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How to Buy a Vehicle
Overview

Four Steps to Find, Buy, and Drive!

1. Find Vehicles
Whether you already know which vehicle is perfect for you, or you're just starting your search,use the search and browse functions to find just what you need - fast.

2. Research
From pricing to photos to reviews, we have the tools and features in one spot to help you fully research vehicles and find one that's just right!

3. Bid or Buy
Ready to make a purchase? Find out how to make a successful purchase through bidding, buying,and making offers.

4. Complete Your Purchase
You're almost done! Review these final details to help you close the deal and get you on the road.

1. Find Vehicles

eBay Motors is the place to find the vehicle of your dreams - easily. Whether you know the exact make, model, and year of your dream collectible car, or you’re just starting out and still haven’t decided between a car and a truck, we have the tools and features to help you find the right vehicle.
 
Use the following links to learn about the different ways of finding a vehicle, and how to save your searches to make finding the right vehicle that much easier.

1. Find Vehicles: Browse

Browsing is a great way to find a vehicle if you still aren’t sure what vehicle you want to buy. Using the category menu in the header or the Browse by Type menu on the eBay Motors home page, you can learn about a vehicle, which vehicles are popular on eBay Motors, and what vehicles other eBay Motors members are interested in.
 
You can browse from the category type list on the eBay Motors Home page or from the categories available in the header. Browsing using the header will bring you to a page with search results, while using the "Browse by type" list on the Home page will bring you to that vehicle's hub page.
 
For example, if you are looking for a sedan, choose “Sedan” from the Browse by Type menu on the Home page to see the different options available within sedans, which sedans are popular with other eBay members, and recently viewed sedan listings. Or you can choose “Cars & Trucks” in the header, to see all car and truck listings – from there you can narrow down your search to sedan listings.
 
Browse by category:

 
Browse by vehicle type:


1. Find Vehicles: Search

If you know what you want, and want to find listings quickly, try searching. Searching will bring you straight to vehicle listings where you can bid, buy, and make offers.
 
Search on eBay Motors by entering a vehicle’s make, model, year, or keyword in the Search field. You can also search by using the Make and Model pull-down menus on the Home page.

 
Searching will bring up a search results page with listings that match your keywords. You can refine your search by specifics like:
  • Generation (a range of years)
  • Year
  • Transmission
  • Fuel Type
  • Mileage
  • Color
... and more
 
For example, if you enter "Acura TL" in the search box, you'll be brought to a search results page with Acura TL listings. At the top of the page, “Acura” and “TL” will appear with a list of additional search options you can add to narrow down your search (like year, transmission, engine, etc.). Click the links to add these features to your search, or close them to broaden or change your search. Add and remove these options as much as you like – they are meant to help tailor the search specifically to what you want!

1. Find Vehicles: Save Your Search & Watch Vehicles

Save Your Search
When you find a vehicle that you think would be the right fit, you can save your search to Favorite Searches in My eBay. If you have narrowed it down to a particular make and model, you can use the "Save Vehicle" button to add that vehicle to your Favorite Searches. If your search is less specific, you can use the "Add to Favorite Searches" link to save your search.

 
Watch Vehicles
When you find a listing that you're interested in and would like to follow, click the "Watch this item" link on the vehicle listing. Vehicles that you are watching will automatically appear on your My eBay page in the “Items I’m Watching” section.

2. Research

eBay Motors offers tools and resources – from pricing information to photos to reviews – to help you decide on the best vehicle for you and to buy the vehicle. Not only can you research the vehicle, you can also learn more about the seller and available purchase protection programs, to make sure your purchase will be safe and secure.
 
In addition to the vehicle research information that is available for each listing, eBay Motors also provides a Research hub where you can find additional information on pricing, financing, shipping and more. It’s a great place to start. You can find the Research hub at the top of every eBay Motors page.

 
Once you have decided on a vehicle, review the Buyer Checklist tab on the vehicle listing page. This interactive checklist will guide you through the steps needed to buy the vehicle. To keep track of the steps you’ve completed, just sign in and select each box you’ve completed. Your checklist will be saved and you can revisit it later by adding the vehicle to your Watched Items list.

2. Research: Learn about the Vehicle

There’s a lot to learn about a vehicle to make sure it’s right for you. We offer the tools and features to help you learn as much as possible about the vehicle – from price research to pictures to reviews.

Seller’s Description

The Seller’s Description includes a detailed description of the vehicle in the seller’s own words. Read it carefully and pay attention to details about the vehicle’s condition, terms of sale, payment details, and more. The seller may offer shipping and financing options and those will be described here.
 
There should also be pictures – we recommend to the seller to post photos of the interior, exterior, and any damage. Review the pictures and pay particular attention to any that highlight damage.


Vehicle History Report

An important part of researching any used car or truck is getting a vehicle history report. If the seller hasn’t provided a vehicle history report (it will be provided in the seller’s description if one has been already been purchased), click the History Report tab on the vehicle listing page to learn how to get your own vehicle history report (available on cars and trucks 1981 and newer).
 
A vehicle history report offers a look into the vehicle’s history and any title brands (like “flooded” or “salvaged”). It can also tell you if the vehicle has a clean history! Learn more about vehicle history reports.
 
Vehicle history report tips:
  • On the History Report tab, you’ll see an option to buy a single report or a 10-pack of reports. The 10-pack will allow you to purchase a single report on 10 different vehicles – a great choice if you just started looking for a vehicle. Each time you sign in to eBay Motors, there will be a link on the History Report tab that will allow you to redeem any remaining reports you have from your purchase.
  • The Vehicle Record Summary on the History Report tab outlines any activity “record” on the vehicle’s history report. Records can include mundane activities like title transfers, as well as more significant activities like accidents. When you purchase a report, you’ll be able to see the detail of each record so you can make an informed assessment of the vehicle’s history. Be sure to ask the Seller a question if you have any concerns regarding the vehicle history.

Price Research

Make sure you know what the vehicle you’re interested in is worth. You can find thorough price research without leaving eBay Motors. When researching a vehicle, use the Price Research tab to get detailed pricing information, based on past eBay sales, current eBay listing prices, and industry leading price research data.

Review Ratings, Reviews & Guides

See how other eBay members like the vehicle you’re interested in by checking out ratings, reviews, and guides. At the top of most search results, you’ll find the average rating that other eBay Motors members have given that vehicle. To see all reviews about a vehicle, click on the Reviews link, or look for the Reviews & Guides tab.


Specs & Photos

eBay Motors offers in-depth specifications and photos to help you research your next vehicle. Stock photos offer both interior and exterior views for shoppers to reference while researching, while the specifications cover in-depth details about the vehicle.
 
Note: Stock photos and specs are available for most late-model cars (20 years old or newer).

Compare Vehicles

Look for the Compare Vehicle link at the top of vehicle search results pages. On the vehicle comparison page you can add additional vehicles to compare side by side to help you decide between several different makes and/or models.Look for the Compare Vehicle link at the top of vehicle search results pages. On the vehicle comparison page you can add additional vehicles to compare side by side to help you decide between several different makes and/or models.
 
When you check out vehicle listings, you’ll also find a selection of additional makes and models that other shoppers considered while exploring your researched vehicle. You’ll learn what other vehicles users considered comparable.

2. Research: Get to Know the Seller

Learning about the seller is just as important is learning about the vehicle. Seller’s should offer a detailed description of the vehicle and respond promptly to any questions you ask.

Contact the Seller

Do not buy the vehicle until you have made successful contact with the seller and all of your questions have been answered to your satisfaction. You can use the “Ask the seller a question” link at the top of vehicle listing page, or call the seller if they have included their phone number in the listing.
 
According to eBay policy, if you are unable to reach the seller after you bid, you can retract your bid (up until the last 12 hours of the listing).

Review the Seller's Feedback

Check the seller's feedback rating. Even if the seller hasn’t sold a vehicle before, check to see what other interaction the seller may have had buying and selling on eBay. And remember, establishing communication early on with the seller can help you form your own opinion.


2. Research: Estimate Your Costs

Before you bid, buy, or make an offer, eBay Motors makes it easy for you to get smart about the total costs of purchasing your vehicle and estimating a fair price to pay for it.

Determine What You’re Willing to Pay

All bids on eBay are legally binding, so make sure you know how much you can afford. Use the Price Research tab on the vehicle type page to determine what a fair price is for the vehicle. You can then use the Financing tab on the vehicle listing page to estimate what your monthly payment might be or to find a financing company through whom you can obtain an auto loan.
 
Use your discretion. If the price of a vehicle sounds too good too be true, it probably is. Use extra caution or contact the seller to find out what may be contributing to such a low price (like damage or title issues).

Know Your Total Costs

If you are bidding on or buying a vehicle consider other potential costs such as title, registration, state taxes, and any shipping costs. Refer to your state's Department of Motor Vehicles Web site for guidelines on taxes, title transfer, and registration.
 
If the seller isn't local, determine if you will pick up the vehicle or have it shipped (typically, sellers can help arrange shipping, but buyers usually pay for it).
 
Shipping
To estimate shipping costs for a vehicle, visit the Shipping tab on the vehicle listing page. eBay Motors offers quotes from a number of fully licensed and insured auto transport companies through GigaMoves. When signed in, you’ll see shipping cost estimates. You can even get customized quotes. You may be surprised at how affordable it can be to ship a vehicle!
 
If you plan to pick up the vehicle, you can get driving directions to the vehicle’s location or estimate the cost of flying to pick up the vehicle. Visit the Shipping Center for more information.

Apply for Financing

Buying what you want is easier when you can make affordable monthly payments. eBay Motors, together with several top lenders, can help you get the financing that you need for your vehicle purchase.
 
Click the Financing tab, available on every vehicle listing page, to get matched with a financing company that is right for you. A payment calculator is also available, so you can instantly estimate what your monthly payments will be. Securing financing can take some time, so don’t wait until the end of the auction to apply.
 
Visit the Financing Center to learn about arranging financing.

Confirm Your Identity with eBay

You are required to have a credit card on file with eBay if you place a bid for more than $15,000. You will be notified that you need to provide this information when you bid, so allow some extra time if you are bidding during the last minutes of an auction. Your credit card won’t be charged, it’s used just to confirm your identity — a safety measure meant to help protect both buyers and sellers from potential high-bidding fraud.

2. Research: Buyer Protection Programs

We want you to confident when buying on eBay Motors, so we provide protection programs, services, and resources in place to help you make a safe and secure transaction.

Protection Programs

Vehicle Purchase Protection
eBay Motors helps protect buyers against fraud and material misrepresentation with Vehicle Purchase Protection. This program is available for all eligible passenger vehicle transactions completed on the eBay Motors site. There's no sign-up, opt-in, or registration. Most vehicle purchases are protected for up to $50,000 or the vehicle purchase price, whichever is lower. Learn more about Vehicle Purchase Protection.
 
Seller Condition Assurance
The Seller Condition Assurance program provides buyers with added confidence that a car or truck purchased on eBay Motors is accurately described in the listing, and protects buyers if the actual vehicle condition is materially different from the listing description. Learn more about the Seller Condition Assurance program.

Buyer Services & Resources

We want eBay Motors to be the one place where you can find everything to help you buy your next vehicle. We provide services and resources to help you do so – from inspection services, to financing and shipping, to tips and advice.
 
Visit Buying Resources & Services to learn more.

3. Bid or Buy

When you’re ready to make a purchase, depending on how the seller has listed the item, you can bid, buy, or make an offer. If you have not already registered on eBay, we make it easy for you to do so during the bidding and buying process.
 
Use the following links to learn more about the registration and buying process.

3. Bid or Buy: Register

To buy on eBay Motors, you must register as an eBay member. The one-time registration process at eBay is free and easy. When you register at eBay, you will be asked to:
 
  1. Provide your basic contact information. Your information will be kept private on eBay's secure servers.
  2. Create your own User ID and password to ensure that transactions are safe and secure when you sign in at eBay.
  3. Confirm your eBay registration via email. eBay will send you a message with a link and instructions to confirm your registration.
 
Once you become a registered eBay user, you’ll be able to use tools and features that will enhance your vehicle shopping experience. Below are some of the features you can use:
 

3. Bid or Buy: Bid

Most eBay Motors vehicle listings are in an auction-style format where items sell to the highest bidder. To bid on a vehicle, click the Place Bid button (or Buy It Now or Make Offer button, depending on the listing) on the vehicle listing page and enter the maximum amount that you want to spend.




Here's How Bidding on eBay Works:

  1. When you place a bid, enter the maximum amount you'd be willing to pay for the vehicle. Your maximum amount is kept confidential from other bidders and the seller.
  2. The eBay Motors system compares your bid to those of the other bidders.
  3. The system places bids on your behalf, using only as much of your bid as is necessary to maintain your high bid position (or to meet the reserve price). The system will bid up to your maximum amount.
  4. If another bidder has a higher maximum, you'll be outbid. BUT, if no other bidder has a higher maximum, you win. And you could pay significantly less than your maximum price! This means you don't have to keep coming back to rebid every time another bid is placed.
 
If another bidder outbids you before the listing ends, eBay will send you a notification email. Learn more about placing a bid.
 
Note: When you place a bid, you are entering into a contract with your seller. Make sure that you want the item before you bid or buy.

Reserve Price Auctions

Some auctions have a reserve price - a hidden minimum price. A reserve price is the minimum price a seller is willing to accept for the vehicle. As a buyer, you are not shown the reserve price, only whether or not the reserve has been met.
 
When you're bidding in a Reserve Price Auction, bid as usual by entering the maximum amount that you're willing to pay. Watch the label next to the current price to see whether the reserve price has been met. Until you see that the reserve price has been met, there will be no successful bids in the auction. Once the reserve has been met, the vehicle will sell to the highest bidder when the auction closes.

Confirm Your Intent to Purchase

Sellers may choose to email potential buyers to verify their intent to purchase a vehicle. It is important that you follow up with the seller, because he may legitimately cancel your bid if he does not receive a reply within a specified period of time.
 
Many buyers follow up with the seller using the "Ask the seller a question" link or by phone.


3. Bid or Buy: Buy It Now

Some sellers offer you the choice to bid or Buy It Now. Other sellers may only offer the Buy It Now option. With Buy It Now, you have a special opportunity to purchase the vehicle immediately without waiting for an online auction to end.
 
If available, click the Buy It Now button at the bottom of the vehicle listing. In some cases, a seller may require immediate payment or deposit with PayPal. In this case, it is important to complete your purchase right away, as the vehicle will remain available for purchase until your payment transaction has been confirmed.

 
If the seller offers both the bid and Buy It Now options, the Buy It Now options will be automatically removed if the bidding goes above a certain point. This means you will need to act quickly or you may lose the option to Buy It Now!
 
Note: When you use the Buy It Now option, you are entering into a contract with your seller. Make sure that you want the vehicle before you bid or buy.

3. Bid or Buy: Best Offer

If you see the Make Offer button on the vehicle listing page, the seller has decided to consider Best Offers. Best Offer allows you to make an offer to buy the vehicle at a price that you select. The seller can accept, decline, or counteroffer a Best Offer.
 

 
Best Offer is an option available for Buy it Now items in all eBay Motors categories and for Best Offer Only items in the Cars & Trucks, Motorcycles, Powersports, and Other Vehicles categories. Best Offer transactions are eligible for Vehicle Purchase Protection.
 
Note: If the Make Offer button does not appear on the listing, the seller is not interested in receiving offers and you should not try to contact this seller through other means to negotiate price or terms. This is a violation of eBay’s Offers to Buy or Sell Outside eBay policy.

4. Complete Your Purchase

Once you've won or committed to buy a vehicle, contact the seller to arrange final payment instruction and arrange pickup or shipping. It’s important that you contact the seller before sending payment.
 
Use the following links to guide you when completing your purchase:

4. Complete Your Purchase: Pay the Seller

Once you have been notified that you are the winning bidder, follow the seller's instructions regarding accepted payment methods as they were described in the Seller’s Description. It’s always best to communicate with the seller regarding payment.
 
The seller’s payment instructions may include some type of deposit, followed by the balance payoff amount.
 
Using safe payment methods for vehicles protect both the buyer and the seller. Some of the safe methods include:
  • Loan – The lending institution provides secure funds transfer and the convenience of handling title paperwork for both you and the seller. The Financing Center can help you get a vehicle loan.
  • PayPal – You can pay a seller with a Business or Premiere account for amounts greater than $2,000.
 
Note: Never use instant money transfer services, like Western Union or Moneygram, to pay for a vehicle.

Deposit

It is common practice for sellers to require a deposit within 72 hours after the end of a successful sale. The Seller’s Description on the vehicle listing should contain any relevant deposit information and instructions. If this information is not available, contact the seller directly.

Balance Payoff Amount

Refer to the vehicle listing to learn how and when the seller would like you to send the balance payoff amount. If this information is not available, contact the seller directly. If you will be picking up the vehicle directly from the seller, you may be required to bring a check to pay off the balance.
 
Note: Never use instant money transfer services, like Western Union or Moneygram, to pay for a vehicle.

Financing

You can get matched to a financing company to help secure a loan to pay for your vehicle right on eBay Motors. Be sure to do this before you buy a vehicle since the approval process is not instant. Find out more in the Financing Center.

4. Complete Your Purchase: Arrange Pickup or Shipping

It is standard practice on eBay Motors for the buyer to make the arrangements and pay for any shipping or pickup costs. If the seller is offering any shipping options or cost estimates, it should have been mentioned in the Seller’s Description. If not, you can easily arrange shipping and get customized shipping quotes from multiple carriers by going to the Shipping tab on the vehicle listing page. Learn more in the Shipping Center.

4. Complete Your Purchase: Transfer Title and Pay Taxes

Once you purchase the vehicle, be sure to complete all of the title paperwork and pay any required taxes on the vehicle. Please note that this information varies by state and vehicle type. Contact your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles for more information.

4. Complete Your Purchase: Five Safe Buying Tips

You’ve completed the tutorial! Buying a vehicle on eBay Motors really is that easy - so easy that a car is sold every minute on eBay Motors. Review these final tips to ensure a safe purchase on eBay Motors.
 
  1. Never use Western Union, MoneyGram, or any other instant cash transfer method to pay for a vehicle. If you decide to pay in cash, do so in person.
     
  2. Always contact the seller if you have questions about payment.
     
  3. Check to see if the vehicle you’re interested in buying is covered by Vehicle Purchase Protection. Most vehicles are. Look for the Vehicle Purchase Protection message in the "Buy safely" section of the vehicle listing.
     
  4. If you secure a loan, make sure you’re clear on the terms. Consider using the Financing Center on eBay Motors to secure your loan. All loans offered through the financing companies in the Financing Center cover person-to-person sales, state-to-state transactions, and do not require that the vehicle be inspected.
     
  5. Always complete your vehicle purchase on eBay Motors (by placing a bid, buying through Buy It Now, or making a Best Offer). If you complete the transaction off of eBay Motors, you won’t be eligible for any protection programs.