How to buy auction cars from Copart USA & ship to Nigeria - Step by step guide


Posted by: Joshua-Philip Okeafor

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Buying auction cars from Copart is the cheapest way to get tokunbo cars for sale in USA if you know how to! Wait for what, dive in and get all the detailed steps!


Nigerians can join thousands all over the world to buy dream cars, such as this Lexus sedan, cheap at Copart

1. Online car auctions - the most popular way to get cars for sale from USA

Nigerians love cars, and buying cheap cars via online auctions is rapidly becoming the popular way to get one. The USA is known to have a wide ranging online auto auction system with various auction websites that cater to different auto needs. To Nigerian buyers, Copart, Auction Exports and IAAI are among the most popular ones. Although the process of buying a vehicle might look cumbersome, all work well with an agent (broker) who can help you in the bidding and subsequent shipment of your vehicle. Preferably, you can definitely buy car by yourself if you have proper guidance.

 2. Copart vehicles - the most popular source of auction cars to Nigerian buyers

Copart is been one of the leading auction car sites that provide vehicle sellers and buyers with a range of services in processing and selling of salvage and clean title vehicles on the internet. This is done via its patented virtual auction technology, marketing over 125,000 vehicles on a daily basis.


Copart auction is one of the world's biggest auto auction sites

Here is a step by step of buying auction car online from Copart Inc.

3. How to buy cars from Copart USA - Step by step guide

Step 1: Register with Copart

First, you need to become a Copart member by registering and submitting your ID card.

  • Download Copart mobile app:

Download Copart app for Android

Download Copart app for iOS

or visit Copart login page if you have a laptop

  • After filling out the membership form, a confirmation email containing your login information and password will be sent to you shortly, you need to log in for activation within 7 days.
  • Then, you will need a photo-ID to complete your submission. Upload your ID card or driver license at:

Step 2: Pay membership - the main Copart auction fee

After your Copart account is created, you need to register for membership. Copart offers both free and paid memberships with different benefits for you to choose from, see below:

  • Basic Membership: As a basic member, one auction is available to you with a bid on one vehicle up to $1000 (N360,000).
  • Basic Membership + Deposits: This category allows one auction with the capacity of bidding up to 5 vehicles at a time with a deposit of 10% of the maximum amount you can bid on a vehicle.
  • Premier Membership: you can make unlimited auctions and also bid on multiple vehicles at a time as a business owner. It requires an initial $200 (N72,000) one-time membership cost with a fully-refundable $400 (N144,000) deposit.

***Naijauto notes: 

In general, if you are an individual buyer who is looking to buy a good car for daily transportation or becoming an Uber driver, you should choose free Basic Membership and pay for a deposit. Without a deposit, you can only bid for a car valued up to $1000 (~₦360k). This bid limit might narrow your chance to find a good car quite a lot. The deposit is refundable once you complete the purchase and paid for auction fee.

To register for Basic Membership, fill this form:

Deposit is 10% of the maximum bid price. But you should never bid with all your budget for buying a car because there are fees associated with buying cars from Copart, shipping fee, clearing cost and taxes. 

For how to pay membership to Copart, see Step 7.


Brokers can simplify an often tedious process, just pay the broker, get your car!

Step 3: Buy cars

After you have become Copart member and paid the deposit, now it is the exciting part: search for and buy a car!

First, you should know the two ways to get a car from Copart:

  • Buy immediately with the listed price: Copart has the "Buy it now" category consisting of cars that are available for buying immediately with the listed price next to each car. To see the list, visit
  • Bid for the car: You will need to place incremental value bids on the vehicle to compete with other bidders. You'll win the car if your bid is the highest among other bidders. 

***Naijauto notes: It is important to buy cars from a state that is close to the seaports to minimize the shipping cost, which can be as high as $2,500. The states that are closest to the ports are: Texas (especially Houston), California, Massachuset (especially North Boston), Ohio, and Washington (especially North Seattle). Most tokunbo cars from USA are bought from these locations. You should avoid buying cars from Hawaii as the shipping is very expensive.

Method #1: Find cars in Copart Buy It Now page - The easiest way to get a car from Copart

Most Nigerian buyers prefer buying the car immediately to avoid the bidding hassle. You just need to pay that price and the car is yours. No bidding hassle, no risk of other bidders getting the car you spent days to find. And you don't have to wait for the bid day to start bidding on the car you want.

However, while some 'Buy it now" vehicles are offered at a fraction of the market price, some others might not be as cost effective. The key here is you need to be skillful at how to choose the good car at a good price. Don't just judge the car by its exterior, and pay attention to the damage description box.

After clicking Buy now button, you'll be redirected to the payment page. Jump to Step 7 for how to make the payment.

***Naijauto notes: Make sure you do a Vehicle History/Vin check before deciding to buy a car. You can also hire a broker to do the vehicle inspection for you at a cost of $90 (N32,000).

Method #2: Bid on a car

On the other hand, bidding on a car gives you the chance to buy a car at the cheapest price possible. You decide how much the car is worth and how much is the winning price. If you choose this challenging option, see Step 4, 5 and 6.

Step 4: Search for the vehicle

The easiest way to begin your search is by using Search Toolbar. Simply enter a description, VIN or Lot number in the toolbar at the top of any Copart page.

Alternatively, you can use the Vehicle Finder page to look for the car that fits your needs. You can find virtually all things called wheeled vehicles here, categorized by make, bid status, damage, ownership doc type, source of origin and special feature.


Searching helps you see even more choices than you originally imagined

After searching for your vehicle, you’ll be required to log in to your account for your vehicle to be added to your watchlist. From there, you can monitor the sale date, current bid and other information of all the vehicles you are eyeing.


Copart watch-lists allow you to keep track of interesting vehicles

***Naijauto notes:

As an individual buyer, you can only bid for cars with "No License Required" tag. However if you need broader options, you can hire a broker who will bid on your behalf for a certain fee. Brokers can also give you advice on bidding and buying, as well as offers other useful services such as vehicle inspection, shipping, logistics, exporting, etc. A good broker is AutoBidMaster, which will buy and ship the vehicle for you for a flat fee of $299 or ₦107,640 per transaction.

As an international buyer, you should know that some types of Copart vehicle are subject to export restrictions and can not be exported from the US. Those vehicles have certain Vehicle doc types.

Step 5: Join the auction

After adding your vehicle to your watchlist, you’ll need to join auctions. Once you’ve found the vehicles on which you’d like to bid, you can submit a preliminary bid or join a live online auction!

Ultimately, you’ll be directed to the Auctions Dashboard, where you can minimize or maximize auction windows and can be reorganized to your customization.


You can join an auction as a basic member, but not for cars above $1000 or 360,000

***Naijauto notes: 

  • Auctions of facilities located in the Eastern Time Zone begin at 10 a.m. local time. All others begin at 12p.m. local time. Members may also join evening auctions Monday through Thursday at 9 p.m. Eastern Time.
  • These auctions feature vehicles that didn’t sell earlier that day during either the daytime auctions or the second chance preliminary bidding period. Evening sales appear on the Upcoming Auctions and Auctions Calendar pages alongside other sales and are denoted by "*NCS" for "Night Cap Sale”.

Step 6: Placing of bids

There are two methods of bidding car at Copart, which are:

  • Preliminary bidding: You need to pre-bid on vehicles at any time up to one hour before the start of the live auction. When you pre-bid, you place an incremental value bid on the vehicle prior to the sale. It will be represented during the live auction and could be the winning bid if no other bidder submits a higher bid during either the pre-bid phase or the live auction
  • Live biddingBid from your computer, on your mobile device or through a broker by selecting from one of the automatic increment options or choosing your own bid amount. Compete against other Members to become the high bidder, and if your bid is the highest when dynamic countdown timer stops, you win the sale of the vehicle.

***Naijauto notes:

You need fast and reliable internet service for bidding. If your internet collapse in the middle of a bid, you might be out-bidded by other bidders with better internet connection.


You can join live bidding from anywhere, and on any device

Step 7: Payment

After you choose to buy a vehicle, you will be directed to a payment page. You need to do the transfer as soon as possible so the seller won't sell the car to another buyer. 

Bank wire transfer is the only feasible payment method for Nigerian buyers. To send money with wire transfer, you need to buy dollars from the black market and send it through your domiciliary (dollar) account.

***Naijauto notes: 

  1. Your funds must be received in Copart’s account within a 3-day period including the day of sale. If not paid within the 3 days, a $50 (N18,000) late fee is assessed on each vehicle.
  2. Once the money reaches Copart account, they will apply the payment to your car. To make sure the money is located to the right vehicle and timely, you need to:
  • Follow Copart wire transfer instruction, find it here.
  • Mention what you are paying for (deposit or payment for lots) to help them apply your funds to the right category
  • After you made the transfer, make sure to SEND A WIRE TRANSFER NOTIFICATION OR A WIRE RECEIPT to The payment will be applied to your account only upon receipt of a wire transfer notification from you.

Step 8. Shipping your car from USA to Nigeria

Now the car is yours! It's time to bring it home!

First, you need to fill out and upload a Power of Attorney (PoA) and upload it to your account. The PoA is to authorize Copart to give the vehicle title to the shipping company to pick the car for you from Copart storage.

After the PoA is uploaded, you can ship your car from a USA port to a Nigerian port by hiring Copart's authorized brokers or a shipping company. They also help you do the custom clearance at the US ports.

***Naijauto notes:

  • You need to get the PoA notarized if you buy the cars from certain states. See the list of states which require notarization of PoA here.
  • Using the shipping service of Copart's brokers is very convenient since they are based in Nigeria. To see if Copart's transportation is available on the vehicle you won, visit Payments Due immediately following the sale. Make sure you fill in the correct postal code.
  • RoRo (Roll on, Roll off) is the popular shipping method since they are cheaper than container shipping.

Step 9: Clear your car at Nigeria Customs

When your car arrives Nigerian ports, you need to clear it through Nigerian Customs. You can do it yourself or hire an agent to do it for you. It would take 2-3 days.

Authorized Copart brokers in Nigeria

Two authorized Copart brokers that are based in Nigeria are Auto Auction Mall Nigeria and Nigeria Auto Bid Master. You can find their contact details below:


Tel.: +234 90 1536 2533
Address: 268 Herbert Macaulay Way, Alagomeji, Yaba, Lagos
Regional manager: Oluwafemi Amisu:


Tel.: +234 1 227 9052 
Address: 15th Floor 214 Broad Street, Lagos Island


Buying cars from USA is increasingly popular among Nigerian buyers. With proper guidance, anyone can get good a tokunbo car at a fraction of price tag at local dealers. We hope with this wealth of information, buying auction cars from Copart is no longer a challenge. See you in the next car buying tips and guides by Naijauto team.

People also search for: Copart auction fees, buy cars from usa, buy it now.

Good luck!

Joshua-Philip Okeafor

Joshua-Philip Okeafor

Car buying & selling

Joshua, or KK as friends call him, is a Filmmaker, Writer and Director. A Christian, Joshua is a product of Nigeria’s foremost film school, the National Film Institute, Jos, where he majored in Writing/Directing. Joshua began his writing career at age 18 when an older brother gave him a four page outline of a children novel. Joshua intends to keep writing and directing. His screen name is sometimes Joshua Kalu Ephraim (Writing), and sometimes Joshua KK (directing).

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