Buying a Vehicle at AuctionBuying from a public auto auction can be intimidating, especially if you’re new to it. That’s why we offer to answer any questions you may have on the process. Most auto auctions sell vehicles as is, which means that there is no guarantee the car will last you. We offer a 24-hour guarantee on the engine and transmission. You can take the car to a mechanic after purchase and if you find an issue with the engine or transmission, you can return the car for a full refund within 24 hours.

1.) Remember These are Wholesale Vehicles

When you go to an auction, remember that minor damage and mechanical quirks will not have been fixed. Generally, the vehicle is sold as is, without any warranty. This requires you to be more vigilant. Take note of all the issues you may have to have repaired, and factor that into the cost of the vehicle.

2.) Check the VIN

Be sure to check the VIN number on the dash and in the door frame. Often when a vehicle has had major damage the VINs will not match.

3.) Check the Dipsticks

A good indication of a well taken care of vehicle is a clean dipstick, so check both oil and transmission fluids. Ideally they will be at the right levels and clear.

4.) Know your Limitations

It’s nearly impossible to find a vehicle at auction that doesn’t need some type of repair. While most repairs can be completed by a mechanically savvy novice, more challenging repairs might be better left to professionals. If changing out your windshield wipers sounds like a intimidating task, you might not want to go the auction route.

5.) Watch Other Buyers

It’s not a bad idea to visit an auction several times before actually purchasing a vehicle. You’ll get an idea of how things work, as well as spot regulars. If you notice that several individuals bid on every lot, be cautious, they may be inflating the price of the car.

6.) Know the Value of the Car

Take the time to look up the value of the car on Kelly Blue Book. Then factor in the obvious repairs, and see if you still consider the purchase a deal. Prices are substantially lower at auctions, but remember that it’s all up front and repairs are additional.

7.) Don’t Get Caught Up in the Bidding

Set a maximum of what you want to spend and don’t surpass it. It’s easy to get caught up in the moment at an auction, and pay more than you planned for a vehicle. Suddenly the car may not be the bargain you originally thought.


Keep these tips in mind while buying from a public auto auction, but don’t let them scare you away. We know the negative views that can be associated with an auto auction and work hard to rise above it. At Auto Auction of Baltimore, we have people that will help you through the bidding process and we list the price cars normally go for online. Also, we offer a 24-hour guarantee on each of our vehicle’s engine and transmission. If you have additional questions after reading this post, check out our frequently asked questions page, where we have more information about buying from our auction.