Car Auctions Open to the Public


Public Car Auctions


Here is Car Auction USA's curated list of car auctions that are open to the public in the United States. Most locations put their inventories online so that you may view the auction cars for sale before you attend the auction.

Find auction dates and get directions to local wholesale used car auctions near you with no membership or registration required. If you do not see an auction vehicle you are interested in, we suggest checking back in another week or two for updated inventories.


Auction Cars for Sale in Public Car Auctions


We are often asked by customers, "Where do the vehicles for sale at public auto auctions come from?". The answer is that they come from a variety of sources, but here are the most common ones in our experience:


  • Bank Repossessions: Many vehicles at public car auctions, including those online, are bank repossessions. Financial institutions often reclaim cars from borrowers who default on their loans and then sell them at auctions to recover some of their losses. These can be risky so we urge public bidders to exercise caution.

  • Government Surplus: Public car auctions, both online and live in-person, feature fleet vehicles used by government agencies. When these agencies update their fleets or have surplus vehicles, they are often sold to the public through auctions. We like this category of auction cars because they are often well-maintained with records.

  • Seized Vehicles: Law enforcement agencies sometimes seize vehicles involved in illegal activities. These confiscated cars are then made available to the public through car auctions. We suggest paying close attention to the details announced by the auction on these.

  • Dealership Overstock: Some cars at public car auctions, including online ones, come from dealerships looking to clear out overstock or older inventory. These vehicles are often in good condition and can be a great find for potential buyers. We find car dealer overstock a good way for public auction bidders to get a late model vehicle at a decent price.

  • Private Sellers: Occasionally, private sellers choose to sell their vehicles at public car auctions instead of through traditional sales methods. With the rise of online platforms, this can be a quick way to sell a car, especially if it's a unique or in-demand model, reaching a wider audience. From what we often see, these can range greatly in quality and price.


Buy low priced preowned vehicles where the dealers buy and save money. Not just cars, pickup trucks, work trucks, utility vans, and SUVs, but many auto auctions also feature boats, RVs, trailers, ATVs, motorcycles, surplus city and county vehicles, and even school buses.


These are cars that run and drive -- these are not salvage or wrecked car auctions.  Although some locations will occasionally offer them, but you will know beforehand since it will be announced by the auctioneer or ring men.



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Public Car Auctions

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