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How to Buy Cars at Auction in Ohio

Updated: Nov 7, 2023

Anyone Can Save with Ohio Auto Auctions

How to buy cars at auction for anyone

Most people talk about auto auctions, and all the money they can save by skipping the dealer, However, most are too intimidated to initiate the process and end up missing out by taking the path of least resistance. the truth is that auto auctions are not complicated, and one could easily find and buy a car at auction in Ohio.


How to Buy a Vehicle at Auction

Buying a car at auction has several advantages, including lower prices, a wide selection of vehicles, a transparent buying process, access to unique cars, and a quick and efficient process. However, buyers should also be aware of potential downsides, such as the need to thoroughly research the vehicle and attend pre-auction inspections to avoid overpaying, as well as additional fees and costs associated with the auction. Overall, buying a car at auction can be a good option for those who are willing to do their research and have a clear understanding of the potential risks and benefits.

In most cases, the purchaser must pay in cash or with a credit card on the day of the auction, depending on the terms and conditions of the sale. It is important to research availability before attending an auction since cars come and go quickly, usually depending on the current market value. Prepare by gathering as much information about the vehicle model and mileage before making a bid. Bring your driver’s license for identification purposes and obtain evidence of title from the seller after payment has been made. Finally, secure liability insurance prior to driving off with your newly purchased auction car from Ohio.

It is important to note the rules and regulations vary by the auction house, so make sure you read the fine print before committing to anything. Researching thoroughly will also help you make informed decisions about the cars being offered. Be sure to inspect potential vehicles closely before bidding and make educated choices about what is for sale. This way you can get the car of your dreams at a fraction of its normal cost.

Due to the delivery or pick-up process, it is still best to buy locally. However, if you are looking to buy a car at auction in Ohio you may have several options. Most any auction houses, even public ones, offer online auctions using webcams and chatrooms. Easily bid on multiple sites or lanes from home and arrange for a vehicle pick-up. If you find a deal big enough it may be worth driving out of town!

In order to bid on clean-titled cars in Ohio you will have to first obtain proper licensure or work through an established broker.

Do You Need a Dealer's License to Buy Cars at Auction in Ohio?

Consumers in Ohio have the option of purchasing salvage-titled items on their own; however, obtaining a clean title vehicle requires working with an established broker.

Auto Auction License Types and Their Requirements

Both dealers and consumers can buy cars at auctions, but there are some differences in terms of access and procedures. Major auctions are typically limited to licensed dealers, while consumers have other options for public access, such as online auctions like eBay Motors. Auctions offer tremendous savings compared to the retail prices at car lots.

Ohio offers different types of licenses for auto auctions, depending on the nature of your business and the vehicles you plan to sell.

Wholesale Motor Vehicle Auction Dealer License: This license is required if you plan to sell vehicles exclusively to licensed dealers. To qualify for this license, you must have a permanent business location, provide proof of financial responsibility, and undergo a criminal background check. Additionally, you will need to submit an application, pay the required fees, and provide all necessary supporting documentation.

Motor Vehicle Auction Dealer License: If you plan to sell vehicles to both licensed dealers and the general public, you will need a Motor Vehicle Auction Dealer License. The requirements for this license are similar to the wholesale license, with the addition of providing a surety bond and proof of liability insurance. This license allows you to conduct auctions that are open to the public, expanding your potential customer base.

Salvage Motor Vehicle Auction Dealer License: This license is specific to businesses that specialize in selling salvage vehicles. In addition to meeting the requirements for a wholesale or motor vehicle auction dealer license, you will need to provide proof of experience in handling salvage vehicles and demonstrate compliance with specific safety standards. This license allows you to operate in the salvage vehicle market, offering a unique opportunity for buyers and sellers looking for damaged vehicles.

Requirements for Auto Auction License in Ohio

Documents and Fees Required for Obtaining an Auto Auction License in Ohio

When applying for an auto auction license in Ohio, you will need to provide various documents and pay the necessary fees. The specific requirements may vary depending on the license type you are pursuing. Here are some common documents and fees you should be prepared for:

  1. Proof of Financial Responsibility: This can be in the form of a surety bond, a certificate of deposit, or an insurance policy. The amount of coverage required will depend on the license type and the number of vehicles your business plans to handle.

  2. Criminal Background Check Results: You and any other individuals listed on the application will need to undergo a criminal background check. This ensures that the individuals involved in the auto auction business have no disqualifying convictions.

  3. Proof of Liability Insurance: If you are applying for a motor vehicle auction dealer license, you will need to provide proof of liability insurance coverage. This protects your business and customers in the event of any accidents or damages that may occur during auctions.

  4. Application Fee: The application fee varies depending on the license type. Wholesale motor vehicle auction dealer licenses have a fee of $200, motor vehicle auction dealer licenses have a fee of $350, and salvage motor vehicle auction dealer licenses have a fee of $500. These fees are subject to change, so make sure to check the current fee schedule before submitting your application.

  5. Additional Supporting Documentation: Depending on the license type, you may need to provide additional documents such as proof of experience in handling salvage vehicles, proof of compliance with safety standards, and any other documents specified by the BMV.

Online Auctions

eBay Motors stands out as one of the most popular choices. As an online platform, eBay Motors offers an extensive selection of vehicles for both dealers and consumers. One of the advantages of eBay Motors is its established methods of online payment, including the option to use an escrow service for added security.

In addition to eBay Motors, there are other online platforms that provide access to auto auctions. Copart, Auto Auction Mall, Dashub, ADESA,, SmartBid,, and Christie are some examples of platforms similar to eBay Motors. These platforms offer a wide range of vehicles, allowing consumers to browse and bid on cars from the comfort of their own homes.

While major auctions are typically limited to licensed dealers, these online platforms provide opportunities for consumers to participate in auctions and purchase vehicles. It's important to note that dealer-only auctions often offer savings compared to retail prices. However, some dealers may offer a "Broker" service, where they purchase auction vehicles on behalf of consumers. This allows consumers to take advantage of the benefits of auctions without the licensing requirements.

Ohio Online Auto Auctions

Online Auto Auctions in Ohio

When it comes to online auto auctions in Ohio, several platforms stand out for their reputation, reliability, and user-friendly interfaces. Let's take a closer look at some of the most popular online auto auction platforms in Ohio.

Ohio Auto Auctions - Ohio Auto Auctions is a trusted platform that connects buyers and sellers from all over the state. With a wide range of vehicles available, this platform caters to buyers with different budgets and preferences. The user-friendly interface makes it easy for buyers to browse, bid, and win their desired vehicles.

Gov-Auctions - Gov-Auctions specializes in government-seized and surplus vehicles. This platform offers a unique opportunity for buyers to purchase vehicles at significantly discounted prices. From police cruisers to government fleet vehicles, Gov-Auctions provides a diverse inventory of vehicles for buyers to choose from.

Insurance Auto Auctions - Insurance Auto Auctions is a comprehensive platform that specializes in vehicles with insurance claims. This platform is ideal for buyers looking for salvage vehicles or those interested in purchasing parts for repairs and restoration projects. Insurance Auto Auctions provides detailed information on each vehicle's condition, allowing buyers to make informed decisions.

These are just a few examples of the online auto auction platforms available in Ohio. It's important to research and explore different platforms to find the one that best suits your needs and preferences

Find Ohio Public Auto Auctions

Cheap Cars in Ohio - Wholesale Auto Auction

Auto auctions in Ohio are plentiful and easy to find, as they are located all around The Buckeye State. Most major cities have well-known and respected auction grounds that offer vehicles at competitive prices. Whether you prefer to bid in person or online, the process of finding a car deal is straightforward and convenient. There are several online resources available helping find those discounts in the auto industry, most notably CarsOnTheWeb which gives access to live local auctions and even national ones with a few clicks of the mouse. Private lots are also often willing to work with customers in Ohio looking for severe vehicle markdowns; if you know where to look, you can get a great deal on your next set of wheels.

Public Auto Auctions Near Akron

2471 Ley Dr, Akron, OH 44319 (330) 773-8245

Online auction available

700 Elm Ridge Ave, Canal Fulton, OH 44614

Public Auto Auctions Near Columbus

Online auctions available->

1680 Williams Road, Columbus, Ohio 43207 (614) 497-1590

Columbus Fair Auto Auction 4700 Groveport Rd, Columbus, OH 43207 (614) 497-2000

Public Auto Auctions Near Cleveland

Online Auctions Available 286 E Twinsburg Rd building 1, Northfield, OH 44067

Online Auctions Available->

34417 Royalton Rd Bldg 1, Columbia Station, OH 44028

Public Auto Auctions Near Cincinnati

120 City Centre Dr, Cincinnati, OH 45216

Hamilton County Ohio Auction 138 E Court St, Cincinnati, OH 45202

Public Auto Auctions Near Dayton

7545 N Dixie Dr, Dayton, OH 45414 (937) 454-2292

4691 Springboro Pike Moraine, Ohio 45439 (937) 296-5371

Public Auto Auctions Near Toledo

9797 Fremont Pike, Perrysburg, OH 43551 (419) 872-0872


Tips for Buying Cars at Auction

  • Research: Before the auction, research the cars that will be available and their estimated values. Look for any potential issues or repairs that may be needed.

  • Set a budget: Determine how much you are willing to spend on a car and stick to it. Keep in mind that auction prices can fluctuate rapidly, so it's important to have a clear idea of your budget before bidding.

  • Inspect the cars: Inspect the cars in person before the auction if possible. Look for any signs of wear and tear, rust, or other damage. Make sure to check the car's VIN number and title, and ask for the vehicle's service records if possible

  • Get the feel of the auction: Attend a few auctions as a spectator before bidding, to get a sense of how the auction works and what to expect.

  • Don't get caught up in the bidding: Keep your emotions in check and don't get caught up in the excitement of the auction. Stick to your budget and only bid on cars that meet your criteria and are within your budget.

  • Be prepared to pay cash or have financing in place. Most auctions require a deposit and full payment on the same day

  • Be aware of the auction's terms and conditions, and the fees associated with buying a car at auction.

  • Understand the condition of the car, some cars are sold as is and some have warranties.

By following these tips, you will be better prepared to buy a car at auction and find a great deal on a quality vehicle.


Bidding on cars at auction in Ohio can be an exciting and cost-effective way to find your next vehicle. Through auctions, you gain access to a vast inventory of wholesale, used, and repairable cars, trucks, and SUVs. However, it's crucial to approach the auction process with caution and due diligence. Before bidding, thoroughly inspect the vehicle, checking for any issues such as paint condition, engine health, leaks, or noises. Asking questions and setting a bidding limit are important steps to ensure a successful purchase. Remember, payment is typically due on the same day, and the auction company will handle the title transfer and charge a dealer admin fee. With proper preparation and understanding of the auction process, you can secure a great deal and drive away with your dream car.


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