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Can You Buy a Car From the Police Impound Lot?

By Mike Richards Posted: 08/16/2019

Can you buy a car from the police impound lot? The answer to this question may depend on the area, but generally, the answer is yes, if through auto auctions. We’ll show you how.

What Cars Can You Find at Impound Lots?

Police impound lots can often contain some gems. Authorities can impound vehicles for many reasons. but if the cars are not cleared, the authorities don’t really have any use for them and they just sit around in the lots. The condition of the cars will vary widely. Many of the cars will be in poor condition, but many others could be very high-quality vehicles.

Whether you have walked by an impound lot and seen a nice gem or you’d simply like to know whether you could buy a car from the lot, read on.

Government Auctions

You will not be able to buy a car directly from the impound lot. But as we said, the authorities don’t have a use for these cars and are motivated to get rid of them. And so they end up being auctioned off to clear the space and bring in some cash. This is done through government auctions.

These auctions don’t just include impounded vehicles. At these auctions, you will also find cars that have ended their life in service. This can be an interesting segment to look at since these cars are usually in good shape, far better than salvage cars sold at public auctions. These vehicles have been properly maintained and serviced and the only potential disadvantages are the substantial mileage and limited choices.

But in these auctions you will also find cars that have been seized during police actions. However, make sure that you inspect these cars thoroughly or have someone with you who can do it for you. The condition of these cars is hard to establish, and the vehicle service history isn’t available. So, you are deciding on the car’s condition on the spot.

The positive side of that is that, like the police cars, seized cars will be auctioned off at significantly reduced prices. This means you may get a good car for a fraction of the price it would normally go for at your local dealership.

Further Reading


2010 Ford Focus

But you should be prepared to deal with some potential issues when buying an impounded car. Depending on the reason or the way the car got impounded, you might have to find a locksmith who will cut a key for the car. You may also have to tow it home and inspect it thoroughly because the on-site inspection might not be sufficient to determine the exact condition of the car.

Registering and insuring the car will probably take some more paperwork, if the car was seized due to criminal ties. But there should be no issues if the car’s history and title are in possession of the authorities.

If the idea of buying an impounded car has caught your interest, you’ll be happy to learn that you can find hundreds of thousands of vehicles, including impounded vehicles, at Auto Auction Mall. There you will get access to many auctions around the country, including government auctions.

Example Current Live Auctions