now add the uncertainty of the online car auction where you can’t even hear it turn on and you’re practically rolling the dice if the car will even work or not.
Most cars are at auction because they can’t be sold on a lot. They wouldn’t pass the rigorous dealer inspection, and it’s not cost-effective to fix them. You can avoid these types of cars and find a gem, but you can be sure you’re going to at the very least give the car a tune-up when it arrives. You don’t need to be a certified mechanic, but you should know the common issues this car may have. Get some quotes from your local mechanic to see how much new brakes or replacement belts may cost. Even better, check how to repair them yourself and save some money. Whatever you do, make sure you’re comfortable doing some maintenance on the car before you drive it for the first time.
Don’t Overbid on Online Car Auctions
The auction setting can be a fast rollercoaster that throws you from highs to lows in a matter of minutes. It’s important not to get caught up in the chaos and stick to your guns. You have a budget of how much you can spend. Don’t overshoot for that perfect car because chances are, there’s another one around the corner. More importantly, as stated above, you’re going to want to save some money for maintenance and repairs if needed. This is where your “Max Bid” comes into play.
You know exactly how much you want to spend and you stop right there. By now, you should know the kind of car you want. Your research should show you how much basic repairs may be for the car, and your research should show you how much those cars are going for in the auction setting. Stick to your max bid and don’t overpay.
Check the Mileage
The number of miles on a car can tell you a lot about its history. The average car drives around 15,000 miles per year. If the car is only a few years old and already has over 100,000 miles, you know that the car was driven hard. Hard driving can result in faster maintenance issues. That car that’s only a couple of years old may be so cheap because its mileage is so high. However, the opposite is also true. An old car with few miles may be neglected. That car that’s stored in the garage to never be seen again may look good on paper. However, all those years could result in worn belts or worse, sludge in the engine. If someone doesn’t drive their car a lot, chances are they don’t worry about scheduled maintenance either.
The other thing about mileage reports is that you can get a good idea of the maintenance it may need. You should replace the tires every 20,000 miles. Brakes should be replaced every 40,000 miles, and belts every 75,000 miles.Is the car close to any of those milestones? There may be some added costs in your near future if they are.
Know how to Bid in Online Car Auctions
Bidding on an online car auction is just point and click, right? Unfortunately, there’s a bit more to it than that. You know your max bid, so that’s good. Knowing when not to bid is half the battle. Follow some cars that you’re not interested in to see how the process works. You’ll start to see some patterns emerge. For instance, bids are slow when the auction opens and speed up near the end. Also, some people bid nice round numbers while others choose to snake around bids. For instance, if your max bid is $100, they’ll bid $100.42. This helps beat those who bid just $100 or $100.01 while still maintaining your max bid.
You Won an Online Car Auction, Now What?
Congratulations, you won your next car in an online auction! Unfortunately, chances are the cars are not down the street. More likely, it’s in another state hundreds of miles away. This gives you two options. You can fly out and drive the car back, or have it shipped. Getting it shipped is the most realistic idea. Also, it’s important to ship a car if you happen to buy the car in a state that has no sales tax. The DMV may let you use the state’s favorable in-state sales tax, but only if you ship it back. Get some quotes to see how much it may cost to ship your winning car.
Alaska Auto Transportation is a great tool for your research. They offer instant online quotes so you know exactly how much it may cost to ship your vehicle. Additionally, they offer industry-leading insurance right there in the quote. That way, you don’t have to worry about registration and insurance until after it arrives in your driveway. If you do these simple things, you can be sure to get a great deal on a car at your next online car auction.