What You Need To Know Before Buying A Car From A Police Auction

Posted on: 24 March 2017

If you are in need of a vehicle but cannot afford to buy one from a dealership, you may want to consider buying a car from a police auction. You may have seen advertisements on television that say vehicles can be purchased at great prices at police auctions. And while that may be true, there are a few roadblocks you need to be aware of. Here are several issues you may be faced with if you buy from a police auction. 

You probably won't be able to test drive 

You'll be given an opportunity to look over the vehicles before the auction starts. However, you probably won't be able to test drive any vehicles, which means you won't know whether they run and drive well or not. Because of this, it's a good idea to have a mechanic tag along to look under the hood if you are not mechanically inclined. Sometimes, these inspection days occur several days or a week before the actual sale date. 

You may not get a car key

If you do purchase a vehicle from a police auction, you may not get a car key for the vehicle. Many of the cars at police auctions were seized by law enforcement officers and they didn't have the key at the time of seizure. Dealerships and locksmiths can make a set of car keys for you, but it's highly recommended to change the locks and ignition switch instead. The reason for this is that the original owner may still have a set of keys and may try to use their copy of the car to steal the car from you in the future if they recognize the vehicle. 

You may need to remove the car from the lot on the day of the sale

Some auctions require the new owners to move the cars from the lot on the same day as the auction. This can be done by either driving the car away or by towing it. If you go to the auction knowing which make and model you want to buy, you can hire a locksmith to tag along and change the locks and ignition on the spot. That way, you may be able to drive the car if the car runs, drives, and has a good set of tires and brakes. If not, you'll need to hire a towing service to remove the car. Fortunately, towing services are typically readily available at police auctions and other types of auctions.