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May 28, 2012

Know Your Stuff (unless you have money to throw away)!

Auto auctions cover a wide ranger of possibilities, everything from buying a decent car inexpensively to buying an expensive collector’s car.  You can sell a junker, donate a car you no longer need to charity, or seek a good price for a classic car you’ve personally restored.  The possibilities vary, but one thing does not:  you need to know the value of the vehicle you wish to sell or buy.

Now if you wish to bid on a one-of-a-kind item like this “ghost car,” then your decision will likely be based on it value to you, as a collector, the number of other bidders who also want it, and the amount of money you have available and are willing to pay.  Although auctioned items are typically, “as is,” the state of a collector’s item will probably be reliably stated.  If you’re a collector or wish you could be, you’ll probably enjoy this video, but I can’t imagine people in this high-priced environment often get ripped off.

However, for more ordinary needs, one thing is pretty clear, and this is you need to know the value of the car whether you’re buying or selling.  Now, if you’re a dealer, well established in the business, I probably need advice from you.  For the rest, there are places like this, that provide guides for looking up the information you need by make, model, and age.  Not only do they include information for the prospective classic car buyer, but they have guides for buying all kinds of vehicles as well as on line information.

Finally many dealers will assist you and provide an estimate to help your deliberations.  If you have a friend who is a knowledgeable mechanic, I’d encourage you to bring him to the next auction you attend because checking a vehicle’s condition is also a valuable piece of information as you determine a far price to bid.


May 25, 2012

Auto Auctions Learning Curve–Experienced Insights Welcome!

Most of us have a casual familiarity with auctions.  Since the advent of eBay, many have tried their hand at bidding to get an item we wanted, and a good many of us have probably gotten stung, bought an item cheap that turned out to be damaged in some way or worn out.  If, as in my case, the item was a used book, as long as the pages were all present, it was okay, but what if the item costs a bit more.  Suppose you want to bid on a car?

A trifling bit of research turned up 14,792 companies in Michigan that do auto auctions, and so far I’ve also found police auctions, insurance auctions, charity auctions, salvage auctions, and places that will sell your car by auction.  EBay has a huge auto auction section.  Some auction facilities are clearly for dealers only, who buy for resale.  Still, if you’re buying a used car, you need to know how to guard against getting junk for you money (unless, of course, you intend to buy junk!).

Years ago, I bought a used car directly from the owner.  He lied to me.  Why didn’t I expect that?  Young, trusting, stupid–you pick–but I just didn’t really expect to be cheated.  With a major purchase like a car, truck, or RV, a prospective buyer must assume that trickery and deceit are more than possible and guard against them.

One article I found especially warned against the risks of buying a salvaged vehicle, likely seriously damaged by flood, fire, accident, or vandalism.  Such a vehicle, partially repaired, may look good and still be a mess.  Furthermore, an unscrupulous dealer might even attempt to hide such a history.  Furthermore, if this is a risk in the case where you may directly inspect the vehicle, how much greater is the risk in an on line auction setting.

My objective here is to enhance this site to make it the most useful and informative.  I have things to learn, and I hope some of you readers will help with your insights, experience, stories, and wisdom.  Just leave some good comments; include a link to your Michigan-based auto auction business, if you like, and I will very likely include you in a profile if you’re not already here and improve those we do.