Auto auctions are tricky places to begin with. Prefix an auto auction with the word online, and you actually find yourself at a place where every step you take needs to be well calculated and thought of. Many people do not take online auto auctions seriously because it is so easy to bid and participate in such auctions. However, it is wise to remember that you are obligated by law to carry out a purchase once you win the bid for a product. While all the tips that apply to a regular auction will help you in bidding at an online auction as well, our tips here will help you in bidding and buying smarter at an online auto auction:
Test drive the car you are bidding for: One great disadvantage of both online and offline car auctions is that you do not get the opportunity to test drive the car that you are bidding for. While you can at least physically inspect a car at a regular auction, you cannot do the same for an online one. The next best thing that you can do is go to a used car dealership and test drive the same make and model that you are bidding for online. If you can’t find it at a used car dealer’s test drive a new one and try to judge what problems might crop up with the car a few years hence.
Get the car inspected by a third party: Bidding online is always fraught with risks. There is no guarantee that the vehicle you are bidding for actually exists in real life. On the other hand, if it does, then you are obligated to buy it if you win the bid. Since you might not be able to physically inspect a car that you find online yourself due to distance or other factors, you can try to hire a mechanic who will give you an unbiased report about the condition of your car. Ask your seller to get this service performed for you by any national car repair chain to ensure reliability and trust. However, it is advised that you only bid for vehicles that you can go and check out for yourself before buying.
Get a VIN# history first: The vehicle identification number is a crucial tool that will help you in getting a vehicle’s history through a number of online services providing the same. Ask the seller to give you the vehicle identification number of the car that is being auctioned off and run a VIN history check before bidding. You will get to know details about the title, actual mileage, accident history and any other damage that the vehicle has undergone.
Base your bid on actual market price: There are a number of resources, both online and offline that will provide you with the actual market value of a used vehicle. Some online websites will give you the market value of a used vehicle based on make, model and years of use for free. Avail these services and use the guide price as a base for calculating the value of your bid. Subtract money for extra mileage, accident history and another ten per cent for buying online if you are doing so without seeing the vehicle first. Also deduct the price of shipping if any from your bid if the seller is not paying for it. And pay for an online auction car only through escrow, where the money is transferred to the seller only after you have received the goods and are satisfied with it.