How To Navigate Car Auction Websites

The convenience of shopping on online car auction websites has changed the way many individual consumers and used car dealerships are buying a car.

If you’re new to this way of purchasing a vehicle, you may be pleasantly surprised at how easy it is to get great deals and have a little fun with car bidding.

Are you interested in buying a car from an auction but aren’t sure where to begin? Here is our guide on how to successfully navigate car auction websites.

Features and Search Options of Car Auction Websites

Online shopping for a vehicle can be a convenient and cost-saving experience. Make sure you understand and look for the following features to save you time and money.

Search Menu

All online car auction websites have a search feature. For each website you visit, begin with the search menu.

This is important because not all car auction websites sell the same types of vehicles.

If you are a dealer, you will want to focus on websites that sell fleets or offer the ability to make mass purchases. You will also want to take advantage of sites that are specifically for dealers and exclude the public.

A consumer who is looking for a fairly new vehicle in great shape or a classic car will not want to visit sites that mainly feature salvage vehicles. 

Always begin with the search menu to save time and hassle.

Membership Fees

Many car auction websites have membership fees. Not all of them, but many do if they are offering unique vehicles or fleet purchases.

If you are an individual consumer who is only looking to purchase one car, you will have to decide if paying a membership fee will be worth the cost. Membership fees average $200 – $400 annually.

When considering the total cost of your new car, keep in mind that some websites have additional handling fees. You will also need to calculate the cost of shipping your new car.

Dealers Only Sites

Dealers looking to establish their own dealership or those looking to add inventory can take full advantage of some money-saving options that dealer only websites provide. 

Advancements in technology make fleet purchases easier for dealers. Save valuable time rather than using the traditional method of driving to various auctions and hoping to get time to inspect a vehicle before bids begin.

Many websites offer video tours of vehicles and even audio for listening to engine performance. This option puts your inspection of a vehicle at a greater level than just a few minutes to view a car at traditional car auctions.

Online car auction sites like Manheim are working hard to improve safeguards for buyer protection. Cars are inspected by certified professionals and have warranties against defects not listed in the vehicle description. 

Look for dealer car auction sites that are members of The National Auto Auction Association. Members of this association are held to a high standard of ethical car auction sales practices. 

Visual Inspection

You may be concerned about buying online from car auction websites because cannot physically inspect the car. Some online car auction sites do allow for physical visits to view their vehicles. If they are in your area, schedule an appointment.

Don’t miss out on a great buy just because you are not able to inspect a vehicle in person.

Online car auction websites offer detailed photos, undercarriage videos, and certified inspections. Make sure that inspections offer a warranty with details about exactly what is covered if you are dissatisfied with your purchase. 


When shopping for a new or used car from an online auction, read the warranty information carefully. 

A reputable auction site will include buyer protection plans and warranties offered on their menu. They will also include information about the amount of time from delivery that you can file for a refund or arbitration.

Look for plans that offer protection for both mechanical problems and visual defects. Understand that an “as is” purchase will not include a warranty. 

Let the Car Bidding Begin!

There is a bit of a thrill to bidding for a car and winning a great purchase. Here are some tips for making your most informed bids.

Types of Car Bidding

Some car auction websites list their vehicles and then schedule a bidding date. This gives you some time to do a little research before starting your bids.

You may also find a great car that is in the process of a live bid. Don’t get too excited! Give yourself some time to think about what you can afford and the cost of any repairs that may be needed.

If you would like to take advantage of entering your highest bid, many sites are offering this feature. This way, you can place your bid and go on about your day rather than constantly checking the site and bidding.

There is also a buy now feature that some auto auction websites offer. You can choose to skip the bid and buy the car immediately for the price listed.

Before You Make The Bid

When you find a great new or used car on an online car auction site, it can be easy to want to grab that car immediately. Do your research first.

No what you can afford. The total bid price, title fees, car insurance, and shipping will also have to be calculated in your budget.

Make sure you are not overbidding. Research the car on Kelly Blue Book for a value estimate related to the year of the car, mileage, and condition. 

Get Your New Car Shipped

Winning bids at car auction websites can be exciting! Protect your great buy and investment with affordable and reputable auto shipping.

Get your new car shipped by an auto shipping company that is fully insured. Check out Nexus Auto Transport to make your vehicle shipment a fast, safe, and stress-free experience.

nellie Marteen

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