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What Salvage Car to Choose at an Auction?

Sailun Tires

Buying a cheap salvage car at an auction is becoming incredibly popular in the United States and abroad. People realize that you can save a ton of money by purchasing a vehicle that needs some repair instead of buying a used car. You can buy salvage cars at A Better Bid and other auto auctions and save thousands of dollars over purchasing at an auto store.

The only question is what salvage car you should choose at an auction. There are many different criteria that you should consider before buying a car at an auction. We have put together a guide that will help you choose the best salvage car to choose for you at an auction.

What is a Salvage Car?

Salvaged cars are ones that an auto insurance company has determined are too damaged to repair back to their original state based on the value of the car, unlike used cars that typically do not have major damage. A car like a Rolls Royce has an incredibly high value but also has incredibly expensive parts and labor. If the Rolls gets wrecked, the insurance company checks the damage, comes up with an estimate to repair the car, then decides if it is financially viable to repair the car.

If the insurance inspects a car and determines that the repairs would exceed the value, or that the car could not be repaired back to its previous state, it considers the car “salvage.” They will then send off the vehicle to an auction company like Copart where it is auctioned off to the highest bidder.

Which Salvage Car is Right for You?

After deciding that you would like to save serious money and purchase a car at a salvage auction, the next thing to consider is the best car for your needs. Here are some things to think about to ensure that you make a good decision.

What is Your Budget?

One of the first things to consider is how much money you have to spend on salvage cars or trucks including all of the necessary costs to get the vehicle ready to roll down the road again. Even though you can save thousands of dollars by buying a salvage car, you are still not going to be able to purchase a Ferrari or Lamborghini for a few thousand dollars. Keep your expectations realistic and keep in mind that purchasing the car at auction is only the first expense.

Start looking at run lists for car auctions to see what is available. Decide how much total money you can spend on the purchase, then look for vehicles well under that number. When you have found some cars that look interesting, start coming up with what the budget would look like to repair them.

What do you Need from the Car?

Think about what you will need from this car. Are you fixing the car so you can use it as a daily driver? Or are you purchasing the car to fix and flip or part out?

If you are looking for a daily driver, consider your everyday needs. If you have a large family, make sure you are looking for cars that have enough seating for the whole family. If it’s just you, then you can think about two-seat sports cars or bigger cars. Think about how much you might use a truck in your daily life.

For cars that you are looking to fix and flip or part out, there are lots of other considerations. Premium luxury cars have parts that might be worth more money than standard cars. That is great if you are looking to part out the car but may not be so great if you are looking to fix and flip the car.

How Handy are You?

Unless you have a repair and body shop at your convenience, you will probably want to avoid cars with major damage. Of course, those cars will be less expensive than cars with minor damage, but they will take much more capital to get rebuilt.

Think about how much work you can perform yourself or with friends. Shops charge a premium to do work for you, so any work you can do yourself will save you a ton of money especially if you are able to find some needed parts at junkyards. Do not overestimate your skills, though.

Where to Buy a Salvage Car at Auction

Now you have a game plan and want to purchase a salvage vehicle. Where can you do that? Here are some great options for you to consider to handle your cars and bids.


Hemmings specializes in classic cars, exotics, muscle cars, SUVs, trucks and parts. If you are in the market for something a little classic and have the bankroll to fund a purchase, Hemmings is an awesome option. With online and in-person auctions, Hemmings has you covered.

A Better Bid

A Better Bid is a 100% online car auction with over 300,000 vehicles to choose from. They are registered

Copart brokers, so they can help you find the perfect clean, wrecked, and repairable vehicles from the comfort of your own couch, all without the need of a dealer’s license. Buying from A Better Bid is like buying from where the dealers buy- cut out the middleman.

Orlando Longwood Auto Auction

Located in Orlando, FL, this auction takes place weekly on Fridays with some other auctions taking place at other times. You can find anything you are looking for from a Ford Focus to a Porsche Cayman and everything in between. You must have a dealer license to purchase from OLAA, though.

Car-Tech Auto Auction

CTAA is located in Freehold, NJ and offers online bidding for registered dealers. Auctions are weekly on Mondays and they have tons of inventory to choose from. If you have a dealer’s license and are ready to buy, check out Car-Tech Auto Auction.


There are so many things to take into account before buying a salvage car at auction. Follow our guide and you will walk away with a salvage vehicle that will save you money and be great for your intended use.



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