What To Expect At A Used Car Auction
A used car auction can literally have anything from cars that may as well be scrap metal, to guaranteed dealer quality cars - but the product isn't the whole story. The important thing is not so much what you can get at a used car auction, as it is how you are going to get it.
That first visit to a used car auction can be fairly nerve wracking, with the lightning quick auctioneer jabber, heated bidding, and endless rapid progression of cars. Fortunately, pretty much every used car auction operates just about the same way. The more you understand about the way they operate, the more likely it is you will get exactly what you want at a used car auction.
Junkers to gems
Once you have found a parking spot, paid the deposit, and received your bidder's number, go have a look around the lot for the used car auction. All the guaranteed cars are usually inside the main building for the used car auction, with the non-running cars grouped together outside closest to the building. Usually those will have "NR" or something similar on the windshield.
Usually the largest group at a used car auction are the running cars, and those are typically parked bumper to bumper in a separate section from the non-running cars. Feel free to do pretty much anything you want - sit in it, read the odometer, kick the tires. Whatever makes you happy.
When the used car auction starts, the auctioneer will give a little speech about the auction, and then take anyone interested outside to bid on the non-running cars. Once that is done, the running used car auction will begin inside the main building. Be sure to observe the lines on the ground and stand behind them so they can drive the cars through without much hassle.
Some push, some shove
Everyone wants a great view of the used car auction, so expect to get pushed around a bit, stood in front of, and stepped on. Once in a while, it's not just the other patrons doing the shoving. Sometimes they might have to push a car through with another car. Again, do observe the lines - they are there to keep you safe.
Be patient, and don't bid on a car you want right as it starts going up for grabs. The auctioneer will start at a certain price and keep going down, if nobody bids, until he reaches a certain price, usually somewhere around the going rate from scrap metal at a junk yard. You can ask what the lowest price is at this particular used car auction from any of the auction workers, or you can just watch for a pattern.
Be alert however, the auctioneer will only banter for bidders at the lowest rate for a couple seconds until he calls out for the next car. The progression of cars is usually fairly random, although some used car auctions have a set method. Take for instance, they might alternate between junkers and gems, or they might pass all the gems first and leave the junkers for last.
Once you have won your car, just follow the directions given at the beginning of the used car auction to finalize the paperwork. You don't have to wait until the end of the auction, in fact the sooner you take care of it the better.