5 Government Car Auction Dos and Don'ts

Getting ripped off at a government car auction is the number one most common fear of those attending one. There would be nothing worse than buying your dream car for pennies on the dollar only to discover you over paid or even worse, it needs extensive repair work. But it doesn't have to end that way. Increase your chances of finding that perfect car for a great price by following these valuable dos and don'ts.

1. Do bring a mechanic with you to any government car auction you attend. This is the most important thing to remember because these cars are sold in as-is condition. Meaning, once you buy it you are responsible for all repairs and cannot return it if it's a lemon. If you can't find a mechanic to come with you, check under the hood for dirty oil, which can be a sign that the previous owner did not keep up with regular maintenance. Also look for rust on the brakes, doors and trunk, which can be an indication that the was was in a flood. Avoid these cars at all costs because the water damage will cause the electrical system to fail soon, which costs more to fix than it's worth.

2. Do arrive early. This will give you time to thoroughly inspect each and every car you're interested in buying. You should try going a day or two before the auction date so you can write down the vin numbers of the cars in order to run a CARFAX report on each one, which is also very important.

3. Do research every car you're interested in buying. This includes running a CARFAX report and using a Kelly's Blue Book. First, you'll want to run a CARFAX report using the vin number you wrote down as mentioned above. This report will tell you if the car has in an accident, flood or fire. If that check out OK, next you'll use a Kelly's Blue Book to check the car's current retail value. This will save you from paying more than what the car is really worth, which is all too common if you get caught up in a bidding war.

4. Don't get too attached to any one car. Sure, the car may be just what you're looking for. But getting too attached can cause you to get into a bidding war with someone else that feels the same way. In the end, you'll wind up pay more than what the car is actually worth, which makes going to a government car auction to save money pointless.

5. Don't buy a car with non-matching vin numbers. If the vin numbers on the engine, doors, dashboard, trunk, etc. don't match there is a high possibility that the car has been in an accident, flood, or fire. Most likely parts from another car were used to do repair work. Or even worse, it's a stolen vehicle.

In conclusion, going to a government car auction is nothing to fear as long as you are a well prepared buyer. just remember to bring a mechanic, get there early, do your research, avoid getting too attached and buying cars with non-matching vin numbers. As long as you follow these guidelines you'll be fine.


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