Copart experience. Moving cars with forklifts?

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6,614
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southeast US
I went to a Copart facility today to inspect 2 cars with clean titles, "run and drive" and minimal damage. I saw workers using forklifts to move their cars around. Doesn't that damage the cars? Keep in mind that some cars auctioned are not salvage cars, but repossessed. I saw a late model Audi TT convertible there with no accident damage. BTW, the cars I looked at were much worse that appeared on Copart pictures and definitely not "run and drive" as described. One had dead battery or electrics and the other had wrong keys or damaged ignition lock.
 

01rangerxl

Site Donor 2021
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10,315
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Birmingham, AL
Not everything they have is salvage, but that's what Copart specializes in. They are going to treat every car like a salvage title. If it ends up on one of their yards, odds are it's a junker, and they aren't going to pick out the "gems" to treat carefully. That said, I know of many Copart sourced cars that have been rebuilt and put back on the road. One of my friends has an E46 out of their China Grove yard, which I'm guessing is the one you went to...beat to [censored], but has been fairly reliable for an E46 with a sketchy past. I have driven a '00 Cherokee that came out of the China Grove yard. Looked good, but the handling was interesting to say the least. Aftermarket alarm/immobilizer that was on the fritz added to the "interesting" factor.
 

friendly_jacek

Thread starter
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6,614
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southeast US
Tomorrow I'm inspecting a car at a different facility, different city. Hopefully, it will good enough to bid (via a broker as I'm just a regular guy). Today was more like a trial run as the cars were not my first choice, but I still expected to see something better for 2001 maxima and 2007 taurus with clean titles. A friend of mine bought a nice honda civic with clean title from Copart a year ago. That encouraged me to check back then, but I couldn't find anything suitable at that time. I bought used car on Creiglist and later it turned out it was from a car flipper who bought it on auction and fixed some. If car flippers do it, why can't I do it? But, that forklift treatment gave me a pause today.
 
Messages
8,637
Location
Texas
Copart has sparked my interest and looking at what they have makes you dream of flipping a few to make some easy cash. Problem is - it isn't always what it seems. That low auction price is eaten away by their fees - which can be high. The forklift handling and the car you saw one day that looked good could be damaged when you go and pick it up the next day. I stayed away from them and will just go to local auctions.
 
Messages
992
Location
MO
The forklifts do minimal damage to the undercarriage. They scrape up the bottom edge of the front bumper cover and some splash shields but most of the cars there already have that kind of damage to begin with. I don't think there's a ton if deals to be had at Copart this time of year. Cheap used car lots will pay a premium to have inventory at tax refund time which drives up the prices.
 
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19,686
Location
Sunny Florida
We once purchased from Coparts, got a terrific deal. But you must be able to evaluate the damages carefully or you can be eaten alive. I like the auction far better, go early and really eyeball the cars. MUCH better selection, too...
 

friendly_jacek

Thread starter
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6,614
Location
southeast US
I saw the car today (my first choice, clean title and VIN checked OK). Dirty and needs some major cleaning and some minor cosmetic damage to front end. No problem. The problem is, there is some sludge in the engine. I saw it on the dipstick, under the oil cap, and inside PCV pipe. Surprisingly, the engine/tranny seem to work fine. With only 100,000 miles, and the engine not being a known oil sludger or burner (2006 toyota 1ZZ-FE), I think it's still reversible. I'm still not decided if to bid and how much, given the sludge revelation.
 
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