Pros and Cons of Buying from Auto Auctions

posted 17 October, 2018 by Julie Briggs
No matter where you live, you can find high quality used cars at an auto auction near you. Buying cars at auctions has become an increasingly popular way to obtain a vehicle at an excellent price. Many of these vehicles are seized property -- meaning they are the result of foreclosure, repossession, or de-fleeting working vehicles such as commercial or police cruisers.
Yellow car from auto auction
Most are in good condition or just need a little TLC to be roadworthy. But for the uninitiated, buying at auctions can have some pros and cons, which we’ll explore below. Read on to find out if buying at an auto auction is right for you.


Wide Selection
A lot of car auctions have an impressive selection to choose from, including economy cars, trucks, commercial vehicles, and SUVs. However, you may have to sacrifice certain options such as getting the exact color, year, and mileage you’re looking for. You may have to go from lot to lot to find something close to what you want, occasionally dodging aggressive salespeople eager to close a deal.
Amazing Value
There are real bargains to be found for those willing to put in the work. Many shoppers report finding deals of up to 30% less than most used car lots. Amongst some of the best deals are fleet and government vehicles, which are often excellently maintained and regularly serviced in accordance with industry standards. Repossessed cars can also be a great find, as some are new or near-new.
Fast Turnaround
Unlike a traditional car lot, auto auction sellers are usually looking for a quick sale. For those willing to do their homework, sites like Gov-Auctions can help you find a vehicle that meets your needs and where you find it near you, including the make, model, mileage, condition, and year you want. Knowing this, you can attend the auction and start bidding on the car you want right away.
Red Ford auto auction


Lack of Test Drives
One small drawback of auto auctions is that you may not be able to try before you buy. While you can glean a lot of info from a car’s condition report and visual inspection, there is always a risk involved with not being able to test drive.
No Warranty
While car dealers offer you the surety of a warranty, all cars acquired at auctions are assumed to be “as is” sales. However, in some cases, a seller will offer a three-month grace period free of charge or you can purchase a warranty of your own. With fleet and government vehicles, the car may still be covered by a warranty. However, we list this as a “con” because it can be hit-or-miss depending on the auction and the circumstances of the sale.
Sketchy Background
It’s clear that cars can end up at auctions under less than auspicious circumstances. As we said, many are there as the result of an owner’s financial woes or being offloaded by law enforcement after a stolen vehicle is recovered. Most auction centers do follow their legal responsibility to disclose all of this info to buyers, and these days, it’s relatively easy look up a vehicle’s history online.
Thinking a car auction is right for you? There are many reasons why buyers love them. Once you find your perfect vehicle, don’t forget to book your first Spiffy service for $20 off.
Imagine your car feeling new again

Posted in Lifestyle

Written by Julie Briggs

Cat mom and skeeball enthusiast based in New York, NY.