Is GovDeals a Good Place to Find Cheap Used Cars?

  • By: Sean Cooper

I know more than a thing or two about buying and selling used cars, which is why the website GovDeals caught my eye. GovDeals is an auction website where all sorts of items are put up for sale by sellers all across the United States and Canada. The question I’m going to address in this article is whether GovDeals is a good place to find cheap used cars, or are there better places to grab yourself a cheap used vehicle bargain at the moment.

What is GovDeals?

If you’re looking for a used car bargain at the moment, you’ve probably discovered that they appear to be almost non-existent. That appears to be the case on the face of things, but dealers selling used cars at today’s inflated prices have to buy them cheaper from somewhere.

Although many of the used cars you see for sale on dealer lots are trades, big dealerships will never get enough used car inventory to keep them going by purely relying on trade-ins. You can check out my previous article about where used car dealers get their cars from here, and I even have a YouTube video about the same subject here.

A large proportion of used car inventory comes from auctions, and GovDeals is an auction website where you can find many different types of used vehicles for sale. The site is just one of the online marketplaces under the Liquidity Services banner, which is a massive company that claims, “We sell any item in any condition, anywhere in the world.”

Anyone in the US can register as a bidder on the site, free of charge, and as soon as you’ve registered, you can place bids on items. Each listing is clear, transparent, and tells you most of what you need to know about each item offered for sale. Bidders can usually look at the items in person before the auction ends if they want to, as long as they can get to where the item is located.

On the GovDeals category page, you’ll be amazed at how much different stuff there is for sale, from snow removal equipment to archery and crossbow supplies and everything in between. That’s all well and good, and you could spend hours on there checking out no end of cool stuff, but what about used cars?

GovDeals used cars for sale

There are all sorts of cars offered for sale on the site from agencies all over the country, and their condition reports are just as varied. Many that I looked at were on salvage titles, but some sellers give a very detailed description to give you a good idea of what you might be letting yourself in for if you are the successful bidder.

It’s fair to say the majority of cars I saw have a chequered history, and many are described as “seized by police.” One that immediately got my attention was a 2018 Dodge Challenger Hellcat with 7,196 miles on the odometer that Eastern Panhandle Drug and Violent Crimes Task Force, WV, had seized.

Their description was as in-depth as possible, and they even embedded a YouTube video showing the engine running. However, you can imagine how much risk you would be taking with it when you read their description.

“Notable issues include: RECONSTRUCTED/SALVAGE TITLE, vehicle has been in an accident and repaired (we do not know any further details), check engine, ABS, traction control and TPM warning lights are on, antitheft code input appears on screen once started-see pic, RED KEYS only (the black set is not included), driver side air in seat has been deployed, one hood bolt is missing (thus preventing the hood from properly closing).”

Although EPD&VCTF encourages bidders to go and see the vehicle, their listing clearly states, “Test drives ARE NOT PERMITTED.”

Unfortunately, not every seller is as forthcoming as EPD&VCTF, and I soon came across a 2013 Toyota Prius C that was being sold by Martin County, FL, that plenty of people may have been tempted by. 

The car had 30,515 miles on it, and it had been maintained every 5,000 miles. Such an impressive maintenance record makes me believe it might have been a vehicle run by Martin County, but the listing doesn’t confirm it.

I’m pretty sure you could ask them through the Q&A facility on the page and they would answer, but it would have been good if they’d just stated the vehicle’s provenance in the first place.

A car like that is a much safer bet than many seized vehicles, but you’re unlikely to get such a car for a bargain price. The starting bid was $1,500, and at the time of writing, there were eight days left to go, and one bidder had put a bid in of $9,394. That would be a real bargain as similar cars sell on Autotrader for around $17,000. However, I suspect the final bid will be closer to $17,000 than $9,394.

GovDeals auction results

The impressive transparency of GovDeals is illustrated by the facility it provides for anyone to view past auction listings to see what kind of money is being paid. If you click on this link, it will take you to a list of vehicles sold through GovDeals over the previous 14 days.

What strikes me looking through the list is how few high-quality cars like the Prius are listed there. Most are ex-cop patrol cars, wrecks, or pretty old and low-value models. It could be the good stuff doesn’t often receive bids high enough to meet the sellers’ valuations, although it’s rare to see any listing that says there’s a reserve.

I found this sold listing for a 2012 Audi A5 Cabriolet 2Dr Premium AWD that illustrates how the better examples are going for substantial money. This car has low mileage, having done just 64,214 miles if you can believe the odometer. Cars like this with good history are selling on Autotrader for about $18,000 at most, and this one was sold through GovDeals for $16,721.10, including the buyer’s premium.

The listing description is brief, to say the least. All it really says about the car is “Forfeiture. Driven in. Seller has keys and a clear title. All Wheel Drive. Brakes need to be replaced. Coolant leak. Stone chip in the hood. TPMS light is on. Right mirror is off.”

I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a car that’s had a rough time that will need some attention to me. Would you pay that much for a car like that when you could end up spending hundreds, if not thousands of dollars, to make it right? Especially when you could buy one with a provable history from a reputable dealer for around $1,000 more?

What else does GovDeals have to offer?

Gov Deals has a lot to offer, but it’s probably not the best way to find cheap used vehicles for the average buyer. GovDeals is a broad-based site covering various products and not a site specializing in autos.

If you’re looking to buy cheap products that have been seized or repossessed so you can re-sell them somewhere else, then GovDeals is a great place to look for inventory. I’m not going to go into that here because I have another website where you go to find out about setting up and running your own business called selfemployedtoday.com.

Auction sites can be good places to find and buy used vehicle bargains, but to give yourself the best chance of finding the right used vehicle you want at the right price, it makes sense to improve your odds by using a resource specializing in auto auctions.

Gov-Auctions.org is the one site I can recommend for finding out about the best auto auctions for buying ex-government, seized vehicles, and ex-cop cars. While Gov Deals often has four or five hundred vehicles offered for sale across the country at the moment, Gov-Auctions.org is a much more comprehensive resource.

Gov Deals is an entirely free resource for finding auctions to bid on, so any of you interested in buying a used vehicle cheaper than it would be from a dealer should definitely register and browse the site regularly.

You will have to pay for a subscription to the GovDeals alternative, Gov-Auctions.org, but what a bargain it is for the price. You can get access to Gov-Auctions.org for two years for a one-off fee of just $39.95, but for just ten bucks more, you can become a full member, which means lifetime access!

As well as a lifetime membership with access to databases of auctions and listings of available cars, trucks, and SUVs at up to 95% OFF Book Value with clean titles, the $49.99 fee also gets you a unique and seriously cost-saving quality ebook package. The ebooks you get include

  • Wanna Buy a Car? (52 Pages)                     
  • Insider Secrets to Buying a Car With Little or No Credit (18 Pages)            
  • The Whole Truth of Hybrid Cars (32 Pages)             
  • 62 Proven Ways to Beat the Gas Monster (46 Pages)                     
  • How to Save Your Drivers License (84 Pages)                     
  • Car Care – Tips & Recommendations

These money-saving books are sold individually for between $16.95 and $39.95 and represent a total value of no less than $160.

Even if you never buy a vehicle using the info gained from Gov-Auctions.org, the membership fee is worth it for the ebooks alone. However, if you take full advantage and buy a used vehicle from an auction you’ve found using Gov-Auctions.org, the kind of savings you can expect to make will make the membership fee seem like the bargain of the century.

And at the time of writing, Gov-Auctions.org is running a special offer where full membership is available for a limited time at just $39.95!!!

Of course, buying a vehicle from an auction is riskier than buying from a dealer, so it pays to know what you’re doing before you even think about bidding. Gov-Auctions.org will provide you with a lot of valuable information to help, but you can also check out my article about car auctions here.

You should definitely go ahead and sign-up for GovDeals, but if you’re serious about saving a tremendous amount of money by buying a vehicle from an auction, get yourself a full lifetime membership for Gov-Auctions.org as well.