Remember, you aren’t allowed to drive these vehicles, but you are granted access to them prior to the auction, and getting up close can reveal all kinds of hidden maladies. Look for things like paint overspray, uneven sheet metal, compromised suspension components, undercarriage rust, and anything else that looks out of place. Interior aroma is another major thing to watch out for, so be wary of things like gasoline aromas and mildew, because even though they may dissipate eventually, there’s a strong chance they represent a much larger issue.

Several different federal agencies hold government auctions. The General Services Administration is the granddaddy of them all, because it sells on behalf of other departments. When a federal agency no longer needs something — say, a pickup truck — it reports the truck to GSA, which first offers it to other federal agencies and then to state and local governments or nonprofits. If nobody claims the truck, then the GSA auctions it off to the public, and you get your chance at it. 
If you are in the market for a replacement vehicle, consider a local public car auction. Auto auctions are especially great for people on a budget because vehicles can run up to ninety percent less than where their market values are listed. Public car auctions are great resources for car buyers on a budget, but first timers should educate themselves. Catch up on how to take advantage of public car auctions if you are unfamiliar with the industry and its process.
Visit websites of government agencies that hold public auctions. At the federal level, you can find auctions online or listings for live auctions held across the country by visiting the GovSales.gov website. GovSales.gov has consolidated listings of assets for sale across the federal government. A variety of state and local government agencies also hold public surplus property auctions. Links to many local government auction sites are listed at USA.gov, under Shopping.
In economics we tend to think of auctions as a good way to get at the true price of an object. Of course, it isn’t quite perfect as there’s still problems with information asymmetries, and people can get a winner’s curse because the people who err in thinking the car is worth more than it actually is are the ones who are likely to win. On the other hand, the price can go lower if there just aren’t enough people at the auction for that to happen– you need at least two people over-valuing the object and willing to pay for it for one of them to over-pay.
Cars at public auctions are often those that wouldn't sell at wholesale dealer auctions. Yes, some are flood vehicles, and Hurricane Irene should still be fresh in your mind. Some are cars quickly reconditioned in dealership shops to fill in slow periods when there's otherwise little work to be done. And many are just flat out junk. "A car that goes across the block at a public auction that isn't spewing smoke is often packed with thick racing oil to ensure it doesn't," Lang continues. "Everything at a public auction looks shiny, but shiny doesn't mean much about the quality of the car."
Sign up to receive automatic notification of new auction listings. You can call the regional office of a government agency to get on mailing lists for upcoming government asset sales. Each government or contractor website will also have a registration form to receive notices of new auction listings. It is also possible at these websites to create custom email alerts for particular items coming up for auction or categories of listings.
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Cars at government and public auctions sell on visual inspection alone. So look at everything and look for telltale signs of repairs such as paint overspray, less than smooth sheet metal, puddles under the vehicle, scored brake discs, an uneven stance and a million other details. Use your nose, hands and legs, too. If a car smells musty or the carpeting is wet, run away.
To bid, you'll mostly need to go to an auction house on the day and bid in person. However, some auction houses now offer live internet or telephone bidding. You'll have to register to bid with the auction house, whether you're bidding in person or not. You should be able to find out when the next police auction will be held by visiting the auction house's website.
You could tell that most people knew each other. It felt like these few dozen bidders were part of an exclusive network of junkyard owners and flip-artists who have been bidding on cars against each other for years. Every now and then, when one guy outbid another, you’d see the losing bidder lean over to a friend and talk shit on the winner. “He just buys cars for the sake of buying them. He probably makes no money,” I heard one guy whisper. Police auctions are full of mysteries and secrets.

Ever wonder how you can get your hands on something the government doesn't want anymore? Municibid is your best bet. This is an auction website for government agencies, schools, authorities, and utilities to sell their surplus and forfeitures directly to the public. Auction items include cars, boats, furniture, computers, kitchen equipment, and much more. 


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The General Service Administration is the biggest national sales agency and you can check out fleet sale cars and trucks on their website. Online versions of the auction can be located through the GovSales website. Finding former police cars for sale is down to how often those local auctions are held, but you can also try eBay Motors. Government car auctions are there in the motors section for you to search through. You can search by ZIP code, type of car, miles from your destination or make and model of the car you require.

From our early days as an online police auction site, there was one piece of property & evidence that we did not touch – firearms. However, recently for many states and jurisdictions it has become a requirement, and even mandated, for law enforcement agencies to auction off their seized, forfeited and unclaimed firearms just as they do with other parts of the property and evidence room.
You could tell that most people knew each other. It felt like these few dozen bidders were part of an exclusive network of junkyard owners and flip-artists who have been bidding on cars against each other for years. Every now and then, when one guy outbid another, you’d see the losing bidder lean over to a friend and talk shit on the winner. “He just buys cars for the sake of buying them. He probably makes no money,” I heard one guy whisper. Police auctions are full of mysteries and secrets.
A well-maintained car will always have a clean dipstick when you check the oil or transmission fluid, so if it’s anything other than light and transparent, be careful. Also be sure to inspect the coolant overflow tank and shine a flashlight inside the radiator. If it looks like someone accidentally dumped chocolate milk in there it’s time to walk away, because that’s the sign of a blown head gasket.
Depending on the agency, the government may use revenue from auctioned items to support crime-prevention programs, pay restitution to crime victims or purchase new equipment the department needs. "By providing agencies with the ability to dispose of excess assets, GSA benefits taxpayers by eliminating the need to maintain and store the unneeded property while also raising more than $300 million in revenue in just the last two years," a GSA spokesperson said.

Do the homework, sometimes even ‘bad’ car can be a great deal at an auction. I recently bought a minivan that was listed as having a blown transmission. A little research discovered this is a common problem for that make and year. At the preview, I had my mechanic (whom I trust) on speed dial and got an estimate on the spot to replace the transmission with a new, 5-year warrentied rebuilt one. The bids on the van were low (who’d buy a vehicle with a bad transmission?), and even with the purchase price, the cost of the new transmission and towing to my mechanic, it still came in way below KBB value. And I know it has a worry-free transmission for the next 5 years. So don’t let even a ‘problem’ car scare you off if you’re willing to do the homework and hassle of getting it fixed.


www.clintonautoauction.comCLINTON AUTO AUCTION CONDUCTS AUCTIONS 1st, 3rd, and 5th (if there is a 5th Saturday) SATURDAY OF EACH MONTH. THESE AUCTIONS CONSIST OF IL STATE POLICE DRUG SEIZED VEHICLES, REPOSSESSED VEHICLES AND PUBLIC AND DEALER CONSIGNMENTS. CLINTON AUTO AUCTION IS PURELY A CONSIGNMENT AUCTION WITH VEHICLES IN ALL PRICE RANGES. USUALLY CONSIGNMENT VARIES BETWEEN 150-250   [ View Full Listing ]
This is about auctions where the cars are the most ordinary of ordinary vehicles: Ford Crown Victorias coming off six years of patrol duty with the county sheriff's department. Toyota Tercels with so much mileage that their odometers have worn off the printed numerals. Plain sedans, base model pickups and early '90s Pontiac Firebirds confiscated in drug stings. Cars you can get cheap—maybe.
www.clintonautoauction.comCLINTON AUTO AUCTION CONDUCTS AUCTIONS 1st, 3rd, and 5th (if there is a 5th Saturday) SATURDAY OF EACH MONTH. THESE AUCTIONS CONSIST OF IL STATE POLICE DRUG SEIZED VEHICLES, REPOSSESSED VEHICLES AND PUBLIC AND DEALER CONSIGNMENTS. CLINTON AUTO AUCTION IS PURELY A CONSIGNMENT AUCTION WITH VEHICLES IN ALL PRICE RANGES. USUALLY CONSIGNMENT VARIES BETWEEN 150-250   [ View Full Listing ]
PLEASE READ THESE TERMS OF SALE CAREFULLY, AS THEY HAVE BEEN RECENTLY UPDATED.  THIS IS AN INTERNET-ONLY AUCTION!  AUCTION CLOSING DATE: Monday, March 18th at 11:07 am  Bidding closes on the first item at 11:07 am, then closes at the rate discussed in these Terms and Conditions of Sale.  INSPECT: Friday, March 15th 10am to 4pm REMOVAL:   [ View Full Listing ]
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