Buying a Vehicle at Auction? Here are the Pros and Cons

December 18, 2020

Car auctions are a tempting prospect because there is usually a high number of cars for sale at cheap prices, but are car auctions all they cracked up to be? 

Car auctions usually consist of cars that use to be public service cars, cars that have been repossessed or are pre-owned cars where the owner has decided to auction the car, instead of selling it privately.

car auction

The Pros and Cons of Car Auction Buying

When buying a car at auction, you must be aware that these cars are pre-owned and you will need to apply a certain level of caution when purchasing a car this way. But here are the pros of buying a car at auction.

A Lower Price

At a car auction, buyers know that they have a chance to buy a vehicle at a much lower price compared to buying privately from an owner or dealership. This means that a buyer could save money and get their dream vehicle. Retailers are not able to compete with auction prices. Plus, if the buyer has some skills to repair small and minor dents or mechanical issues then the buyer can benefit greatly from a car auction.

So Much Choice

Car auctions usually have a lot of choice in terms of cars you can get. You might be able to get a classic vintage car ora newer car that is still within warranty.

There are Plenty

Car auctions attract buyers by having a huge variety on offer and some auction houses will even have weekly car auctions. These auctions will have everything from sports cars to commercial vehicles to SUVs and more.

You Can Prep Before

As a buyer, you will have an opportunity to view vehicle information beforehand. This information can include any issues with the vehicle. You can determine a fair price for the vehicle once the costs of repairs are factored in.

pre-owned car

However, even though you could pick up a bargain there are cons to buying a vehicle at auction.

The Cons of Buying a Vehicle at Auction

If you are planning to buy your next vehicle at auction then heed the warning ‘Buyer Beware’. Here are the cons of buying a vehicle at an auction.


The biggest problem with car auctions is getting carried away. There is a different atmosphere at a car auction, it is often competitive and fast-paced, so you can easily get carried away into bidding more than what the car is worth. You need to stick to your guns and not bid over your set price.

It Is What Is

A vehicle will be sold as-is, so what you see is what you get. You won’t have the luxury of having a mechanic going over the car or being able to take it for a test drive.

The car you are buying from an auction could have had multiple owners and there are probably no warranties or guarantees on the majority of the cars. You will not be afforded any type of safety net if anything goes wrong with the car. So, if you have made a bad purchase then you will just need to suck it up and move on.

It Might Not Be as Good as It Looks 

Sellers will try and hide any flaw that the vehicle may have so that it looks desirable. The vehicle may look new, but it could be hiding a major mechanical issue.  

It’s a good idea to check the VIN number and ensure that they all match each other. If not then it could mean that major parts have been replaced and the vehicle was in an accident.

Buy What You See

You won’t be able to take a vehicle for a test drive, which means you will be buying what you see. You are allowed to turn the key and listen to the engine, view any log books that it may have and check under the bonnet, but that’s it.

The Hidden Costs May Get You

At an auction, there could be hidden costs that you don’t know about. You need to confirm the processing fees before you start to bid. Other costs may include auctioneers commission and fees, you may need to get a roadworthy certificate after your purchase and there could be added expenses to get the vehicle into a roadworthy condition.

Not Everyone is Honest

There are dishonest sellers and buyers out there and some vehicle owners are not trustworthy. Odometers can lie, for instance. Other things you need to watch out for are dummy bidders that will try and inflate the price.

Car auctions are a great way to pick up a deal, but there are many risks involved and you can’t be 100% sure what you are getting. If you are looking for a pre-owned vehicle at a competitive price, then why not browse the hundreds of listings on Cars2Sell. It is safer than an auction and you will know what you will be getting.

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