The car shortage continues to loom. Chip shortages are slowly bouncing back, but supply chains continue to bog down in a post pandemic world. New rules and regulations to fight the bottlenecks only seem to make things worse. All of this boils down to the car shortage continuing on. If you’re trying to find a new or used car, you probably noticed that pickings are slim. However, there are still places to get a deal. Many people find online car auctions to be a great place to get a deal. However, this isn’t for the feint of heart. If you’re thinking about buying your next car through an online car auction, there are some things you’ll need to know. However, armed with this information, you’re sure to get a great deal and even land your dream car.
Research is King in an Online Car Auction
Buying a car always requires some amount of research. However, with an online car auction, you need to research your research and keep looking even when you think you have found it all. This is because cars at auction are “as is” purchases. There’s no inspection, there’s no return policy, and there’s no bumper to bumper warranty deal. What you buy is what you get. At many auctions, these cars are from accidents or even salvaged. Let’s just say, even if you get a gem, you’re still going to need to take it to the mechanic afterwards for a serious tune-up. That’s one of the reasons why cars are so cheap in the auction setting.
So when you decide on the make and model of the car you want to bid on, you also have to look up the kind of maintenance this kind of car needs. You don’t need to have a mechanic’s license and know how to rebuild an engine, but you should be familiar with some common issues. Like, do the breaks wear down quicker or do belts slip? Finding the common issues and how much your local mechanic costs to fix them will help you budget for your car. Because fixing your car is part of the expense of buying a car.
Stick to your Max Bid
Now that you know that you need to set some money aside for a tune-up or even more, you should have a max bid. Car auctions are fast-paced, competitive events that are easy to get caught up in. You don’t want to overbid and not have enough money to fix the car or even get it home. Yes, you also need to set some money aside to ship your car home. After all, you’re getting the car from the world wide web, which means the car can be anywhere in the world. Get some quotes from your favorite shipping companies to see how much it is to get your car home. Note that distance makes shipping more expensive, so it might even behoove you to bid on cars closer to you.
Your max bid should be stuck to at all costs, pun intended. Be smart when you bid and don’t let the excitement take over. There are tons of cars and someone might be willing to overpay. That doesn’t mean you should. Your max bid should account for all the costs in your budget.
The Odometer can tell the Car’s Secrets
There is one fact about every car on the road. The higher the mileage, the more issues a car will have. Sure, you can keep up with maintenance and take care of your car to keep it going well over 100k miles. However, these are unchecked online car auction cars. You can’t assume the previous owner cared enough. Check the mileage and check the general maintenance of the car during these mileage checkpoints.
One checkpoint is that every 20k miles, you’ll need new tires. This can cost anywhere between $400 and $1,000. Around 40k miles, you’ll need to check the brakes. This can cost up to $2,000. These are all things to consider when you see the mileage report. Also, this should go into your cost of repairs.
Old Cars Also have Issues
There it is, the car you’ve heard of in stories. A little old lady left her Oldsmobile in the garage for years, only to drive it once. It still has dealer stickers. It’s practically a new car, only 20 years old and neglected. However, don’t think you’re getting a new car, nor should you pay new car prices. Even a car that’s never seen the road can have wear and tear from years of neglect. Sometimes, it’s actually better if the car did see some road time. That way, you know sludge didn’t build up in the engine and the owner more than likely did some scheduled maintenance. Things wear down over time. Even belts can wear down just from heat and age. Going through a car that’s been neglected has a whole host of issues it may have.
Know How an Online Car Auction Works
So you think you’re ready to place your first bid on a car. You’ve got your budget, you know the type of car you want, and you have several estimates on general service requests from your local mechanic. You even have a shipping company ready to pick it up. The best thing to do now is wait. Go to the online car auctions and see how they operate. Follow a few cars you don’t want just to see how the bidding process works. Is everyone bidding at the last minute? Does the price skyrocket above what you thought it would? Can you identify if someone is trying to raise the bidding price early in the auction?
Online Car Auctions are more art than science. Every auction is a little different, and you never know what’s going to happen. The best thing is to get as familiar as you can with the process before you begin. If you have a friend who has had success, get their opinion. See how they found success. If you do it right, you can snag your dream car for pennies on the dollar.