December 17, 2017

How Public Vehicle Auctions Work

Same prices as cheap car auctions, but with high quality vehicles

Public vehicle auctions are a great place to buy a used car. Here’s what to expect at local car auctions and how to prepare in order to have a great experience. Auctions here at Alameda County Auction, begin promptly at 9am on the first Saturday of every month. You can preview cars with a cheap car auctions catalog on the Thursday before the sale. This will give you an idea of the cars available. On Friday, you can see the cars on the lot at the auction site between 10 am and 4 pm.


We usually sell up to 300 cars during our local car auctions. Each car typically sells within  45 seconds to one minute from the time its number is called. Just because we move quickly doesn’t mean you have to miss out. Our public car auctions catalog lists the order in which cars are presented at auction. Most times, several people are interested in the same car. The auctioneer will start the bidding by taking requests from the audience. The bidding will continue until the auctioneer declares the vehicle “SOLD”.

TIP: An “A” on the windshield stands for Automatic Transmission. An “S” on the windshield means Standard Transmission (Stick Shift).

Do your homework before attending local car auctions.

Know the car you want and the amount you want to pay. To get an idea of how much people pay at car auctions, go to our winning bids page. The final sale price includes the following items: the amount bid, 12% buyers premium, $80 documentation fee, and $50 smog fee. These items are subject to sales tax. The sales tax rate is based on the city/county where the vehicle will be registered. DMV fees are also added and are posted for each vehicle in the Auction catalog. DMV fees are estimated.

Prior to auction, be sure to talk to us about possible financing arrangements and down payments. You can call our credit hotline at 925-829-2421 or go to the finance page of this web site for more details. They will tell you what paperwork to bring and how the process works. Know the value of the car you are bidding on. We have Blue Books for sale at the auction site. Remember, banks and financiers will only cover loans for the value of the car.

Some cars are still under factory warranty. For the rest, we try to do our best to assure a high level of customer satisfaction. Let us know what you think of the car you purchased during our auction.

Customer service is very important to us. Please feel free to email us with more specific questions at We will respond within 24 hours.

Going once… Going twice… Gone!