By: Gov Auctions | 6 March 2017
Vehicles with Stop-Start Systems Are Now Being Sold at Car Auctions
How much do you pay for gas? It varies among states. Currently, the national average is $2.26, which is higher than what it was a year ago at $2.005. Premium gasoline costs around $2.75 while diesel is about $2.45.
While the numbers appear low, it won’t be once you keep in mind how much fuel you need to run your vehicle. It’s not impossible for someone to spend hundreds of dollars a month for gasoline only.
Today you now have the option to buy a hybrid (which runs partly in gas and partly in battery) or an electric car, but these choices still remain limited and challenging to use. For example, electric cars have to be charged for hours, and stations are still few.
Thus, most Americans are using conventional vehicles, or those that run on gas, premium, and diesel, which means they continue to spend more money on fuel. The question is: is there an end for this?
It may take a while before the best solution becomes available, but for now, you can implement some of the practical steps to improve the fuel efficiency of your vehicle including buying one with a stop-start system.
How Engines Work
To understand the importance of the stop-start system, it’s essential you know how car engines work. The “life blood,” so to speak, of any car or truck is its engine. This massive component, which occupies the hood, is the reason why your car runs. In it, a process known as internal combustion occurs.
In science, we are taught that energy is neither created nor destroyed; it only transforms from one form to another. In order for the engine to work, it needs fuel, but to combust, it requires another component, which is air.
Both fuel and air produce internal combustion, which happens inside a small amount of space. This is necessary to allow the engine to generate as much power as it can from its fuel. The engine is also made up of different parts like pistons, crankshaft, and valves, all working together to produce a cycle that creates the combustion. The more cycles created in a short amount of time, the more combustion happens, and the more the engine becomes powerful.
What’s the Significance of the Stop-Start System?
Contrary to what you may think, not all of the fuel (whether it’s gas or diesel) in the vehicle is converted into energy. A percentage of it is lost, which is basically saying you’re kind of wasting money already. But that’s not the only issue here. Certain actions you make with your car may lead to a huge consumption of fuel.
For many years, consumers and car experts have been debating about which between idling and starting causes loss of fuel. The answer is both, but most believe idling wastes it more than starting. It’s unclear by how much. The bottom line is, when you’re confused whether to start or to sit idle, the former is a much better idea.
Since not everyone tends to do or remember that, car manufacturers over the last few years have decided to introduce a new technology in their models called the stop-start system.
As its name suggests, the stop-start system works by automatically shutting off your engine when you’re idle. It is equipped with sensors that can monitor your car’s and your foot’s movement (such as when you step on the brake or accelerator) to know whether it’s time to shut off the engine or not. In the process, you reduce your fuel consumption when idle and take advantage of a better fuel economy.
But that’s not the only benefit of the system. For one, it’s considered to be environment friendly. To be clear, gas and diesel are not entirely nice to the environment since they can increase carbon emission, which is one of the leading causes of global warming. This also explains why countries such as the United States have set a limit on and have committed to reducing carbon emissions.
However, since the system literally cuts the use of fuel, you are somehow reducing the amount of carbon that goes into the atmosphere.
Some critics say that stop-start systems can hurt the lifespan of the engine, shortening its life. Others defend it by saying changing the parts sounds cheaper than the price of fuel loss.
Buying a Car with a Stop-Start System at Auctions
Although the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) has yet to provide estimates on how much fuel you save when you use a car with this system, the fact it does save you money and fuel is enough to convince you to get one. But which vehicle should you buy, and how do you get it cheap?
Some of the biggest auto manufacturers have already included stop-start systems in their design, and that’s good news for you. The more choices you have, the better the competition. The better the competition, the more likely you spend less on the car.
However, if you truly want a bargain, you may want to participate in an auto auction.
An auto auction can be likened to a mass sale of vehicles. You enter a huge parking space where you find all sorts of vehicles, from cars to trucks, each with a lot number as its unique identification. These vehicles are then open for bidding, and the person who is willing to pay the highest gets these cars.
The cars available at auto auctions are varied in terms of age, model, design, brand, and condition, to name a few. Since the stop-start system has been around for years, it should not come as a surprise if some of the vehicles with it are sold at auctions.
Two Reasons to Buy at Auctions
Auctions can be difficult and confusing for any beginner, but they are worth it because:
- You are more likely to get a car at a huge discount or bargain. Although this is not an assurance, more often than not, you can bid a car at more than 30 percent its book value. The final price may be significantly lower than the resale price in a traditional market (or when you buy the vehicle from a dealer).
- Many factors can influence this, ranging from the source of the vehicle, to the kind of auction, condition of the car, and competition. Either way, auctions can help you save a lot of money on the vehicle.
- You have a lot of choices. We’ve mentioned choices before, but we ought to explain it more fully here. Car auctions allow you to look at and bid on as many vehicles as you like. Thus, if you don’t get your first choice, there’s always the second, third, etc. Moreover, if you find one car ill-fitting for driving or your need, there are a few more available. You don’t have to schedule several visits to different dealers anymore.
How to Buy at Auctions
- Know which auction to attend. Of course, the first thing you need to do is to find out which auction to go to. In the country, hundreds of auctions happen, many of which you may not be familiar of since they are not advertised regularly. These include government auctions, dealers-only auctions, online auctions, and public auctions.
- For a brief discussion, government auctions are those organized by or on behalf of the government. In here, you’ll find vehicles including surplus military trucks and seized cars. A dealers-only auction is not open to the public and is usually by invitation. It is meant for used car dealers who are licensed to buy many cars and have the financial capacity to do so. Public auctions are those that can be attended by anyone, although a bidder has to be of legal age and financially capable before he can participate completely. An online auction, on the other hand, allows you to bid on vehicles through a website. You may or may not have to complete the entire bidding process online.
- Choose which auction you’d like to join in. In case you don’t have any idea what these auctions are, you can take different steps: search online, ask around, or subscribe to an auction listing.
- Of these three, the last one is the best choice. Although an auction listing website like Gov-auctions.org doesn’t organize these auctions, its database is useful as it tells you the auctions around the country. You can filter the list according to location or car manufacturer, for example.
- Each of the listings can contain important information about the auction such as date and time, location (with an accompanying map), website, cars that are available for auctions, fees, contact people, duration of the auction, photos and condition of the vehicle, and minimal bid price.
- Decide on the cars you wish to buy. Not all cars, including new ones, are equipped with a stop-start system, although most models already have an equivalent. For example, if you wish to buy a Ford F-150 with the system, you need to get the EcoBoost model. A simple search online and a reading of a car’s specific features will give you the information.
- Nevertheless, stop-start systems are not your only consideration. You also have to think about the car’s use, price point, interiors, and other features. Are the other technologies helpful? How powerful is the engine? Can I afford it? How much will it cost me to insure? These are just some of the questions you have to ask when making your choices.
- In bidding, you can win – or lose. If you want to take home a car after, try having at least 5 cars on your list.
- Inspect the vehicle. Cars sold at auctions are available on an “as is” setup, which means it doesn’t matter whether there are defects. If you bid on it and win it, it’s yours. Some defects are cosmetic or minor they don’t affect your bidding decision, but others can be serious. You have to think about the cost of repair, among others, when bidding.
- In auto auctions, you’re allowed to inspect the vehicles, and this usually happens a few hours to a day before the auction. Don’t be surprised if you’ll find dozens of people crowding the parking space or venue. But don’t rely on other people’s opinions either.
- There are two ways to inspect: do it yourself or bring an auto mechanic. The auction house won’t provide one for you. Unless you’re confident of your knowledge in cars, especially those with stop-start systems, it’s best to get an auto mechanic. The price you pay is cheaper than the potential loss you will suffer by bidding on the wrong car. Besides, this saves you time, which is precious when you’re at an auction.
- What will the auto mechanic check? A lot, especially the condition of the engine. if it’s not working well, you can’t expect to save fuel even if it has a stop-start system. It also inspects for any wear and tear, and tire treads, among others. On the other hand, you can check the mileage, exterior, and the vehicle identification number (VIN). VINs are necessary to determine the car’s history.
- Bid – but bid smart.
- Once you’ve completed the inspection and you’ve found some of the vehicles desirable, wait for the actual auction to begin. The auctioneer will call on the vehicles by their lot number. If it’s the car that you want, make sure you’re ready to make your bid. Be alert as this can happen very fast.
- Sometimes the thrill of bidding gets in the way of rational thinking, but stay focused. One of the things you have to remember is to never go beyond your budget. There are other options and auctions in case you lose, after all.
- Take the car home.
- The process after winning the bid is straightforward: you look for the in charge, pay for the fees and deposit, and promise to pay the balance usually the next day. Once you’ve completed the payment, you can call on a transport company to bring the car to your garage.
A car with a stop-start system isn’t for everyone, but if you think its benefits matter to you, get one – and get it cheap – by joining one of the auctions near you.