Sometimes, your dream car is just that: a dream. It’s too expensive, hard to find, out of production, or whatever it may be. Other times, there’s AutoBidMaster. We can help you find your dream car from our online salvage car auction, all without the need for a dealer license.

With everything from clean and salvage title cars, trucks, SUVs, motorcycles, ATVs, RVs, boats, and much more, we’re in the business of making your vehicle dreams come true. To make sure you get the best auction experience possible, we’re giving you 10 tips to get the most out of your experience. No stone (or hood) left unturned.

1. Read up on terms and conditions

There’s a lot that goes into salvage car auctions. To bid on and buy cars from a lot of auctions, you either need a dealer license or a broker to place bids on your behalf. That’s where we come in: AutoBidMaster takes care of all the licensing for you.

That being said, it’s important to understand our rules and policies to maximize your auction experience. Even if you decide to use another broker, make sure you familiarize yourself with their policies and procedures before getting started.

2. Pick a membership level that’s right for you

Basic members can bid up to $4,000 on one vehicle, and are allowed one vehicle purchase. If you’re looking for something that falls in that price range, or maybe a base for a restoration project, this may be the membership for you. Your transaction fee is $299 or 10% of the purchase price, whichever is greater. This membership is free.

Advanced and Premium members get some pretty awesome price breaks: 6% and 3% transaction fees, respectively. You’ll also get free VIN checks through our friends at ClearVin.com, so you can get a deeper look into a vehicle’s history before making any decisions. You’ll also have access to our recommended bid feature. One of the biggest perks, though: you can bid in real time in exciting, live auctions.

3. Set a budget and stick to it

One of the most important factors when bidding on and buying salvage cars is maintaining a realistic budget. If you go over it and you can’t pay for the vehicle after it’s been awarded to you, you can incur fees and penalties related to relisting the vehicle.

On every vehicle listing, you’ll see a fee calculator under the bid box. Make sure to see all the fees associated with your maximum bid before you submit it, but that’s not all.

You’ll have to factor in shipping costs, vehicle repairs, insurance, DMV fees, and much more. It’s really easy to get excited about an auction car and spend your entire budget on the vehicle’s initial purchase, but buying from a salvage car auction has extra steps that you need to account for.

4. Make sure your deposit is adequate

Your deposit is 10% of your buyer power, or in other words what you’re able to bid up to. So, for example, if you want to bid up to $10,000, you’ll need to have a $1,000 deposit. Make sure that your deposit is in place before you start bidding on a vehicle, though. If you’re outbid and want to place a further bid during the live auction, you’ll be out of luck if your deposit limits your buyer power. We recommend placing a deposit that allows you to bid up to the maximum budget you’ve set for yourself.

5. Do your research

“I want a Ford F-150,” you say? Great, do you want the XL, XLT, Lariat, King Ranch, Platinum, Limited, or Raptor? Every model has a myriad of available options, so knowing exactly what you’re looking for can save you loads of time.

It’ll also help you be prepared for potential problems: if you’re looking for a particular model, some additional research may indicate that that model tends to need something replaced at 100,000 miles. With that in mind, you may want to find a vehicle under a specific mileage to avoid replacing expensive parts.

6. Use categories and filters to your advantage

AutoBidMaster has a variety of categories and search filters to help you find the perfect vehicle. If you want something as close to new as possible, you can set your search to vehicles with clean titles under a certain mileage.
If you’re okay with a salvage title vehicle, but are looking for something that requires little to no repair, you can check vehicles that have hail damage. Often, hail damaged cars only have cosmetic issues, but are mechanically sound.

There’s a variety of search options and categories that you can use to narrow down your options to the perfect vehicle.

7. Run a VIN check

Knowing the history of the vehicle your bidding on can save you from some pretty serious financial woes, especially at a salvage car auction. A trusted site like ClearVin.com can help you better understand what a car has been through with the comprehensive data they collect from the NMVTIS and other agencies.

8. Inspect the Vehicle

While a VIN check can provide insight into what a vehicle has been through, to accurately assess potential issues or necessary repairs, you’ll have to have the vehicle looked at in person.

If you can’t perform the inspection yourself, or don’t have the technical knowledge to do so, you can hire a third party to perform the inspection for you. If you’re going yourself, make sure to check out our interior and engine inspection checklists!

9. Get an accurate estimate for repairs

After you’ve inspected a vehicle and understand what it needs to get back on the road, you can figure out exactly how much you’ll need to spend to make the necessary repairs. Make sure to factor that into your overall budget.

10. Don’t give up, save your searches!

If you bid on a vehicle you really liked and didn’t win, don’t give up. Our inventory is updated every day, and patience is key to winning the right vehicle. So don’t get discouraged, save your searches instead! We’ll send you updates set to a frequency of your choosing to keep you in the loop whenever vehicles that match your criteria show up. Don’t bid on something that isn’t perfect if you didn’t win the first time, something better is bound to pop up in our inventory.

And that’s that! If you have any questions about a salvage car auction, or need help registering and placing a bid, we’re here to help. Give us a call between 6:00 AM and 4:00 PM Pacific Standard Time, Monday through Friday, at +1 (503) 298-4300, or send us an email at support@AutoBidMaster.com.

Happy bidding!