So we were talking..someone mentioned..so before I forget..
If you want to give the public auto auction a try for your next ride to BM or your next MV, here are a few tips..
-Vehicles are sold as either "Public" or "Dealer". Dealer, if its a street vehicle, means it did not pass SMOG or there is a serious safety issue with the vehicle, and sold ONLY to bidders with a Dealer's license. Public means it passed SMOG, but isn't necessarily a runner. And is open to all bidders.
-Most auctions allow you to run the vehicle on preview day and before auction, but NOT engage the transmission! This is for safety reasons. You can get an idea of the condition of the transmission, by smelling the transmission fluid. A metallic or Ozone smell means stay away! Sometimes, you can search out a yard worker and bribe them to test out the transmission. This normally ONLY works on viewing day. Day of auction, they will be too busy to do personal favors. You ARE allowed, and it is a good idea, to bring a mechanic with you!
- Look at the Consigner on the Lot Tag. If it's from a charity org. You will be taking a big risk on that vehicle. People donate their vehicles for a REASON.
- Utility companies like PG&E or PacBell (or AT&T.whatever theyre called this week) service their vehicles on a regular basis, and are the BEST vehicles to bid on. They renew their fleets regularly, and get some sort of tax write off by sending them to auction, so generally there is nothing wrong with these vehicles.
- City and County vehicles vary on location, as to what's good and what's bad.. Oakland treats their vehicles like shit. While Contra Costa Co. takes good care of their vehicles.
- If you are looking for a particular type of vehicle, like a van, you will get a better price at auctions where they are selling ALOT of vans.
- Buses, like school buses and city buses normally sell dirt cheap at auction! I missed bidding on a BlueBird Prison Bus, that sold for $100.
- Crown Victorias sell for alot..even though there may be alot of them..because Cab Companies are always competing, driving the bids up.
- ALWAYS check the DMV fees and back taxes on a Lot number, BEFORE you bid on it!
- Don't count on bad weather to get you a better price...Dealers don't care about the weather, and they got LOTS of money to play with.
- Some auctions ALSO sell equipment like riding mowers, Sno-Cats, Articulated Loaders, etc..which are almost always "Public"
- If they have to replace a battery, to run it through the block. The 'New" battery they put in is a reconditioned battery, and not always the correct size. So, plan on buying a new battery.
- Try and find auctions where they drive the vehicles through, if not, the bribe thing will give you an advantage...knowing which vehicles run without issues.
- When you're gonna bid, make sure you have a list of several vehicles. Don't count on getting any single vehicle. Sometimes vehicles are pulled, mid-auction, due to paperwork problems. Have a maximum bid, that you are willing to pay, next to each Lot number.
- Expect the vehicle to be almost out of gas. They are not sold with full tanks...and often times siphoned, to provide gas for other vehicles.