Auction Cars for Sale in California: A Comprehensive Guide

Welcome Jake!

If you’re looking for a great deal on a car, a vehicle auction could be just what you need. California is home to some of the largest and most diverse car auctions in the country, offering a wide range of vehicles at competitive prices.

In this guide, we’ll take a closer look at auction cars for sale in California, including how to find the right auction for you, the advantages and disadvantages of buying a car at auction, and some of the things you should keep in mind when bidding on a vehicle.


What is a Car Auction?

Before we dive into the specifics of auction cars for sale in California, let’s take a step back and define what a car auction is. Simply put, a car auction is an event where vehicles are sold to the highest bidder. These auctions can take place in-person or online, and can be open to the public or limited to dealers and other industry professionals.

Types of Car Auctions

There are several different types of car auctions, each with its own unique characteristics and target audience. Some common types of car auctions include:

Public Auctions

Public auctions are open to anyone who wants to attend and bid on a vehicle.

Dealer-Only Auctions

Dealer-only auctions are restricted to licensed car dealers and other industry professionals.

Online Auctions

Online auctions allow buyers to bid on vehicles from the comfort of their own home, without the need to attend an in-person auction.

Government Auctions

Government auctions offer vehicles that were previously owned by government agencies, such as police departments, and are often sold at a discount.

Advantages of Buying a Car at Auction

There are several advantages to buying a car at auction, including:

Lower Prices

One of the biggest advantages of buying a car at auction is the potential to get a great deal. Auctions are often used to sell repossessed or impounded vehicles, which can be sold at a discount compared to traditional dealerships.

Wide Selection

Car auctions offer a wide range of vehicles to choose from, including luxury cars, classic cars, and even commercial vehicles.

Opportunity to Buy Rare or Unique Vehicles

Because auctions often feature a diverse range of vehicles, buyers have the opportunity to purchase rare or unique cars that may be difficult to find elsewhere.

Minimal Pressure from Sales Staff

Buying a car at a dealership can be a high-pressure experience, with sales staff pushing buyers to make a purchase. At an auction, buyers can take their time and make a decision on their own terms.

Disadvantages of Buying a Car at Auction

While there are many advantages to buying a car at auction, there are also some potential downsides to keep in mind:

No Test Drive

Buyers are typically not allowed to test drive vehicles before purchasing them at auction.

No Warranty

Most auction cars are sold “as-is,” meaning that there is no warranty or guarantee provided by the seller.

Competition from Other Buyers

At a car auction, buyers are competing against each other to win the vehicle they want. This can drive up the price and make it more difficult to get a good deal.

Complete Table of Auction Cars for Sale in California

Type of Auction
Date and Time
Number of Vehicles
Special Features
Los Angeles
Every Saturday at 10am
Luxury and exotic cars
San Francisco
Commercial vehicles
San Diego
Repossessed and impounded vehicles
Police vehicles and other government-owned cars

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How do I register for a car auction?

Registration for car auctions varies depending on the auction you plan to attend. In most cases, you will need to provide a valid driver’s license and proof of insurance. Some auctions may also require a deposit before you can bid on a vehicle.

2. Can I test drive a car before bidding on it at auction?

Generally, no. Most car auctions do not allow test drives, so you will need to rely on the information provided in the auction listing and your own intuition when deciding whether to bid on a vehicle.

3. What happens if I win a bid at auction?

If you win a bid at auction, you will be required to pay for the vehicle in full within a certain timeframe, usually within 24-48 hours. You will also need to arrange for transportation of the vehicle from the auction location to your home or a mechanic.

4. What happens if I can’t pay for the vehicle I won at auction?

If you are unable to pay for the vehicle you won at auction, you may be subject to penalties or legal action. It’s important to carefully consider your finances and your ability to pay before bidding on a vehicle at auction.

5. Are there any hidden fees or charges when buying a car at auction?

It’s important to carefully review the auction listing and any terms and conditions before bidding on a vehicle. Some auctions may charge a buyer’s premium or other fees on top of the winning bid price, which can add to the total cost of the vehicle.

6. Can I finance a car purchased at auction?

While some auctions may offer financing options, most require payment in full at the time of purchase. If you need financing, it’s a good idea to explore other options, such as a traditional car loan or personal loan.

7. What should I look for when inspecting a car at auction?

When inspecting a car at auction, it’s important to look for any signs of damage or wear and tear, such as dents, scratches, or rust. You should also check the engine and other mechanical components, as well as the interior and exterior of the vehicle.


Should You Buy a Car at Auction?

Ultimately, whether or not to buy a car at auction is a personal decision that depends on your specific needs and circumstances. If you’re willing to put in the time and effort to research auctions and bid carefully, you could potentially save thousands of dollars on a great car.

Ready to Start Bidding?

If you’re interested in auction cars for sale in California, be sure to do your research and carefully consider your options before making a bid. With a little bit of luck and a lot of preparation, you could end up with the car of your dreams at a price you can afford.


Buying a car at auction can be a risky proposition. There is no guarantee that the vehicle will be in good condition, and you could end up spending more money on repairs than you saved on the purchase price. Before buying a car at auction, be sure to carefully inspect the vehicle, research its history, and consider your ability to pay for any necessary repairs.