Reading : 3 minutes
Jan 16, 2024

There are dealer auctions all over the country that are open to the public. This means that anyone has the ability to purchase a car at an auction, even without a dealer’s license. For many, this is the perfect way to snag a great car for a great price. Online auctions allow customers to expand their search to zip codes anywhere in the country, increasing their chances of finding the right car. Furthermore, they are a great way for frugal buyers to save quite a bit of money. That said, it is important to consider the implications of buying a car in another state. Without proper planning and research, you could end up paying more than you expected or you might end up landing a lemon. If you want to ensure you get the right car for the right price, consider the following tips before participating in an online car auction. 

Do Your Homework Ahead of Time

Online car auctions typically showcase hundreds of cars in all makes and models. This can be overwhelming to someone who doesn’t know exactly what they are looking for. For this reason, you should do your homework ahead of time and learn as much as you can about the specific cars you are interested in. Decide what type of car you want and try to narrow down your search to just one or two make and models. This will help you weed out any cars that don’t match your search criteria. 

Plan for Shipping Costs

In most cases, cars at an online auction will be located hundreds of miles away from you. That means you need to consider your shipping and delivery options before settling on a budget. Be sure and factor in the cost for shipping so you can set an appropriate budget. 

Research Bidding Strategies

Especially if this is your first time bidding at an online auction, you might want to learn a few bidding strategies. Although no strategy is guaranteed to work, it certainly can’t hurt to have a few extra tricks up your sleeve. 

Set a Max Bid

Once you have decided on a make and model, research the Kelly Blue Book price for the type of vehicle you are interested in. This will give you a better idea of what you should expect to pay for the car. From there, determine what you are willing to pay and set a max bid. Remember, you are also going to have to pay shipping and delivery fees. Setting a max budget will prevent you from overspending on a car. After all, it’s better to lose the car than to pay more than you can afford for it. 

Consider the Car’s Mileage

When you are looking at cars online, it’s easy to get swept away by a shiny exterior, fancy wheels, excellent gas mileage, or other extra features. However, you never want to overlook a car’s mileage. The average annual mileage for a standard vehicle is 12,000 miles. A car’s mileage will tell a lot about the car’s history. Typically, car’s with higher mileage will have more wear and tear and they may also have a shorter lifespan. Consider additional repair and maintenance costs that typically go along with mileage such as tires, brakes, timing belts, water pump, and spark plugs. You want to be mindful of mileage so you aren’t turning right around and putting additional money into your car.

Check Out the Age and History of the Vehicle

You want to look closely at the age, condition, and history of the vehicle. Online auctions should provide you with photos of the vehicle as well as information regarding the history and condition of the car. For instance, a car that is several years old with very few miles may have been sitting in a garage for years without being driven. This can present a number of issues. Likewise, a vehicle that has been wrecked may have problems that you can’t necessarily detect on the exterior. The more research you can do ahead of time, the more confident you will feel in your decision when you place your bid. 

Stay Calm and Bid Smart

Try not to get caught up in the excitement and frenzy of the online auction. You never want to get too attached to a vehicle and you want to try and keep a level head at all times. Develop a strategy and stick to it. Also, keep your budget in mind and do not exceed this limit. The last thing you want is to overpay for a car in the heat of the moment. 

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