Pros and Cons of Buying a Car From An Auction

Buying a used car at an auction is getting fairly popular in recent times, and rightly so. Auctions are where you can get the best and the cheapest auto deals than second-hand and traditional auto dealers. Most of these cars at auctions are seized property due to foreclosure, repossession, or even de-fleeting vehicles from commercial or police car fleets. The cars available at auction are typically in good condition and just need a bit of touch-up to become roadworthy.

There are some great options on how to transport a car from auctions

However, as good and tempting as it might seem, there are intricacies you need to know about purchasing a car from an auction to land on a bargain deal. Read on to know more about some pros and cons of buying a car from an auction


Wide Selection

Most car auctions would have a huge selection to choose from, including luxury sedans, pickup trucks, economy cars, SUVs, MUVs, commercial vehicles, and even vintage cars. However, you may or may not find the exact color, year of manufacture, or mileage you’re after. Also, you might need to search through various lots to eventually land on a bargain deal, which isn’t much trouble considering the benefits.

Amazing Value

The auctions have a lot of value deals available frequently. You can land on these great deals if you’re willing to put in the work. Most shoppers say they usually find a deal that’s 30 percent lesser than the average market price at seconds and user car distributors and dealerships. While you’re at it, keep a lookout for government or commercial vehicles as they are well-maintained, regularly serviced, and maybe under warranty. Sometimes, repossessed cars are also in great shape, and you might get lucky finding a car that’s new or as good as new.

Quick Sales

At auto auctions, the sellers are usually looking for quick sales. If you go into an auction after doing your homework, buying a car that meets your specific requirements and budget becomes easier and quicker. There are many government sites where you can check the details of the cars being auctioned. So, you can check out the details like model, year of manufacture, mileage, condition, and a range of other essential details online. It would help you equip with the knowledge and information you need about the cars in the auction so that you can start bidding right away.


Unable to Test Drive

While you can get a bunch of information about the car from doing a visual inspection or getting a vehicle’s information report, nothing can substitute being able to drive the car to check for yourself firsthand. At an auction, getting to test drive is usually not possible and not allowed. It can be one of the biggest drawbacks for many car buyers who prefer to take a car for a test drive before putting their money on the line.

No Warranty

Cars available at auctions are sold on an “as is” basis. At times, the auction sellers may offer buyers a three-month grace period, or the buyers can purchase a warranty on their own by paying extra. With some commercial fleet and police vehicles, the cars may still be under warranty. However, getting a warranty with a car purchased from an auction can be a hit or miss. It all depends on the auction, seller, and circumstances in which the cars are being auctioned.

Sketchy Background

Cars that end up at auctions may have a sketchy history, and it is no secret. At times, the cars may have been stolen and recovered by law enforcement or are repossessed due to the owners’ adverse financial condition, and so on. Even though the auction sellers do responsibly disclose all the necessary information buyers need to know before buying, you may still not get to know it all. However, it is easy to know the details about a car and its history online these days. Do your due diligence if you find something’s off. At times, the car you buy at auction may not be second-hand but third-hand or even fourth-hand car.

Refurbished Cars

While most of the cars at auctions are checked for their quality and usability before being included in an auction, some of these cars just might be refurbished. The refurbished cars look good and in tip-top condition, but all that glitters may not be gold always. After a few months, many problems with the car would start to surface, causing unwanted expenses. As these cars typically do not come with insurance coverage or warranties, the repair expenses have to be borne by the buyer.

No Return, No Exchange

Do as much scrutiny you want of the car before buying, but once you’ve purchased the car, there’s no return or exchange. Any problem that comes up with the car after purchase is your problem, not of the auction seller.

Low Resale Value

The car you buy at an auction, even if it is the car that’s high in demand in the market, you might not get a good resale value as you may expect. So, if you’re planning to use the car to its very end, and roughly so, buying a car from an auction is a good idea. Don’t expect to get a good resale price of an auctioned car unless you get really lucky!

If you’re planning to buy a car from an auction, these are the few pros and cons you need to keep in mind. It would help you avoid making common mistakes most buyers make and land on a bargain deal. If you’re not good with understanding or deciphering a car’s technicalities, it is best to take someone who can gauge the car’s condition and help you make an informed decision.

Also, just because you went to an auction doesn’t mean you have to buy a car. Don’t buy if you don’t find something your heart agrees with and wait till another auction. Rest assured, there are plenty of auctions being held weekly and monthly you can participate in.