(Ed. This article for people coming down to Pacific Auto Auctions main site on Oahu)
The savvy dealer’s agent comes to the auction prepared to efficiently select and evaluate the cars he’s interested in, and to determine competitive bid amounts that still afford him the necessary margin of profit.
The first thing to bring is a bid sheet, which are emailed to every dealer before each auction. Print this out and bring it with you. Also, bring a pen. The auction tries to keep bid sheets and pens on hand, but supplies of both are frequently meager.
Bring sunscreen lotion. Consider also bringing a hat and a long sleeved shirt. It is easy to lose track of how much time you’ve spent in the sun when you’re busy, and our tropical sun, though lovely, will mercilessly scorch anyone who comes unprepared.
Almost all cars on the auction lot have batteries that are dead or entirely absent, so bring a jump box (also known as a booster pack) to jump start them. Sure, the auction keeps a couple on hand, but they are often hard to find, occasionally missing, frequently broken, usually out of juice, and always profoundly filthy.
Another important tool to bring is a Scantool or Code Reader. These devices interface with a vehicle’s ECU/PCM (computer) and tell you what, if any, DTCs (diagnostic trouble codes) have been set. Checking these DTCs can help you determine if the MIL (check engine light) is on because of something minor, like a missing gas cap, or something far more dire, such as a faulty computer.
A very effective tool for one to bring to the auction is a laptop computer. Alternatively, an undignified person could bring a tablet computer, and a paragon of pathos could, in fact, bring just a smartphone at which he will strain, scratch, and stab with his fumbling finger. A computer will allow its user to perform several helpful activities, such as checking car values on a site such as KBB, checking vehicle service history via a service such as Carfax, ensuring registration status through the DMV, and looking up the aforementioned DTCs. And, not least, a computer can be used to take advantage of the myriad services provided by the auction website, such as bidding, signing for title receipt, and determining invoice amounts.
Finally, make sure to use the restroom before heading out for the auction. Traffic can make the drive a long one, and the auction’s crapper is gross.