8 Places to Find Commercial Used Cars

Commercial vehicles are part of the American highway, carrying passengers, consumer goods, heavy equipment, and more. Though all of these vehicles can be purchased brand-new, there are plenty of resources available to help potential buyers find 8 places to find commercial used carsthem on the used market. We’ll list eight of those resources here.

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Commercial vehicles are typically divided into light passenger cars, buses, cargo trucks, and construction or utility vehicles. When we talk about commercial used cars, we are referring to passenger vehicles such as limousines, taxis, police vehicles, and so on.

In most states, the division between cars, buses, and trucks is dependent on either total weight or the number of axles. North Carolina’s DOT provides a great illustration of this principle.

Commercial Vehicle Dealers

The obvious first choice for finding commercial used vehicles would be your local commercial dealer.

Unless you live in a large metropolitan area, it’s not likely you’ll find such dealers specializing only in cars. Most will have a variety of vehicles of all shapes and sizes. Just like purchasing a standard passenger vehicle, you’ll be visiting a dealer lot, inspecting several cars, and negotiating with salesmen.

8 places to find commercial used cars easilyThe one thing you really need to be careful of when buying commercial used cars from a dealer is quality. Unlike trucks, buses, and heavy equipment, commercial cars don’t last any longer than regular passenger vehicles. By the time they end up on a dealer lot, they’ve probably seen lots of miles and plenty of repairs.

It can be very difficult to find good-quality commercial cars under these circumstances.

As a side note, it’s always a good idea to have a used vehicle checked out by your own mechanic before you purchase it.

Surplus Equipment Auctions

The second place to find commercial used vehicles is at surplus equipment auctions. These types of auctions are held by the federal, state, and local governments to dispose of all types of surplus equipment. The USA.gov website provides links to many individual state’s general services webpages, where auction dates and locations are listed from time to time.

Though policies vary among different jurisdictions, it’s generally accepted that government vehicles have a life of about three years.

In other words, government entities tend to replace one-third of their total fleet on an annual basis so that any given vehicle is not on the road more than three years.

That means you can get a late model vehicle that’s in fairly good condition if you’re purchasing from an entity that made the effort to take care of those vehicles.8 ways to find commercial used cars

Vehicles to be careful of include police cars and passenger vehicles used by mayors, county executives, and so on. These cars typically have heavy mileage, for obvious reasons. And though they are usually taken good care of, the fact still remains that excessive mileage in a short amount of time does reduce the life of the vehicle.

8 ways to find commercial used autos

General Equipment Auctions

Similar to surplus equipment auctions, a general equipment auction is the private sector equivalent. The vehicles and equipment for sale might be the result of a company going out of business, older equipment being replaced by newer lines, or a broker who has amassed a selection of vehicles and equipment and is now ready to dispose of them.

At these types of auctions, you can see everything from limousines and taxis to heavy farm machinery.

You can find these types of auctions locally by doing an Internet search or checking the classifieds section of your local newspaper. Auction companies may also post bulletin board announcements at retail locations around town, or attach flyers to telephone poles and utility boxes.

A company like ELCO Auctions in Corpus Christi, Texas, will have surplus military vehicles and municipal vehicles, and access to commercial used cars from private companies for sale.

Police Auctions

The fourth choice for used commercial vehicles is also the last among the auctions. The police auction is one where incumbent vehicles are sold off, with the proceeds going to the local police department. Vehicles may have been impounded due to criminal activity, illegal parking, or any other number of reasons. In most cases, owners have been given the opportunity to recover their vehicles and have neglected to do so.

Impounded vehicles present a great opportunity for a bargain, but you really have to be careful about what you purchase.

Except for criminals, who are not given the opportunity to recover their vehicles, the rest have been left at the impound lot for a reason. Often, that reason lies in the fact that the vehicle is not worth the money or effort to recover it from impound. That’s one of the reasons the cars are sold as-is.8 places to look for commercial used cars

Also be aware that, in most states, impound vehicles must undergo a thorough inspection for both safety and past vehicle history. Unfortunately, some jurisdictions don’t undertake these inspections before putting cars up for sale.

So it’s conceivable you could purchase a vehicle, only to find out that you’re not legally allowed to keep it because the inspection reveals that it’s been stolen. You will have wasted your time and money on a car you can’t keep.

Salvage Yards

From time to time, you can find good-quality use commercial cars at a local salvage yard.

As salvage vehicles, these cars were damaged by an accident, natural disaster, fire, etc. They were purchased by the salvage yard at a greatly reduced cost and then substantially rebuilt before putting them back on the market. Most states have strict laws regarding salvage vehicles and information disclosures.

For example, in the state of Idaho, a salvage certificate replaces a title when a vehicle meets certain conditions. In order to sell the car, the new owner must complete the necessary repairs to return the vehicle to its proper value and make sure it meets safety requirements.8 places to look commercial used cars

At that point, the owner must replace the salvage certificate with a branded title. The branded title is stamped with some sort of designation explaining to potential purchasers why the vehicle was salvaged, and what work was done on it.

Used Car Websites

Used car websites are another place you can find commercial used cars. Sometimes you’ll find websites dedicated specifically to commercial vehicles, and other times they will include both commercial and passenger vehicles.

The main thing to pay attention to with these websites is whether or not a given site is selling the vehicles directly or merely acting as a search engine.

In other words, there are some brokers who provide actual vehicle listings for the purposes of bringing buyers and sellers together. Their listings will include all of the vehicle data, the selling price, and usually at least a few pictures. Buyers who are interested in those vehicles contact the broker and go from there.ways to find commercial used cars

Even though buyer and seller may, in some cases, work out any eventual deal among themselves, it’s still the broker that facilitates the transaction.

At the same time, there are other sites that simply cull data from a variety of sources and assemble it together on a single page. When you find a commercial used car on one of these sites, you can use the information provided to contact the seller on your own. There are no brokers involved whatsoever.

Used Car Magazines and Classifieds

If you have searched for used commercial cars before, you’re probably very familiar with printed magazines like Auto Trader. These types of magazines are essentially a collection of classified ads from various private owners and dealers. The nice thing about these magazines is that they tend to be local or regional. They enable you to find used vehicles within 100 miles or so of your location.

8 ways to find commercial used vehiclesMany of the publishers of these magazines have entered the digital age and also provide their listings online. But it’s also not unusual to see someone place an online ad that doesn’t appear in the magazine, or place an ad in the magazine that doesn’t appear in the online classifieds.

When this is the case, it’s usually simply a matter of the vehicle owner not wanting to purchase both kinds of ads. So it’s helpful when using these types of magazines to check both forms of media, just to make sure you don’t miss anything.

Directly from Owners

If you’re comfortable with your level of knowledge, this may be your best option for purchasing used commercial cars. These types of opportunities allow for the greatest flexibility, the ability to thoroughly inspect the vehicle, and the opportunity to negotiate the best price possible. But in order to make this type of deal work, you have to know what you are expecting in a used car.

There may be other resources for purchasing used commercial cars. It’s simply a matter of looking around your local area or getting online to see what’s out there.8 places to find commercial used autos

Just be sure to do some thorough research before purchasing, just as you would if you were looking at a passenger vehicle for your family.

Before you make your purchase, you can find out if affordable auto insurance quotes are available by entering your ZIP code into our FREE search tool on this page!

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