Flickr: Mercedes At Manheim Car Auction

What You Need to Know About Police Auctions


When a police department seizes a car, the owner of that car often loses it, and it becomes the unclaimed property of the department, especially if they are not able to pay the impound fee. If the car is nice, the police will often keep the vehicle for use as a squad car. However, if they don't want them, these cars might be sent to an auctioneer and sold to the highest bidder in what are known as police auctions.

Additionally, some of these vehicles are sold in online auctions at websites like Gov Deals and Property Room. You can find different types of cars from collectibles to modern pickups on these sites. Here's what you need to know about police vehicle auctions.

The Pros and Cons of Police Auctions

The main pro of police auto auctions is that you can get a great deal. Police don't want to spend funds on housing cars that they aren't going to keep, so they will take very low offers to recover some of the money that the original owners still owe. The downside is that these events are usually pretty packed, which means that you might end up competing with several other bidders driving up the price.

The other major downside is that you usually aren't able to inspect the vehicle as much as you'd like, if at all. This is a problem because these seized vehicles aren't always in the best condition, especially under the hood. Maintenance like oil changes may have been overlooked, and you'll have no way of knowing that.


Police Car Auctions Across the United States

If you are going to buy a car at a police auction, here are several of the place you might consider checking out. You'll have to keep your ear to the ground, though, as the departments don't usually advertise the auction. You may be better off browsing one of the online auction sites, where it is easier to find a car at auction without knowing a police officer who can give you the low down.

Otherwise, here are 17 cities that have police car auctions.

- New York, NY


- Jersey City, NY

- Grantville, PA

- Minneapolis, MN

- Huston, TX


- Dallas, TX

- Portsmouth, VA

- Mobile, VA

- Phoenix, Arizona


- San Diego, CA

- Montclair, CA

- Sacramento, CA

- Seattle, WA


- Cleveland, OH

- Kansas City, KS

- Charlotte, NC

- Las Vegas, NV


This post was originally published on December 4, 2019.

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