T: 925-432-8900

F: 925-432-8932



MON-FRI 10am-5:30pm

SAT-SUN 10am-5pm

Next Auction: March 3, 2018, 10 am

Preview Hours: Friday March 2, 2018, 12-5 pm & Saturday March 3, 2018, 9-10 am

7 Steps to Buying a Vehicle

7 Easy Steps of Purchasing A Vehicle

Auctions are a fun way to BUY and SAVE, but many people aren't quite sure how they work. This guide has been designed to assist you in your vehicle purchase.

There are seven easy steps to buying a quality used vehicle at our Auto Auction. Follow each step and soon you will be driving off in a great car without paying inflated retail prices.

Begin your vehicle purchase process by figuring out exactly how much you want to spend. Keep this budget in mind when you visit with your bank or credit union and when you preview our vehicles. Please remember...we must charge a 10% buyer's premium on each purchase as well as sales tax, DMV, auction prep fee and smog fees. Add those into your arbitrary budget.

Example of Pricing:
A. Winning bid $ 3,500.00
B. 10% Buyer's Premium $ 350.00
C. Smog Fee $ 50.00
D. Smog Certificate $ 8.25
E. DMV Fees* $ 30.00
F. Auction Prep Fee $ 85.00
G. Documentation Fee $ 60.00
H. Tax** (on A, B, C, F, G only) $333.71
Total vehicle price $ 4,417.96

* Based on current registration and transfer. Registration expiring within 90 days of the auction will be collected for next year. Registration calculates to roughly 5% of the vehicle's cost.

** Based on Contra Costa County at 9.25%. Tax is based upon registration address.

Now that you know how much you want to spend, it's time to see how much you actually can spend. Like most of us, you may not have enough cash to pay for a vehicle in full, so call your bank or credit union for financial assistance. Contra Costa County Public Auto Auction is happy to assist you in obtaining Financial Backing. Please call us within one week of the next auction, or click here to print our easy Credit Pre-Approval Form. Once you've been pre-approved it's time to find your perfect car. Financing must be approved prior to auction. You can not bid on a vehicle, then get financed.

Our lot is open to the public for preview on Friday (day prior to auction) from 12:00 PM - 5:00 PM and Auction Saturday from 9:00 AM -10:00 AM. This is your time to locate one or two vehicle options. Look carefully at each vehicle too, as they are sold "as is, where is." You will be able to start the vehicle and try all mechanical options such as air conditioners and power windows. Be sure to thoroughly inspect the vehicles. We want you to know exactly what you are buying. Take this time to ask questions of our friendly staff. They will be pleased to answer any inquiries you may have. Customers may at his or her own expense have a third party inspection of vehicles prior to purchase at their own expense either on or off the dealer premises.

You have the option to register for bidding on Preview Friday or on Saturday morning.before the auction. Registration fee at the auction is only $2.00 to cover our copy cost. You will need to fill out a simple registration card at our registration table. Our staff will then issue you a bidder card with your very own bidder number. Find a seat and relax.

Each car will run by the auction block one at a time. When your vehicle comes through, listen carefully to the auctioneer. He will begin bidding at a random price. Raise your card high in the air when you accept the amount announced. Another interested party or two may follow your bid. Continue to bid on your vehicle until either the bidding has gone beyond your budget or YOU'VE BOUGHT THE CAR!

Once you've purchased a car, an Auction representative will escort you to the cashier's desk where you will be required to put down a 25% non-refundable deposit on your vehicle. You are welcome to pay for the entire balance at that time as well. If you need to leave to visit your bank or if you want to enjoy the remainder of the auction, you can check-out anytime that day before 4:00 PM or on Monday during office hours.

When you are ready to check-out, return to the cashier and pay the remainder of the balance. At that time you will sign DMV forms and a sales contract. While all the paperwork is being handled, our staff will post a temporary registration card in your new vehicle's window. When you are ready to go, simply show your sales receipt to our check-out staff on our lot and the car will be brought around after completion of the auction. There will be no check out of vehicles during the auction. Jump in and you are off in your new car! Wasn't that easy?