eBay Search Tips



About EVFinder   EVents Calendar    FAQ    EV Selector   Links    The EV Finder Archive Site Map Blog

Sunday November 4, 2018 eBay Search Tips Over the last couple of years, changes in the way that eBay does searching has been getting harder and harder for me.  Finally in mid October I took the very difficult decision to stop updating my eBay Classifieds page with new listings.  Since I am no longer listing sales on eBay I decided to give some tips from what I have learned over the years to help people search for themselves. 


I have toyed with the idea of shutting down my eBay classifieds page for some time now but have managed to find a way around whatever hair-brained changes eBay came up with, but in early October they made a change that I couldn't get around.  My searches were based on using history so I could see where I left off last time and also see which vehicles I had already viewed and listed.  For some reason, I suspect because eBay now generates a different URL on each search,  my browser no longer registers that I have viewed a listing before.


I've had this happen with browser bugs in the past but usually clearing cache stops the problem - it didn't this time.  This has always been browser specific but in this case I get the same results no matter if I use Microsoft Edge, Firefox, or Chrome.  I would spend so much time viewing listings I had already seen that I wasn't getting new listings into the web page fast enough.  Also the sheer volume of plug-in cars for sale has increased so much in recent years, and there has been a trend towards shorter listing, so I was having problems keeping up anyway.  After the update on October 12, I stopped updated these listings.  So far I have only had one note from one of my readers asking me to re-instate the listings which makes me suspect that they were not being used that much anyway. 


Over the years I have learned a few things about using eBay so I thought I would pass along a few tips.  It seems like eBay makes money on parts rather than the sale of vehicles so the changes that they have been making has been for the seller to blast more and more listings for parts and accessories into eBay as quickly as possible..


If you want to search for plug-in cars you  can go to eBay Motors.  Ignore the search box at the top of the page as this searches all of eBay motors so any search will probably get drowned by the parts sellers making any vehicles difficult to find.  Below this is a box for parts and accessories but below that is a box that says search  for vehicles.  This search area has dropdowns for make and model, and you can also select options to search near your zip code and to search used cars, new cars, or both.


Searching is easy if you know what you are looking for.  If you want to buy a Nissan Leaf just select Nissan from the dropdown that defaults to "All Makes" and select Leaf from the dropdown that defaults to "All Models".  Most models are listed here but sometimes cars that are a plug-in variant of a regular gas model are not listed.  For example if you select Fiat you will find models 500, 500L,and 500X but not the 500e.  If you don't find the car model use some other model, in the example I would select Fiat 500, then click on Find Vehicle.  This puts you into the search category "Cars and Trucks" that is not available on the dropdown in the search bar at the top of page.


Once you are in "Cars and Trucks" you can pretty much search for any make and model without getting all the parts seller's listings.  One more tip when using this way to search.  Sometimes people do not list vehicles correctly.  At the bottom of the search results eBay provides a list of vehicles matching fewer words.  In the Fiat 500e search I can find cars listed as "Fiat 500 Battery Electric" and "Fiat 500" Electric among the cars listed in this group.  


The Find a Vehicle section has two other tabs, one for Motorcycles and one for Other Vehicles.  These also don't have ntries for all makes and models.  The motorcycle dropdown is useful for Zero motorcycles but all the others I have tried actually put me into a parts search but that may be because there have been no vehicles found.  For some strange reason the Scooters and Mopeds are listed under the Other Vehicles selection.  The Other Vehicles selection also has an entry for Golf Carts which is a good place to find NEVs.  One word of caution, if your search doesn't find anything the Category changes to "All Categories" and you have to go back and change it to "Golf Cars" to search for another NEV maker.


If you have to use the main search bar then remember that you can eliminate items from your search by using a "-" in front of the word you want to eliminate.  For example Sparrow -Mirror will search for the Sparrow 3-wheel EV but eliminate listings for Sparrow Mirror.  3-Wheel vehicles seem to be a hole in the eBay search entity.  They should be listed under either the Motor Cycles or Other Vehicles searches but I haven't found them so far.


Advanced search is another option that provides a couple of interesting ways to eliminate the parts sellers.  The first way is to get rid of those foreign sellers such as the ones located in China or Indonesia.  First enter your search parameters and click on the "Search" button.  When the search  results appear click on "Advanced" in the top right hand corner of the screen.  The advance screen will come up and should already be populated with your search terms and excluded words.  Scroll down the screen until you find the heading "Location", then click on one of the radio buttons such as "Located in".  With United States selected in the dropdown you will now only see listings that are located in the USA.  There is also an option to pick listings located within a certain number of miles from your location but since I am always searching nationwide I have never tried this option.


Another way to get rid of those pesky parts sellers, some of whom blast as many as a thousand listings onto eBay within a few minutes, is to exclude them.  Below the Location Radio Buttons is a section called "Sellers".  In this box you can include a specific seller in your list.  I have never found this to work well but if you check the box entitled "Only show items from" then under 'Specific Sellers" use the dropdown to change the entry from "Include" to "Exclude".  Now you can enter the eBay Id for any eBay seller to exclude them from your search.  Technically you can enter 10 sellers, separated by commas, in this list but in reality I have been able to include many more entries.  One issue here is that should a seller quit eBay you get an error saying one of the Id's does not exist. The Ever helpful eBay gives you this message but does not tell you which id it is so then you have to use trial and error to figure that out.  On my searches this can often take as long as half an hour. 


I hope these tips will be useful.  If you have any other tips that will help people please send them via the Comment link below and I will post them.  Good look finding a suitable Plug-in Vehicle.


If you want to comment on this topic, email me, but please include your Name, City and State or Country

Follow evfinder.com on Twitter