Taxi cabs, rental cars, UPS trucks, police cars and busses are all forms of what are called fleet vehicles. A fleet vehicle is specifically operated and owned or leased by either government agencies or organizations and businesses.
It depends on who used it. Oakland, CA in Alameda County is one of the most criminally violent cities in the U.S., and police interceptors there may get more abuse there than a police car from Irvine in Orange County, which has one of the lowest crime rates in the country.
The same goes for taxi cabs, where in New York City they probably see a lot of abuse as opposed to taxis in Washington, DC which has about half the demand. You can apply similar principles to rental cars from a company like Enterprise, and there’s more information about that here.
Proceed with caution if you’re looking to purchase a used fleet vehicle, as rental companies have their own insurance and therefore don’t need to report accidents. You may be buying a “clean” title vehicle with horrific frame damage that wasn’t disclosed in its history report, and that’s something you want to avoid. If you are considering to buy one, be sure to get an inspection by a certified mechanic before purchase.
Sometimes these organizations or businesses decommission their vehicles and sell them at auctions for low prices. For instance, a 1997 Crown Victoria Police Interceptor may go for less than $1,000. These cars are generally taken care of, inspected regularly and kept in decent running order. They go through a lot of abuse but you can count on them being repaired and safe.
No matter what fleet vehicle you’re looking to buy whether it be a police car, taxi or even a school bus, it’s a gamble. Definitely, have the car inspected by a certified mechanic, but understand that there are still risks involved and even a mechanic won’t be able to see what could happen down the line. That’s why when buying a car from a private seller who keeps their records and has proof of maintenance, it’s less likely you’re going to have unforeseen problems.
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