How To Buy A Great Car
At A Police Auction
by Bill Flitter
I have always heard that a police auction are a great way to buy a luxury car dirt cheap. I always imagined bidding on a Lamborghini or Ferrari. Maybe one that was confiscated during a drug deal gone bad. It always sounded a little sketchy to me though.
After all, I would be buying a car that was involved in some sort of crime. This is the reason why it’s up for sale through a police auction, though. In reality, most of the cars you can bid on will be mostly Chevys and Fords. On the other hand, buying a car at a police auction can net you a pretty good deal, as long as you know what to look for.
How To Buy A Car At A Police Auction
First, you’ll need to find a local police auction. You can also check Govsales.gov to see what the feds have for sale. As of right now, they have hundreds of different cars and SUVs available at auction.
To find a local police auction, try Yelp. I had great luck finding police auctions in the East Bay area using Yelp. After you find an auction, you should develop a good idea of what you’re looking to buy. It will help narrow the search.
Second, you need to fully realize that you’re buying this car as-is. If there are any messes or maintenance problems then that’s yours to fix. The best advice is to fully check out the car prior to the auction starting. This is also the time to ask yourself if you want your family saloon to have a darker past.
Also ask if you can start the engine and see if you can take it for a test drive. There’s a good chance you won’t be able to, but it’s worth asking. Oh, and make sure they have the keys!
Third, if you’re looking to buy an old police cruiser, then you might want to check the hour meter and not just the odometer. When police officers are sitting idle at a speed trap they leave the engine running, which counts on the hour meter, and all police cars have one.
Fourth, you still need to do your research to determine the value of the car. Make sure you don’t overbid on something that’s supposed to be a deal.
Carjojo can definitely help you research the value of a new car. You know, in case you decide to play it safe and buy new from a dealer instead of a used car.
Fifth, show up early but bid late. You’ll need to arrive early to get a chance to look at the car you want to bid on.
When you do bid, be careful about entering a bidding war. Many people bid on auctions for a living (to resell later) so be wary of overbidding.
Sixth, bring cash. As they say, money talks and the rest walks. You might be able to arrange financing, but more than likely, they will expect you to pay cash on the scene.
Over To You
Have you ever bought a car at a police or government auction? Would you do it again?