By: Gov Auctions | 23 May 2016

Bidding Tips for Online Auto Auctions

Would you like to join an online auto auction? We’ve got some nice tips for you so you can wing it like a pro:

  1. Know where to buy your vehicles. There are actually different types of online auto auctions: for dealers or wholesale buyers only, government, and public. Of the three, the best would be a government auction since you’re more assured of the types of vehicles that are being auctioned. Keep in mind that units are sold in as-is basis. It’s not the job of the auctioneer to repair and maintain these vehicles while they’re still up for bidding.
  2. Pick auction sites with lots of cars. More cars, higher chances of buying one that’s cheap. Further, because bidders can be spread out, and the car you’re eyeing for may have a few bidders. Less competition means smaller incremental increases on bidding price. This gives you the opportunity to snatch a vehicle that’s at least 30% less its market or trade-in value.
  3. Research, research, research. Although online car auctions save you the hassle of traveling and being exposed to heat, they don’t allow you to inspect vehicles personally. In other words, you will never really know if the vehicle’s photos and descriptions are honest. The next best thing you can do is to research. Find out:
    • VIN of the vehicle
    • History of the car
    • Features of the vehicle
    • Possible issues with the car

Fortunately, you have time to learn all these since lots are often published many days before the auction begins. Read and learn as much as you can about them. You can get the information you need through the auctioneers and other reading materials available online and offline. You can also consult an auto technician for more information.

  1. Compare prices. For any bidder, price is always one of the topmost concerns. After all, it’s why you’re joining the online auction in the first place. Compare prices between online auctions, then between an online auction and your local dealers. Use websites such as,, or Kelley’s Blue Book for research. Based on the estimated prices from these websites and your car research, you pretty much have an idea about how much you’re willing to pay for the vehicle.
  2. Consider many vehicles. You’re up against many bidders, so there’s a good chance you won’t get what you like. Unless you have set your eyes on a particular model, consider at least three to five vehicles.
  3. Begin near your turf. One of the things bidders often forget is that they’re responsible for getting the vehicle from the auction. Since you can’t drive it yet, your options are towing, securing a transport carrier, or using the auction house’s transport service, all of which means extra costs that can be worth more than a thousand dollars. Thus, try online auctions within your area first.
  4. Don’t get carried away. Strong emotions such as excitement or frustration can cloud your judgment. When bidding, learn not to invest any emotion. Use your set price as your guide so you won’t end up spending more than you should.