Updated: May 30, 2022
Here are a few items I suggest bringing with you to the salvage yard when doing a vehicle inspection. These items will each help you obtain a more accurate inspection to find out as much about your automotive investment prior to auction time.
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High Quality Flashlight (LED Rechargeable Flashlight 1200 Lumens Hoxida-Flashlight-019)
Check it out on Amazon - https://amzn.to/38x9fFj
The biggest reason to go to a Salvage auto auction in person is to inspect a vehicle, the damage isn't always on the outside or very visible. I highly suggest bringing a high quality flashlight as it can truly be the difference between a huge mistake or a big win. I personally like and use these because they are small and portable but still have great light output. They have a magnetic base so you can stick it to the car while you work, they also have a black light to inspect things unseen by the naked eye and they also have a red light & strobe option to alert people as well.
OBD Scanner (BAFX Wireless Bluetooth OBD2 Scanner )
Check it out on Amazon - https://amzn.to/3GxktpK
When going to a salvage auction the cars will typically be listed if they run or not. Usually if you show up it will be obvious why the car isn't starting or driving. But sometimes the problem may not be so visible. When your inspecting a car for purchase any advantage will help you in the bidding process. A lot of these cars sit for a long time before they are up for auction and they may have been fine but after sitting many things could happen for example the fuel could be bad and an obd scanner will help you find the not so obvious issues.
Portable Jump Starter (NOCO Boost Plus GB40 1000 Amp 12-Volt Lithium Jump Starter)
Check it out on Amazon - https://amzn.to/3GFroxm
Almost every time I have gone to Copart to inspect vehicles it never fails that one of them will have a dead battery. Cars at these auctions have a few processes they must go through before they are up on the auction block and it takes time. It could be months or even longer after the accident so its not uncommon for a car to have a dead battery. If you bring a portable jump starter you can start the car and see if there are any pending issues or drivability problems. If the car is dead its no problem at all. Just pull the starter from its case and connect the terminals to the battery and that's it, just start the car and go. Also as a added bonus its a power bank so you can charge multiple devices including your phone.
Portable Tire Inflator (VacLife Tire Inflator Portable Air Compressor 50 PSI 12V DC VL701)
Check it out on Amazon - https://amzn.to/3z82Taq
If your at a salvage auction the car your inspecting has already been through a lot and it is very common to see flat tires. However you can move the car forward and backward to see if it drives properly but if your on a flat tire it will make it harder to see the true issues. Most leaks are small and slow so if you have a portable tire inflator with you just pump the tire up and your good to go.