Auction Auto Transport Tips

Buying a vehicle from an auction? Great! We understand shipping from auctions, which is why we’re offering these auction auto transport tips to you free of charge. A lot of people, surprisingly, buy vehicles at auctions and then ship them back home. It’s become a rather large sector of the car shipping industry and is becoming more and more popular especially with COVID-19 still being a thing.

Naturally, there are some things that you’ll want to know before you actually go to ship from an auction. Auction auto transport is fairly common, and most auto shippers deal with auction shipments on a near-daily basis. So if you’re unsure what you need for your shipment from an auction, keep reading. This way, you’ll be able to help your shipper help you and make your shipping experience even easier.

That’s why we’re going to give some great auction auto transport tips to help you when you ship your vehicle to or from an auction. So keep reading to stay informed and make sure your shipping experience is the best it can be.

An intro to auction auto transport services

Buying cars at auction is actually a pretty interesting experience. With the pandemic forcing many people into self-quarantine and relative isolation, auctions are great for people looking to buy a new vehicle.

As most of them are held online these days, they’re great for people who are stuck inside.  Which is everyone! But even if you’re not self-quarantining, online auto auctions are a great way to get a new (well, new to you) vehicle for cheap.

That’s perhaps the best thing about auctions – you can get cars for dirt cheap in comparison to their KBB values. Why? Well, many vehicles at auctions are repossessed, damaged, salvaged, or not running. This does make it a bit more difficult for buyers to find the right car for them, but there’s also plenty on their lots that run just fine.

You can see the condition of every vehicle on an auction site, which is great if you’re buying from an auction hundreds or thousands of miles away. And it’s also great because you can let your shipping company know the condition as well!

Now that you know a bit about auctions and what to expect, let’s talk about what you’ll need when it’s time to ship it.

Know what is wrong with the vehicle

We’ll segue right into one of the most important aspects of buying at auction – knowing what’s wrong with the vehicle you’re purchasing.

Auctions are notorious for mislabeling vehicles. It’s not out of malfeasance, though – when an auction gets a car, they try to start it. Every single time. As soon as a car comes in their possession, it goes through an inspection. This is true for every major auction – IAA, Copart, Manheim – and, while we can’t speak for smaller ones, we’re fairly certain they do too. They can’t knowingly misrepresent vehicles they put up for bid, after all.

That said, though, vehicles at auctions can sit. And sometimes, they can sit for a while, weeks or even months. As vehicles sit and are not used, they tend to start having difficulties in starting back up. The longer they sit, the harder it can be to get them started.

Many times it’s a simple spark plug replacement or a new battery. But those are fixes that are left to you to do – not anyone at the auction.

The issue is that if a vehicle is marked as running, becomes non-running, and the carrier shows up, what happens? More often than not they leave without picking it up.

How carriers deal with auction shipments

This is an important thing to understand if you’re shipping from an auction. Carriers will typically show up first thing in the morning, if they can, and get in line. Auctions move a lot of vehicles, so they deal with a lot of carriers. This is a plus as it helps the process go smoothly.

However, carriers will avoid the line unless they know for sure that the vehicle is ready to go and they have all the information they need. We’ll talk about that information in just a minute, but for now, know that if anything is awry they won’t waste their time just to not load a vehicle.

It can take an hour or longer for a carrier to get an auction load on their truck. That’s not too bad, but it gets worse the longer the line is. Some carriers try to pick up at the end of the day to avoid these issues.

Most auctions stop loading vehicles at 4 pm local time. This means that, if you opt for faster pickup, there is a time that carriers have to get there before a certain time, or else they’ll have to wait until tomorrow. Note, too, that the vast, vast majority of auctions are only open Monday to Friday, and are closed on weekends. Booking your shipment for next-day pickup on a Friday, from an auction, often isn’t possible.

Make sure you have the lot and buyer numbers

Something that every single auction has is a system to identify their vehicles and their buyers. They organize vehicles into lots and keep track of them via lot numbers. This is a great system for several reasons, and only in part because it keeps track of where the vehicles are at!

One of the cool things about lot numbers is that it allows both you and the carrier to see the actual, physical vehicle. Online, you can search vehicles by their lot numbers on the auction’s website. So, your shipping company can give prospective carriers your lot number so they can see the vehicle before they even pick it up! This allows them to ensure they can load it and helps to minimize issues.

As a buyer, you will be given a buyer number as well as your vehicle’s lot number. This is an identifier for the auction to ensure that they are releasing the correct vehicle to the correct carrier. Your buyer number is unique and is tied directly to every vehicle you buy at the auction.

When you ship your vehicle, you’ll need to give your shipping company both the lot number and your buyer number. Some auctions will call it a stock number instead of a lot number. They may have other names for other numbers. But they’re always the same: a way to identify the vehicle, and a way to identify who bought it.

Make sure that information gets to your shipper when you book your shipment. This will eliminate issues that might stem from picking up at an auction and will help you have an overall better shipping experience.

Take care of the payment

One more thing that we need to stress when it comes to auction auto transport services – take care of the payment.

We’ve been in this industry a long time, and over that time we’ve learned some things. One of the biggest things we’ve learned about this particular part of the industry is that payments are incredibly important.

Auctions will NOT release any vehicle to a carrier until that vehicle has been paid for. Most auctions will take major credit cards and other types of payments. You’ll need to take a look and see for yourself what exactly they can do for you in that regard.

But you need to make sure the vehicle you bought at auction is paid for before your carrier arrives. The thing with carriers is that for them, time is money. So if they’re supposed to pick a vehicle up and they can’t load it, that’s a waste of time. And for carriers, a waste of time is a waste of money.

Many carriers will charge “deadhead” or “dry run” fees. These are fees that are assessed when a shipment gets pulled out from under the rug. They take all that time and fuel to get to a pickup location just to not load a vehicle? Someone has to pay them for that time and money lost. Enter dry run fees.

These are not fun and most will be handled by your shipping company, who will often pass those fees on to you. This is why it is so important for you to ensure your vehicle is ready to go. From making sure it is in the condition it is stated to making sure it’s paid for, that falls to you, the person who has booked the shipment.

Get quotes to ship today with ASQ

If you’re interested in shipping a vehicle, we can help! Whether it’s from an auction or otherwise, you can read about top-quality shipping companies right here. We have comprehensive reviews on the best auto transporters in the industry in different categories. Need a low price? Look at the best and cheapest shippers! Want a robust military discount? Look at veteran-owned shippers.

Our reviews have a lot of information in them, but each company we’ve reviewed is fully licensed and bonded, in good standing in the industry and with the BBB, and they have strong reviews from customers. They all have years of experience shipping cars as well, and they know how to handle auctions.

Read some reviews, contact some shippers, and get started on your shipment today.