Auto Auctions


Old 08-11-02, 05:39 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: southeast Michigan
Posts: 63
Question Auto Auctions

What do you know about cars that were siezed and auctioned by police or that are reposessed by the bank. Could I get a good car this way for my daughter. What are the drawbacks. I know I couldn't take it to a mechanic, but other than that what can you tell me about car auctions?
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Old 08-11-02, 05:44 PM
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Thumbs down

A gamble at best. Crap shoot at most.

Stay away unless you're a handy guy and don't mind repairing things yourself all the time.

Some of those cars are driven hard, been offroad, abused, wrecked and put back together and have hidden problems. Some are great. It's knowing which is which that keeps you out of trouble.

If you want a good car for your kid, here's what I suggest.

1) First decide what you want to spend. Budget for repairs, at minimum a 1000 bucks for unexpected things. They can and DO happen. If nothing happens, put the grand torward insurance.

2) Stick with reputable car dealers or private parties where you can get a report. Well worth the 15 bucks. My coworker told me, "Joe, I"m going to the GM dealer to get this 2000 Prizm with 12k on it for 9 grand. I said, "George, get a Carfax report to show it's clean". George: "Joe, this is a car with 12k on the clock, it's clean". He took my advice. Good thing he did. It was a stolen recovery and had burn marks in the interior. Paint was mismatched and it ran rough. It was junk. He passed and rightly so.

3) Use Consumer Reports, online comparisons and talk to owners of cars you are considering to see if they are mechanically sound. Pay your mechanic or bring him there to have a look at the car at the dealer. Don't skmp on this step, you could buy a heap and not know it. Used cars are crap shoots, no matter who they are from. I got a 1984 Olds Delta 88 from my uncle and I put 600 bucks into it (with me doing the work and getting the parts wholesale!) to get it into the shape I wanted it in. It will likely cost you double not being in the trade.

Be cautious, be wary and stay away from repo auctions. We had a customer that bought an Acura there and when I showed him that he bought two cars welded together from the cowl back he was shocked. When I found out he paid 8 grand for this thing, I just shook my head and asked why he didn't bring it to us first to have a look! Another customer did on a car from a bad dealer and we nayed the car (with the dealer employee standing there) and he told the guy, "No need to do anything. I'll have one of these guys drive me home. I'm not doing business with you guys. You told me the car was clean, yet I see that these guys pointed out respray in the door jamb, this car was painted!!!!".

Step away from the auction!!!
Old 08-12-02, 09:41 AM
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Posts: 279
speaking of repaints

Where's a good place to look for these things? I mean paint over jobs? Is there a particular point on a car to see this? I recently bought my joint from an auto auction and I got a car fax report for it. It came out clean but the rubber strip along the sides of the car were originally black, you can see right through the white paint though. At any rate, I've got a white 1995 Mitsubishi Galant and it runs excellently. I guessed I lucked out. I did pay for what I got though, 3 grand and after I priced the sucker, after I bought it, I found that that was about market price. Oh well. The oil was a rancid black, the spark plugs were just about rusty dust, there was a brand new compressor put in for the A/C and it was empty of freon. So, I guess the darn thing was in a collision thata car fax didn't pick up and they repaired it up a little huh? Anyway, peace!
Old 08-12-02, 10:09 AM
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Carfax cannot and should not replace a personal and qualified inspection of a motor vehicle. It is one tool in your arsenal to prevent you from buying a lemon...but in no way is it comprehensive for tracking everything.

The car could have had a dent in there from a parking lot incident and the owner had it taken care of. Wouldn't show up on Carfax.

However, if it was totalled and bought back from the insurance company, it WOULD show that.
Old 08-12-02, 10:19 AM
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Posts: 279
Right you are

I didn't mean that I used the CAR FAX report as a representation of 100% of my car's history. I'm very happy with what I've seen thus far. I think it runs like a charm. At any rate, I'm a tad nervous as the car is still pretty new to me. I find that auctions still adhere to state lemon laws and like any dealer can be either really good or quite fraudulent. The thing is to know what to look for at an auction and if you do, you can be in great shape! My question Joe, where on a car are the obvious car repaint marks and things. I'm just curious because that sounds like the tell tale sign of a car that is smoke and mirrors. Anyway, you da man.
Old 08-12-02, 10:24 AM
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Some places to look:

1) On the driver's door jamb. If the certification (where it says where it's made and such) sticker is missing or painted over, sure sign of body work.

2) Mismatched colors/dull areas/sand marks....evidence of body work.

3) On weatherstripping and you have seen. Indication of paint work.

4) Filler.....shows up as pink/red depending on the type used...will feel lumpy if done incorrectly.

5) Inside the trunk, under the hood, etc. Most cars are painted as shells and apart, so overspray in most areas is indicative of work done after the factory. There are some places where overspray IS factory (in the floor pan area under the rug for example).

There have been cases of car restorations that are TOO perfect . The factory let's say, 20 years ago was not concerned with cutting perfect paint lines...the line had to move, move, move!!! So, restorers today might be TOO perfect and "overrestore" a car. There are also guys that try to duplicate the factory paint marks, chalk lines, drips and runs like the originals!

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