A car auction isn't for everyone, although you can get a great deal on a good car if you know what you're doing. You should take along someone who knows a lot about cars if you want to go to a car auction and don't know much about cars in the first place.
If you're looking to buy a new car or want to get a commuter car or a vehicle for one of your other family members, an auto auction may be right for you. Here are ways to know if you should get your car at a car auction or if you should choose another outlet, like a dealership, to get your new car.
You have cash right now
When you place a bid at a car auction and yours is the highest, provided the reserve bid amount is met, you have a legal obligation to pay up. You often have to pay the same day you win your auction, although some other auctions may allow you to take up to a set number of days to get your vehicle paid for once you win. You need to have cash that you can use right now to bid at a car auction. If you don't have cash or you cannot get much cash, try another outlet or just shop for a much cheaper car at an auto auction.
You have some car knowledge
When you buy a car at auction, you get the vehicle as-is with only its description and a quick look at the car to tell you if it's worth bidding on or not. You don't know the blue book value of a car nor if it works entirely when you go to auction, although most vehicles should be considered running when they are placed up for bid. Cars that have been lost in a repo, are show pieces, are overstocked, or are sold at auction in an estate sale are often those that show up in car auctions. You may also see rental vehicles in an auto auction.
Having some basic knowledge of cars makes it easier to place smart, confident bids. If you're not a person who knows a lot about cars but you know someone who is, bring them along with you and look at all the inventory at the car auction you're attending before you even place a bid. Bid wisely and enthusiastically, and have a fun time.