It’s no secret that it’s harder to get a car than ever before. With chip shortages, global supply chains, and growing inflation, it feels almost impossible to get a good deal on your next car. Ask anyone who’s gone to the dealership in the last six months and they’ll tell you that a used car almost costs as much as a new one. This is even if you can find one. Some people wait months for a car to finally arrive. However, for some scrappy deal seekers, there’s still one place where you can find a car for pennies on the dollar. This glorious place is an online car auction. However, before you start bidding, there are some things you need to know.
Research before Your Online Car Auction
Buying a car through an online car auction is different than from a dealer. At a dealer, you can inspect the car, sit inside and see how it feels. You can even take it for a test drive. Then, you can feel safe knowing that some mechanic checked one hundred and twenty-something parts in an inspection and that the car’s backed by some type of limited warranty. In an online car auction, you get none of that. However, when buying a car in today’s market, you may not get to test drive or inspect the car anyway. The key to buying a car online is knowing that it may not be of the same quality as a dealership. Most of the cars at an auction are unfit to sell at a dealership. They’ll have problems. The key to grabbing a great deal is knowing how to fix these problems.
This doesn’t mean you need to be a certified mechanic. However, knowing the make and model of the car you want and doing a little research about common issues can go a long way. Check with your local mechanic to see how expensive it is to replace common things like brakes, belts, and sparkplugs. Ask them what most people bring their cars in for. Does this hybrid model have a fuse that goes out? Is the old car tough on brakes? Knowing what maintenance you’ll need can help you adjust your budget because you will need to send the car for maintenance if you buy a car at an online car auction. That’s why they’re so cheap.
Know Your Max Bid
You may know how much you want to spend on the car, but your research says that it may cost a little extra for that tune-up. Don’t worry and adjust accordingly. These auction cars are notoriously cheap, and you can still find a great deal. However, don’t get caught up in the fast-paced bidding experience or get too attached to one car. There are tons of cars out there, and another one will surely pop up soon. However, fixing up the car once it arrives isn’t the only expense. You also need to make sure the car arrives. This means either traveling out to the car or hiring a shipping company. Both of these options cost money, and traveling also costs you time, which is invaluable. Check to see where the car you want is located and get some quotes for shipping rates from that area. It may behoove you to bid on cars that are closer to your area.
When you have your max bid, stick to it. Don’t overbid and put yourself out of pocket. Buying a car is a serious investment that should improve your life, not put you in the poor house. Those who are honest with their budgets and show restraint get the most out of an online car auction.
Check the odometer and VIN
These two numbers can tell you more about the car than anything else. Sure, you can’t go and kick the tires and do your own inspection, but the internet is your friend. If you can buy a car online, you can research a car online. Get a CARFAX report and check the vehicle’s history. There are tons of free services that can tell you a ton by just typing in the VIN. You can see accident reports, previous owners, and more. Additionally, the odometer can give you a glimpse into the future of the car by knowing the past. Every car is different, but most cars have general maintenance requirements at certain milestones. For instance, you’ll need new tires every 20K miles and brakes every 40K miles. If the car’s odometer is slowly creeping its way towards one of these milestones, you’ll know what you’re in for.
Check the Age
Maybe you found that diamond in the rough. Someone has a car that has never been driven. It was lost in a storage container or was abandoned in a car museum. Whatever it is, it may still not be the deal of your dreams. Sometimes, these old abandoned vehicles could be worse than newer vehicles with high mileage. This is because if someone drives a car every day, they’re more likely to maintain it. If a car has no mileage and is ten years old, you can probably guess that they’ve never changed the oil or had the belts looked at. Belts can deteriorate just by age. Also, sludge could build up in the engine if it is never turned on.
The average person drives about 15,000 miles a year. If they’re slightly below this, then you’re golden. You could assume that they did the bare minimum of maintenance and turned the car on and cycled the fluids. That doesn’t mean that the old car with low mileage isn’t good. It’s just important to note that there is a laundry list of unseen issues that could arise from a neglected car.
Learn about the Online Car Auction Process
So, you have your budget. You know how much it costs for an in-depth tune-up. You’ve even cross-checked the vehicle with your mechanic and online history reports. You’re ready to bid. Well, you’re almost ready. First-time buyers may be in for a surprise when they actually start the bidding process. No two car auctions are the same, but there are certain patterns to look for. You’ll notice that nobody will bid until the very end. At that point, the bids will jump much higher than you may expect. Or, perhaps someone bids consistently throughout the process only to stop at the end in an effort to raise the bids.
Take a look at a few auctions and just observe. Learn how people bid. Look to see how much they increase the bids by. Are they just increasing by a penny or more? This can give you an edge when it’s time to make your own bids.
Online car auctions are a great place to find a deal if you know what you’re doing. With the right preparation, anyone can get their dream car for almost half of what they would spend at the dealer. If you just won your auction, call Colorado Springs Car Transport to help you bring it home. We can ship anywhere in the United States and Puerto Rico. The best part is that we include insurance right there in the quote, so you don’t have to worry about registration and insurance until after you get the car.