If you are looking to save money on a used car, buying from an auto auction might be a good idea. The suffering economy has driven up the numbers of car repossessions, providing more inventory for auto auctions. Many car auctions are only for car dealers, but some are open to the public and offer vehicles at discounted prices. Professional auction companies conduct most public auto auctions, but sometime towing companies and government agencies hold them as well.
Most auto auctions are held as needed when the company accumulates enough inventory. Typically, an announcement will appear in the local newspaper to let potential buyers know. Manheim, a large vehicle auction company, posts upcoming public auctions around the country on its web site. Additionally, many government auctions are listed on the USA.gov web site. It usually takes some research to find local auto auctions, and you may have to wait some time before one occurs in your area.
Most auto auctions allow you some time to inspect the vehicles before the bidding begins. This may be several days before the auction or several hours. If possible, and you’re not sure what exactly to look for, have a knowledgeable friend or professional mechanic come with you to examine a car. You’re not allowed to test drive vehicles for auction, so you probably still won’t get the full picture.