They Get Worked Like A Dog
Police cars can run two or three shifts per day, so a lot of wear and tear accumulates 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. Ask how the car was used. A police chiefs car and a take-home probably didnt have much hard usage.
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 Features Are Illegal To Have On A Decommissioned Police Car
Old squad cars make good second-hand purchases because although theyve been through a lot of strain theyre durable, powerful, and available at liquidation prices. Basically, if you want an American-brand sedan with a V8 for a couple-thousand dollars, this is how to obtain it. Some people love owning old police interceptors as collectors items other people love the feeling of being mistaken for a real police car.
2017 Dodge Charger Pursuit
After a police agency replaces an old model with a brand-new one with updated features and capabilities, they will relinquish the old model for purchase, oftentimes through public auction. Most police departments will not put any work into physically disassembling the law enforcement accessories from the vehicle before the auction apart from the absolute essentials like stripping it of its official logos and badging. Some police departments make the extra effort to disconnect and possibly remove the sirens and lights, but not always.
Thus, the cars up for auction typically possess these attributes, giving the buyer the impression that the vehicle is acceptable to drive as is.
The majority of buyers who have just purchased a cheap car from an auction will not be turning around and spending money on repainting it or filling the gaping holes left by the spotlight, antenna, bullbar, or light bar. If the cars are sold like that at auction, why would it be the buyers fault for possessing it in its sold condition?
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Are Police Cars Faster Than Normal Cars
Whether its a Crown Vic, an Impala or an Explorer, youre not going to find any small-displacement turbocharged engines under the hoods of ex-cop cars. The vast majority of used police cars youll find at an auction these days will have great big V8s powering them. While some police cars will have been tuned to be faster than the versions you can buy new from a showroom, many of them will just rely on the regular power of that V8.
Compared to the kind of high-powered compact, midsize and full-size we can buy today for pretty reasonable money, the average cop car is no great shakes in terms of performance. A Crown Vic might be pretty swift in a straight line but a Ford Focus RS or a Honda Civic Type R will leave them for dead in a high-speed car chase.
Most Used Police Cars Come With High Mileage
One of the reasons why cop cars are so cheap is high mileage. Police cars are used day-in and day-out in many ways from slow, meandering neighbourhood patrols to the stop-start driving cops do when responding to calls throughout the day.
But mile count doesnt really paint much of a picture regarding how its driver handled and maintained it. Even if you can score a car with low mileage, you wont really know how hard it was pushed until the police department retired.
Tip: When buying used cars, always bring a mechanic along to perform a detailed inspection. This will help you identify potential problem areas and money pits.
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They Really Do Practically Give Them Away
Pro: When it comes down to brass tacks, you are likely to grab yourself a bargain. Almost all used police cars are sold at auction for less than what you would pay for a similar vehicle on the standard used car market. Typically, youll find them marked with an indicator price of what each car is expected to fetch at auction. Still, as there usually isnt a minimum reserve they can, and often do, sell for considerably less than the expected price.
Con: Used police cars sold at auction dont typically come with a warranty or mechanical certification. And, as you wont have an opportunity to test drive them before the sale, its a good idea to take somebody with you who knows a bit about cars. That way, you can avoid buying a lemon.
Why Not Buy A Used Police Car
Even if you come across an ex-cop car for sale that has reasonable miles on the odometer for its age, those miles are not necessarily a fair indication of the use that vehicle has had. I dont mean that the police wind the odometer back to get a better price for the car at auction for heavens sake! What I mean is that although a police car could only do a few miles on patrol in a single day, a lot of that day could have been spent with one or two full-grown police officers sitting in there.
The heat will on full if its cold outside, the air conditioner will be run constantly if its hot, the battery will be run hard by the lights and radio, the doors, glove box and trunk will be constantly opened and closed to get stuff or just to kill time. Basically, every single button, switch, surface and feature in the vehicle will be used during every shift even though the odometer isnt clocking up the miles in the process.
When the car is clocking up the miles, however, plenty of them will be hard miles. If youre lucky the car you buy might have been a highway patrol vehicle thats spent most of its life on long, straight, open roads at cruising speeds. If youre not so lucky, you could end up with one that spent almost its entire life in stop/start traffic at low speeds in the town or city and idling parked up for hours like a mobile police station.
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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.
Conduct Your Own Forensic Investigation
Has the transmission been recently replaced? Has the engine received recent repair work? What about the suspension? These are the three big expense components of most police vehicles, and to figure them out, you need to contact the official who posted the online listing. Or, if the government agency in question isn’t online quite yet — yes, that still happens — contact the maintenance department and find out who keeps these records.
Either way, ask the official when you can come by and see the records in person, and whether there is a specific time of day when you can inspect the vehicle. Every place has rules and policies that are set in stone.
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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.
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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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.
By the way, if youd like to know about some of the very best products, services and companies Ive found for buying, selling, and helping with vehicle ownership then please check out my recommended products and services page right here. As well as telling you where to go to get the very lowest prices on new and used vehicles, I also cover finance, insurance, parts, detailing and other stuff too.
Government Surplus Fleet & Police Impound Auto Auctions In The United States
Many of the vehicles bought and sold at police auto auctions are amazing values theyre 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, theres a few things you should know. If youve never been to a police auto auction, be sure to read our Police Auctions FAQ
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Is Buying Auctioned Vehicles A Good Idea
People who have attended police car auctions have been blown away by the deals they score. But everyone agrees: You must be prepared when you enter the junkyard for this epic bidding war.
Since youre not buying from a conscientious car dealer, but rather from an impound lot, you dont get any of the guarantees and warranties and service packages youve come to expect from reputable dealers. But youre getting cars for a tiny fraction of the price, which makes up for that. Still, if you dont know anything or anyone who knows anything about cars its probably best to go to a dealer.
You will not have an opportunity to take the cars for a test drive, so what you see really is what you get. However, these cars are typically in a roadworthy condition and in good working order.
One of the police auctions we attended offered fantastic deals, though:
- A somewhat messed up Chrysler PT Cruiser for $300
- A Chevy Astro for $425
- A rather beat-up Impala for $525
- A nice-looking 2003 Ford Escape for $525
- A spectacular 2013 Hyundai Elantra for $5,500
Provided the engine is good, you can always give the car a little TLC with some of the money you save, and youll still have a good deal.
How do you buy a car at auction?
The first step is to find a police car auction near you. On the day of the auction, arrive at the junkyard early to check out whats on offer. You may be asked to sign in at the front desk.
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.
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Used Police Cars: Are They Worth It And Where To Buy
It may seem strange at first, but used police cars actually make decent second-hand buys.
Most police cars have been upgraded to handle the day-to-day demands of police work. Plus, theyre equipped with all sorts of neat features, from powerful engines to heavy-duty suspension. They also come quite cheap nearly all used police cars are sold for far less than similar models on the used car market. You can find a huge selection of used Police cars right here on Carpages.
Essentially, if youre looking for a hardy compact car equipped with a powerful V8 engine that wont break the bank, police cars are your best bet! So, where can you score one? And are there any downsides to owning a cop car?
In this guide, we clue you in on everything you need to know before making a purchase, from the downsides of police car maintenance to useful tips on where to buy used police cars.
Police Vehicles Are Generally Kept In Good Condition
Dont assume that just because police work is so intensive that the used cop cars that are up for sale are all beat-up clunkers.
Because vehicles are so essential to the job, cop cars are usually well maintained. After all, you wouldnt want to be in hot pursuit of a criminal, only to have them slip away because your engine overheated.
Take it from Josh Bailey of the Canadian Black Book: Typically, the vehicles that are retired from heavy-duty service like police work, are generally, perhaps wrongly, viewed as being heavily abused. In fact, theyre probably highly maintained vehicles.
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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.