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5 Tips for Successful Bidding at Car Auctions

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Car Auctions

Car auctions are a great way to save money or find a rare car at a sweet deal. If you have been to an auto auction, then you know how exhilarating the experience can be. However, as exciting as the whole experience sounds, inexperienced bidders can quickly find it to be fast-paced and very competitive. So, what can you do to stay ahead of the game and make a successful bid for the car of your dreams at an auto auction? Read on as we explore some of the tips that can increase your chances of driving from a car auction with the machine you always wanted.

Research and Preparation

Before setting foot on any auction grounds or subscribing to an online auto auction, you need to know the cars that will be on sale that day. Doing your homework will help you understand a few important things, including:

  • The bidding starting prices
  • Types of vehicles available at the auction
  • The people showing interest at the auction (Are they dealers, car enthusiasts, or retailers?)

Most car auctions have preview days where potential bidders are allowed to go and inspect the vehicles. This is your chance to check out under the hood of the cars you hope to score a deal. Take a step further and run car history research using the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).

Lastly, ensure you get a copy of the auction rules and procedure of the house, as sometimes auctions may have different practices. Remember, the more information you have, the more prepared you will be.

Set a Ceiling Budget

Biddings can get heated, and figures you thought were a good deal can quickly spiral into expensive bids. Some of the factors you can consider when setting your budget include the value of the car, its rarity in the market, and its current condition. Remember that the goal is to get a good car at a deal within your budget. Therefore, even when the atmosphere gets heated, and there’s a rush to quote a higher price, do not exceed your maximum bid.

Mastering the Psychology of Bidding

Bidding is a psychological game where bidders try to outdo each other and use various tactics to discourage or divert interest. The first step you need to take is to stay calm and composed when you get to the auction center. Arrive early and read the room. Look at which cars spark the highest interest and observe if other bidders seem eager or hesitant around other vehicles.

During bidding, you can use strategies like bid shading, where you quote a price lower than the car’s market value. When quoting higher prices, you can sometimes also make a significant jump to see if you can discourage other buyers. However, use this strategy sparingly and do not go above your budget.

Be Prepared to Walk Away

Sometimes, auctions can be too competitive and push you out of the bidding due to high price quotations. If the cars you hoped to get have become too expensive, it’s best to walk away. There will always be other auctions where you can go and try your luck. It often takes more than one auto auction to find a deal you can afford.

Set Aside Money for Repairs and Servicing

If you’ve managed to bid successfully for the car you wanted, you may need to take it for a few repairs or have it serviced before using it. The best strategy is to take a mechanic with you to the car auctions so they can help you know if the car is worth it and the extent of the repairs you’ll have to do once you buy it.


To summarize all these points, to be a successful bidder at any car auction, you must do prior research, have a budget, bid confidently, and be ready to walk away if the price is too high. The more auctions you attend, the more experience you will get, and become better at making successful bids. Good luck!


Kossi Adzo is the editor and author of He is software engineer. Innovation, Businesses and companies are his passion. He filled several patents in IT & Communication technologies. He manages the technical operations at

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