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Would you recommend bying a car from an auction?

While it is not impossible to find a car in good mechanical condition at an auction, it is MUCH LESS likely that you will find a car in good mechanical condition at an auction. Car dealers tend to dispose of cars in poor mechanical condition by selling them to auction houses.

In a similar vein, while it might be possible to find a faithful, virginal wife at a House of Prostitution, that is not where I would suggest looking for a faithful, virginal wife.

I would not recommend it unless you are really good at onsite diagnosis and ready to do some repairs. Repos of a newer vintage would be my leaning but forget any maintenance records or independent diagnosis for problems, primo factors when considering a used car.

If you’re talking about the Salvation Army auction my answer is yes. A friend of mine buys them, fixes them, drives them for awhile, and resells them at a decent profit.

But you need to know what you’re doing. He’s restored vehicles before, so he knows what he’s looking at, he checks the vehicles out thoroughly before bidding, he’s very choosy, and he does it for a hobby and not a living. He has other vehicles, and he can take a loss of necessary…although he hasn’t yet.

I would not recommend getting a family car this way.

In reference to VDC’s poat, in NH the new car dealers dispose of poor quality tradeins by selling them to used car dealers at “closed” auctions that only licensed dealers can attend.

Who wants a virginal wife? I’d rather have one that knows things I haven’t learned yet. (sorry, couldn’t resist. The devil made me say it).

Government auctions are a good bet, private auctions is where a lot of junk gets unloaded…If nobody can fix it, it winds up at an auction…Lots of rebuilt wrecks cross the auction block too… You have to know what you are doing…No cream puffs get sold at auction…

If you buy a used car from a dealer, there’s a very good chance that it has been through at least one auto auction. Thousands of cars change hands this way every day. Dealers buy and sell at auction all the time.

A friend of mine owns a small used car lot. He gets all of his cars from auto auctions. In 1998 he found a one year old Acura with 25K miles for me at a nearby dealer-only auction, where it was being sold by the local Acura dealer. The car has been 100% trouble free since then.

The auction price (wholesale) was about $4,000 lower than comparable cars for sale at other dealers. I paid my friend a modest “finder’s fee,” and we were both happy.

A few years prior to that I bought another car at a smaller, open-to-anyone auction nearby. The car was older but had low miles and was in great shape. The seller didn’t accept my bid during the auction, but he sought me out after the car crossed the block and we made a deal.

This car, too, gave me no problems.

Would I buy a car from an auction? I did, twice, and I would again.

The qualifier is you have to trust the person who inspects the car at the auction.

As others have stated, there’s a lot of junk out there, but not all cars at a given auction are junk.

Buying a car at an auction is a gamble. If you are car savey perhaps you can pick the good car out among the problem cars. Some cars sold via auction are perfectly good cars, then there are those that are nothing but trouble. Can you tell the difference? That is the question.

“Government auctions are a good bet…”

I’m not sure about that. While the cars are well maintained, they have very high mileage when they are auctioned. At least the Federal Government vehicles do.

It must be different in Maryland. At the large auctions, there are two lanes: one for everyone and one for dealers. The public can’t buy cars on the dealer lane because they are unsafe to drive as-is. This does not mean that the cars in the public lane don’t have problems; they could. You still need to check them out. Unfortunately, you can’t drive them, but they do have a check-out period in the morning. I know a few people who are not car-savvy who bought at one of these auctions and all were happy. I had a boss who bought 4 or 5 cars at that auction and was happy with all of them. So, khaled, it depends where you are buying and what the requirements are for the seller and auction house.

As cars become more complex, both mechanically and electronically, the auction block becomes riskier…New car dealers keep their best trade-ins and lease returns and send the less desirable cars off to the auction. It’s important to know the source of the cars being auctioned…

Thank you all for your useful comments, I appreciate it.
I should have been more clear in my request. I am actually thinking of buying a 2-3-year-old car (Honda/Toyota) from a dealer’s auction (I am not a dealer myself but have access to this auction through a friend.
In this case, do you think it is still a gamble?