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  • Writer's pictureJeff Guymon

Buying a car at Manheim Auto Auction

Updated: Apr 25, 2021

We previously covered the general topic to help you on buying a car from a public car auction, which you can find here, and what you need to know before choosing to buy at auction. In this article we are going to discuss how you can buy a car at Manheim Auto Auction without a dealer license and what you need to know beforehand. Manheim Auto Auction is one the oldest auto auctions in North America. Every year they sell as many as six million used vehicles. Many people are lured to these big auctions because you can score insanely good deals on used vehicles. While the majority of buyers from Manheim Auto Auction are dealerships, rental agencies, car manufacturers, government agencies, and banks, you can still find ways to score that amazing deal. In this article we will cover the following:

Learn about Manheim Auto Auction in our video below!

How to buy a used vehicle from Manheim Auto Auction

To buy a used vehicle and get a great deal from Manheim Auto Auction, you will need a dealer’s license. If you do not have one, don’t despair, there are ways to get around this! If you happen to know someone with a dealer’s license you can always ask them to do the bidding for you. You can also work with dealerships sometimes and pay them a small fee to purchase the vehicle you are looking for at online auctions.

Benefits of buying a used car from auction

Buying a used vehicle from auction can be a great way to save thousands of dollars on your next vehicle purchase. This is because you will be paying wholesale price, meaning you will get the same pricing that dealerships pay before they sell it to the public. While there are a ton of vehicles that either or both cosmetic and mechanical issues, for those who are willing to take on the work can score amazing deals. That being said, there are plenty of cars at auction that have no issues. You can go to auction site and check out the condition report on vehicles that are currently listed on Manheim auctions in real-time.

What to know before buying from dealer auctions

  1. Research prior to the auction: Some public car auctions will let you have the chance to view the listings before the auction occurs. This provides you with an opportunity to see what’s available and make a list of the vehicles you like. Many auto auctions have online auto auctions, which makes bidding for used vehicles easy. After you make a list of the vehicles you are targeting, assess the car's current market value on Kelley Blue Book.

  2. Be committed: Once you purchase the used vehicle there are no refunds. So make sure if you are going to bid on a vehicle at auction you are committed to buying it. This is why it is important to research and plan ahead.

  3. Beware of problems: Most of the cars will be cleaned and polished, but do not let the reconditioning deceive you! Remember, used cars at auctions do not come with warranties. Before the bidding, you should be allowed to inspect the car by sitting in it and turning on the engine. Most auction locations do not allow for test drives. If you have a car-savvy friend, consider bringing them along for a second set of eyes (and ears!). There may more to the eye on that low mileage Toyota trade-in than meets the eye at auction houses.

  4. Check the VIN #: Make sure you check for a vehicle identification number, or VIN #, for each car. You can use the VIN to search for a vehicle history report on websites like Carfax. Vehicle history reports reveal important information on the car, including the previous owners, major accidents or damage, maintenance history, odometer readings, and manufacturer recalls.

  5. Set a limit beforehand: After making your list of potential targets and researching their market value, set a limit, and stick to it. Bidding can get intense as the auctioneer speaks rapidly, so do not let your emotions get the best of you!

  6. If you want an old police car: Do not base your decision on the mileage the car has on it. Usually, police cars sit for long hours idling, given the nature of police work. Police cars come with hour meters, which will indicate what type of wear and tear the vehicle has on it.

  7. Check if it is drivable: After inspecting the car within the auction's limitations, make sure the car is drivable if you plan to drive it home. If the car is not drivable, but you want to buy it to fix it or for other reasons, make sure you plan to have it shipped to your destination and factor in those costs when bidding.

  8. Beware of shills: Sometimes, dealerships will bid on their own auction listings to get the price to rise. Be on the lookout for this type of activity, and make sure you are sticking to your limit if you are in a bidding war.

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