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How Auto Salvage Auctions Sell Junk Cars

A quick article on the auctions that sell many wrecked vehicles

By Ben Silver - June 24, 2015

One of the first questions people ask me about the automotive recycling business is usually something about where we find wrecked vehicles in Denver.  Most folks don’t realize that Colorado is home to multiple auto salvage auctions where businesses like ours can acquire vehicles.  Most states have at least one or two salvage auctions where insurance companies can sell their wrecked, salvage, and junk vehicles.
From Insurance Companies to the Auction House
After a major accident occurs, Insurance companies will often acquire auto salvage from their policyholders.  These insurance companies will usually have a contract with a specific auto salvage auction in Denver.  Most of the junk vehicles for sale from around Colorado end up in Denver. At times, there will be wrecked cars and trucks brought into Denver or Colorado from surrounding states (We’re not sure if this is because the Denver market will pay more for this auto salvage? Maybe it’s because the auto salvage yards in Denver will pay more?) We haven’t figured out exactly why, but we’re still sure to see vehicles titled in other states at our auctions on a regular basis.  Anyway, the insurance company will tow all the wrecked vehicles and auto salvage they acquire into the auction. 
Analysis, Reporting, and Information
At this point, the vehicle is analyzed and a report on the wrecked car is built by the auction.  The report will be a full assessment along with images, VIN information, major and minor defects, etc.  The more comprehensive the report is on the junk car, the better the salvage yards can assess the value of the wrecked vehicle.  It is vital to know which used auto parts will be useable and which parts were damaged in the accident.  Now that the salvage vehicles have been accurately analyzed and used parts information is available, the wrecked vehicles are posted with there “Lot #” on the auctions website. 
Time for Some Action
Now the bidding begins.  Some salvage yards in Denver will determine there bid amount and enter it as a “proxy bid”.  A “proxy bid” allows you to enter your bid and not participate in the live salvage auction.  If your “proxy bid” is the highest after the live auction is complete, then you’ll win the wrecked car or truck.  One of Colorado’s auto salvage auctions still has an individual verbally call the auction, which is kind of cool.  The other two auto salvage auctions in Colorado have computer operated auction calls.  Once you win the junk vehicle, you can opt to either have the auction house tow it to your salvage yard or you can hire a tow company to retrieve the salvage vehicle for you.  This is of course if you can’t pickup the auto salvage yourself in a company tow truck.
This is the true story of how auto salvage yards in Denver keep the wrecked vehicles coming.  It’s important for us to have good avenues for acquiring a range of wrecked cars and trucks, and the auctions in Colorado have been providing that for many years. I hope that this blog was informative and answers any questions about how salvage yards get so many wrecked vehicles.