3 Strategic Steps to Deal With Car Auctions


If you’re considering buying a vehicle from a car auction you’ll want to make sure you’re mentally prepared for the challenge that awaits.  In many ways, it’s a very simple procedure in that you highlight a few cars you like, check them out, work out your maximum bid and then participate in the auction.  However, the psychological affect an auction environment has on us, can play havoc with your rational senses and very easily cause us to overspend or end up bidding on a car that’s not suitable for your needs.

In this article, we’re going to look at three tips specifically focused on buying a car from an auction.  It’s limited in scope, and doesn’t cover what to check the vehicle for prior to the auction commencing, as it focuses instead on mastering the auction experience.


It’s very easy for a low initial bid to spiral way beyond what your maximum within less than a minute, and at this point you’ll likely be tempted to get carried away and keep bidding as your competitive nature kicks in.  

Understandably, if you’re going to an auction, you want to grab a bargain.  This is where setting a budget that states this is the absolute maximum you will spend is essential.

At an auction, your psychology is not necessarily your friend, because this is where your emotional brain will take over — the inner child in you that takes the wheel and says “but I want that one”, yet unlike a child, you’re the one that’s holding the checkbook, and if you get carried away in the somewhat addictive (and competitive) nature of an auction you can find your initial bid of $100 has shot up to $1,000 before you know it.  This is where the “adult” needs to step in and enforce the “do not cross line”.


It’s easy to get carried away at a car auction, and having a strong outline of what it is you actually need/want can save many an impulsive buyer.  You’ll want to check the car out mechanically prior to auction, as the last thing you want is having to spend hundreds if not thousands on auto repair as a result of not carrying out due diligence.

Work out a list of must haves, nice to haves, and non-essentials; then compare your choices to this list in order to ground you and make sure you’re not just getting carried away.


Often, auctions will allow you to view (and start) the cars prior to viewing – sometimes the day before; and this is a great opportunity to develop a shortlist of viable options without the hustle bustle of the auction itself.  

Another benefit of checking the vehicles out the day before is that you can avoid the temptation to be impulsive on the day.  You want to research your best options and come back to the auction with an informed plan.



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