Australia's top 2 used car websites

John Avis by | January 27, 2010 | Used Cars

A review of the search facilities of Australia's top two used car websites.

eBay Motors

eBay must be the most popular used car sales website by now. I don't know why they teamed up with Drive - eBay surely don't need Drive and Drive is just putting a few nails in their own coffin.

The basic search form is on the eBay Motors home page and clicking "Show Advanced Search" reveals a few extra search options without reloading the page (nice). Although I am sure that location belongs in the basic search criteria as my guess is that the majority of used car buyers are not interested in purchasing from another state.

I would prefer a from an to range for kilometeres as under 50,000, under 100,000 and over 100,000 are not good enough. And a range search for year please!

eBay's make and model search is pretty average, for example the entire BMW 3-series range is (not suprisingly) under BMW, then 3-Series. If you want a specific model then you need to search for it as a keyword (in the advanced options), and hope that the seller was smart enough to put these in their advertisement title (plenty don't).

One issue I hate with advertisements on eBay is that a lot of dealer ads just show very basic details. This is mainly an issue of the dealers not putting in enough information, but maybe eBay need to make some more fields mandatory.


I guess I shouldn't expect too much from a web site that until only fairly recently required separate searches for private and dealer cars.

Carsales put their basic search form on their home page. It is reasonably good but lacks a few features which can be found on the advanced form although I feel they are basic search criteria. These are year range and body type. Also although they break down each state and city into regions it is still sometimes nice to be able to search all of the Sydney metropolitan area. They almost make up for this by having a proximity search, which is a great feature. Personally I would prefer the option to enter my own price range (there are people who want to search for a car under $3,000, not just under $5,000).

One great thing about Carsales is that they require sellers to select their exact model and series (they call it badge)so, assuming the seller has chosent correctly (which they frequently don't), you can actually search for an exact model from a drop-down list on the advanced search form. Another advantage of this requirement is that you can search by number of cylinders, engine capacity, number of doors, etc. However, they need to check fix some of their data as I experienced an issue when privately listing a 1990 BMW 318is (they acknowledged they had a problem an refunded the advertising fee).

The big negative about Carsales relates to dealer listed cars. I understand Carsales charge dealers for advertising on a pay-per-lead basis, so when you click to request the dealers contact details or ring the special 1300 number, the dealer pays a fee. So it is in Carsales interest to hide as much about the dealer as possible. Subsequently if you search NSW-wide for a car and then view a car it will only show the state as the location, NSW, so that could be 5 minutes away in Manly or 900km away on the North coast. I think they need to show the suburb at least. Fortunately they must show the dealer's license number in the advertisement by law so it only takes a quick Internet search to locate the dealers details if you don't want to submit all your details to the dealer.

Rating 4 stars (out of 5)

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by John | April 12, 2010

Carsales is good, but I believe they have become so big they can charge whatever they want.
I found car genie awhile ago and sold my car on there within 1 week, it was only $5 to sell my car and no more to pay.

It seems like its only small but growing fast. I suggest you check it out.


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A blog about buying, owning, driving and selling used cars and motorcycles.


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