Which auction is the best to buy a car in the USA?

Many people know that buying and shipping a car from an auto auction in the USA is quite lucrative. If you have already decided to buy a car in America, then the next step is to choose an auction.

There are many of them in the USA, and each has its specifics. Let's get acquainted with the most popular American automobile auctions, talk about the pros and cons of each, and learn about the secrets that will help you to make a successful purchase.

Copart Auction

Copart is the largest used car auction, offering more than 175,000 cars, trucks, boats, motorcycles, ATVs and other vehicles. It's where insurance companies and banks as well as regular people are putting their cars up for auction.

Types of car Damage at Copart 

At this auction, you can inexpensively buy a car with damage. But before you do so, you should familiarize yourself with the types of damage so you know if it is profitable to make repairs. 

  • It is not advisable to buy a burnt out or stripped car if you intend to use it as a vehicle.
  • It is not recommended to take cars with defects in the engine, transmission, suspension, gearbox, brake system or steering. It will be difficult to assess the extent of damage and repair costs.
  • Many cars are damaged after natural disasters. For instance, dents form after a hailstorm. It is important to estimate their number, depth, and the places where they are located. In most cases, repair of such cars costs $500-1000.
  • A vehicle submerged in water or flooded by a downpour. After that all electronics are spoiled: fuel level, denotation, oil pressure, crankshaft, coolant temperature sensor. They stop working at once or over time. Such cars look good, but the purchase is very risky.
  • One of the best options is to buy a car after an accident, where it is enough to replace the headlights, doors or other body parts. These damages are easily assessed by photo and repairs are usually cheaper.

How will the car's VIN be Helpful to you?

Copart's website always spells out the extent of the defects, but it's still worth looking into the car's history. Check your car's VIN, because often only cosmetic repairs are made to hide visible damage. 

This Tesla Model X was sold at one auction, then it was painted and body defects were repaired to make the car look presentable. 

Then it was auctioned off at another auction, and the damage to the engine, running gear, and other parts probably remained, but it wasn't listed in the description.

Checking the VIN will protect you from this kind of scam.  Read more here. 

Pros and Cons:

+ lowest cost cars;

+ The largest auto auction in the world;

+ it is possible to buy a car without bidding ("Buy It Now");

- only online bidding;

- Sometimes they put up for sale cars that have only had cosmetic repairs, hiding more serious damage. 

IAAI (Insurance Auto Auctions) Auction

This company has been selling cars since 1982.

Companies send vehicles to Insurance Auto Auctions (IAA) in cases such as:

  • found after being stolen;
  • leased vehicles;
  • turned in for exchange for newer models;
  • damaged after natural disasters, vandalism.
  • Repairs in America are not profitable. 

The technical team at the auction brings it into marketable condition, partially repairing all the faults.  After that, a special certificate is issued for the car, confirming that it is ready to be used on the road.

A great advantage of this auction is the website, where a client can easily set the parameters you want and find a suitable car. In addition, you can immediately determine whether the car is running. 

The site has a handy filter where you can specify many nuances, which simplifies the search: 

  • vehicle, what is available;
  • body type (pickup, sedan, SUV, etc.)
  • car brand;
  • collectible, racing, classic cars;
  • manufacturing country;
  • year of manufacture;
  • with or without a triggered airbag;
  • and more.

The lot description always states if the car is running, if it has ignition difficulties, if it starts on its own or with a jumper, and if the keys are included.

How does bidding take place on the IAAI?

Bidding is done live and through the website on a daily basis. Once a vehicle has been won at auction, it is submitted to the seller for approval, who has the right to accept or refuse the sale. Cars, boats, and farm equipment are sold at Insurance Auto Auctions. In addition, the auction has up to 150 outlets around the world.

Pros and Cons:

+ most autos are in good condition;

+ timer that shows when you can put a bid on the lot;

+ the site has the ability to select cars that haven't been put up for sale;

+ You can haggle with the seller if the lot has an "I buy fast" sign on it. This car hasn't been put up for general bidding. 

+ Only insurance companies will put the car up for sale;

- You will need to take the time to register. Many sections are only available to registered users. 


MANHEIM is a large auction network that has been in existence for more than 60 years. During that time, the company has earned itself a good reputation and credibility. It has sites in almost every major city in the United States. Only licensed car dealers can purchase cars at MANHEIM. 

Restricted access increases the chances of buying top quality cars, plus there are cars with no mileage. 

All cars are rated on a five-star scale. The rating is given after a technical inspection, which is done by the company's staff. If the car doesn't match the photo, the buyer has the right to make a return.

Nuances of the Auction

You have the opportunity to take part in the auction remotely - via the Internet, and come in person. 

Friday is the hottest day for Manheim - the most sales occur on that day. But on Thursday you can buy the most expensive and luxurious cars. 

There is an opportunity to take out an installment plan or a loan. But if the winner doesn't pay for the lot, he is permanently excluded from the list of participants in the auction.

Redemption takes place in the following sequence:

  • the buyer specifies the budget, country-manufacturer, make, year of the car and other technical parameters;
  • finds the desired vehicle;
  • Learns about the date of the auction, and takes part in it;

If you use the services of TRT International, they will help you find the desired car, check its history, buy it back for a good price, deliver it, execute all the important documents and clear customs. This will simplify the process of acquiring a car. 

Pros and Cons:

+ mostly undamaged cars are sold;

+ moderate auction fees for their services: from $900 to $1,500;

- Often the listed price of the car is not exact, but the average. This misleads many people;

- Prices for lots are slightly higher than at other auctions.

IMPACT Auction

IMPACT is a Canadian auction of all types of vehicles: cars, trucks, SUVs, motorcycles, boats. Only Canadian representatives may participate in the auction. All prices are displayed in Canadian dollars.

Quality Vehicles

Impact Auto Auctions продает автомобили с большим пробегом, поврежденные или те, у которых истек срок годности, но состояние авто, в большинстве случаев, остается хорошим. Это объясняется качественным топливом и хорошими дорогами. К тому же, аукцион сам тщательно следит за состоянием автомобилей и их отбором.

The website has a short description for each lot:

  • the mileage of the vehicle;
  • Documents that are attached;
  • a list of damages;
  • auction date; 
  • lot item number.

Pros and Cons:

+ opportunity to buy rare cars;

+ you do not run the risk of buying a "dummy", that is, a car with only cosmetic repairs;

+ high quality of assembling;

- cash on delivery at a rate of 15% of the total cost;

How can TRT International assist you?

Selecting cars at American auctions requires experience, and some of them only allow dealers.

Our managers are always ready to help you with your car purchases. We have 6 warehouses across the United States with our own equipment and 24 hour security.

We work without intermediaries. TRT International specialists will assist you from selection to customs clearance.

You can rely on our experience and we will help you with the purchase, we will organize delivery of cars from the US auction to your country, and we will solve all the problems with documents and customs clearance. 

Leave an application on our site or write to us in social networks. TRT International team will help you to choose the best variant of the car according to your requirements, and we will also make a calculation and consult you on all issues. 

Request a quote today on our website: www.usatrt.com

Email our sales team: [email protected]

Or call our sales team: +1 (973) 344-7100

Nov 22nd 2021

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