A used car auction is one of the primary ways that used car dealers get their vehicles. Many auctions are available only to dealers, but there are some auctions that are also open to the public. Online auctions are also widely popular, and give many non-professionals the chance to benefit from the auction format. Many times if a vehicle is repossessed, traded in, leased, or even totalled, it ends up for sale at an auction. The auction format allows professional vehicle dealers, and sometimes lucky members of the public, the ability to get good used vehicles at a very discounted price.
Most used vehicle auctions are wholesale auctions, which means they are available only to licenced car dealers. The vehicles found at these auctions come from a wide range of places, from rental car agencies, older model cars that major dealers don't want cluttering up their lots, trade-ins or repossessions. These wholesale auctions are serious business, and most car dealers who attend know the game and exactly what they are looking for. The car dealers use their inside information and professional expertise to scour the vehicles and get a good deal on used models to add to their lot. While these wholesale auctions often offer the best deals, they are not open to the public, so the only way to benefit from this format is if you happen to have a trustworthy car dealer friend who is willing to do the purchasing for you.
Public Used Car Auction
Most auctions are not open to the public, but occasionally there will be an auction that welcomes the amateur buyer. To successfully purchase a vehicle at one of these auctions, a prospective buyer needs to understand how the process works. Getting to the auction early gives you a chance to view all the cars and make a close inspection of each of the vehicles. Look at your favourites the way you would any used vehicle you want to purchase. Check for problems or malfunctions both inside and outside the car, and make sure there are no issues with the frame or body work. Knowledge about each vehicle needs to be obtained before they make their way to the auction block. Don't buy any vehicle where the title is not in hand, or where there are ambiguities about its past.
Disadvantages of Used Car Auction
While used car auctions offer the ability to get a good car for a very low price, there is a reason that the used car arena is best left to the professionals who know exactly what to look for and how to spot a problem. It is not uncommon for cars at auction to be tampered with so that they look better than they operate. While you can arrive early to look at each vehicle, there is no way to take the car for a test drive before purchasing, and no time to have a mechanic give it an inspection. If you don't know what you are looking for, it is very easy not to notice a major malfunction that the car might have. Additionally, car auctioneers work very fast, and it is possible for members of the public who aren't use to this method to get swept into the action and end up buying something they didn't intend to. If you attend one of these auctions, stick to your budget and don't get swayed by a bidding war, which will usually make you end up paying much more for something than it is actually worth.
Online Used Car Auction
While the in-person auction format still dominates, especially amongst used car dealers, auctioning cars online is a concept that is rapidly growing in popularity. Online auction sites are more accessible to the average consumer than regular car auctions, but they should still be taken seriously. While the online auction makes it easy to buy a car from the comfort of your home, one serious disadvantage is that you cannot see the car in person before you buy. This means that if you win an auction, you are contractually obligated to purchase a vehicle you have never seen. Some sellers are willing to work out an arrangement where the vehicle only sells pending a mechanic's inspection, but this is not always the case. Still, online used car auctions have opened up the world of vehicle auctions and they are an excellent way for buyers to get a great deal on a vehicle.
A used car auction in South Africa can be a good way to purchase a solid used car at a deeply discounted price. Whether attending an auction in person or participating in one online, it is important to do as much research as possible about a vehicle before committing to buy. Doing due diligence and just going with your gut instinct can increase the chances that you walk away from an auction as a successful buyer.