Bidding on a Salvage Mustang: How to Navigate the Auction Process

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Few experiences in the automotive world are as thrilling as putting in a bid on a salvage Mustang. The Ford Mustang is an iconic piece of Americana that is recognizable worldwide. Whether you’re planning on restoring a classic car or just buying the base for a custom project, a salvage auction can be a goldmine for finding a Mustang at an affordable price. However, there are some tricks to navigating a salvage auction that will save you from spending too much money on a car that you don’t want.

Here are some tips to take into consideration before you bid on a salvage car:

1: Research, Research, Research

Before you bid on a car at an auction, you need to do your research. You can never do too much research, and that means that you need to understand what a salvage auction is. In a salvage auction, insurance companies bring cars deemed a total loss due to accidents, flood damage, theft recovery, and other serious problems. A ‘salvage title’ doesn’t mean you can’t fix the car up and drive it. Many salvage cars can be made into a car you can show off with the proper restoration.

As you search for your Mustang, take a few minutes to learn about the different models and their common issues. You need to know the cost of parts and restoration, and if you can’t do it yourself, you will need to find someone trained to put it back together. These things will all cost you money.

Use online forums, the advice of local mechanics, and other resources to get an idea of the total cost of putting a car back together. You should also research the current market values for your budgeting process.

Until you find a salvage Mustang for sale, you won’t have an exact cost, so make sure that you use this estimate when determining your budget for bids and taxes.

2: Choose the Right Auction

Not all online auto auctions are equal. Some auctions are only open to dealers with dealer’s licenses, and individuals can’t buy cars there. Other auctions allow the public to buy cars though, and those are the ones that you’ll want to check out. SCA, Copart, and IAAI are some of the more popular online salvage auctions. They offer a large selection of cars, trucks, SUVs, and even Mustangs.

Before deciding on an auction, spend some time on their website and review their rules and regulations. Check out the listings and look for photos, detailed information about the location and who is auctioning off the car, damage reports, and mechanic reports if possible.

3: Inspect the Vehicle 

If you’re bidding on your new Mustang online, you may not be able to see it in person. The listing should have an extensive list of damages and mechanical issues, but you may want eyes on the vehicle before you agree to bid. The auction house will have a list of third-party inspectors that you can hire to go over the car before the auction starts. You will want to pay particular attention to mileage, damage, rust, and the engine and transmission condition.

If the online listing doesn’t have detailed photos, you might be able to ask for more information. If you don’t feel like you’re getting the answers you need to make an informed decision about bidding, then move on to the next car. There will always be another car.

When you spend a little money upfront to have an inspection done, you may save yourself money on unexpected repairs later.

4: Understand the Auction Process

Every auction differs, but most have a standard bidding system: proxy and live. A proxy system allows you to enter the maximum bid you’re willing to spend and lets the system bid in increments. This way, the system stops bidding when it reaches your maximum. Some sites may require that new users use this system rather than live bidding.

Before bidding, ensure that you understand the auction house’s terms and conditions, payment methods, and other fees.

5: Bid Wisely

Bidding is exciting, so getting caught up in the moment and overbidding is very easy. That’s why using the proxy bid can be a good idea. Make sure that your maximum bid reflects your research prices, costs of repairs, and other miscellaneous costs, and stay within budget.

It may be better to spend a little bit more on a car with less damage than fixing up a cheaper car.

6: Post-Auction Process

Once you’ve won the bid, be ready to pay for the car and arrange transportation arrangements. The auction house will give you a date when the vehicle must be picked up from their lot.

After you get your salvage Mustang home then it’s time to start your restoration project. You may be able to turn it around quickly, depending on how much damage it has. After everything is done, think how much fun it will be to drive your new Mustang around.

Bidding on any car can be exciting and rewarding if you understand the process upfront. You can buy an iconic car at a low price and have the satisfaction of restoring a piece of American history. Read more

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