Car auctions are a bit like thrift store shopping. They’re not for everybody. But for those who like to do a bit of hunting and are thrilled by finding treasures in others’ trash, an auto auction can be very rewarding. However, it can also be disappointing for the unprepared, so knowing how these things work is the first step to avoiding mistakes.
Here’s a list of facts about Speed’s Auto Auction — whose many attendees come from Tualatin and the surrounding area to find great deals on impounded, repossessed, donated, wholesale, or salvaged vehicles.
All attendees arrive in the morning and pay a registration fee to get a bidder ID card, valid for one year. Along with an ID card, you will be given a list of all vehicles up for bidding. The list includes any available information about the cars such as year, make, model, mileage, and title status. The listings are divvied up into “runners” and “non-runners” as well as vehicle type (boats, RV’s, and trailers are included).
Listings are published the Friday before the auction on the auctioneers’ website. This is a good way to plan ahead and set a budget limit. And arriving when they open at 8 am to get a chance to view the vehicle you’re interested in is the best way to ensure you’re making a good decision. Remember that all vehicles are sold as-is, so if you tow or drive it away, don’t be surprised if problems arise later. Plan to put some money and time away for any repairs.
Auctioneers are honest about how well the vehicle runs in general, so you don’t have to bid blindly. But they cannot answer any technical questions about the engine or other components. At 10 am, they start with the non-runners, then to runners with issues, and finally running, driving vehicles.
All auctions are streamed online so bidders can sign up for remote bidding. There is no fee to sign up to bid online, but winning bids require a small transaction fee.
Also keep in mind that you will be bidding against the general public, independent auto dealers, salvage yards, and repair shop owners. Cars that are in great condition are going to attract some aggressive interest. Getting ahead of yourself in the moment could leave you paying more for a car than what private sellers are asking for a similar model.
Once you’ve acquired a vehicle, there is staff on-hand to help you with a jump or push starts if necessary, but you must have it removed by the end of the day. When approached with good planning and the right attitude, car auctions can be a fantastically fun and rewarding experience.