Public car auctions are turning out to be a popular method of picking up used cars at very low prices. While one can actually manage to get great deals at auctions, it is also possible for people to land up with lemons if they do not take enough precautions before buying a car at an auction. It is extremely important to check any car’s VIN# history before bidding for it in an auction. Apart from knowing the vehicle history, it is important to physically examine a vehicle up close and personal before you actually bid for it or buy it. Some of the main things that you need to pay attention to while checking out cars at an auction are:
Tires: Uneven wear on the tires is an indicator of misalignment, which could have resulted from a bad accident or wrecking. Also check all four tire rims for damage.
Carpeting and upholstery: If a five year old car has new carpeting and upholstery, then be extra cautious about it since this might have been carried out to hide some kind of damage, and the vehicle could possibly have been flooded or even caught in a fire. Check under the carpet for signs of flooding, rust or other damage.
Vehicle Identification Number: Each and every vehicle nowadays has its own unique vehicle identification number that is printed on the dashboard, doors, trunk and other parts of a vehicle’s body. If the VIN# on different parts of a vehicle do not match, then you can be sure that the vehicle has been pieced up by putting together parts from several different ones. Most possibly a junked or wrecked car. Another possibility for a car with different VINs is that it could be stolen.
Paint: Any vehicle that has undergone body work definitely needs to be painted again. Check for signs of paint spray near window edges, on the insides of doors, at door seams, window and windshield edges and in the engine compartment. In order to uncover a clever paint job, you might need to use a digital coating thickness gauge, something that you might see dealers using on every auction car.
Exhaust pipes: A dirty residue around the end of the exhaust pipe or excessive exhaust coming out behind a car indicates engine trouble and should definitely be checked. Other signs of engine trouble are a more than usual noise or rattling sounds.
Brakes: Brake jobs can turn out be really costly in most cases, especially those done right after buying a used car. If the brake drums have rust on them, then this shows a state of disrepair or possible flooding or abandonment. Stay away from such cars.
Windows: If the car you are looking at has power windows, then check that all windows work properly, since getting power window motors changed can cost you quite a packet. The same goes for sun and moon roofs.
The Body: Needless to say, check the whole body of the cars for everything ranging from scratches and dents to misalignment or breakage. Go for cars that actually look like they have their original bodies with them and have not been smashed around much.