But Don’t Assume That All Patrol Cars Are Junk
When you’re shopping for any cheap used car, it really comes down to the maintenance and upkeep that the previous owner put into it. Some patrol cars are given plenty of attention from departments that have the financial resources and manpower. Suspensions are rebuilt, powertrains are repaired, and in many cases you can end up with a virtually brand-new vehicle for less than 10% of the cost.
Each version has its charm. More times than not, the ones used by the men in blue can be bought for less. They are also the genuine black-and-white cars with the on-road feel and battle scars to prove it. Still, if you have a family or significant other that might not share your love of a bare-bones plastic interior, you may be happier with an off-duty version.
They Get Worked Like A Dog
Police cars can run two or three shifts per day and thus incur a lot of wear and tear quickly. A car that is a few years old may have a decades worth of wear and tear. Vehicles used in urban areas perform short stop-start trips all day long. However, a police chiefs car and a take-home probably didnt have much hard usage at all.
In order to help you figure out which is the case with your desired car, ask the seller how the car was used.
Can I Buy Retired Police Cars
Yes, you can.
When Police agencies upgrade their fleet of vehicles, they sell the old ones to the places where they have been refurbished and sold. Mostly these cars are sold to the smaller police agencies that cannot afford new police cars. But there are no such restrictions to sell these cars to the general public without lights or decals. There are numbers of reasons for people to buy police cruises:
- Many of the buyers want to get the car that is built differently. People usually look for their alternate rims, modified suspension, and armor installed in the doors and roof. Maybe even want similar bulletproof glass that can go on the vehicles.
- The features present in old police cruisers make people feel safer. These police cars are made of built-in steel intrusion plates in seatbacks, and doors are modified to stop armor-piercing bullets.
- You just want to make sure that you are not impersonating an officer or disobeying any local laws if you were to own an exisiting retired police vehicle.
Ford police cars can go from zero to 55 miles per hour just over five seconds that is an exciting feature for speed lovers.
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Tips For Inspecting Police Car At Auctions
- Read all the information provided about vehicles that interest you before attending the auction. If possible, contact the government agencys maintenance department to find out more about the vehicles history.
- If youre not a mechanic, bring one with you.
- Perform a walkaround inspection of the car, turn it on, and do everything you can do in it . Make sure everything is in working order. Many times, the batteries in these police cars will be dead by the time they get to auction, so bring jumper cables.
- Take notice of the VIN .
- Not all police vehicles are equal. The cars use within the service will influence its value. A police captains car will likely feature a nicer interior and will have been used more lightly than a patrol vehicle.
Can You Legally Drive An Ex
Youd think the police wouldnt put their old cars up for sale to the public if they werent legal for civilians to drive on public roads as it is illegal to drive a retired cop car that still resembles a law enforcement vehicle.
According to a notice put out by a branch of the California Highway Patrol, in order to make a retired law enforcement vehicle legal to drive on roadways, it needs to be painted to no longer have traditional black and white paint, police logos or markings and no red and blue lights or light bar.
The actual letter of the law regarding what constitutes still resembling a police car varies from state to state, but dont assume they will be fine to drive in the condition theyre offered for sale in. Although most police departments will remove stickers and other insignia of the department, some wont.
Some buyers want used cop cars for collection pieces with all the markings, lights and other police symbolism intact. Collectors of old cop cars who want to retain or recreate the original signage have to obtain special permits or cover the artwork when they traveling on public roads.
Without doubt, the most controversial feature of ex-cop cars is the light bar mounted to the roof. Regulations about them vary from state to state with some not allowing front-facing red lights at all, some allowing roof-mounted lights as long as theyre not actually used, while others will not allow any roof-mounted lights whatsoever under any circumstance.
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Why Buy A Used Police Car
The main reason anyone would consider buying an ex-police car is because they are cheap to buy. You will be able to buy a used police car for a fraction of the price of the equivalent model that hasnt been owned and run by a police department, but there are good reasons for that.
First of all, an ex-police car is going to have a lot of miles on the odometer by the time it goes up for sale and those are going to have been pretty hard miles. Even so, theres every chance the car will have been serviced with no expense spared throughout its working life and its history will be second to none.
Some people also like the idea of owning and running an ex-cop car, and the models they choose to use are often large, powerful models by the very nature of the job they have to do. Despite the fact they are worked hard by the police, the bodywork will often be in very good condition as the police hierarchy doesnt want to see their officers driving around in beaten-up cars covered in dents and scratches.
Mostly though, the only reason to buy a used police car is because theyre cheap.
Before you even think about parting with your hard-earned money for any used car, please make sure you know what youre buying by getting a vehicle history report you can trust like one from EpicVIN. If youre buying from a dealer they should provide one, but if they dont, get your own here and it could save you a fortune in the long run.
Police Car Auctions: How To Buy Seized Cars The Correct Way
Police car auctions grow day by day at an alarming rate mostly because police officers seize large numbers of vehicles from drivers all around the country on a daily basis. Seized cars may be taken back by the owner only if he pays the penalty fine within a certain period of time. It often happens that the cars remain in the police garages, as the vehicle owners dont always have the cash to buy back their cars, meaning that the vehicles will stay in the ownership of the police.
Due to a large number of seized vehicles, police departments occasionally put thecars at auction so they can free up some space. Then is a really good opportunity for the public to buy a used vehicle at a much lower price than it would normally be sold at dealers and independent car sellers.
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Used Cop Cars Are Affordable
Used police cars are often far cheaper than their civilian counterparts. In fact, according to the Star, GCSurplus reported that the average price for a 2009 Ford Crown Victoria sedan from 2014 to 2015 was $1,184. This is much lower compared to the average cost for a similar used base model at $9,217.
What You Really Want Is An Off
Off-duty cars have all the ingredients that make a cop car worth driving, but they also feature nicer, more conventional cloth seats, instead of the industrial-grade vinyl a police cruiser will tend to have. A chosen few even come with leather seats, but those are rare and generally given to county commissioners, chiefs of the fire and police departments, and other bigwigs. Not too coincidentally, these vehicles also have the highest frequency of diligent maintenance.
Everything To Know Before Buying A Used Police Car
Have you ever wondered what happens to police cars once a department no longer needs them? The answer many police cars get a second life as civilian cars after serving a minimum number of years or reaching a certain mileage. Once a significant portion of police cars reach this milestone, the department sells their cars and invests in a whole new fleet.
Used Cop Cars Have Lots Of Interior And Trunk Space
Officers need all sorts of equipment to do their job. As such, theyre often issued cars with roomy cabins, comfy rear seats, and massive trunks far more spacious than what youll find on your typical sedan. So whether you need to haul your kids , groceries, or camping gear, police cars will get the job done.
For instance, the Crown Victoria one of the most popular police sedans of the 90s and 2000s has a high roofline that can comfortably seat even the biggest and burliest of football players.
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How To Buy A Used Police Car
Most police cars that are no longer required by the department are sold at government auctions. You might know of one near you, but if you dont you can find out about every police and other government vehicle auction going on around the country right here. This is a definitive guide that will tell you much of what you need to know as well as when and where auctions are taking place.
As well as ex-police cars some of these auctions sell vehicles from other federal and local agencies as well as vehicles confiscated from criminals. Regardless of the origin and provenance of any vehicle you see for sale at one of these auctions, you really do need to know what youre doing before you contemplate buying any vehicle at an auction.
Although an ex-cop car wont have a murky past like many other auction cars can have, the one thing you know before you buy one is that it will have a had a pretty hard life before you buy it. You have to approach buying these cars with realistic expectations. Some of these vehicles will have been sitting undriven for weeks, months, even years after they were decommissioned, and that means youll almost certainly have to replace the battery. If you want to inspect the vehicle in person before you bid, which you absolutely should do if at all possible, a jump box would be a useful piece of kit to have with you unless the auction can help in that direction.
Dodge Charger 57l Hemi
It’s hard to believe Dodge has been building Hemi-powered Charger cop cars for 15 years now, and they are everywhere. The first-gen cars had the 340-hp early version of the third-gen Hemi, but the 2011-to-current version has the 370-hp 5.7L Eagle Hemi and is the one currently in service. The midcycle face-lift in 2015 brought an upgrade from the five-speed NAG1 automatic to the eight-speed TorqueFliteboth of which are solid performers. We are, however, fans of the earlier 2011 to 2014 nose. Also of note is that two wheel styles were availablethe standard passenger-car 18-inch alloy five-spoke and the 18-inch cop-car steelie.
Years ago, we spent a week driving a 2015 Charger Pursuit and discovered its AWD setup to be a bit buzzy relative to the RWD version. The AWD variant does suck up some power, which you can feel in the seat of your pants, and the mandatory NAG1 five-speed transmission is shifted from a column lever so that the console is left barren for the installation of police gear . Our advice would be to search for the RWD model since it’s simpler, lighter, and faster.
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You’re Gonna Need To Figure Out The History For Yourself
CARFAX can be somewhat valuable, but only if the agency had a dealership or an independent repair facility handle the maintenance needs — and larger cities are less likely to do that. Looking at the pictures online can help you quickly cross out the cars that look like they got into a fight and lost — so long as you’re reasonably sure the photos are of the right car. The remaining cars can all be inspected and verified for their condition by you or a mechanically inclined person. That takes a bit of planning.
Cop Cars Are Often Sold As
Save for the equipment that civilians arent allowed to operate, most police cars are sold as is. This essentially means that once youve signed the contract, all problems, repairs, and modifications are your responsibility.
Unfortunately, this means having to deal with stuff like street-legal fittings that have not been removed from the vehicle, such as rear prisoner cages and spotlights. Many of these cars also come with industrial-grade vinyl seats in place of rear cloth seats because vinyl is easier to wipe down and clean in case of any accidents. On the bright side, you get some cool features that arent usually found on normal cars.
Other things you can expect from as is cop cars include holes and damages on the dashboard and console from previously fitted police equipment, holes in the roof from light panels and radio antennas, and brackets upfront for grille guards or bull bars. You might also have to deal with sticky glue residue from decals and black-and-white patterns that make it hard to be subtle about the fact that you just bought a police car.
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List Of The Cons Of Buying A Used Police Car
1. You have heavy-duty parts that youll need to manage. It might seem like a good idea to purchase a used police car because theyre built to withstand some difficult conditions. One of the ways that automakers achieve this result is to use heavy-duty parts throughout the vehicle. That means you have more versatility when driving, but it also creates cost issues when something breaks down. It might seem nice to have a better alternator to support your driving habits until you realize that it costs three times more to replace it when compared to a standard product.
2. Used police vehicles have a lot of wear-and-tear on them. You need to look at a used police car through the lens of previous ownership. Unlike a standard vehicle that might sit in the garage for some time, law enforcement puts people in the vehicle for 2-3 shifts per day. That means a model that is only a few years old might have more than a decade of wear-and-tear on it in comparison. Youll want to have a mechanic you trust review the vehicle that youre thinking about purchasing to ensure that the price you pay is comparable to the condition of the car.
Those hours that the car spends idling are never reflected on the odometer. Youll want to double the figure you see to have an idea of what your maintenance schedule should be going forward if you choose to make a purchase.
How Can I Buy A Decommissioned Cop Car
Iâve always loved cop cars ever since I was a kid. But now that Iâm older, a buddy of mine told me that I could probably find one on the cheap. Where can I buy a decommissioned cop car?
the best places to look are at auctionsat police auctionsbuyer bewaresave an average of $887
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What Is The Fastest Police Car In America
If we forget about those images from Miami Vice of undercover police driving Ferraris and Lamborghinis to blend in with bad guys, the fastest vehicle the police currently use for patrol at the moment is actually the Ford Police Interceptor Utility.
The latest Police Interceptor Utility is quite obviously based on the Ford Explorer thats dressed for patrol, but the differences between this version and the civilized family version you can buy in showrooms are less subtle than you might think. The Ford Police Interceptor Utility is currently the fastest-accelerating and the police car in America with the highest top speed. The PIU has a top speed of 150 mph and gets from a standing start to 60 mph in as little as 5.77 seconds. With the average modern car having a top speed of around 120 mph, the Ford Police Interceptor Utility will give most vehicles a run for their money.
What Are The Rules For Owning A Decommissioned Police Car
Photo:Highway Patrol Images
Have you looked in your rearview mirror to see a cop car following you, only to glance a second time and realize it wasnt an actual police cruiser it was a decommissioned cop car? People dont like mistaking an unofficial police interceptor with the real thing, so theres a fierce debate over the rules of owning a decommissioned police car. Unfortunately, the guidelines are surprisingly undefined.
Old cop cars have certain features that are what skeptics criticize for having: a spotlight, huge antenna, bullbar, certain body colors/pattern, and a light bar. Are ordinary citizens allowed to have these on their privately-owned, retired squad cars?
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