Cars at public auctions are often those that wouldn't sell at wholesale dealer auctions. Yes, some are flood vehicles, and Hurricane Irene should still be fresh in your mind. Some are cars quickly reconditioned in dealership shops to fill in slow periods when there's otherwise little work to be done. And many are just flat out junk. "A car that goes across the block at a public auction that isn't spewing smoke is often packed with thick racing oil to ensure it doesn't," Lang continues. "Everything at a public auction looks shiny, but shiny doesn't mean much about the quality of the car."
Wakeley Collection - Antiques & Toy Auction3/16/2019 10:00 AM Wakeley Collection - Antiques & Toy Auction - 3/16/2019 10:00 AMAntiques & Collectibles, Primitives, Jadeite Kitchen Glassware, Early Roseville Pitchers-Bowls-Juvenile, DeLaval Adv., Folk Art, Americana, Red Wing Stoneware Collection, Cabinets & Bookcases, Lighting & Mid-Century, Artwork-Oil Paintings, Old   [ View Full Listing ]

You will be required to bring all of your paperwork (Bill of Sale/Receipt and Dealers License, if needed), Identification, and gate fee of $30 to your assigned pickup date and time.  Important note: If you are sending someone else to pick up your vehicle (including a shipping company), you must call Corona’s Auto Parts and Towing to inform them of who will be picking up the vehicle, and you must send a notarized letter of authorization that the individual picking up the vehicle must have with him/her upon pickup.
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.
Closing is usually required within 30 calendar days of sale or sooner. Only the seller may, at its discretion, exceed closing beyond 30 calendar days. Payment in full is due at Closing.  Closing costs, including and without limitation, transfer taxes, documentary stamps, recording fees, and escrow fees will be paid by the Buyer and Seller in accordance with the customs of the county in which the property is located, unless stated otherwise in the individual Terms and Conditions of Sale. 

Immediately after the bidding, the high bidder will be required to provide their deposit check as the initial earnest money deposit on the property. In most cases, the second high bidder (back-up bidder) will also be required to make a deposit. If you are not the high bidder or second high bidder, we do not collect your deposit.  The Terms of Sale will explain deposit requirements for each property. This deposit is non-refundable. Personal or business checks, money orders, cash, credit cards, bank letters, or letters of credit will not be accepted.
After registering for the auction of your choice, begin to figure out a budget. Setting a budget helps relieve anxiety and stress that can come along with auto auction participation. Know your budget and stick to it no matter what the circumstance. When the budget is set, you can start to look into your finances. If you are going to need a loan, determine who or what will be your financial lender. Some auto auction firms provide pre-approved loans; if that is a route, you are comfortable taking. Banks and credit unions are other options for obtaining a car loan.

To bid, you'll mostly need to go to an auction house on the day and bid in person. However, some auction houses now offer live internet or telephone bidding. You'll have to register to bid with the auction house, whether you're bidding in person or not. You should be able to find out when the next police auction will be held by visiting the auction house's website.
Several different federal agencies hold government auctions. The General Services Administration is the granddaddy of them all, because it sells on behalf of other departments. When a federal agency no longer needs something — say, a pickup truck — it reports the truck to GSA, which first offers it to other federal agencies and then to state and local governments or nonprofits. If nobody claims the truck, then the GSA auctions it off to the public, and you get your chance at it. 
Do the homework, sometimes even ‘bad’ car can be a great deal at an auction. I recently bought a minivan that was listed as having a blown transmission. A little research discovered this is a common problem for that make and year. At the preview, I had my mechanic (whom I trust) on speed dial and got an estimate on the spot to replace the transmission with a new, 5-year warrentied rebuilt one. The bids on the van were low (who’d buy a vehicle with a bad transmission?), and even with the purchase price, the cost of the new transmission and towing to my mechanic, it still came in way below KBB value. And I know it has a worry-free transmission for the next 5 years. So don’t let even a ‘problem’ car scare you off if you’re willing to do the homework and hassle of getting it fixed.

A well-maintained car will always have a clean dipstick when you check the oil or transmission fluid, so if it’s anything other than light and transparent, be careful. Also be sure to inspect the coolant overflow tank and shine a flashlight inside the radiator. If it looks like someone accidentally dumped chocolate milk in there it’s time to walk away, because that’s the sign of a blown head gasket.
Identify contractors authorized to hold government auctions. You can obtain auction listings directly from contractors authorized by many government agencies to carry out public auctions. For example, one of the largest online public auction contractors for Federal, state and local government agencies is Bid4Assets, which auctions off surplus property, seized and tax-forfeited assets.

General Disclaimer: Get Rich Slowly is an independent website managed by J.D. Roth, who is not a trained financial expert. His knowledge comes from the school of hard knocks. He does his best to provide accurate, useful info, but makes no guarantee that all readers will achieve the same level of success. If you have questions, consult a trained professional.
Find an auction that sells newer cars where the public is allowed to attend. Most auto auctions are run for dealers only, but some are open to the public. Vehicles at an auction are generally ex-rentals, off-lease, repossessions, or government vehicles. Mine was a trade-in being sold by a dealership. A quick google search for “your area or city + public + auto auction” should do the trick to find an auction in your area.
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It is strongly recommended that you attend the open houses/inspections that are scheduled prior to sale. The bidder is invited, urged, and cautioned to inspect the property prior to submitting a bid. Failure to inspect property shall not constitute cause for cancellation of sale. Property will be available for inspection only at the times specified.  At their own expense, potential bidders may have property inspectors examine the property during regularly scheduled open houses.

Wakeley Collection - Antiques & Toy Auction3/16/2019 10:00 AM Wakeley Collection - Antiques & Toy Auction - 3/16/2019 10:00 AMAntiques & Collectibles, Primitives, Jadeite Kitchen Glassware, Early Roseville Pitchers-Bowls-Juvenile, DeLaval Adv., Folk Art, Americana, Red Wing Stoneware Collection, Cabinets & Bookcases, Lighting & Mid-Century, Artwork-Oil Paintings, Old   [ View Full Listing ]
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In economics we tend to think of auctions as a good way to get at the true price of an object. Of course, it isn’t quite perfect as there’s still problems with information asymmetries, and people can get a winner’s curse because the people who err in thinking the car is worth more than it actually is are the ones who are likely to win. On the other hand, the price can go lower if there just aren’t enough people at the auction for that to happen– you need at least two people over-valuing the object and willing to pay for it for one of them to over-pay.
Closing is usually required within 30 calendar days of sale or sooner. Only the seller may, at its discretion, exceed closing beyond 30 calendar days. Payment in full is due at Closing.  Closing costs, including and without limitation, transfer taxes, documentary stamps, recording fees, and escrow fees will be paid by the Buyer and Seller in accordance with the customs of the county in which the property is located, unless stated otherwise in the individual Terms and Conditions of Sale.
You could tell that most people knew each other. It felt like these few dozen bidders were part of an exclusive network of junkyard owners and flip-artists who have been bidding on cars against each other for years. Every now and then, when one guy outbid another, you’d see the losing bidder lean over to a friend and talk shit on the winner. “He just buys cars for the sake of buying them. He probably makes no money,” I heard one guy whisper. Police auctions are full of mysteries and secrets.
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