If you want to live or work in Los Angeles, it is essential that you have a car. Sure, there is public transportation, but unless you are going around downtown, it is just too slow and inconvenient for getting about the huge metropolis. Pretty much everybody in LA owns a car. That makes Los Angeles a great place to find public car auctions.
There are numerous public car auctions in Los Angeles, and it is fairly easy to find out about them. One of the best places to start is with the official police garages or OPGs. These are city garages that have official responsibility over the towing and holding of impounded cars in LA. Several hundred thousand vehicles are impounded by the LAPD every year. Of these, around two-thirds are redeemed by the owners, but the rest of the cars become city property and are divested through public car auctions. The OPGs hold these auctions, known officially as lien sale vehicle auctions, once a week. You may contact your nearest OPG to find out when the public auctions take place. The auctions help the city of Los Angeles to recoup unpaid fees while offering an opportunity to the public to bid on and purchase cars at low prices.
There are also a number of firms in Los Angeles and its outlying areas that hold public car auctions. A search for “auto auctions” on an online search engine turned up 26 firms around LA that hold regular auctions. A few of these firms specialize in certain types of vehicles. For example, Spectrum Auction Co. in North Hollywood and Palm Springs Exotic Car Auctions specialize in auctions of classic and luxury vehicles. Other firms hold auctions specifically for towed or repossessed cars.
Public car auctions are open to everyone, but it is important that you register beforehand. To register for a public auction, you need to provide proper personal identification. You may also need to pay some nominal registration fee. When you have registered, you will be assigned a bidding number, which must be presented to the auctioneer when you make a bid. Only people with bidding numbers are allowed to participate in the auction.
The cars at public auctions are sold “as is” and therefore a potential bidder must possess a “let the buyer beware” mindset. However, there is usually an inspection period prior to the auction, that make take place a day or two or even a few hours beforehand. You should take advantage of the inspection period to see what is being offered and get an idea of the vehicle’s quality.