Five Reasons Why You Should Look At A Salvage Car Auction For Your Next Car

Five Reasons Why You Should Look At A Salvage Car Auction For Your Next Car


Salvaged car auctions generally have a poor reputation among regular car buyers. The very mention of the phrase conjures up visions of wrecks, junks, flooded vehicles, and all other species of cars in need of repair.

Though partially true, a salvaged car auction involves so much more than just cars to buy for parts. On any given auction day, the cars up for sale can involve the following categories:


  • Dealer Groups
  • Repossessed vehicles
  • Ex-Rentals
  • Fleet vehicles (both government as well as corporate)
  • Insurance Total Loss (write-offs)
  • Theft recoveries


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The saying that “auto auctions are only for dealers and mechanics” is nothing but a myth nowadays. Public auto auctions can be a great place to look for your next car, especially if you temper your expectations and go with some common sense advice from the pros

Here are five compelling reasons why you may want to head to the nearest auto auction before checking out a used car dealership:


1. You are on a low budget and want an all-cash deal

Car dealerships cannot compete with public car auctions when it comes to the price of the vehicles. Auctions are all about moving the stock as quickly as possible. Dealers, on the other hand, can wait until a buyer willing to pay the markup price (or something very close to it) turns up.

Cars that are in running condition can be found at unbelievable prices at auction. Often you will find overstocks or trade-ins with minor damage going for a song at auctions. The same is also true for repossessed cars, but they tend to attract a lot of attention from bidders.

So unless there is a bidding war involved, buyers can expect up to 30% savings or more at auction. If you are on a tight budget, a salvaged car auction might be worth looking at. They tend to be all cash affairs, with no complicated finance deals involved, which is another big plus.


2. You are unsure about which car to buy 

Often we don’t have a clue what the make or model of our next car should be. We may have a rough idea about the category – a mid-range sedan, an economical hatchback, a big SUV, or a powerful pickup, to name a few.

It is not often that you can find a dealership that stocks all these different types of vehicles. Due to space constraints, you will often find an array of similar vehicles at dealerships.


Alt-text: Used car dealerships often have smaller inventories due to space constraints
Source: Mathew Paul Argall @ Flickr

Source: Mathew Paul Argall @ FlickrAlt-text: Used car dealerships often have smaller inventories due to space constraints

Salvaged car auctions can attract all kinds of vehicles – the good, the bad, and the ugly! If you like the idea of looking through a lot of different cars before taking your pick, an auction could be a perfect choice.


3. You have a specific make/model/year in mind

This just illustrates why salvaged car auctions work beautifully for so many different types of buyers. Since they handle large volumes of stock at any given time, auction houses are the perfect place to hunt for that special old car.

And we are not talking about expensive vintage cars here. People tend to have nostalgia for certain cars – it might be your first ever car as a teenager, or the one that your dad drove, or even something that you lusted for but could not afford.

If you are on the lookout for a particular model from the past, like a ‘96 Ford Fiesta, a 2006 Toyota Camry, or one of the earlier Honda Civics – auto auctions are one place where you could find all of them.

It is said that almost all cars end up at auto auctions at some point in their lives, sometimes more than once. Your dream car has a high chance of popping up, sooner rather than later.


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4. You want a car for a student driver

It hurts you (both in your heart and wallet) when a brand new car gets minor nicks or scratches, or something a bit more serious than that. Buying a brand new vehicle for a rookie driver is not a very wise choice. Often, you would pass your old ride onto them and treat yourself to a brand new car!


Alt-Text: For student drivers, a salvaged car in good condition from an auction is a sensible choice
Source: State Farm @ Flickr

But what if your current car is relatively new and not old enough to be considered as a potential “hand-me-down?” Sure, a used car dealership might be a good idea, but the last couple of points have been highlighting how an auction might be a good place to start instead. Besides, it might even be good bonding experience for you and your kid.


5. You yearn to get your hands dirty

There is no hiding from this fact: auto auctions will be far less painful if you have some garage skills. People who have no clue about cars could end up losing money at auto auctions. This is why we would always advise you to bring a gearhead friend/relative along if you don’t know your way around cars.


Alt-text: You can find the perfect vehicle for a DIY restoration at auto auctions
Source: Wikimedia Commons

But if you do indeed love working away the hours in your garage, and need a new DIY project to work on, an auto auction is the perfect place to hunt for it. You can always find cars that need some work. The final choice will depend on your skills, budget, and the time you have to spare.



Auto auctions are not for all car buyers, and we would be the first to admit that. But they are not exactly exclusive affairs for enthusiasts either. In certain situations, salvaged car auctions can work for anybody.

It is up to you to figure out if your current vehicle needs are aligned with what these auctions can provide. If any of the above scenarios are applicable in your case, then, by all means, you owe it to yourself to check out the nearest Impact Auto Auctions if you live in Canada!


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