Online car auctions in the USA can be a treasure trove for anybody hunting for a classic car, their next project, or just a daily driver. It’s easy to get excited and find yourself in a situation that you weren’t expecting if you’re inexperienced, though. Here are 5 of the biggest mistakes people make at online car auctions that can get them into trouble, so you won’t have to learn from them yourself.

Not doing your research

Make sure you have a clear understanding of what it is you’re looking for, along with common pitfalls of the year, make, and model that you’re interested in. Knowing that a specific problem exists in the vehicle you’re looking for can help you factor necessary repairs into your budget.

Beyond that, keeping your options open when looking for a vehicle in the first place can help you get the best auction experience possible. Knowing what you’re looking for in a vehicle can help you keep a few models in mind, so you aren’t investing all your energy into a single lot listing.

Another important aspect of research is running a vehicle history report before bidding on any vehicle. We suggest getting a ClearVIN VIN Check Report that can give you a much better understanding of what the vehicle has been through, and what you’re in store for. If you’re involved in a dealership business, thorough motor vehicle records can give you peace of mind when buying a used car and help you avoid potential scams or fraudulent activity.

Not familiarizing yourself with rules and policies

This one falls a bit into the previous category: research. Car auctions are different, but be aware that placing a bid on a vehicle is a legally binding contract. That’s why AutoBidMaster asks for a copy of your photo ID or Passport, and a 100% refundable security deposit. Once you place a bid, you are contractually bound to it.

Online auto auctions outline their policies in their Rules and Policies and Terms and Conditions, and a big mistake people make is not taking the time to truly understand the process. Without a solid understanding of the auction’s policies, you may find yourself making a costly mistake. Take the time to familiarize yourself with the way the online car auction functions.

Sticking to a single listing

Setting your heart on a single vehicle can be a big problem, too. If you aren’t open to other options, you can get caught up in the excitement of bidding and blow way past your budget, so after you’ve narrowed down what you’re looking for, find a few viable options. That way, if the bidding goes past your budget on one, you have a backup plan.

Blowing over your budget

One of the biggest mistakes people make is not factoring in total costs to their budget. You’ll need to consider things like repair costs, vehicle shipping, DMV fees, auction fees, and so forth. On AutoBidMaster, every vehicle’s bid box has a fee calculator that can help you figure out your final price at your maximum bid. Under that, you’ll see a shipping quote calculator from our shipping partner, EasyHaul, so you can see how much it’ll cost to have your vehicle delivered directly to you.

Not finding the best online car auction

This might be the biggest mistake you can make! With a wide variety of online car auctions throughout the United States, finding the best one can help you save big. At AutoBidMaster, we make bidding on and buying vehicles easy for you. Our buyer services team is always here to help you with any questions you may have. Give us a call at +1 (503) 298-4300, 6:00 AM to 4:00 PM Pacific Standard Time, Monday through Friday, or email us at and we’ll be happy to help.

Happy bidding!

AutoBidMaster Staff Writer

AutoBidMaster members purchase auction vehicles without dealer’s licenses. All-inclusive support & global shipping make AutoBidMaster your one-stop shop.

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