Author Topic: Anyone Ever Bought a (Police) Car at a Government Auction?  (Read 873 times)

Jon Bon

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Anyone Ever Bought a (Police) Car at a Government Auction?
« on: July 08, 2019, 11:55:43 AM »
So me RE business continues to grow and I am thinking about having a dedicated vehicle for my company. Tired of beating up my van and always pulling the car-seats out. The other day I pulled up next to a city pickup truck and I got to thinking about what the city does with those when the replace them. I found a bunch of them online of different types of SUV's Pickups etc. Prices were pretty reasonable, there were a bunch of former police Tahoe's in the 2012-2014 model year with 150k on the clock going for 6-8k.

Pros:
Cheap
Newer Year
Fleet Maintenance

Cons:
Driven hard
High Miles
long life/hours
No history.

Has anyone done this? Am I crazy for thinking it? I dont need a bunch of features in my car (which these dont have) its does not have to be stone cold reliable so higher miles is acceptable. These wont have rust, and should have pretty modern safety features compared to what I am used too.

Let me know what you guys think!


terran

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Re: Anyone Ever Bought a (Police) Car at a Government Auction?
« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2019, 12:02:00 PM »
My biggest concern would be the amount of idling they do. Lots of wear and tear compared to the reported mileage.

Jon Bon

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Re: Anyone Ever Bought a (Police) Car at a Government Auction?
« Reply #2 on: July 08, 2019, 12:03:35 PM »
My biggest concern would be the amount of idling they do. Lots of wear and tear compared to the reported mileage.

This is a good point that I did not think of.

However they do come with all kinds of upgrades. Bigger radiators, suspension, brakes etc.


MrsWolfeRN

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Re: Anyone Ever Bought a (Police) Car at a Government Auction?
« Reply #3 on: July 08, 2019, 12:08:12 PM »
We have an old police Crown Victoria. It has been great because repairs are cheap and easy, and we can fit two kids and a dog in the back seat. The trunk is huge too, and it has a high safety rating. Husband does all repairs himself and the parts are cheap because it is a very common vehicle. The only complaint I have is that the fuel mileage sucks.

v8rx7guy

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Re: Anyone Ever Bought a (Police) Car at a Government Auction?
« Reply #4 on: July 08, 2019, 12:09:47 PM »
My biggest concern would be the amount of idling they do. Lots of wear and tear compared to the reported mileage.

This is the reason I would not buy one.  I have a friend who maintains the police vehicles for the county and he says that the idle hours tend to be insanely high and it really affects the life of engine components.

MrUpwardlyMobile

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Re: Anyone Ever Bought a (Police) Car at a Government Auction?
« Reply #5 on: July 08, 2019, 12:17:28 PM »
If you’ve ever watched a cop car sit in the same spot for half the day idling, then you’d basically convince yourself not to buy a used one.  I see cop cars in the same spots idling when I goto work, leave from work, and if I drive somewhere during the day.  I was actually pretty surprised to learn they don’t turn them off while just sitting around.

Fuzz

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Re: Anyone Ever Bought a (Police) Car at a Government Auction?
« Reply #6 on: July 08, 2019, 12:42:01 PM »
Bought a 2007 impala with 100,000 miles in 2011 for $2700, sold in 2014 with 150,000 miles for $3,000. During that time, I changed the oil and bought tires. Worked out for me.

wotan

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Re: Anyone Ever Bought a (Police) Car at a Government Auction?
« Reply #7 on: July 09, 2019, 08:48:02 AM »
Elwood and Jake always had good luck with buying cop cars

CowboyAndIndian

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Re: Anyone Ever Bought a (Police) Car at a Government Auction?
« Reply #8 on: July 09, 2019, 08:49:49 AM »
The key consideration is to buy a State police car, not a local town's car. The State police car will have a majority of highway miles, while the towns cars are exclusively local.

former player

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Re: Anyone Ever Bought a (Police) Car at a Government Auction?
« Reply #9 on: July 09, 2019, 08:54:15 AM »
Just make sure it's got a cop motor, a 440-cubic-inch plant, cop tires, cop suspension, cop shocks and it's a model made before catalytic converters so it'll run good on regular gas.

Syonyk

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Re: Anyone Ever Bought a (Police) Car at a Government Auction?
« Reply #10 on: July 09, 2019, 12:29:38 PM »
Cons:
Driven hard
High Miles
long life/hours
No history.

You're forgetting the important one:

A police force maintenance department decided to get rid of it.  You're buying someone else's problem.

They've lived a hard life, and someone who does this sort of thing for a living decided it wasn't worth keeping around (either based on vehicle condition or based on their experience with the lifetime of the vehicles in their fleet service).

You can find a car that's been treated an awful lot better for the same sort of money.

Boofinator

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Re: Anyone Ever Bought a (Police) Car at a Government Auction?
« Reply #11 on: July 09, 2019, 12:38:16 PM »
Cons:
Driven hard
High Miles
long life/hours
No history.

You're forgetting the important one:

A police force maintenance department decided to get rid of it.  You're buying someone else's problem.

They've lived a hard life, and someone who does this sort of thing for a living decided it wasn't worth keeping around (either based on vehicle condition or based on their experience with the lifetime of the vehicles in their fleet service).

You can find a car that's been treated an awful lot better for the same sort of money.

While I agree your italicized bit is an important consideration in a private party sale, I don't think it holds as much water when discussing government fleet vehicles. These vehicles are purchased en masse, usually well-maintained, then retired en masse. Condition of the vehicle is generally an afterthought.

I purchased a 1990 5.0L Crown Vic in 2001 for $800 at auction, complete with bare metal where the Sherriff's decal used to be, no rear door handles, a spotlight, and a hat holder. It was a great car that rarely failed me ('cept the ever-unreliable starter motor) over five years of mayhem and abuse (though fuel economy was atrocious).

dcheesi

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Re: Anyone Ever Bought a (Police) Car at a Government Auction?
« Reply #12 on: July 09, 2019, 12:39:22 PM »
We have an old police Crown Victoria. It has been great because repairs are cheap and easy, and we can fit two kids and a dog in the back seat. The trunk is huge too, and it has a high safety rating. Husband does all repairs himself and the parts are cheap because it is a very common vehicle. The only complaint I have is that the fuel mileage sucks.
Don't the Crown Vics have a safety problem with their gas tank placement? I thought that was why they were retired?

v8rx7guy

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Re: Anyone Ever Bought a (Police) Car at a Government Auction?
« Reply #13 on: July 09, 2019, 12:44:14 PM »
Pro: If you keep the spotlight, cattle guard and antenna - everyone gets out of your way when you're driving down the highway!

Boofinator

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Re: Anyone Ever Bought a (Police) Car at a Government Auction?
« Reply #14 on: July 09, 2019, 12:53:48 PM »
Pro: If you keep the spotlight, cattle guard and antenna - everyone gets out of your way when you're driving down the highway!

Can vouch that everyone thinks you're an actual cop. The problem is, not everyone moves out of the way, and on the contrary, many of them just slow down to the speed limit and therefore slow down your commute. In other words, don't expect to have the automotive equivalent of Moses's wand.

Syonyk

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Re: Anyone Ever Bought a (Police) Car at a Government Auction?
« Reply #15 on: July 09, 2019, 12:56:22 PM »
While I agree your italicized bit is an important consideration in a private party sale, I don't think it holds as much water when discussing government fleet vehicles. These vehicles are purchased en masse, usually well-maintained, then retired en masse. Condition of the vehicle is generally an afterthought.

It depends on the fleet.  In general, though, they'll get rid of them when experience has taught that they're getting to end of useful life.  If they're good for 150k miles, it's unlikely that they'll get sold at 100k miles.

techwiz

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Re: Anyone Ever Bought a (Police) Car at a Government Auction?
« Reply #16 on: July 09, 2019, 12:59:48 PM »
My dad bought one when I was younger.

An old RCMP purple diplomat vehicle which still had the shotgun holder mounted in-between the front seats and a spot light. It was a rocket and we gave it the nickname "The Purple People Eater"  I remember how everyone on the highway would pull over or slow down when driving that car on the highway.  My dad sold it after a year or two since it drank gas like crazy. It was fun, but not really a practical car.  Many of the parts were non-standard so if you go to service it you have to guess what parts to order. Ex: Different sized brake rotors & pads, had upgraded electrical system etc.

My dad replaced it with a new manual transmission Chevrolet Chevette which I learned to drive on.  I missed my chance at driving that rocket ,but in hindsight it was a good decision I drove that little Chevette to the limit if I had done that with the old police car I would have likely wrapped it around a telephone pole.

Boofinator

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Re: Anyone Ever Bought a (Police) Car at a Government Auction?
« Reply #17 on: July 09, 2019, 01:07:02 PM »
While I agree your italicized bit is an important consideration in a private party sale, I don't think it holds as much water when discussing government fleet vehicles. These vehicles are purchased en masse, usually well-maintained, then retired en masse. Condition of the vehicle is generally an afterthought.

It depends on the fleet.  In general, though, they'll get rid of them when experience has taught that they're getting to end of useful life.  If they're good for 150k miles, it's unlikely that they'll get sold at 100k miles.

Agreed, but that is also the same rationale that many people use to get rid of a car. What I was trying to emphasize is that by buying a fleet vehicle you're generally not going to have to deal with the potential unscrupulous individuals who are selling their lemon because they want to make it someone else's problem, rather than because of a statistical decrease in reliability associated with age and mileage. (For the record, I've been the dupe who bought the *great* vehicle when my older self would have been screaming "Run!!!" just based off the seller's demeanor and actions. That vehicle lasted about a month until the transmission went out for good.)

MrsWolfeRN

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Re: Anyone Ever Bought a (Police) Car at a Government Auction?
« Reply #18 on: July 09, 2019, 01:56:51 PM »
We have an old police Crown Victoria. It has been great because repairs are cheap and easy, and we can fit two kids and a dog in the back seat. The trunk is huge too, and it has a high safety rating. Husband does all repairs himself and the parts are cheap because it is a very common vehicle. The only complaint I have is that the fuel mileage sucks.
Don't the Crown Vics have a safety problem with their gas tank placement? I thought that was why they were retired?
That issue was for models 2001 and older, ours is a 2008.

Boofinator

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Re: Anyone Ever Bought a (Police) Car at a Government Auction?
« Reply #19 on: July 09, 2019, 03:59:30 PM »
We have an old police Crown Victoria. It has been great because repairs are cheap and easy, and we can fit two kids and a dog in the back seat. The trunk is huge too, and it has a high safety rating. Husband does all repairs himself and the parts are cheap because it is a very common vehicle. The only complaint I have is that the fuel mileage sucks.
Don't the Crown Vics have a safety problem with their gas tank placement? I thought that was why they were retired?
That issue was for models 2001 and older, ours is a 2008.

Even then, the issue was so statistically rare that it probably shouldn't be a factor in one's decision making. (The only reason it really made news was due to the gruesome nature of immolation; it's not like people don't die in car accidents every day.)

Jon Bon

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Re: Anyone Ever Bought a (Police) Car at a Government Auction?
« Reply #20 on: July 09, 2019, 04:13:42 PM »
Ok so apparently there are all kinds of cars for sale. Random minivans from the motor pool, trucks etc. Vehicles that were just used a lot for a short period of time. 4 years old with 150k miles on it type thing.

That being said there is also apparently a hierarchy of buying PPV. The worst of course are the city patrol cars that idle all day and drive in pot holes, better would be a highway patrol car. The best would be a chiefs car or even city council/official type car. Just used it to commute like anyone else.


MrsWolfeRN

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Re: Anyone Ever Bought a (Police) Car at a Government Auction?
« Reply #21 on: July 10, 2019, 06:47:44 AM »
Ford is developing a hybrid Explorer for police to get rid of the idling issue. It is supposed to save departments about 1/3 of their fuel usage. I hope to get a used one in 2 or 3 years.