How To: Bargain Hunting at Online Car Auctions

Recently online car auctions have been gaining in popularity with both of the major Australian car auctioneers, who run regular in-house weekly auctions, now offering online bidding systems to the public. There are many others too. So, how to get a bargain set of wheels? Lets explore how.

Buying online has been very popular with Auto Dismantlers who can bid on cars at salvage auctions without having to leave their place of business. It’s also a bonus for public buyers who maybe can’t make the auction on the day, or maybe live a long way from the auction room. But of course it has the obvious downside, unless you’ve checked over the car you want on the inspection day, you can only gauge what your buying by looking at pictures that the auction centre has taken. Although both of the auction centers go to great length to provide a reasonable description of the vehicle and supply photos from various angles, it’s just not the same as being there. Always keep that fact in mind.

There are two types of sale, online auctions and simulcast auctions. In online auctions, it’s just that, all the bids are taken from online bidders. With simulcast auctions, you are bidding against people in the auction room in real time, as well as other online bidders.

During simulcast auctions, the auctioneer helped out by a few staff, will be taking bids from both the online system and from people on the floor. As well as seeing the vehicle and watching the auctioneer, people standing on the floor can watch the online bids coming in, and the current bidding price, via big display screen displaying a similar screen to what the online bidders will be watching. The in-room bidder has the advantage of real feel and touch.

You may need to pay a deposit prior to bidding, which can be deposited into the auctioneers bank account and once that payment has cleared your free to bid. Bank payments take time to clear, so, you’ll need to do that before auction day.

A word of caution about holding off bidding until the last minute before the drop of the hammer, sometimes there can be a little lag with the online system, and the auctioneer may drop the hammer before seeing your final bid.

More about Simulcast Car Auctions:
ManheimFowles Simulcast
Pickles Live

Online Car Auctions are a little different. You are bidding against online bidders only, and the auction will likely run over a few days have a defined start date/time and end date/time. That doesn’t mean you can’t inspect the vehicle prior to sale, usually, there will be open times for inspection prior to sale. Just like a real auction, the auction for each item/vehicle will end when bidding ends. Even if the designated sale end time is 3.00 PM, the sale will keep being extended by a certain amount of time after each bid, usually about five minutes.

Where to find online car auctions?
Pickles and Manheim are the biggest, but not the only ones, check the local auction rooms in your State ACTNew South WalesQueenslandSouth AustraliaTasmaniaVictoriaWest Australia

Ebay Private Car Auctions

eBay Motors has the largest volume of listings for private car auctions online in Australia. On eBay you can find just about anything. One benefit of eBay is that you can communicate with the owner and get more history on the vehicle and even arrange for a test drive or inspection report if the seller is willing.

Current no-reserve listing examples from ebay today:


AU $2,275.00 (40 Bids)
End Date: Sunday Jul-5-2020 19:15:28 EST
Bid now | Add to watch list

Skoda Octavia IZ 1.8 TSI 2010 Wagon, 7spd auto, RWC & Registration, no reserve

AU $8,700.00
End Date: Tuesday Jul-14-2020 9:29:45 EST
Buy It Now for only: AU $8,700.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

2013 Holden Diesel Captiva 7 Seater No Reserve

AU $1,500.00 (0 Bids)
End Date: Sunday Jul-12-2020 15:15:59 EST
Bid now | Add to watch list

Subaru Impreza GX all wheel drive AWD - NO RESERVE

AU $2,200.00 (0 Bids)
End Date: Thursday Jul-9-2020 17:33:43 EST
Bid now | Add to watch list

Subaru Forester 09 xt turbo in great con lots of mods no reserve price

AU $8,000.00 (35 Bids)
End Date: Sunday Jul-5-2020 22:17:24 EST
Bid now | Add to watch list


AU $3,800.00 (41 Bids)
End Date: Monday Jul-6-2020 12:06:06 EST
Bid now | Add to watch list

BMW 3 Series (318i - M-Sports) Automatic, 2004 Built - NO Reserve

AU $2,600.00 (18 Bids)
End Date: Saturday Jul-11-2020 17:27:24 EST
Bid now | Add to watch list
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