Copart guide (2 Viewers)

Joined
Nov 26, 2005
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Russ was asking me about how to buy cars on Copart so I thought I'd do a write up for it. Most of the vehicles on there are salvage but there are quite a few donated vehicles with clean titles too. I have registered several vehicles now and its no big deal to get it done even with a salvage title certificate (which is not a real title). Only thing they have to do different is come out and inspect the vehicle to make sure the vins match. Also the license plates are removed from all the vehicles so count on spending $200 at the dmv to register, title, smog and plate each vehicle.
Registration on Copart:
To register with Copart you need to make an account and email a picture of your drivers license to them. There are certain tiers of membership and at this point you are the lowest of the low which means you get the most fees charged to you. If you have a business license you get a substantial discount on those fees. The guy said it didn't matter what your business was, you just had to be on the license of it.
Bid amounts:
After they approve you, you automatically can bid up to $1000. After that you need to "raise your buying power" by putting money in a separate account set aside as your earnest money. The money in this account is not applied to any transactions, you have to ask for it back when you no longer want to bid. So in order to bid past $1000 you need 10% of the total you want to bid in this separate account. I keep $400 in the account so I can bid on any vehicle or any number of vehicles up to $4000. I figure this keeps me out of trouble with my wife.
Where can I bid?:
One major caveat is that you can only bid in certain states on certain cars. We are lucky in Oregon so you can bid on anything you want, however I don't believe you can bid at all in California and I think you can bid only on some stuff in Washington. You can go through a 3rd party website that enables you to bid anywhere but you have to pay fees twice which gets super expensive!
Locations:
There are 3 yards in Oregon: Eugene, Portland North and Portland South. I have visited Eugene and Portland North, everyone is super friendly at both. Portland North is within 3 miles of PDX which makes it pretty convenient. Figure on about 30-40 minutes turn around from when you show up to when you leave with your vehicle. If driving it home they will loan you a jump pack, if not they will fork lift it onto your trailer for you. Pretty cool either way.
Fees fees and more fees:
I haven't upgraded my membership yet so I am at the lowest level. An example of fees I've paid, $1200 bid and $1658 out the door. I had another $1200 bid and it was $1593 out the door. Another was $1600 and it was $2128 out the door. $3100 bid, $3828 out the door. It gets expensive the higher the amount! I will soon upgrade my account and report my findings. Also depending on how you pay there will be additional fees. The easiest way to pay is not the cheapest.
Paying:
They accept credit cards but tack on $80 if you want to use that method. Money orders or cashiers checks are fee free BUT you must do it in person. I sent them a wire transfer and that was free except that my bank charged me $30. Kinda annoying.
Timing:
Also some things to remember when you win... you have 3 days to pay for the vehicle and 5 days to pick up the vehicle... or else...more fees. They are not open weekends so you really need to be prepared to act quickly.
Auction times:
Portland South is every Monday at noon, Eugene is every Tuesday at noon, Portland North is every Wednesday at noon. Most all of the auctions end by 1pm but usually earlier than that. There are one or two lanes per auction and usually about 70-90 cars in each lane.
Bidding:
You can pre-bid on any vehicle you like, however, the way to actually win a vehicle is to sit down at noon, eat a sandwich, have 4-5 beers and bid live! I don't pre-bid anymore because it ties up your funds available. I have pre-bid on 3-4 cars before and all of a sudden ran out of money on the one I actually wanted when the auction came up. Sometimes there are multiple lanes to an auction, ie Lane A and Land B. Make sure you bring up the correct Lane when you are watching, I have missed cars because I was watching the wrong lane before. On the day of the auction pre-bidding will close and each vehicle will be given a # as to when they will go through. It is not easy to actually predict when your vehicle will go through. It gives an approximation and of when your vehicle will be auctioned off but it is always too long. If it says 10 minutes til yours is up I would give it 6 minutes. Each vehicle is on the block anywhere from 20 seconds to several minutes depending on the bidding action. There are people from all over the world bidding on these cars, especially in Oregon where anyone can bid. There is a 20 second ish timer and every time someone bids that timer resets. If a particular vehicle has a lot of bids there will also be an additional "bonus time".
Auction Types:
If a auction is "pure sale" it means item will be sold no matter what. Some auctions have reserves, and if you are the high bidder they will make a counter offer which can go on and on until they give up or accept your offer. Some auctions are "buy it now". Also there are all types of vehicles on there including motorcylcles, ATV's, boats, RV's and HD equipment.
Winning:
Once you win you will see a payment now button. Select payment options and you can toggle through the various methods of paying and you will see your grand total increase and decrease accordingly. The clock starts now as far as when you need to pick it up and pay for the vehicle. There are no free days!
Searching for vehicles:
I have had the most success using the Copart app. You can search particular yards or with a little fiddling you can search all of Oregon. An easy way to do it is to search each yard and then use the "Filter" button to narrow it down. Usually most cars are at each yard for about 30 days. If the car just got there it will say "Future" next to it. After it officially enters the system there is a 2 week countdown so you can plan your bidding time accordingly. The inventory turns over constantly, I am looking forward to our first big rain and snowstorms of the year hint hint! ;)
Vehicle examination:
You can go to each copart location on a certain and examine the vehicles in person or you can gamble. I look at every picture repeatedly, if there is blue marker on the vehicle it indicates a scratch or dent there. The other helpful research tool is the "i" button. It brings up the information on each car, where it was wrecked, milieage, vin number, driving status, drivetrain type, engine size, whether or not there are keys for it, title status, and most importantly whether the vehicle runs and drives.
Types of damage:
I stick to front and rear impacts generally. If its a donor car then who cares as long as the engine starts. Expect more damage than what you can see. The Tundra and Celica had more damage than I thought but the Lexus had less damage than I thought.
Driving it home:
I bring tools and check all the fluids. They will air up tires for you and let you borrow a jump box if needed. So far I am 4 for 4 driving them home with relatively no problems. You will need to get insurance and a temporary permit to drive it home, they sell temp permits there but they cost more than at the DMV.
Airplanes and tools:
I have figured out the tools that I can take on a plane without absolutely getting cavity searched and beaten mercilessly. Generally nothing sharp and nothing over 7" long and no fluids, bring zip ties and duct tape and some basic tools. Have the tools in a separate bag and tell the security guard whats going on. Much easier that way. If not, bring lube.
Cheap cars:
There are tons of clunker cars that go for $20-100, old Honda Accords, Mustangs, Buicks, Oldsmobile and generally anything Chrysler without a diesel. You can pick up a lot of LS swap type of trucks for about $800-$1200 depending.
Expensive Cars:
Most Toyota's, anything newer 08+, anything Tacoma especially, anything diesel, anything 4wd, any newer Subaru. I have seen absolutely messed up Tacoma's going for almost non salvage title prices, beware!

Ok that's a lot of information to digest, I have done tons of research and leg work, if anyone has any questions just let me know. Also if you are bidding on a particular vehicle post up! I do not want to bid against anyone on here.
FYI I will be bidding on this 03 GX470 next week unless someone wants it more. Count on it being $3500-$4k before fees. However I could also see it being more like $5k so who knows.
https://www.copart.com/lot/34339217/
 
Joined
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I was bidding on that 03 gx470 today and it went for $4400 to someone in new jersey. Figure it would have been about $5100 after fees. Seems like a pretty killer deal. Would have been an awesome wheeler at the very least.
 
Joined
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Just picked up this 03 pontiac vibe awd for one of my kids for $903 off of Copart. Turns out it's got a engine knock but for a $800 I can put another engine in and he will have a great little daily driver. For those who aren't familiar with this car it's a Toyota matrix with a pontiac badge on it. It's 99% Toyota, has a 1zzfe in it. I'll be looking for an engine soon if anyone knows of a wrecked vibe, matrix or corolla from a similar year. Front fender is the reason it was totalled. Good times!
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retrofive

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Joined
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so. oregon
Just picked up this 03 pontiac vibe awd for one of my kids for $903 off of Copart. Turns out it's got a engine knock but for a $800 I can put another engine in and he will have a great little daily driver. For those who aren't familiar with this car it's a Toyota matrix with a pontiac badge on it. It's 99% Toyota, has a 1zzfe in it. I'll be looking for an engine soon if anyone knows of a wrecked vibe, matrix or corolla from a similar year. Front fender is the reason it was totalled. Good times!
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My ex would be very interest in that if for some reason you decided to sell. In fact if you run across something like it let me know.
 
Joined
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Just picked up a 97 Tacoma for my oldest kid yesterday. Bought it for $3000 plus another $700 in fees from Copart. Was a theft recovery at some point a while ago.

Someone did a solid axle swap on it and it appears to be a full size jeep Dana 44. With Toyota rear springs in the front and chevy springs in the rear. What's interesting is it only has 140k on it and the body is really straight, not sure why anyone would want to make a wheeler out of something so clean. Come to find out it has a blown head gasket so if anyone has a 3.4 laying around let me know. I just don't know how long it was run with it so I don't really trust the bearings but ultimately I may just do the head gaskets and go for it. It runs good considering.

Anyway, need help identifying some steering stuff. What is this box out of? Two bolts on the side and then it has one bolt to the top of the frame too. Also what kind of tie rod end are these? They have misalignment spacers and they look pretty beefy but are they ghetto tractor pieces or are they something else? Luckily my kid is excited about it and wants to do the work otherwise this would have been another headache.
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Joined
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From what I've found it looks like 2wd 1986 Toyota is the same power steering box. Can't say I've ever heard of anyone using one of these.
 
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Yeah it was a theft recovery and totalled, auctioned off at copart, registered and issued a rebuilt title, driven for 6 months, head gasket blown, put on consignment at Copart again and we bought it. I have the rebuilt title. Haven't checked the gear ratios yet but it did cross my mind. Had it in 4wd in my driveway and it does work and doesn't seem to bind in a straight line.
 
Joined
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Central Point, OR
That steering box looks the same as a toyota warrior I was working on a little while ago. I would look for the 4x4 version in 92-99 range.... You might have to beef up the frame mount but well worth the strength.
 
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Rod ends are regular old him joints with misalignment spacers. Nothing fancy(not tractor parts), unless someone spent big dollars on name brand ones. Otherwise looks like it'll be a fun ride as long as the wheels stay down. :banana:
 
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Colorado Springs
I bought a 2004 Forester for $1400 our the door. Some idiot mechanic had swapped the coil pack wires so it ran like hell and was over heating. Got her fixed up and she runs like a champ!

Also loved buffing out the headlights

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Well, it's been a while since I've made some bad decisions with car buying .. So I bought this off of Copart this week! 2004 lexus is300 sportcross. Super rare, only 3000 in the US over 4 years and only 384 made in 04. After fixing a flat tire and a new battery in Portland we drove it home last night.
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$1500 was my final bid and it was $2018 out the door. Probably put another $250 into getting it drivable while I was there.
 

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