Many of the vehicles bought and sold at police auto auctions are amazing values; they’re often everyday drivers taken directly from the road to the auction block. Some are older cars needing a bit of work while others are nearly new and still under warranty. But before you head out to the police station looking for an auction, there’s a few things you should know. If you’ve never been to a police auto auction, be sure to read our Police Auctions FAQ
Choose a state to find police auctions, tow impound auctions, government surplus auctions, and also dealer and public auto auctions:
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
Unbelievably Low Prices
More often than not, the cars at police auto auctions sell at up to 65% off of the normal retail value. That’s an astonishing amount of savings considering the prices in today’s automotive marketplace. Police and government surplus auto auctions proudly boast car sales ranging from just a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars, depending on the vehicle and the buyers present. The quality of the cars for sale can vary greatly, but that’s what makes these auctions so interesting.
It doesn’t come without a bit of risk; because the vehicles are not being sold by a dealership or reputable brand, there’s no guarantees, warranties, or service packages that normally come with the purchase of a vehicle.
While most cars to be auctioned are roadworthy, there’s no opportunity for a test drive. To ensure a good buying decision, we suggest that you arrive early and bring a mechanic; for some mechanics, a quick visual inspection is all that’s needed.
Many auctions are open to the public again and allow bidding in person. However, there are also many online car auctions that allow viewing and bidding on auction cars online.
We’ve all seen a bidding war or two on television, the tactics are downright entertaining; the stare-downs, the aggressive opening bids, the awkward tension in the air – there’s nothing like it. And after all of that, there’s no sweeter taste than the taste of victory.
Once the winning bid is secured, once the car is purchased, buyers get a euphoric feeling, like they just won the Super Bowl and they’re headed to Disney. Winning a bidding war on an antique is one thing; winning a bidding war for a car, truck, or SUV is something altogether different.
How to Buy a Car
The details of the auction are often subject to change so you need accurate information. Police Auctions USA offers a useful directory with details and information on car auctions. When you decide on an auction location to visit, be sure to contact them first for additional information on eligibility for bidding.
Some auctions require registration; simply show identification for a bidding card and number. Once the auction begins, the auction bidding will begin. There are some auctions so large that dealerships attend and you will be bidding against them but remember: they need the price to be lower than you because they need to turn a profit. Also, if you are willing to perform mechanical and body damage repairs on the cars and trucks you buy, you will be at an advantage when bidding.
Many auctions will require full payment at the time of purchase but others will hold the vehicle with a deposit. Understanding payment information is important so it is recommended to call and understand the details before the date of the auction.
It is always important to have accurate information before the auction; poor information leads to poor buying decisions.
Police Cruisers for Sale
Some of the vehicles sold at police auto auctions are retired and obsoleted police vehicles. When police departments elect to upgrade the fleet, they send the cars to auction and the winning bids are usually far below the value of the car.
When thinking about the purchase of a police car, some of us will naturally reflect on the memory of Jake & Elwood; the Bluesmobile. It was old, dirty, beaten, and worn but today’s police cars are very different. Many police vehicles have upgraded features such as safety features, performance upgrades, and suspension modifications. They are typically well-maintained and most of them are in decent working order when sent to the auction. However, these old police cruisers often have high mileage on the odometer.