Police auctions are practical places to look for a good-condition car for a fraction of its value. Lots are usually a mix of some middle-aged cars and some newer models, most of which were impounded due to some violations committed by their drivers.
A lot of people who go to police auctions prefer impounded cars because they are somewhat assured that these vehicles were running right before they were seized by the police. Cars are usually taken off the road by police due to driver infractions. If you want to buy a decent car at a cheap price, police car auctions that include impounded cars are a great place to start.
How to participate:
First, call your local police department and find out when the auction will be held. Some of these impounded car auctions are advertised in newspapers or posted on the internet and most police auctions are done every month. If you’re buying from a registered auction houses, these hold auctions almost every week.
You’ll need to register to get your bidder number. Only bids coming from registered bidders are recognized. While some auctions offer free registration, most require a nominal fee.
Give yourself time to check the impounded vehicles, so better arrive early. Bring a mechanic or a friend with you to help you inspect the vehicles if you’re not confident enough. Bidding usually starts at around 10 a.m., so you’ll have time to go around and inspect the lot before making your choices.
Bring your driver’s license and insurance proof, just in case you intend to drive the car home after winning a bid. You will also need a temporary permit. Check with your locality since regulations regarding temporary permits vary.
Bring a price guide for used-cars. This can guide you in figuring out your bidding numbers through trade-in value information. If you have a wireless laptop or a PDA, run the car’s vehicle identification number (VIN) through Carfax to check its history. Remember, this is a police impound car auction. You’ll want to know what exactly it is you’re getting.
Advantages of Police Impound Car Auctions
No, impounded cars are not violent criminal’s cars. They’re usually cars seized because of a DWLS (driving with license suspended) or a loan payment default. Or, they could be the property of individuals or companies engaged in fraud, which means they are either newer models or in very good condition.
Impound car auctions are also a great place to find some really good branded cars, which would otherwise cost more at regular auctions.
You can’t know for sure how long the impounded cars have been sitting in storage or in a garage without maintenance. They could be there for a year without getting checked. They also do not come with any warranties.
The ‘as is, where is’ clause means that what you see is what you buy and what you buy, is exactly what you get. Since you can’t bring the car to a mechanic or test drive it, you basically accept it in its present condition and cannot hold the auction house responsible for any defect you might find later on. If you find out later that you bought a piece of junk, then you have no one to blame but yourself.
Impound car auctions attract a lot of people, not only because of the good price, but also because of the possibility of buying a good-condition, road-worthy vehicle. In fact, you could be competing with some experienced and professional bidders. The best way to survive a police impound car auction is to do your homework and come prepared. Who knows? You could be driving with the car of your dreams when it’s over.