Are Auto Auctions a Good Deal?
Are Auto Auctions a Good Deal?
How to Get the Best Deal on a Used Car
You are interested in buying a used car. What’s the better deal? A used car dealership? Searching Autotrader or Carfax? Maybe you’re browsing Craigslist?
What about an auto auction, like Express Auto Auction in San Diego? Fewer people than you might think include auction lots in their options. Whether an auto auction is a better deal than a used car dealership depends on several factors.
For many people, value comes down to price. You should expect to pay less for a car in poorer condition. Kelley Blue Book’s Fair Market Range is a good place to start once you see a used car you’re interested in and what the asking price is at a dealership.
In California, used car prices shot up 39.7%, around $9,000, between 2021 and 2022. The pandemic was a big reason. And averages may be inflated, since many people buy used cars that are only a few years old and with low mileage.
Savings pile up as you browse older cars. Each year you add to the car’s age can save you hundreds, even thousands. That starts when a new car is driven off the lot, losing 30-60% of its value in the first 5 years, or $9,000-$18,000 if the car was sold for $30,000.
How much can you save at an auction? A key difference between a dealership and Express Auto Auction is the price depends on the bid. Starting bids can be as low as $100. Then it’s all up to the competition. You may score an unbelievable deal on a reliable used car because the competition wasn’t there to push up the price.
At a dealership, there is one price. And negotiating doesn’t come easy to everyone.
There is a strong likelihood that you will pay less at auction than at a dealership. Yes, you have to do a few things yourself, like inspections, but you know they’ve been done.
Dealers markup between 25% and 70% on the very low prices they get wholesale from dealer auctions. They’re looking to make profits of at least 25% and upwards of 50%.
So, on average, expect to pay 15-50% less at Express Auto Auction. That’s HUGE!
2. Condition of the Car
One of the most important factors to consider when buying a used car at auction is the condition. Many used cars may have been in accidents, are pushing high mileage, or need repairs now.
Express Auto Auction features a condition report that reveals everything going on with the car, from the cleanliness of the interior to the health of the engine. Browse our inventory and click any vehicle to read the report.
It's important to inspect the car thoroughly before bidding. If you're not confident in your ability to inspect yourself, bring a mechanic or a knowledgeable friend.
We will always be honest and upfront with you about the state of the used cars on our lot. Not every auction lot or dealership can say that.
Carfax reports can be manipulated. Problems hidden. Dealerships will praise a make and model’s quality in theory and perhaps make it look better than it is. Express Auto Auction presents the car as is. No bells or whistles, just the solid facts.
When you’re on the lot, be respectful when asking questions about a car’s history and condition.
Speaking of competition, auctions can be very competitive. Chasing down a great deal means going up against others who recognize a bargain too. So be prepared to put in extra legwork to win that deal!
We’ve seen it at Express Auto Auction time and again. A popular make or model rolls onto the lot and the bidding war ensues. You aren’t guaranteed a car like you are at a dealership where you simply buy the car. But with unbeatable prices, it may just be worth it!
Competition drives up prices fast and at times the good deal has passed, and you could pay more than the car is worth. It's important to set a budget and stick to it.
If you lose a bid, it’s not the end of the world. Don’t worry, another car will come. Be prepared to walk away!
Some auctions may charge fees, such as buyer's premiums, which can add to the total cost of the car. Don’t leave those out when making a budget. A good deal on a used car should include everything.
Express Auto Auction requires a $500 deposit, in cash and in person, prior to bidding. There are “buyer fees” associated with each vehicle. Buyers are also responsible for all DMC and Emission fees. Please read our terms and conditions carefully before bidding.
We are upfront with everything to eliminate guesswork. 😀
5. Used Car Selection
Auto auctions usually have a limited selection of used cars. At the time of this writing, over 350 were on the lot. You may find what you’re looking for, or you may not.
Other dealers may have bigger selections or of course may be for specific makes and models. Express Auto Auction has everything from Acuras to Volvos.
Remember to have a plan for transporting the car once you win a bid, especially if the car isn’t running. There are shipping costs that we estimate on each car’s profile page. The bidder is responsible for removal of the vehicle. No exceptions.
At Express Auto Auction, a good deal is very likely. Setting a budget, inspecting, planning for fees and requirements, and knowing the fair market value of the used car you want are critical to a good buying experience.
We’re looking forward to seeing you at our San Diego location!
8920 PASEO DE LA FUENTE NORTE, SAN DIEGO, CA 92154
Or give us a call, 619-661-1918