Police and government auctions provide the best possible source to get a good car at a cheap price.
Don't be fooled that you're going to be able to buy a four year old Merc Coupe at $3,000 when the book price is about $12 k that just doesn't happen - but if you look hard enough you may find one at $6 k.
You see police and government auctions are not just filled with $100 beat up cars, they have cars from banks and loan companies where the cars have been repossessed from personal bankruptcies.
In these present times you wouldn't be the only one looking to save money rather than buying from your local dealer. You should at least look for a 30% to 40% discount to what you would pay on the price from your local used car dealer. So the popularity of auctions is now increasing as many people are now having the same idea as you!
There are three main tips that I can share with you when going to an auction that will help you leave with a smiling face and a fatter wallet.
#1 Do your homework.
Choose the make and model of car that you would like to buy. Check out the prices from the local dealer, the classifieds and online ads. Get an idea what the current market value of the car is. It's always a good point to start where you look for the cheapest price for that car in your area and look at the more expensive end. The reason for this is that by looking at the cheapest example, it's condition, service history etc you will get a good feel for what is actually a bargain at the auction.
An added benefit to this approach is that you will also know what you will get as a minimum if you have to sell the car quickly - possibly a family emergency etc.
#2 See the Car.
If you can and I know it's not always possible go to the Auction center - look over the car. Check if the car has had a rough life - tell tale signs are scruffy wheels, bald tires, scratches and dents on the body work and importantly look at the interior. If the interior is in bad condition irrespective of how clean the body and engine looks -it's had a hard life!
You need to look at the oil dip stick - check for oil that looks tan (water in the oil - bad news, head gasket gone at best!), check the coolant fluid - if there is any oil - walk away -it's not worth the hassle.
If you can see the exhaust when it first starts from cold, check for blue smoke (bad news) and also see what happens to the temperature guage after about 5 minutes. If all is OK after these initial checks then it's likely the car is in sound condition.
Best of all though is if you can obtain the service record - a good record usually equals a good buy.
#3 Stick to your budget.
Once you have picked the car - done the market research and checked the condition then you are ready to bid. Don't bid first, wait for the bids to start to tail off - this is usually indicated by the bid amounts going down ie from 100's to 50's. Don't go over your budget. I have seen cars go for more than they're worth because of an ego trip between two buyers!
Where can you find police and government auctions then?
In addition to finding listings for police and government auctions in your local papers, you can do an online search. In fact, there are membership sites devoted to compiling the many thousands of auctions held throughout the country all in one place- these sites are no more than $35 and are well worth checking out.
Sites like CarAuctionsReviewed.Com can help you find a membership site that will meet your needs and find out how you can save up to 90% by buying your car at an auction by visiting CarAuctionsReviewed.Com .