Tips from professionals

It’s no secret that buying a car at an auction in the US and then repairing it is more cost-effective than purchasing a car without any visible problems. This is why trading platforms like Copart or IAA, which offer cars with various types of damage, are so popular in America. Choosing the most promising car among these options is almost an art. Tips from InterCargo specialists will help you make the right decision.

Just the Copart auto auction alone puts up for sale several thousand cars with minimal damage every week. You can find these cars on the company’s website by selecting “Low Damage” in the search bar for the Type of Damage, and then selecting the subcategory “Minor Dents/Scratches.”

Participating in auctions on IAA requires attention: search filters allow you to find cars based on their primary damage. For example, damage caused by collisions. The range of options within this parameter is wide, down to small details.

What types of damage or other issues cause cars to be significantly cheaper at auctions, but can be easily fixed in our workshops and promise profitable resale? Let’s create a small top list.

1. Damage to body components.

Cars that have suffered minor accidents (or careless driving) usually have minor damage. Typically, they do not affect the structural components of the body, such as pillars, chassis rails, crossmembers, roof, side sills, spare tire well, etc., and do not affect the car’s geometry.

Ideally, the impact should be on the body components (bumpers, fenders, doors, hood, trunk lid, or door), especially at a tangent. These parts can be easily replaced or, even cheaper, repaired.

The cost of restoring a car will depend on where you perform the repairs. Of course, it cannot be considered purely cosmetic, but it will not be ruinous either.

It is important to correctly assess the damage to the car. It is better if a qualified specialist does this. For example, InterCargo offers an inexpensive service for inspecting cars directly on the trading floor in America, with additional photo documentation. Professional inspection guarantees almost 100% confidence in purchasing a promising car.

2. Accidents involving animals

Animals in America reproduce at an alarming rate, and therefore, they often end up under cars’ wheels. The extent of car damage directly depends on the size of the animal and the speed of the collision. Hitting a suddenly emerging deer or moose on the highway is one thing, and grazing a raccoon on a country road is another.

As a rule, in all such incidents, the front end of the car suffers damage: bumper, fenders, and sometimes the windshield. It may also affect the cooling system (e.g., radiator).

The consequences of accidents involving our smaller brethren can sometimes look frightening but often do not result in expensive repairs.

3. Cars Found After Theft

Cars in the USA, like everywhere else in the world, are insured against theft. Compensation for damages, in the event of a corresponding insurance claim, is processed promptly.

However, if a stolen car is found after the theft, it is not returned to the original owner. The vehicle becomes the property of the insurance company, which immediately puts it up for auction to recover its losses.

Stolen cars are marked with special labels – Theft, Unrecovered Theft, or Recovered Thefts.

Buying such cars is advantageous for two reasons. Firstly, car theft in the USA rarely involves damage to the vehicle – it wasn’t stolen to be wrecked. Secondly, the sellers are reliable insurance companies. Therefore, there should be no issues with paperwork or exporting the goods from America.

There is one caveat: the ignition keys for the car may be missing. However, this is a solvable problem – both in the USA and in our country, even when dealing with chipped keys.

4. Cars Seized from Debtors

Auctions often sell cars confiscated by banks from their owners due to their outstanding loans or other payments. These vehicles are labeled Repossessed and come with all the necessary documents and are in good working condition. Among them, you can find almost new cars with low mileage since used cars on credit are not taken very often.

Seized cars are a profitable option for purchase. However, there are nuances here as well. Such a car may have hidden defects due to the actions of the former owner. A special type of confiscated car, often found at auctions, is marked as Abandonment Paperwork. These are cars seized by US government agencies in public places or on private property – usually because they were left there for a long time. It’s an interesting option for purchase, but a preliminary inspection of the car on-site is not just advisable but necessary.