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Buying a Beater 4x4 at an Online Car Auction

Your next project could be cheaper than you expect.

Verne SimonsWords and PhotosTrent McGeePhotos

If you are a 4x4 nut like we are, you've probably heard about used online car auctions. Some companies we've heard of are CoPart.com, iaai.com, and more. Most states require a dealer or dismantler license, but luckily for us, Arizona, doesn't (and even non-Arizonans can buy some cars here). Fact is you can save lots of money on a used car if you lower your expectations, know how to fix stuff, and aren't afraid of a little auto auction stigma.

Some 4x4s you can buy at an auction will have salvaged titles that require repairs and a subsequent inspection, and some are only good to pull parts from and won't be able to be re-titled, but other vehicles will have a clean and clear title. Cars that are donated to charity are often sold at auction, as are vehicles that were repossessed. These cars won't necessarily have a salvaged title. That doesn't mean they will necessarily be very nice vehicles, but if cheap is what you are after, that probably doesn't matter much. We've often contemplated buying a lightly rolled Jeep, or perhaps a pickup that was rear-ended. These things can be fixed, and when you like to go wheeling, damage is a given and much easier in a cheaper vehicle or one that already has some damage.



Why Buy From a Car Auction?