About Interstate Auto AuctionAbout Us FAQ'sHow To Buy How To View The Auction OnlineOnline Car Auction Auction Photo And Video ClipsMultimedia Directions To Our FacilityDirections Contacting Interstate Auto AuctionContact Us

Frequently Asked Questions About A Public Car Auction

  • Can I Buy a Car Without Going Through The Auction?
  • Do The Cars Have Clean Titles?
  • Do you Issue Temporary Plates?
  • What is a Reserve Price?
  • What Does No Reserve Mean?
  • How Much Does it Cost to Fix The Cars?
  • What does Passed Mean?
  • What is the 4 color rating system?
  • What is a Live Online Auction?
  • What is a public car auction?
  • Can I sell my car at Auction?
  • How Much do Cars Sell For?
  • And many More

1. What is a Public Car Auction?

A public car auction is where dealers and consumers bid on cars for sale. Since 2002, Interstate Auto Auction has been providing a valuable venue where the public can,  "Buy like the dealers do!"  Interstate Auto Auction has held over 1,000 public car auctions on both online and in person at our convenient location in  Salem, NH  off Interstate 93.  Tens of Thousands of satisfied customers have purchased vehicles here at deep discounted prices, far below retail. Simply put when you buy at Auction you receive a tremendous value.
Avoid paying top dollar on  Retail Vehicles  when you can purchase cars that are ready for you to drive home -  At Wholesale Prices  for as much as 60% less than what you would pay at a Dealership. When we began over 10 years ago we were a tiny 40 car a week Auto Auction.  Since then we have grown into one of the Largest Public Car Auctions in the United States with nearly 300 vehicles being auctioned off every week and an astonishing 60,000+ cars sold all over the World.   You can finally stop paying those high dealership retail prices when you buy directly through our consignment Auction that is open to the Public.

We want all our potential customers to understand we care about you and want you to have a great experience. Part of that involves some information that will be obvious to the majority of you, but still important information before you bid. This is a consignment Auction and we do not release the seller’s information due to privacy policy. As stated on our Homepage cars have reserve prices that are usually between 30-60% off the Kelly Blue Book Retail Price. If you choose to bid online only and not take advantage of coming in person to the Auction and test the cars before the Auction, BUYER BEWARE! This is a Auction not a Dealership with near perfect cars, we do not guarantee or describe our cars to have or not have check engine lights or any other lights on, we do not guarantee cars will pass inspection. It is very possible that check engine lights can be on or come on when driving a car home. OUR AUCTION DOES NOT RESET CHECK ENGINE LIGHTS EVER.We get into great detail of this subject on many pages on our site including this page below in an effort to help those who may try to ignore obvious responsibilities that come with purchasing a used car at an Auction have the opportunity to read this on many pages on our site before bidding.  Auctions are not for all and you need to take this into consideration and understand there are cars that range from poor to great.  Coming in person is a key component to assisting you in knowing the difference from one car to another.  Relying on online pictures and our desperations is not a realistic way to expect a very good car. However, coming in person and testing a car before hand is. We guarantee that the Motor & Transmission is in good working order & will not need to be completely replaced so long as you report it properly within the time to arbitrate a car, no exceptions. We want to be clear and upfront with you and that is why you will find this information on many of our web pages for all to see.

2. Do You Finance?

A third party Company USAlliance offers you the ability to get the best loan you need. Please feel free to try USAlliance out or any other bank of your preference as the Auction does not offer financing at this time.

3. What Hours are You Open?

Office Hours:

Monday 9:00 AM - 5:00 P.M.
Tuesday 9:00 AM - 5:00 P.M.
Wednesday Auction Day! Test Drives Start 9:00 A.M. Live Auction Starts 6:00 P.M. Close at 9:00P.M.
Thursday 9:00 AM - 5:00 P.M.
Friday 9:00 AM - 5:00 P.M.
Saturday 9:00 AM - 2:00 P.M.
Sunday Closed

*Please Note: If you have a vehcile on our property and need to pick it up we are CLOSED on ALL Saturday's for any vehcile pickups/removals of any kind not matter the circumstances. This includes when the Auction office is open on Saturday's we are closed for pickups.* If you are planing to pick up your vehicle please call the office a head of time to avoid any issues other wise you will have to wait until the next business day to pick up/remove a vehcile.

These Holidays are observed according to the United States Calander. Please call ahead with any questions.

New Years Day, Presidents Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Thanksgiving & Christmas.

4. What is the 4 color rating system?

GREEN LIGHT: Means the Motor & Transmission is in good working order & will not need to be completely replaced. All Cars Are Green Light! Other Auctions usually sell cars only AS IS Red Light, but even Auctions who offer a Guarantee give you usually an hour or two to report a motor or transmission complete replacement.  In fact when we first started we had an hour time frame, but now we have added even more time.  This is one of a kind in the Auction industry and is offered to you in an effort to give our customers as much time as possible in an Auction format to take advantage of.  You have 24 hours after purchasse to report any motor or transmission issues. Does not mean a car will not have a check engine light air bag light or any lights on as we do not guarantee this. After all if a simple brake light is out, which is just a bulb replacement for a few dollars, your car would not pass inspection. What we do guarantee is the most important part, that all these cars are running and driving and the Motor & Transmission is in good working order & will not need to be completely replaced.  Full refunds will be issued for valid arbitration claims that are reported within the correct time frame by notifying us via email car auction@comcast.net or fax 603-893-7117.

RED LIGHT: Vehicle is being sold as-is.  No warranty or guarantee on the vehicle.  No refunds will be issued for any defects. We currently do not sell red light cars at our Auction.

BLUE LIGHT: Vehicle Title is not present and will be brought to Auction by the time announced by the auctioneer.

YELLOW LIGHT: Yellow Light indicates that an important announcement regarding the vehicle is being made (ie: if the vehicle has over 200,000 miles, is a 5/6 Speed Manual Shift or special title announcements).

5. Do All Auction Cars Come with Titles?

Yes: All cars come with titles unless noted in the description of the car.

6. Do the Vehicles Have Clean Titles?

Yes: All our cars come with clean titles unless as indicated above a Yellow Light is indicated and an announcement is made so be sure to pay attention during the Auction.

7. Do You Auction Salvaged or Flood Cars?

No: We do not sell Salvage or Flood Cars. When vehicles come in we require a title to be provided and we check over the branding of that title. As a result we do not allow sellers to bring Salvage or Flood titled cars.

8. Do you Issue Temporary Plates? Will I be able to get one at a Facility?

No: We do not issue temp plates. Once you win the car we will give you the keys, title and bill of sale. At that point the car is your to do with as you please. You are responsible to supply your own plates or having it delivered to your home/destination through a transportation/tow company/uhaul/trailer. Please note we have no control over the NH DOT or any other Plate Issue Facilities and you will not be able to obtain a temporary plate from those agencies unless their policy allows you to do so. Please do not expect to be able to obtain a Temporary/Transportation plate as their is no guarantee you will receive one. You will not be able to get a Temp/Transportation plate.

9. Can I sell my car at Auction?

Yes: In order to sell your vehicle at IAA, you will have to deliver it to our location at 20 Hampshire Road in Salem, NH. Along with the vehicle and keys, you'll need to bring us the title and a $200 registration fee. Our office staff will evaluate your vehicle and give you an idea of how much your vehicle typically sells for at our auction. For more information please go here

10. What Does Passed Mean & What is a Reserve Price?

Passed means the sellers Reserve Price was not met. We have had hundreds of different sellers over the years who usually sell cars wholesale between 30%-60% off the Kelly Blue Book price. Please note this is a consignment Auction and unless otherwise noted all sellers who bring cars to the Auction have the right to set a reserve price on any cars that go through our Auction. The reserve price is the price that a seller indicates to the Auctioneer they want to get in order to sell the car. This reserve price is given to the Auctioneer just at the moment the car is under the lights and ready to be bid on by you. At that point the Auctioneer will ask the audience what they want to pay and it is up to the seller to accept a bidders offer or decline. Sellers can also sell cars with No Reserve as well.  Due to Privacy Policy we do not issue sellers personal information. When cars are passed they sometimes are put into the next Auction available to the seller or are taken by the seller back to the dealership or another Auction that is dealer only. In other words it can stay here or it can go somewhere else to be sold.

11. How Much Do The Cars Sell For?

We have sold over 60,000 cars over the years and what we see cars sell for is typically 30% to 60% off the Kelly Blue Book Retail Price. Majority of our cars are around $3,000-$6,000 with a few exceptions depending on what comes in. Of course every week we have cars that can also sell between $1,000 to $2,500 and they are all Green Light! Some weeks we have Highline cars which can be Newer High End Car with Low Miles such as Range Rovers, Bentleys, BMWs or Mercedes to name a few usually sell between $10,000 to $40,000 and can be 15% off to 40% off The Kelly Blue Book Price. Sometimes we have No Reserve cars as well. These cars are marked clearly in your online catalog and we find are usually can sell up to 70% even 80% off the Retail Price!! The good news is that whether a vehicle has a reserve or not you will save thousands off the retail price.

12. How Do You Get The Kelly Blue Book Prices on Your Cars?

When we scan the VIN directly from the Car Kelly Blue Book provides you with the value. When on our web site you will notice under every car a Kelly Blue Book Price. This price is provided directly from Kelly Blue Book and is a computer generated service that Kelly Blue Book Provides you. The Auction does not input any of the values manually as this is a service that Kelly Blue Book Generates automatically and is posted by a Kelly Blue Book Service Company Machine we use to scan the VIN's directly off the cars and onto the website. it's fantastic and really helps you see what a cars potential value can be. On our Website you will see the Kelly Blue Book provides you with the Value of the Car on a Retail Dealership in Excellent Condition for the Price. When you look at this price please understand that you need to fix the cars up to have them worth this value, but they all have this potential and it is wonderful to know just how much they could potentially be worth. Also please understand that sometime Kelly Blue Book Prices can be off and not accurate at times depending on a number of circumstances, such as our zip code, time of the year or recent press and news coming out about a car. So we always recommend doing your own Kelly Blue Book price estimates to be best informed as well as view how much a comparable car is being sold for at other websites, such as Craigslist, Autotrader and Cars.com for example.

13. How Much Does it usually Cost to Fix Cars Purchased?

If this is your first time buying a car at Auction please pause and imagine yourself buying like a Dealer.  The excitement of bidding in the crowd combined with lower prices than anywhere else saving you thousands off the retail price.  Of course after you purchase a vehicle it will be time to fix some items; so it's best to have some money set aside for the fixes.  Yes, it is possible that you could get lucky and win a vehicle at Auction that is near perfect without having to put any money into it except maybe a couple hundred dollars.  We have learned this over the years when returning customers have come back to share their personal experiences with us.  However, it is always best no matter how great a vehicle seems to be that you understand these vehicles usually need fixes that average $300 - $1000 for general sedans (such as like Honda's, Dodge, Ford's, Chevy, Kia, Hyundai, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Subaru, Scion Toyota ect). In addition to this, expect to be double the average of general sedans which is $600 to $2,000 plus when you buy any Truck, Vans, CUV, SUV or high end luxury vehicles (Acura, Audi, BMW, Cadillac, Lexus, Infiniti, Jaguar, Mercedes, Saab, Volkswagen, Volvo ect).  Land Rover is $1,800 - $3,000. This is due mainly to cost of parts and the time of labor.  For example, four new ties on a Honda Civic may only cost $400, but on a Ford F-150 four new tires will be $800.  Another example, is if a check engine light comes on and the vehicle has something common such as a evap code.  If you have a Chevy sedan this should be a simple fix that will only be $50-$100.  However, if you have a Mercedes with the same evap code will be a more intricate fix that is $300-$500.  So it is important to take into consideration what kind of vehicle you are purchasing for fixes before you bid.  Please note that many cars are traded into sellers and when these cars come to our Auction almost all of them have a check engine light on or if it is not on the car needs to be driven 50-100 miles and if the light has been reset by the person trading it in only then will the light come back on. We make sure these lights on or shut off with a machine that they are not codes for transmission or motors that need replacement. Regardless, if you utilize this average range above and understand that this is normal when buying Green Light Cars you can plan ahead and you will be in a great position to fix the issues and save thousands. 

With this information you can even save more money when you come and test drive in person prior to bidding.  When you test drive on our 11 Acer site you can learn so much more about the vehicle by seeing it in person.  This will help you choose the price you should bid and since we have vehicles for everyone's budget you will be best prepared for virtually any scenario that comes your way. 

It's safe to say that customers who follow these suggestions have a great advantage.  This is the key to what a dealer does to be successful.  You research, buy low, fix the cars issues and save thousands of dollars in the process.  This is your chance to turn the tables on the car dealers and stop paying those high retail prices.  You can save thousands doing it yourself or pay thousands more and have a dealer do it for you.  It's your money, it's your choice.

14. Where Do the Cars Come From?

Typically these are traded in vehicles from the region and beyond. We also have had many cars over the years come from many different places. Sometimes private sellers, donated/charity, fleet owned, repos, and more. We have always received many different cars from different places and if you are curious we encourage you to check out the cars history before Auction by using any online or in person tools that can help you.

15. When Are New Cars Updated online?

After each auction the cars that have not sold are rolled over to the next auction that everning. Updates are continually made throughout the week so please come back and visit often. The final list should be on the site by Tuesday at 6pm.

16. What is your Auction Check in Process?

Cars are delivered by sellers on huge transportation trucks everyday. Sometime we can get as many as 100 cars dropped off in one day. These cars are then put into a check in line where we run the cars for a period to see if they over heat or any major issues occur with the motor while running. Next we drive the cars on our 11 acer site to do a simple check that the transmission and motor does not need to be completely replaced(Please note we cannot get cars up to highway speeds on the property so we cannot check for gears higher than 4). All other components of the car are not taken into consideration as that is on the purchaser. Then the car is deemed green light or rejected. The green light then goes in line for Five pictures to be taken. Do to the fact we have some many cars moving in and out of the Auction per week their is not enough personnel to take more than four exterior pics and one interior pic as well as describe every car. As a result you will see the exact same pics on every car from very similar angles and a automated computer description online. In no way shape or form will take a photo to hide a issue or intentionally not point out a major dent of damage on a car we have described, in fact it is just the opposite. We want you to come in person and see the car right up close before you bid to make sure you know what you are buying.

17. Vehicle Descriptions

We have a staffer walk around vehicles and in no particular order describe the cars physical attributes as best they can. This person in no way is responsible nor could they ever be 100% accurate do to the fact that it is their own subjective opinion of the car. They are instructed to describe any negative or positive aspects of the car they see. Sometimes they miss good things such as a SUV having a third row seat or a car that has 4 heated seats. Other times they miss the bad such as a rust spot, tear in the leather or a bunch of pet hair. Sometimes they miss that a cars body is in excellent condition and other times a car can have poor patch up jobs along the entire lower portion of the body that you cannot see online, but rather you can only see in person. As a result we want to be up front with you and have you fully understand mistakes can be made not to mention pictures never tell you all the issues with a cars exterior. So your idea of great and our describer could be different. So if you are online please note anything in the descriptions could be inaccurate and it is best to come in person if you are concerned about the condition of a car.

Although we guarantee the motor and transmission does not need to be replaced their are a wide varity of items that are not covered by this. So please come in person if you can prior to bidding and never rely 100% on the pics and a description as the end all be all when buying a used car at Auction. You need to understand their is always a risk when you are purchasing a car online that you will not be able to see in person and asking us to describe everything is not part of what we do nor is it included in the Green Light guarantee. Vehicles interiors and exteriors can range from excellent to poor and may have damage that is not noted in the description. We try our best, but this is very important for Online customers to understand that interiors and exteriors of cars vary from good to bad. It all depends on who owned the car before you. Interiors can have damage done that the picture will not show such as pet hair, odors, smoke residue, stains, water stains, rips, tears and even as extreme as a seat missing. Exteriors can have cracked windshields, bad patch up jobs, body rot and rust anywhere on the car, worn down tire tread anything is possible. Of course do not forget about the components as well it's possible to have broken door locks, bad batteries, power windows or sunroofs that do not work, windshield wipers that are broken or do not work, radios missing, center consoles missing or broken, heat or ac that does not work spare tire or tire jack missing, and so on as anything and everything is possible. In addition as stated in our how much does it cost to fix the cars portion of the website where we mention check engine lights being on these cars you would also consider that the air bag light, abs light and any other lights can be on as well. So if you are concerned about any of these issues as well as others the best advice is to come in person and inspect the cars yourself as these are not guaranteed under the Green Light. Meaning all these components are your responsibility to fix after purchasing the car. If you choose not to come in person and you are buying a car online BUYER BEWARE! As this is a Auction not a Dealership.

18. Do You Describe The Mechanical Issues With The Cars?

No: All we are concerned about is that the motor and transmission does not need to be completely replaced. Any other components with a car are your responsibility. We do not list out any mechanical issues with the cars such as but not limited too check engine lights, air bag lights, brakes, suspension, windows needing repair or any componets as we cannot be responsible for missing or miss diagnosing anything beyond what our Green Light guarantee is. The important thing to know is that the motor and transmission is not in need of replacement and this is the most expensive job on a car and you are protected provided you follow our policy time line as stated above. No exceptions. So please feel free to come in person to Salem NH and evaluate the car prior to the Auction. We provide this time so that you can get the keys and check over the cars and encourage you to bring whatever tools or people with the know how to help you if you are new to this process. What the Auction will do is make sure that the motor or transmission will not need to be completely replaced any other issues are your responsibility. If you choose not to come in person and you are buying a car online BUYER BEWARE! As this is a Auction not a Dealership.

19. What is a Walk? How Can a Car Be SOLD, But Then Show up in the next Auction?

Sometimes even though a car is Sold at auction and we receive the $300 deposit from a customer they will choose for a number of any reason to not pay for the remaining money to purchase the car by the deadline.  This is known as a walk. Once the time has passed to make payment the seller is then given the option to put the car into the next available Auction. This is How a car can be Sold in an Auction and then re appear in another Auction. Their are many different reasons why people walk on cars one of the most common examples we here from customers is when an online buyer states a child bid on a car when they were not looking or I closed out of the program/shut my computer off and it bid for me as well as that they put there phone in there pocket and somehow by accident there pocket made a winning bid.

We want to be clear despite a mistake or not, no matter what if it is a truthful mistake or an excuse that is made this does not exempt a winning bidder from not paying the non refundable no transferable depsosit that is stated in the agreement online or in person. In other words if you are a winning bidder you are still responsible for the deposit regardless of whether it is a story or the truth. We all need to be accountable at some point when bidding.

Can a Walk occur with a No Reserve Car?

Absolutely, people who purchase any car at the Auction have not paid for the car in full and weather it be a reserve car or a no reserve car anyone can do anything they choose.

22. What is a Live Online Auction?

Live online bidding allows you to attend our auction virtually, simply by using a computer with an Internet connection and Web browser. You can now participate in our live auction with the same advantages you would have if you were sitting in our auction gallery.

23. Can I Buy a Car Without Going Through The Auction?

Yes: There are two ways to buy cars without going through the Auction. Buy it Now Cars and Yard Sales.

Please Note: We do not necessarily encourage or discourage people from Yard Sales, but for people looking to save the most money possible waiting for the Auction is far and away the best way to go. Regardless of buying a car before or during the Auction Auction fee still apply .

Yard Sales: These are any of sellers reserve priced cars up for Auction and are available to be purchased on Saturday's from 8:30am-10:30am. Only if you come in person on our site in Salem, NH ONLY on Saturday it may be possible to purchase an Auction vehicle without going through the Auction. We call this a Yard Sale. You cannot do a Yard Sale unless you are on our property physically during Yard Sale Hours. Do to limited time for our staff, who are busy preparing for the Auction only during these hours customers can ask for us to try and contact the sellers for a Yard Sale price. This is for only up to two cars per party, before the Auction. We require you test the car before you ask so you are positive you want the car. A Yard Sale is not a negotiation, that's what an Auction is for. Yard Sales are not for a customer to go back and forth bartering for the lowest price. We simply call the Seller and ask price do they want to sell the car for. They will give us a price and that is the end of the process. If you want to pay for the price they are asking you can, but if you want to pay less then that's the entire point of having an Auction and what we are designed to do.


24. Will I save more money buying before the Auction via Yard Sale or Waiting for the Auction?

Remember we are routing for you to win a car for the best possible wholesale price you bid and to do this without question customers save the most money when they go through the Auction bidding process. You can still get a great deal buying before the Auction. Their are many reasons for this, but one of the main reasons is that people who ask to buy a car before the Auction are indicating to a seller that they really really like the car so much they need to buy it now! This sends the seller the message you want and makes them assume you want to pay more money for the car even if you do not. So if you think of buying a car allot like playing a game of poker you know that showing your hand of cards to a dealer at a poker game would reduce your chances of winning. This is no different from asking about a cars price before the Auction. You are showing your hand to the seller and giving a car allot of attention the seller may have otherwise thought no one was interested in and the more interest the seller senses the more it will cost you. So we suggest to play it smart and cool like a poker player and wait for the Auction to work it's magic and get the price as low as possible for you.

Helpful Tip: Customers who keep quiet about what car/s they want and who wait for the Auction to bid always end up paying far less. Customers who come in announcing to the world what car/s they want and ask to buy a car before the Auction will almost almost always spend a higher premium price to the Seller for the privilege to buy before the Auction. It's simple logic. The more attention that is brought to a car the more money it will bring. The less attention, the less interest and the lower the price for you. So if you are asking to buy it before the car has even gone up for Auction you are showing you poker hand. The saying, "Play with your poker face" is the best advice we can give you, when negotiating the lowest price possible at Auction. Remember we are routing for you to get the best possible wholesale price you want.

25.Where are you located?

20 Hampshire Road. Salem, New Hampshire 03079. If you are online and live at a distance that is too far you can always bid online from your home without coming to the Auction in person. That said if possible, we highly recommend coming in person to test drive cars from 9:00AM-5:00PM M-F.

26. Do Green Light Cars Have Check Engine Lights?

Yes, and if a Light is not displayed at the Auction as you drive the car Check Engine Lights can come on. Check engine lights can range from meaning the car needs to have very minor fixes such as a gas cap tightened or that the car has the wrong grade of gasoline in it. For example, you cannot put Regular Grade Gasoline in a BMW that requires Premium Gasoline, this will result in a check engine light and is common when cars are traded in and brought to Auctions. Check engine lights can be on for other minor fixes as well such as evap leaks, 02 sensors or Cylinder Misfires. Check Engine Lights can also be on for more moderate costs such as Cylinder Miss or Cam related Variables in the motor that need to be fixed, but do not require a replacement. OUR AUCTION DOES NOT RESET CHECK ENGINE LIGHTS and we have no control over the previous owners actions. We do our best to scan cars to see if any codes are viewable to make sure they are not codes that mean the motor or transmission needs to be completely replaced. It is your responsibility to have your car diagnosed within the arbitration time period to avoid any circumstances that would mean the car need a motor or transmission replacement. We recommend to drive your car 50-100 miles within the arbitration period in order to cycle the cars computers for best results. We get into detail of this subject on many pages on our site including this page below in an effort to help those who may try to ignore obvious responsibilities that come with purchasing a used car at an Auction have the opportunity to read this on many pages on our site before bidding. 

Interstate Auto Auction
NH Auction NH Lic #A2361
20 Hampshire Road , Salem NH 03079
Phone: 603-893-7777
Email: Interstate_Auto@Yahoo.com
Click for Boston Area Auto Auction Directions

The Seller and Auctioneer reserve the right to reject or accept any and all bids and offers. All vehicles are sold with reserve and notice is hereby given that the Auctioneer may make, procure or advance the bid up to the reserve on behalf of the seller.