Buying ex-government vehicles

Submitted: Sunday, Feb 08, 2009 at 17:20
ThreadID: 65810 Views:11060 Replies:15 FollowUps:1
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Apologies if this has been aired before, but I'd be interested in comments on the merits (or otherwise) of buying ex-government 4WDs (by government I include Telstra, shire councils and so on).
There's a swag of them in today's Sunday Times (Perth) at what appear to be good prices (subject to inspection, of course).
It seems to me that they have probably been serviced regularly etc., but there's also the thought that they have possibly been thrashed or generally badly driven by people who don't give a toss.
Cheers, Tony
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Reply By: Sir Kev & Darkie - Sunday, Feb 08, 2009 at 17:31

Sunday, Feb 08, 2009 at 17:31
Depends on the vehicle.

Some are driven by executive staff that don't need a 4x4 where as some field staff who need 4x4's are given 2wd and have to fend for themselves.

Services may be conducted regularly but are usually only the basic ones.

Cheers Kev
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Reply By: Member - Graham H (QLD) - Sunday, Feb 08, 2009 at 17:38

Sunday, Feb 08, 2009 at 17:38
My cruiser was a govt car. Appears not to have any service records before 20,000.
Was a managers car.
Rang him and was assured service was done and car had no probs.
By the oil pressure readings the motor seems to be Ok.
Never been dinged and really tidy. Well was before I got it.

Check the service records if they are still in glovebox.

Best of luck.
AnswerID: 348185

Reply By: Motherhen - Sunday, Feb 08, 2009 at 18:04

Sunday, Feb 08, 2009 at 18:04
We have purchased ex Government on a number of occasions, mostly through the auctions. More recently some vehicles listed for auction had 'buy it now' prices, then if not purchased, they go to auction. There are good and bad - just investigate thoroughly. Dealers also attend the auctions, but because of the mark up they need for a profit, this sets the value. They are less concerned about the vehicle's history. Start bidding as soon as the dealers pull out. Our Patrol was also ex Govt, but purchased through a car yard as it had been traded. The history was good.


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Reply By: Von Helga - Sunday, Feb 08, 2009 at 19:44

Sunday, Feb 08, 2009 at 19:44
I am an ex Army guy an I have brought two Ex gov cars both 100 series standard wagons first one from a Toyota dealer in Darwin still in warranty and purchased an extended warranty on top of that.
I now have an Ex army car from Pickles as I know what controls and care is normally applied around these cars.
Personally i'd be wary buying a car that was just being driven by a manager who has it as part of his employment package, but obviously buyer beware applies.
AnswerID: 348203

Reply By: Member - Doug T (NT) - Sunday, Feb 08, 2009 at 19:59

Sunday, Feb 08, 2009 at 19:59
My Troopy was Ex Telstra based in Cairns, had 106,000 Ks , now show's 731,000+ ,

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Follow Up By: olddigger - Sunday, Feb 08, 2009 at 21:04

Sunday, Feb 08, 2009 at 21:04
Doug: And I was a bit cautious about a Troopy that had clocked up 143,000kms!
Cheers, Tony
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Reply By: Member - Stuart W (Vic) - Sunday, Feb 08, 2009 at 20:14

Sunday, Feb 08, 2009 at 20:14
I bought my Hilux through a dealer but it was ex NSW fisheries 26500 k's on the clock. Log book showed all services done in Byron Bay.Wee bit of rust on the tray which I fixed myself.Great vehicle will do me for many more miles. 75000 on clock now
AnswerID: 348211

Reply By: Saharaman (aka Geepeem) - Sunday, Feb 08, 2009 at 20:27

Sunday, Feb 08, 2009 at 20:27
Depends on the vehicle and its use in Government service.
For example up until recently the traffic police in Queenslabnd used 4x4 for road side speed cameras. These vehicles spent their whole life thus far at idle to run the AC for office inside - for shift after shift (hours at a time).
Yes the service records may show all servicing and very low Kms but it does not reflect (in this case) the real use of the vehicle.
Many of these are now in general used vehicle markets.
So check the vehicles history and if possible find out how it was used.

AnswerID: 348215

Reply By: MEMBER - Darian (SA) - Sunday, Feb 08, 2009 at 21:06

Sunday, Feb 08, 2009 at 21:06
Yep - bought mine through Govt Auctions here in SA - looked for about 12 months and gave up, because they were all filthy, poorly cared for and still bringing good prices. I gave one inspection day one last try and there he was ...........Bruce (my grandsons like cars to have names).........clean as a whistle, in very good nick, service history suggested good care and festooned with a good basket of 'fruit'. So, if you do the homework and know excatly what you want, you can do worse than keep looking ..... even got it for a few hundred less than my limit. I do most of my own servicing and there have been no surprises to date......... I think the biggest factor is the person who gets to look after it from new.
AnswerID: 348228

Reply By: Steve - Sunday, Feb 08, 2009 at 21:24

Sunday, Feb 08, 2009 at 21:24
I've bought ex-Telstra and RTA Commodores for the cook and there have been minor, superficial defects, like plastic interior bits missing which can easily be replaced and there for all to see. I suppose this shows that the vehicles are not exactly cherished, but we've had little problem with any of em. One is still in the family after 11 years and the other is releatively young but still ok.
AnswerID: 348232

Reply By: Alan H - Monday, Feb 09, 2009 at 10:22

Monday, Feb 09, 2009 at 10:22
We bought the cooks Camry many years ago and it was ex gov. and in excellent condition.
I work for a State gov. agency and our cars (I don't get one as I'm only low life) are sold at 2 years or 40K which ever comes first and are fully refurbished with new tyres etc. before auction.

I know that some of those that get cars as part of their employment package treat them like crap as it costs them nothing, but many are very good and go as far as having them cleaned and washed once a week, mostly again because it costs them nothing!
I'd definitely buy another even a 4by, but possibly not from Telstra as theirs get into some very remote places and it's not possible to give them tender loving care.
AnswerID: 348290

Reply By: ross - Monday, Feb 09, 2009 at 14:22

Monday, Feb 09, 2009 at 14:22
Half the cars in the car yards are from the auctions.
Might as well got to the auction and not pay the $4-5000 the dealers wack on
AnswerID: 348318

Reply By: wendys - Monday, Feb 09, 2009 at 20:12

Monday, Feb 09, 2009 at 20:12
Friend bought ex-Telstra Troopy. Was fitted with sliding drawer units and other extras. Has taken her round the block a couple of times and Cape York, remote Kimberley, Arnhem Land etc. Will tackle the CSR this year. She reckons she got a bargain.
AnswerID: 348374

Reply By: rumpig - Tuesday, Feb 10, 2009 at 22:58

Tuesday, Feb 10, 2009 at 22:58
hopefully you'll still get to read this,
i got my 105 series cruiser as an ex govt. vehicle through a private car yard. beauty of ex govt. is you can do a check on the vehicles past servicing history and also insurance claims history just by having the vehicles registration number. like mentioned earlier the logbook might not have shown all of the services done, but all services are kept on record even if not shown in the logbook.
all you need to do is ring the public trustees office (can't remember exact dept.) with the vehicles rego plate number (works in qld, hopefully same aust. wide), they can tell you if the vehicle has had insurance claims made on it and exactly what servicing the vehicle has had done. if vehicle doesn't have rego plates then check the logbook it could be written in there, my vehicle was no longer owned by the govt. and i was still able to access the required info. i was after. you can tell from the logbook who serviced it and generally where the vehicle is from, my logbook had big D.P.I letters written on it, so i was able to track it down as a dept. of primary industries fourby out of the atherton tablelands. i was able to find out it had had all of it's major services done and had missed one of it's 5000 klm oil changes. i was also able to find out it had no previous insurance claims done on it. now tell where you find that out about a privately owned vehicle.
i looked at going to an auction up at cairns and used the public trustees office to check out vehicles coming up for auction, insurance claims on many vehicles i was looking at ranged from hitting a horse to being flooded, so it's a handy thing to be able to check.
AnswerID: 348533

Reply By: olddigger - Thursday, Feb 12, 2009 at 19:51

Thursday, Feb 12, 2009 at 19:51
Thanks to all for your replies.
It seems ex-government stuff is certainly worth a good hard look.
And point taken about going to auctions rather than paying more for the dealers to do the work for you.
Cheers, Tony
AnswerID: 348773

Reply By: SteveD - Sunday, Mar 08, 2009 at 10:56

Sunday, Mar 08, 2009 at 10:56
As an ex soldier I remeber seeing troopcarriers backed into the surf about 1 foot deep, salt water flowing in drivers door, waves breaking up the back doors, boats were being launched of the Kimberly coast and these vehicles were worked extremely hard, probably wouldn't buy those. I have also seen RAAF troopcarrier on an airbase, never seen a dirt road, low k's and excellent condition. Just got to know what your looking at on the day.
AnswerID: 352884

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