If it looks too good to be true, chances are it is, and there’s a simple reason why. While bodywork is expensive, it pales in comparison to the kind of profit a car will turn if a high-bidding buyer doesn’t notice it. A thorough pre-bid inspection should hopefully illuminate any issues prior to putting down your money. For more info on what shoddy bodywork can hide, don’t forget to read our write-up on nine ways you can tell if a car has been in a wreck.
"There are two types of public auctions," explains Steven Lang, who runs a used car dealership in the Atlanta area and once owned a dealer auction (not open to the public). "There are government auctions and there are public auctions." Both are full of potential pitfalls. Here's a quick rundown on both and 10 tips for getting the most out of either. That is, if you dare to venture into the auction pit.
Check out the vehicles at the auction house. There should be a pre-viewing session for the auction the day before. At the pre-viewing, you can start the vehicle but you can't test drive it. (Although my son did accidentally put a car in drive and move it a few inches. He was so embarrassed, he thought they were going to kick him out.) Do all the things you ordinarily would when buying a used car: check underneath for fluid spills, pop the hood, bring a friend that knows more about cars than you do.
From our early days as an online police auction site, there was one piece of property & evidence that we did not touch – firearms. However, recently for many states and jurisdictions it has become a requirement, and even mandated, for law enforcement agencies to auction off their seized, forfeited and unclaimed firearms just as they do with other parts of the property and evidence room.

Quotes delayed at least 15 minutes. Real-time quotes provided by BATS BZX Real-Time Price. Market Data provided by Interactive Data (Terms & Conditions). Powered and Implemented by Interactive Data Managed Solutions. Company fundamental data provided by Morningstar. Earnings estimates data provided by Zacks. Mutual fund and ETF data provided by Lipper. Economic data provided by Econoday. Dow Jones & Company Terms & Conditions.
×