It’s true that car auction prices can be higher than you’d get by selling it on your own. It’s easier too. But how do car auctions work when your car is damaged?

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How Do Car Auctions Work?

How do Car Auctions WorkYou have to understand how the automotive auctions work. Like any estate auction, antique auction, or online auction, the winning bidder is the one who buys the car.

The seller brings their car to the auction. Like selling a car to the general public, the seller can assign a minimum price they’ll accept, known as a reserve. When the auction action begins, buyers place bids for the vehicle. The goal for the buyer is to get the car for the lowest price possible while the seller wants to get as much as they can.

For popular cars, the auction goes by in a flurry of activity – the auctioneer talks a mile a minute, hands go up to bid, and the hammer slams down after, “going once, going twice…SOLD!” But the action isn’t always as hot and heavy, especially when trying to sell damaged cars.

Car Auction Prices for Damaged Cars

Many less-than-perfect cars remain unsold at auction. It’s for two good reasons. First, people want a good vehicle that doesn’t need much for repairs. And second, sellers often think their car is worth more than it actually is, and they set their reserve prices too high.

You can’t do much about your car’s condition if it’s going to auction. It doesn’t make sense to fix it up first, does it? But setting a proper reserve price can really help to start the bidding. You can establish a good reserve price by checking car auction prices paid for similar vehicles.

The biggest hiccup is this: there’s no car auction prices guide for damaged cars. You’d be hard-pressed to find vehicles with similar age, mileage, AND damage to get a good reference point. And the only thing that’s worse than getting too little for your car at auction is not selling it at all.

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How Much Can I Get for My Car at Auction?

Trying to figure out if car auction prices will be acceptable for your damaged or unwanted car? That’s a good question to ask yourself. Before setting a reserve price – or even auction expectations – for your car, there are a few things you should keep in mind:

  • You don’t have to certify or recondition your car. It has flaws, and that’s okay. People at damaged car auctions understand they aren’t buying showroom-quality cars. Thus, you don’t have to dump a bunch of cash into your car before sending it through the car auction block.

  • You’re looking for emotion-driven bids. The best thing you can do is send your car to auction looking fresh. A car wash, a vacuum inside, and the car shows much better to the prospective bidders.

  • Auction buyers are looking for a good deal. There’s a good chance you won’t get the same sale price as you’d get by selling your car privately, but at least it’s fast.

Knowing those details, you should be prepared for a range of car auction prices. If you find your car’s trade-in value on Kelley Blue Book or its rough value on the NADAguides website, that’s a good place to set your expectations. The rougher or more damaged your car is, you should take away from that baseline. For example, if there are big dents on both front fenders, trim about 20 percent from the rough valuation, and so on.

The Alternative Is…

An auction can be a quick way to sell your car. But to get a guaranteed price, you have to set a reserve that isn’t sky-high. That means you might not get the price you were expecting, or your car may not sell at all.

Instead of selling your car at auction, you could sell your car privately or trade it in. But a private sale invites tire-kickers, shady characters you’ll have to meet up with, and hardcore negotiators who want to virtually steal your car from you. And with a trade-in, damaged cars aren’t really their thing. They might appraise your car for you, but it’s going to be a bargain-basement price to make it worth the dealer’s while.

How to Sell Your Car Online

You could also sell your car online, which seems to be the cool thing to do!

Where to Sell My Car Online

Wondering how to sell your car online? You know about eBay, the online auction and marketplace where you can list your car, but damaged vehicles don’t really belong. You could list it on Craigslist, hoping someone needs a beat-up car just like the one you have, but that’s not all that common.

The best way you can sell your car online is to sell it to DamagedCars. No matter what condition your vehicle may be in, you’ll get a fair price from DamagedCars.

It’s fast – you’ll get a guaranteed quote for your vehicle in around 90 seconds. When you accept the quote, you get paid quickly, typically in around 24 to 48 hours.
It’s easy – you’ll be walked through the simple process, and your car is even picked up from you at no charge to you!
It’s free – there’s no charge to use the DamagedCars service. In fact, you get paid good money to get rid of your damaged car instead of paying someone to haul it away. See how much your damaged car is worth now.