Top 5 Tips on How to Score a Gem at an Online Car Auction
Nowadays, more and more people are turning to online auto auctions to score reliable rides for cheap prices. Aside from enjoying the ultimate convenience of being able to shop in the comfort of your home, buying a vehicle at an online car auction is also a very simple and cost-effective option.
The downside is, your chances landing on a lemon is relatively high unless you’ve done your research first. If you want to end up with a diamond in the rough and avoid getting spoofed along the way, here are the top 5 things you need to know before participating in an online car auction.
- Do your homework.
Since an online car auction showcases a ton of different makes and models, it’s important to do research regarding the vehicles you’re interested in ahead of time. Learn about common repairs needed for those types of vehicles. Research the average lifespan of the vehicles. Check to see if there are any online owner’s forums for the vehicles.
Another thing to try to find out beforehand is bidding strategies. Although not all strategies are guaranteed to work, having a few tricks up your sleeve could give you the upper hand during the online vehicle auction.
- Set a max bid.
Figure out what the Kelly Blue Book prices are of the vehicles you’re interested in - both wholesale and retail. Determine what you can afford to pay, determine what the vehicles typically sell for. Set a maximum bid for yourself so you don’t overbid or overspend at the online car auction.
You don’t want to “break the bank” on a vehicle that’s not worth it. It’s better to lose a bid on a vehicle, than overspend. There are always more vehicles to bid on. Stick to your budget.
- Never overlook the mileage.
The average annual mileage of a standard vehicle is 12,000 miles. While it’s easy to get swept away by a car’s MPG, brand name, paint job, or gorgeous interior, never overlook a used car’s mileage. A car’s mileage tells a tale of the car’s history.
Typically, a car with lower mileage has less wear and tear compared to one with higher mileage. This means that the lower the mileage, the longer the life the potential vehicle will have.
As a general example:
- Tires need to be replaced approximately every 20,000 miles and will cost you anywhere from $400 to $1,000.
- Brakes need to be replaced approximately every 40,000 miles and will cost you anywhere from $300 to $1,000.
- The timing belt needs to be replaced approximately every 75,00 miles and will cost you anywhere from $300 to $700. Do the water pump at the same time and add an additional $150 to $800.
These are just some things you need to consider in your budget calculations for the online vehicle auction. Also, remember that the more luxurious the car is, it’s common that the more expensive the parts get.
You have to be mindful of the overall condition as well. If you find a car with low mileage but appears to have extreme wear and tear, you have to be suspicious.
- Remember that age matters.
A car’s age can be just as revealing as its mileage. If a car spent an awful lot of years sitting in the garage, it can actually raise more concern compared to a car that has been consistently exercised and maintained.
However, if a car is just a few years old and already has 150,000 miles on it, you should be weary as well. It is important to stop and think about how the vehicle was being driven and how the vehicle was being maintained.
- Bid wisely.
Try not to get caught up of the excitement of the online car auction. Keep a level head and stick to your budget. Talk to previous bidders and buyers and ask them for tips and tricks on when and how to bid at the online car auction. Develop a strategy and you’ll be sure to get the vehicle you want at a price you love.
- Do your homework.
To recap, if you’re ready to try your luck at an online car auction, try Capital Auto Auction. We have weekly online auto auctions. Do yourself a favor and check out our inventory of vehicles and calendar of online car auctions today!