The Most Common Types of Cars You’ll Find at Car Auctions

Car at auction

Whether attending one in person or visiting one online, car auctions are an excellent way to shop around and get a great deal on a used vehicle. These car auctions present a unique opportunity to get a great deal on an automobile that you may not otherwise be able to get at a traditional dealer or even a private seller.

The extensive inventories showcased at auto auctions USA come from various sources. Some of the most common places auction houses get their vehicles are private sellers, rental car companies, insurance companies, banks, and salvage yards. These sellers provide a broad variety of vehicles, all fitting a specific role or catering to a particular demographic.

Common Types of Cars at Car Auctions

Trying to buy a vehicle at an auto auction instead of a dealer or private seller gives you greater access to a broader selection to shop from. 

So whether you’re looking for the classic car you’ve always dreamt about or want to save a bunch of money by trying to rebuild a salvage title automobile, there’s something available for you at auto auctions. Some of the more common types of cars you can expect to find the following:

Classic Cars

Classic car auctions are one of the critical cornerstones of the auto auction industry. They act as a living showcase of automotive history, where some of the most excellent vehicles are sold to collectors who will keep them in great shape for generations to come. However, while you can expect to see some fantastic vehicles at a classic car auction, remember that their rarity often comes with hefty prices to match.


Starting in the mid-1980s, the modern version of what are known as Sport Utility Vehicles began to enter the automotive marketplace and would start to appear at car auctions. Throughout the 1990s, they exploded in popularity thanks to their spacious designs and the extensive utility they provided families. Today, their popularity has waned because of crossovers that offer increased fuel efficiency while still managing to fill many of the same roles.


Emerging in the mid-2000s as a way to merge the compact nature of cars with the enhanced utility provided by SUVs, the crossover has exploded in popularity to become the highest-selling type of car sold at both dealers and auto auctions. They’re ultimately more spacious than most cars and are significantly more fuel efficient than SUVs, giving drivers the best of both worlds.


Trucks offer consumers the most significant utility, along with the largest cargo and towing capacities out of any other vehicle on the road today. As a result, they tend to be a common sight at car auctions, whether they are sold by private sellers or were once a part of a fleet. Trucks are an excellent option if you’re looking to haul cargo, but their immense power tends to come with a hit to fuel efficiency. 


Like trucks, vans give drivers extra space that’s not often available in more conventional car options. These vehicles come in many forms, with consumer-focused models like minivans that offer additional seating capacity and business-focused options like sprinter vans that provide extra storage capacity for hauling and other applications. 

Commercial Vehicles

Commercial vehicles make up the backbone of the automotive industry. While less practical for the average driver, these vehicles are designed to fill specific roles and perform certain tasks. These can range from modifications to stock vehicles, like taxi cabs or delivery vans, to highly specialized purpose-built vehicles, like ambulances and food trucks.

The Top Car Auctions

No matter what kind of car you’re looking for, you need to find the right car auction to buy it from. To help simplify your search, we’ve compiled a short list of some of the best auto auctions available for you to source your new vehicle from.

SCA Auto Auction

SCA is one of the leading insurance auto auctions in the United States today, boasting over 170 vehicle locations nationwide. They have an extensive inventory of over 300,000 vehicles from various sources that are sold at their 160 different live auctions held each week. On top of this ease of access and massive inventory to shop from, SCA offers some of the best customer service available.

IAAI Auto Auction

IAAI is another leading insurance auto auction, although they cater to more of a global market than focusing on the US. They have 210 facilities spread across the US, UK, and Canada and a customer base spread across 170 countries. Buyers are given access to solid digital bidding and buying channels, allowing them to shop for the exact vehicle they want.

Cars and Bids

Cars and Bids is a relatively new online auto auction platform focusing on rare, classic, and enthusiast cars. They may not have as many economy cars as more traditional car auctions, but you’re bound to find something interesting on the site. So if you’re looking for the car of your dreams, or maybe even something you’ve never considered, Cars and Bids can be a great option to buy from.

Finding The Right Option at a Car Auction

Buying a vehicle from a car auction can be extremely rewarding and beneficial as long as you know what you’re doing and what you’re looking for. So before browsing, map out your specific needs and determine what you will use the vehicle for.

Then when you check out an auto auction, whether live or online, be sure to keep a strict budget in mind, remain calm and avoid getting into emotional bidding wars, and try to have a clear idea of what you’re looking for. That way, you can ensure you’re getting the best possible deal on a vehicle that meets your needs.

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