Pssst… we’ve got a secret for you. Well, nine secrets, actually. And they’re all related to successfully navigating the world of car auctions.

You see, auto auctions have grown in popularity in recent years. Why? Because there’s no better way to get a fantastic bargain that you can fix up and sell for more cash.

Think of it like Fixer Upper for vehicles. But if you don’t have a thorough understanding of how the car auction process works, you could end up wasting a significant amount of money.

With that in mind, here are the top nine secrets you need to know for car auction success.

1. Prepare for the Craziness

People love car auctions for many different reasons. Not only do they permit you to pick up fantastic cars for great deals, but they boast an electric atmosphere. While highly organized, they also feel fast-paced and even chaotic.

While you might experience a nice dose of adrenaline at an auction, it can also be easy to get swept up in the craziness. Surrounded by crowds screaming out prices, there’s a lot to take in. So, prepare for a wild ride.

2. Set a Budget for Your Car Auction Experience

Never walk into a car auction without a pre-set budget. This step will save you money while helping you purchase the best and most affordable vehicle for your current needs.

Why is it so important? Otherwise getting caught up in a bidding war can prove too tempting. Instead, take a few moments to review your finances and calculate how much you want to spend at an auction and other indirectly related services such as car transport.

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3. Remember to Budget for Car Transportation

When people think of car auctions, they often overlook related experiences that have nothing to do with the auction block. For example, they may fail to consider the costs associated with getting your new ride home after an auction.

Depending on how far you need to transport your vehicle and the type of relocation service required, auto transport services can seriously inflate a car’s cost. You must plan your budget accordingly.

For example, the most expensive vehicles should be moved with the utmost care. That means hiring an enclosed car trailer. It will have a roof and sidewalls, which shelter your investment from the elements, dirt, and dust.

But if you have a fixer-upper, you may be able to get away with open carrier service. Going this route will save you between 30 to 60 percent in moving expenses.

Since the timeline for an auction moves rapidly, you may also need to go with an expedited car shipping service. Although this costs more, the benefits prove well worth it. They include an exact pick-up date and a speedy turnaround time.

4. Request the Vehicle History Report

What’s one of the most important things you need to do before attending an auction? Get the vehicle history report for any car you’re tempted to bid on.

Not only will this report let you verify the accident record, but it’ll also provide you with other vital information that could impact its value.

For example, more than half a million cars get sold each year with fraudulent odometer readings. There are also vehicles sold with hidden hurricane or flood damage. The report will clue you in on this information and help you avoid dishonest sellers.

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5. Be Wary of Used Car Dealers

With all of this talks about unscrupulous car sellers, you may feel like you’re walking into a den of vipers. But rest assured that most people selling at auctions are honest.

There’s a caveat to this, though. When used car dealers show up at auctions, buyer beware. Why? Because bringing cars to auction represents the final resort when car dealers can’t offload one at their dealership.

If a used car dealer brings many cars, take this as a red flag. Avoid such sellers at all costs, or you stand to get an unsavoury surprise.

After all, cars that can’t be moved off the lot often come with multiple hidden problems. Do yourself a favour and avoid such lemons.

6. Bring a Black Book

What’s another secret you need to know for auction success? Never leave home without a black book so that you can quickly research vehicle values. Of course, we now live in the digital age, so your Android or iPhone can serve the same function.

The point is this. Have a resource on hand so that you can see what each car is worth. That way, you’ll avoid overspending or bidding on the unworthy vehicle.

7. Don’t Trust Odometers

We’ve already briefly touched on the fact that you may not get what you think you’re purchasing at auction due to misrepresentation of the vehicles on the block. This truism especially applies to odometers.

Many experts assert that odometer readings get rolled back approximately 150,000 miles at public auctions. This tactic permits sellers to ask for more money, but you don’t want to get burned by this fraudulent practice.

Although attempting to get to the bottom of this type of fraud proves very difficult, there are few ways you can tell whether or not a seller seems trustworthy.

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Remember to go over the vehicle history report looking for any tip-offs that the seller’s not telling you the whole story. You should also be prepared with a list of questions.

8. Know Some TLC Is Likely Required

Unless you’re attending one of the highest-end car auction in the world. One where exotics and classics go for breathtaking millions, you can assume most cars hit the auction block for a reason.

While most cars are in reasonably decent working condition, assume you’ll need to provide some TLC. After all, most auctioned cars have faced hardships in the past. Your goal is to find vehicles that only need minor repairs and fixes.

9. Stay Away From the Dangerous Game of False Bidding

If you’ve ever been tempted to engage in falling bidding, DON’T. This dangerous practise could get you kicked out of an auction. Or, it could end up costing you a boatload of cash.

Remember that some auctions demand money directly, either through a loan or cash, which could turn your false bid from fun to financially depleting in one heartbeat.

You should also understand that false bidding could lead to fines and even prosecution in some countries. Auction houses take it very seriously, and so should you.

Car Auction Tips for Success

With a little prep work and some newfound knowledge, you can walk into a car auction with confidence. Use the tips above to ensure you’ve always got a black book and vehicle history reports in hand. And don’t forget about other costs such as car shipping.

Are you interested in learning more about online auctions? Check out our post on the five best website car auctions.