Home » Articles » Titles » 4 Tips To Know Before You Buy a Car From An Auto Auction
Have you ever considered buying a car from an auto auction? These vehicles are often priced lower than similar used cars and can be a good alternative to purchasing from a dealer. However, there are a few things you’ll want to know before you start your search for the perfect vehicle.
Check the auto auction’s license. Verify that the auto auction has all of the necessary licenses to conduct business in your state. This information should be available on their website or when you call to inquire about the auction. Some states require that all businesses collect sales tax for items sold at an auction, so be sure to ask if this is required before bidding. Make sure that they have a license to sell cars and not just general merchandise.
Don’t just read the description of the vehicle; make sure that it matches the actual car being sold. If the body is damaged or there are mechanical problems, they will be noted in this section of the auction. Compare the mileage, colors, and other specifications listed in the auction with those on the vehicle itself. If you have any questions about the vehicle’s history or condition, ask the seller in advance so that you don’t discover any surprises after you’ve purchased it.
A VIN is a 17-character code that identifies a vehicle. Vehicle models prior to 1981 sometimes have less than 17 characters but are still typically considered valid. It contains information about the vehicle’s manufacturer, model, and serial number, as well as details about the options and features of the car. The VIN also confirms whether or not a vehicle has ever been rebuilt or salvaged. The problem is, you can’t tell if a VIN is salvage or junk by just looking at it. You’ll need to run a VIN check through the National Motor Vehicle Title Information system (NMVTIS) to ensure your VIN is not listed. If your VIN is listed in the NMVTIS, you will not be able to get a title, even if the auction signs one over to you. VINs entered into the NMVTIS are not eligible for a title.
Additionally, make sure that the VIN decoding process reveals information that matches the vehicle you’re buying. If it doesn’t match the vehicle, it could indicate a red flag that the sale is a scam.
Some auctions feature military vehicles that are up for auction. It’s important to note that some states do not allow these vehicles on the road. Government vehicles will have slightly different paperwork than civilian vehicles. Check to see what type of title transfer you will receive. The Standard Form SF97 or Transferrable Title is typically the title form provided, but not all states, such as Florida, accept this as a method of title transfer. If your state doesn’t allow these types of military vehicles to be on the road, you will not be able to get a title.
Do your research on the type of vehicle you want and what to look for when buying from an auction. Auto auctions sell many types of vehicles and trucks—from boats to RVs—so make sure that you know what you’re bidding on and have enough money set aside for repairs. Also, test drive any vehicle before buying it to make sure it runs well, especially if you are traveling a long distance to get to the auction site. Auto auctions can be a great resource to find your next ride, this article will help you prepare.
Don’t let uncertainty hold you back. If it’s your car, you deserve a title.
"*" indicates required fields
Are you a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization looking for title assistance with donated vehicles? Learn more about how CarTitles can help prepare your transfer paperwork for no cost. Contact [email protected] for more information.