The first time someone visits an online auction website, the reaction is usually a mix of surprise and excitement. And the reaction is completely understandable, given the remarkable deals they can find on virtually all popular makes and models. That said, no buying decision should be made in a haste, more so if you are new to the world of online auto auctions.

A great piece of advice for any car auction participant is to conduct a license plate lookup on the vehicle you want to buy. Alternatively, our partners at ClearVIN provide an opportunity to perform a free VIN number check, so you can use either of the mentioned options and reveal the vehicle background.

To help ensure you have a seamless experience in online public auto auctions, we present a list of some key aspects you should know before you place your first bid. Read on.

Sales Status

The first thing you need to know about online auto auctions is the sales status. The sales status of a listing basically indicates its type of sale. Common types include: 

  • Pure Sale: You buy the car at the listed price.
  • On Approval: The final high bid is approved by the seller.
  • On Minimum Bid/Reserve: The seller sets a minimum bid on the vehicle. 

Auctions Stages

This is another important aspect you should know before participating in online public auto auctions. Broadly classifying, there are two stages in an online auto auction:

  • Preliminary Bidding: After a sale date is designated to a car, you can place your bid on it or use the ‘Buy It Now’ option, if available. 
  • Live Bidding: When the sale date of a vehicle arrives, its Live Auction begins, which moves pretty quickly; typically, it lasts for only a few minutes.

Also Read: Top Reasons to Buy a Salvage Car from Online Auctions

Buying Power

The buying power is basically the maximum bid you can place on a vehicle, which depends upon the security deposit you have made, collected by online public auto auction websites as a guarantee that the bidder will pay for the vehicle if their bid wins. The security deposit should be at least 10 percent of the intended bid value. If, for instance, you want to buy a car whose value is $10,000, the security deposit should be at least $1000. 

Last Words

Buying a car through online public car auctions can be a fun and rewarding experience, but you must proceed with caution. Make sure you inspect the vehicle you want to buy, or get it inspected by a professional, before you place your bid. If you have any questions about our car auctions in New Jersey or other places, or any of the clean or salvage cars for sale featured in our inventory, please call: +1 (503) 298-4300, Monday through Friday, 4:00 AM to 4:00 PM (Pacific Time). Alternatively, email at and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

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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