Home / Auctions / How to Buy Used Cars at a Dealer Auction

How to Buy Used Cars at a Dealer Auction

Some used car auctions are open to the general public, and provide consumers with a great opportunity to see a wide range of vehicles and potentially buy one for a low price. Still other auctions are open only to dealers, however, and provide those who own used car lots with an opportunity to get new stock at affordable rates.

What new dealers need to know is, first and foremost, that these auctions are very much worth going to—but you can’t simply show up and expect to start stocking up on cars straightaway. There are procedures you have to follow and rules you have to abide by if you want your auction experience to be a positive one.

Dealer-Only Used Car Auction Tips

To prepare yourself for the dealer-only auction experience, here are a few things to be aware of:

Used car auctions are very busy, and in many cases there will be several lanes open at the same time, with vehicles going down each one and bids flying fast and furious. This can be a stressful environment, especially if you’re not prepared for it, so be aware of what you’re getting into.
Most vehicles sold at dealer-only auctions are going to be as-is—so buyer beware! Note that there is probably a reason why each car is up for auction; it wouldn’t be there if it didn’t need some kind of repair work. You’re not likely to find many pristine-condition cars or trucks at a used car auction.
Each car that’s up for auction will likely be there for about 30 seconds; that’s how fast the bidding process starts. Make sure you’re ready to jump in with an offer on the vehicles you’ve got your eye on!
Because of the fast-paced nature of the bidding, you’ll want to do some scouting and research in advance, if at all possible. See how early you can get to the auction to look over the cars and get a good sense of what you might want to bid on.
You’ll need to show proof that you’re a licensed dealer even to get in to the auction, so make sure you bring all your credentials with you.
To repeat an important point: Cars that are up for auction are there for a reason. You may score a really good auction price, but be warned that this will likely come with an auction repair need!

How to Get a Dealer License for Car Auctions

The requirements for getting a dealer license will vary on a state-by-state level, but make sure you do some research and learn the right procedure well in advance of your first auction; again, you’ll need to show licensure just to get in.

Plan to visit some auctions today—and if you need more tips on a smooth auction process, don’t hesitate to explore the back pages here at the Get My Auto, where we love working with auto dealers.