FAQ About Online Auto Auctions: What You Need To Know

By Sony T
10 Min Read
FAQ About Online Auto Auctions: What You Need To Know 1

If you’re looking for cheap cars for sale, you should check out online sca auctions. Used car dealers have relied on vehicle auctions for decades because of their low prices. With the advancements in today’s technology, many of these auctions can now be accessed online. But before you start looking for “online auctions near me,” there are some important things you’ll need to know. Luckily, we’ve got you covered!


Continue reading to learn more about car auction websites, including the different types of auctions, how they work, and what you’ll need to join and start bidding today.

What Is the Difference Between Salvage Title, Clean Title, and Non-Repairable Title Vehicles?

As you browse through auction sites online, you may notice they offer different types of vehicles. Some might be listed as auto salvage, while others are listed as clean title vehicles. But what’s the difference between a clean, salvage, and non-repairable title?

A car title is an official document that provides proof of ownership and can tell a potential buyer more about a car. Every vehicle has its own title, which will follow throughout its life. 

All vehicles begin their life with a clean title. A clean title doesn’t mean the car never suffered damage, just that it was never deemed a total loss.

At what point does a car lose its clean title, though? Suppose a vehicle is damaged in an accident or natural disaster, and the cost to repair the vehicle exceeds the car’s market value. In that case, the insurance company will no longer pay for repairs and deem the vehicle a total loss, converting the clean title to a salvage title. However, this doesn’t mean the car cannot be repaired.

In many cases, auto insurance companies will have a licensed mechanic or agent assess the damage to the vehicle and estimate a cost to repair based on local garage prices. Since garages charge for parts and labor, finding a cheaper garage or fixing the car yourself for less is often possible.

If the vehicle is repaired back to a safe and legal condition, it’s possible to get its title cleared. Though the process differs from state to state, the result is a title that becomes rebranded as rebuilt, which can be registered and insured just as a clean title vehicle. 

A vehicle with a non-repairable title has been deemed unsafe for use and cannot be driven. However, it can still be sold and sourced for parts.

Do I Need a Dealer’s License to Buy a Car from an Auto Auction?

Depending on the auction site, you may or may not need a dealer’s license. Some car auction websites, such as IAAI, Copart, Manheim, and others, have public auctions, but the majority of their events are dealer-only auctions.

Other sites operate as registered US auction brokers. These online auction sites hold a dealer’s license and can help you buy vehicles for a small broker’s fee that would have otherwise been reserved for car dealers.You will not need a dealer’s license to purchase from these types of auctions.

Finally, some public auctions allow people to list and sell vehicles through their website, and people can bid on and purchase the cars with or without a dealer’s license. These are often localized auctions that only serve a small area.

How Do Online Auctions Work?

Although some auction sites operate differently, the majority of them work similarly. Before you can bid on a vehicle, you must undergo a registration process. You’ll be asked to upload documents and verify your identity. You may also be asked to put down a deposit before you can bid on a vehicle. Once registered, you can browse the website’s selection of cars and find out when different events are being held.

Sites like SCA allow members to place preliminary bids; which allow you to place your maximum bid on a vehicle before the live auction starts; they even have a “Buy Fast” option, which allows you to buy the vehicle instantly for a set price. Many sites hold events that you can attend either in person or online, however, some sites only offer one or the other. Additionally, some auction sites have authorized agents who can connect with members and bid for them at live events.

How Can I Be Sure That I’ll Get What I Buy?

Vehicle auction sites rely on their reputation to grow and stay in business. They’re not trying to scam people and usually try their best to ensure people know what they’re buying. At the same time, understanding how each site works and what you’re buying is ultimately your responsibility.

For this reason, it’s recommended that you conduct your own research. Get the vehicle identification number (VIN) and order the vehicle’s history report. Additionally, you can usually hire a third party to inspect the car if you cannot do so yourself.

What Are The Best Auto Auctions?

Whether you’re looking for a car, truck, SUV, RV, motorcycle, or boat, you’re sure to find something that fits your budget at one of the auction sites listed below.

Morton Auto Auction

Morton Auto Auction is an independent auction located in Central Illinois. They provide digital imaging, reconditioning, and condition report writing on all vehicles. Members can browse their inventory online before joining both online and live auctions. Currently, Morton Auto Auctions only provides vehicle auction services to those with a dealer’s license. Still, for those who buy and sell used cars, their dealer’s services are the best in Illinois.

Cars & Bids

Cars & Bids is a newer auction site that works differently than many other sites. Members can buy and sell vehicles without a dealer’s license. Listing a car on the website is currently free, but buyers pay a 4.5% buyer’s fee. When you bid on a vehicle, a hold will be put on your card in the amount of the buyer’s fee. Your card will not be charged if you don’t win the auction. This fee will depend on the price of the vehicle you bid on. The website claims to focus on enthusiast cars from 1980s up to the 2020s, they have several cars, trucks, and SUVs to choose from. You’ll need a valid credit card and phone number to join. If you win an auction, you’ll be connected with the seller, and you can then make arrangements with them to pick the vehicle up or hire a shipping company.

SCA Auctions

Deemed the number one insurance auction site in North America, SCA Auctions offers over 300,000 cars, trucks, SUVs, motorcycles, boats, and RVs at over 150 live auctions each week. Registration is free, and because they’re registered IAA brokers, you won’t need a dealer’s license to join and bid on salvage and clean titled vehicles. Once registered, you can browse their selection of cars before pre-bidding or joining live auction events from anywhere with internet access. They’re the best auction to use for salvage, clean title and part-only vehicles.


Although they started with a single salvage yard in 1982, Copart has become a front runner in vehicle auction sites. They feature over 175,000 vehicles each day and have over 200 locations worldwide. Before taking advantage of their low prices, you’ll need to register. Dealers can bid directly through the site, but if you don’t have a dealer’s license, you’ll need to find a registered broker or join one of their No License Required auctions. Members can preview the vehicles live before bidding, or seek the services of a third-party inspector. They sell both salvage and clean title vehicles.

Wrapping Up

When it comes to cheap cars, you won’t find anything more affordable than an online auto auction. But like any remote transaction, you must arm yourself with the knowledge to ensure you know what you’re buying. Once you understand the different types of live auctions, public auctions, and insurance auctions that are accessible online, you’ll be able to navigate auction sites confidently. Then, it’s simply a matter of finding a car you and your wallet both love.

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By Sony T
Sony is a passionate bloggers writes on Futuristic technologies ...