Should You Buy Used Police Car?


Wondering whether Should You Buy Used Police Car?

The allure of owning a used police car is undeniable. With their enhanced performance specifications, durability, and, let’s admit it, the cool factor, retired police vehicles, commonly referred to as Police Interceptor sedans or utility vehicles, offer a unique proposition for the savvy car buyer. But is purchasing one a wise decision? This blog, written with over a decade of experience in crafting unique, informative, and engaging content, aims to peel back the layers of mystery surrounding these vehicles. Join us as we navigate the pros and cons, uncover hidden truths, and provide you with the insights needed to make an informed decision.

The Appeal of Police Interceptors

Performance and Durability

Used police cars, especially those from brands like Ford with their Crown Victoria, Chevrolet with the Caprice or Tahoe, and Dodge with the Charger, are built to higher specifications than their civilian counterparts. They come equipped with upgraded suspension systems, more powerful engines, heavy-duty cooling systems, and enhanced electrical capabilities to handle the rigors of police work. This makes them attractive for their performance and durability.


On the surface, used police cars offer incredible value. They are often auctioned at competitive prices, providing access to a vehicle with superior performance metrics for a fraction of the cost of similar civilian models.

Unique Features

Beyond performance, these vehicles come with distinctive features such as a spotlight, reinforced push bumpers, and sometimes even a partition between the front and rear seats. While some may find these features unnecessary, others view them as valuable add-ons that contribute to the vehicle’s character and functionality.

Considerations Before Buying

Mileage and Wear

Despite their durability, police cars endure a demanding life. High mileage is common, but it’s not just the odometer reading that prospective buyers should be wary of. Idle hours — times when the vehicle was running but stationary — can also contribute to engine wear. These cars spend countless hours idling, which can be as taxing on the vehicle as driving.

Maintenance History

The maintenance history of a police vehicle can be a double-edged sword. On one hand, these cars are subjected to regular maintenance schedules to ensure they’re always in peak condition. On the other, the very nature of police work means these vehicles have been driven hard. Buyers should seek detailed maintenance records to gauge the car’s condition accurately.

Modification and Removal of Equipment

When police cars are decommissioned and prepared for auction, all police-specific equipment is removed. This can leave the vehicle with holes in the exterior and interior where lights, sirens, and other equipment were mounted. Repairing these modifications to restore the car’s aesthetic can be costly and time-consuming.

Insurance and Registration

Insuring a used police car can be more complicated and expensive than a standard vehicle. Some insurance companies may charge higher premiums for these cars due to their perceived risk. Additionally, registering a vehicle that still bears the appearance of a police car can be challenging in some jurisdictions.

The Buying Process

Where to Buy

Used police cars can be purchased through government auctions, online auction sites, and sometimes directly from government agencies. Each source has its advantages and disadvantages, from the excitement and potential deals found at live auctions to the convenience and broad selection available online.

Inspection and Evaluation

Before making a purchase, a thorough inspection is crucial. This includes a detailed examination of the vehicle’s exterior and interior, a check under the hood for any signs of wear or damage, and ideally, a test drive. Consulting with a mechanic who has experience with these types of vehicles can provide invaluable insights.

Negotiating the Deal

Armed with information about the vehicle’s condition and market value, buyers are in a strong position to negotiate the sale price. Don’t be afraid to use any identified issues as leverage to lower the price.

What are the Characteristics of a Police Car?

Diving into the world of police cars is like opening a Pandora’s box of cool, robust features and high-performance specs. Let’s simplify and break down what makes these vehicles stand out.

Built Tough to Last

First off, police cars are the superheroes of the automotive world. They’re built tougher than your average car. Think of them as the armored knights in a car chess game — ready to withstand the toughest conditions.

Power Under the Hood

Under the hood, these cars are beasts. They’re equipped with more powerful engines than their civilian counterparts. This means faster acceleration and the ability to keep going when it matters most. Whether it’s a high-speed chase or a quick response required, these cars are up to the task.

Heavy-Duty Add-Ons

Police cars come with heavy-duty cooling systems to prevent the engine from overheating during high-intensity operations. Their electrical systems are also beefed up to handle the extra load from lights, radios, and other equipment. Plus, the suspension systems are enhanced for high-speed pursuits and sudden maneuvers.

Designed for Duty

The design of police cars is all about functionality and durability. They often feature reinforced push bumpers, which can be used to move obstacles or other vehicles. Inside, you might find a partition separating the front and back seats, protecting officers from detained individuals in the back.

Stealth and Visibility

Police cars strike a balance between being stealthy and highly visible. While unmarked cars blend in, marked units sport high-visibility paint jobs and graphics, making them easy to recognize in your rearview mirror. At night, their LED light bars can light up a scene like daylight.

Always Ready

These vehicles are designed to be ready at a moment’s notice. They have systems in place to keep essential equipment charged and ready to go, ensuring that when duty calls, they can respond without a hitch.

Can Anyone Buy a Used Police Car?

The short answer? Yes, absolutely! Buying a used police car isn’t like trying to purchase a secret service vehicle or a military tank. It’s much simpler and open to just about everyone. Here’s the scoop on how you can get your hands on one of these rugged chariots.

Open to the Public

When police departments upgrade their fleets, they often auction off their older vehicles to the public. These auctions are open to anyone — you don’t need a special badge or a secret handshake to participate. Whether you’re a car enthusiast, a budget-conscious buyer, or just someone looking for a vehicle that’s a little different, these auctions are your golden ticket.

Online and In-Person Auctions

Finding a used police car for sale is as easy as doing a quick internet search or keeping an eye out for local government auctions. Many police departments and government agencies use online auction sites to sell their retired vehicles, making it convenient to browse, bid, and buy from the comfort of your home. If you’re more of a hands-on shopper, local auctions held at government or public spaces offer the chance to see these vehicles up close before making a bid.

No Special Requirements

One of the best parts about buying a used police car is that there are no special requirements. You don’t need to be a part of law enforcement or have any special connections. All you need is a valid driver’s license and the necessary funds to make your purchase. It’s that straightforward.

A Word of Caution

While anyone can buy a used police car, it’s important to remember that owning one comes with its own set of rules, especially if the car retains its police markings or equipment. Some states have specific laws about driving a vehicle that looks too much like an active police car, so you might need to make some modifications to comply with local regulations.

Why Opt for a Used Police Car Over a Regular Used Vehicle?

Thinking about getting a used car? Hold up a second! Before you dive into the sea of regular used vehicles, have you considered a used police car? Yes, those rugged beasts that patrolled the streets might just be your next ride. Let’s explore why a used police car could be a better choice than a standard used car.

Built to Last

Firstly, police cars are the tough guys of the automotive world. They’re built with durability in mind, designed to handle high-speed pursuits and long hours on the road. This means you’re getting a car that’s ready to endure more wear and tear than your average used car.

Power and Performance

Crave a bit of oomph under the hood? Used police cars often come with more powerful engines and enhanced performance features compared to their civilian counterparts. You’re not just buying a car; you’re getting a slice of high-performance engineering.

Maintenance and Upkeep

Here’s a surprising fact: despite their hard life, police vehicles are usually meticulously maintained. They undergo regular check-ups and servicing to ensure they’re always in peak condition. This can mean a more reliable vehicle compared to a regular used car that might not have seen as consistent care.

Unique Features

Fancy a car with a bit of character? Used police cars come with unique features like upgraded electrical systems, heavy-duty cooling systems, and sometimes even a reinforced chassis. These aren’t things you typically find in a standard used car.


Here’s the kicker: used police cars can offer incredible bang for your buck. Given their performance upgrades and durability, you’re often getting more car for your money. And since they’re usually auctioned off by government agencies, you might snag a deal that’s hard to beat in the regular used car market.

A Cool Factor

Let’s not skirt around it; driving a used police car has an undeniable cool factor. It’s a conversation starter, a head-turner, and let’s face it, it feels pretty awesome to cruise around in a piece of history.

Why Choose a Used Police Car Over a Regular Used Vehicle?

When you’re in the market for a used car, you’ve got plenty of choices. But here’s a thought: why not consider a used police car instead of the usual options? Let’s break down why this might just be the smartest move you make.

Durability and Strength

First up, durability. Police cars are like the tanks of the road. They’re built to take a beating and come out the other side ready for more. This means that when you buy a used police car, you’re getting something that’s likely to last longer and handle better than a lot of regular used cars.

High-Performance Specs

Next, let’s talk power. Ever feel the need for speed? Well, police cars are equipped with powerful engines and enhanced performance features that you might not find in your average sedan. This isn’t just about going fast; it’s about having a vehicle that responds when you need it to.

Well-Maintained Machines

Here’s something not everyone considers: maintenance. Police departments have to keep their vehicles in top shape. That means regular check-ups and repairs. When you buy a used police car, you’re likely getting a vehicle that’s been taken care of much better than many cars on the used market.

More Bang for Your Buck

Value is a big deal. With a used police car, you often get more for your money. These cars come with upgrades and features that can be expensive in civilian cars, like heavy-duty cooling systems or reinforced frames. Plus, they’re usually sold at auction, which can mean lower prices for you.

Stand Out from the Crowd

Lastly, let’s not overlook the cool factor. Driving a used police car is just plain cool. It’s a conversation starter and gives your vehicle a story that’s way more interesting than “I bought it used at the dealership.”

Are Used Police Cars Reliable for Everyday Use?

When it comes to choosing a car for everyday use, reliability is key. So, the big question is: can a used police car be a reliable companion for your daily drives? The answer is a resounding yes, but let’s dive into why.

Built to Last

First off, remember that police cars are built to handle more than your average sedan. They’re designed to endure high-speed chases, long hours of idling, and all sorts of tough conditions. This means they have a level of durability that’s hard to match, making them well-suited for the rigors of daily use.

Maintenance Matters

One of the biggest factors in a car’s reliability is how well it’s been maintained. Police cars score high in this area. They receive regular maintenance and check-ups to ensure they’re always ready for action. This ongoing care can lead to a longer lifespan and fewer surprises down the road for you.

Consider the Wear and Tear

However, it’s important to be mindful of the car’s past. Yes, police cars are well-maintained, but they’ve also seen their fair share of hard work. High mileage and idle hours can contribute to wear and tear, so it’s crucial to check the vehicle’s history and condition before making a decision.

A Smooth Transition to Civilian Life

Many used police cars make a seamless transition to everyday civilian use. Once they’re retired from service, the heavy-duty police equipment is removed, and they’re often given a thorough once-over to prepare them for sale. This can include fixing any body damage, removing police decals, and ensuring the car is ready for its next chapter.

Your Mileage May Vary

Ultimately, the reliability of a used police car as an everyday vehicle comes down to the specific car you’re looking at. With proper research, a bit of due diligence, and an understanding of the car’s history, you can find a used police car that’s not just reliable, but a unique, durable, and cost-effective choice for your daily commute.

So, Should You Buy a Used Police Car?

Absolutely, considering a used police car could be a smart move. These vehicles offer a blend of durability, performance, and maintenance history that’s hard to beat for the price. They’re built to last, come equipped with high-performance features not found in standard models, and have a rigorous maintenance record that ensures reliability. If you’re in the market for something that stands out, offers more bang for your buck, and you’re ready to tackle any extra steps for registration or insurance, then yes, a used police car might just be the perfect addition to your driveway. Just remember to do your homework on the specific vehicle’s history and condition to ensure it’s the right fit for your daily needs.