One of the biggest reasons for joining a car auction is you can now have the opportunity to buy the car you’ve always wanted for less than half its price in the market or when traded in. In fact, your savings can be more than 80%.
But if there’s one thing you should also never forget about car auctions, it’s that a vehicle is always sold as is. Whether it’s in good or poor condition upon bidding, the auctioneer doesn’t care less about it.
This information is important because you don’t want to bid on a lemon or a poorly maintained vehicle. Even if it costs you very cheaply, you’ll end up spending more for its repair. Worse, it may no longer be covered by auto insurance.
Fortunately, most car auctions hold an inspection period. This is the time where you can see the cars up close and personal, then check the different parts if they are still in working condition or, if they aren’t, if repairs are going to cost you a lot of money. Inspections usually happen a few hours to a day before the actual auction, giving you enough time.
Who does the inspection? There’s no rule about that. Most would bring along a car mechanic, who’s in a much better position to evaluate and give a recommendation. However, there are also others that like to go DIY.
If you want to follow the latter route, then you should know how inspect a vehicle’s tire and wheel. Here are some tips:
Perform the penny test. This is considered as the easiest and simplest way to measure a tire tread. Most of the cars at auctions are already pre-owned, so there will be markings on the tread. The most important thing is it’s not worn so bad the tires no longer have any grip.
In the United States, tire treads are measured by /32. When the tire tread is already 2/32, it means the tire should already be replaced.
You can use a gauge or a penny to conduct the examination. In the penny test, insert a penny in one of the ribs (or raised parts of the tread), making sure that the head of Lincoln faces down. Check the head? Can you see its entirety? If you can’t, then the tires need replacement.
Check for wheel alignment. Before the cars go out into the market, they are checked by manufacturers for wheel alignment. Aligning the wheels ensures that the wearing of tires is more uniform and that the car is going to drive straight.
See the bearings. You also need to see the bearings of the wheels, which are responsible for turning in different angles flawlessly. As the car travels, various objects such as small stones, dirt, and dust can accumulate in the bearings.
We highly recommend that you bring along a professional with you during the inspection as it’s always better to spend a little and be safe than be sorry. Nevertheless, you can also master it as you go along by starting with the abovementioned suggestions.