There is no doubt that car auctions are great places for buying used cars at very good prices. At the same time, it is wise to remember that car auctions sell used cars, and it is always good to be cautious with used cars. With the growing popularity of auctions, more and more people have started using them to sell off useless pieces of junk branded off as serviceable vehicles. Auction cars are sold “as is” and it is best to do your homework well before bidding on a vehicle. We tell you about the most common scams that you should watch out for before you bid on an auction vehicle.
Laundered Titles: Every month, hundreds of car titles are laundered where totaled or wrecked cars are repaired and given a clean used car title. This is usually done after a wrecked car is taken out of one state and given a new title in another. The only way of getting to know whether the car you are looking at is coming with its original title or not is by running a VIN# history check with one of the many online services that provide you with a vehicle’s complete history through the vehicle identification number.
Junked/Salvaged/Rebuilt Cars: This is another major scam that you can come across at an extremely large number of auctions. Cars that have been absolutely totaled are picked up from junk yards, repaired and repainted, taken to another state and given a new title altogether. Once again, the VIN history report can come to your aid in this case. Ensuring that the VIN # printed on different parts of a vehicle also confirms that a car is an original since most rebuilt cars carry parts from different vehicles as a result of which the vehicle identification numbers printed on different parts may be different. Cars with such titles are sold for less and it is good to be suspicious of vehicles whose opening bid is unbelievably low.
Natural Calamity Vehicles: Floods and fires are natural calamities that have struck the United States quite frequently in the last few years and you can definitely come across damaged cars with rebuilt titles on auction lots. Check cars for flood and fire damage by looking under the carpeting for signs of rust. New paint, upholstery and carpeting are a sure-shot signs of some kind of damage to car interiors, most probably as a result of flooding or fire. Once again, a VIN history check helps.
Accident Damaged Cars: You need to check a car both physically and through a history check service in order to find out about accidental damage to a vehicle. Check for signs of painting on window and windshield edges, inside doors and door edges, higher than normal paint thickness (use a digital checker) and misalignment of certain parts. While a VIN history will help, you might not able to know about accident damage if the accident has been recent. While you can go ahead and buy an accident damaged car if you get a good bargain, it is a good idea to get it checked by a mechanic to ensure that factory spares have been used and that all damaged parts like airbags etcetera have been replaced.