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US Government Auto
Auctions - Cheap, Good Used Cars

Preparation Tips For A Car Auction or Auto Auction

Applies To Any Auction (Government or non-gov't)


Finding Cars At An Auto Auction

After you preview the inventory of used cars, trucks and other vehicles, and have selected several vehicles to bid on, do some price research. Make sure you preview at least one day before so you have time for research. Don't forget to bring home a printed catalog.

Visit,, read the classifieds or browse the vehicle trade magazines for similar cars ( Note the vehicle's approx. "market value." This knowledge will help you shorten your vehicle list and set your price expectations during the auction.

Reality Check

As most experts caution, expect some exciting moments, but don't expect a miracle. Example: A loaded 2003 Mercedes ML320 can't be had for $2,000. Most agencies providing vehicles (for auction) have set reserve prices. If possible, bring a mechanic to the lot to inspect your vehicle choices. Thoroughly inspect the vehicles because each is sold "as is, where is." All sales are final. You know what this means, right? It means, after the sale, even if the vehicle is a lemon, you get to keep it.

I cannot stress this enough. Pick up a book, or read a webpage that details how to recognize a good used car. The trick is to be aware of what problems might cost how much to repair because then you can bid confidently. Always underbid, that is, do not bid $2000 for a car whose market value is $2000 because there might be repairs lurking under the hood. Bid no more than $1600. Keep a margin of safety.

Take your Driver's License and another form of identification. Proper identification will be needed for registration and purchasing the vehicle.

Bid Only When You Are Certain

Please only bid on the vehicle you are certain you want to buy. Take notes in your catalog of the vehicles' features and options. Set your budget and stick to it. If you are the winning bidder, the vehicle is yours! Auction places DISLIKE any customers canceling sales and usually impose a stiff penalty (10%-35% of the winning bid!!). So, don't back out of a sale; you WILL lose money.

Used Car Auction Listing: Dodge Ram Truck
2002 Dodge Ram 2500 Truck 2WD Quad 35,683 miles, SOLD FOR: $2,800 (at a California non-government auction. click image to get free auction listings by zip)

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