How to Get The Best Deal At a Car Auction


If you’re considering buying a vehicle from a car auction you’ll know this can be a great way to bag a good deal, but you’ll want to make sure you’re mentally prepared for the challenge that awaits.

In many ways, going to a car auction is a very simple procedure in that you find a few cars you like, check them out, and work out your maximum bid.  If there is damage you might want to run it by a reputable auto repair shop in order to workout your maximum bid.

However, whilst it’s important to define your maximum bid, the psychological effect an auction environment has on people can play havoc with our rational senses, and can very easily cause us to overspend; or end up bidding on a car that’s not suitable for your needs just because it seems like a good bargain at the time; and that’s a key phrase when it comes to buying at auction… “at the time” something might seem like a great deal, but unless you’ve done your research and come prepared, you’re likely to make an impulsive purchase, which you might subsequently regret.

In this article, we’re going to look at how to master the car auction experience for beginners, and how to get the best deal at a car auction.


Knowing your budget is crucial, and not just in terms of what you have to spend at the auction, but with regard to how much a specific car is worth to you – in the sense of knowing what your maximum bid should be for that particular car.

In an auction environment, it’s all too easy for a low initial bid to spiral out of control, and gain such rapid momentum what was a few hundred dollars, 30 seconds ago, is now several thousand; it’s therefore important you don’t get carried away by the nature of this, particularly if you’re known to have a competitive spirit, or really do have your eyes set on a particular vehicle.

This is where the importance of setting a budget that states the absolute maximum you will spend on each car is essential.


It’s easy to get carried away at a car auction.  The way to mitigate that is to have a clear outline of what it is you actually want, as this can save you from the trap of becoming an impulsive buyer.

Of course, you’ll want the opportunity to to check the car out prior to auction, and whilst most auction houses don’t allow for a test drive, they will normally allow you to start the engine and have a good look around the car, including what’s under the hood… just make sure you do this in plenty of time in advance of the auction starting; such as the day before.


Getting there the day before is ideal, as this is provides a good opportunity to create a shortlist of viable options without the hustle bustle of the auction itself.  Then, in terms of the auction, you want to get there as early as possible in order to feel more comfortable and at ease within the environment.


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