Understanding Vehicle Auction Terminology and Lingo

Even with the many different kinds of low downpayment promos and too-good-to-be-true deals on brand new cars, many still reckon that buying fresh vehicles off the lot could still cost you an arm and a leg. And apart from the fact it’s going to be one of the biggest purchases you’ll ever do in your lifetime, it could also be a burdensome one as its resale value immediately drops by about 30% the minute you get it in on the road. Because of those, some people deem buying used cars is more reasonable and practical.

Well, you are a self-professed bargain hunter, there are lots of options you can choose from so you could score a good used vehicle that can give you the most bang for your buck. You may check on numerous buy and sell websites, community boards, used car dealerships, and don’t forget, there are also car auctions.

Now should you be considering on trying out a car auction to get a nice used car, it isn’t as easy as paying a visit to your local car dealership. Apparently, you’d have to at least know the basics of buying cars at auctions or else you might just get burnt instead of scoring that good deal you are hoping for.

That is why, here at Advance Car Wreckers, we truly understand how your first time at a car auction could be an overwhelming experience. Automotive jargon is generally confusing, let alone vehicle auction lingo. So to help you be ready, our team of expert car removalists, car recyclers, and car wreckers Melbourne ought to provide you with a clear and better understanding of the important terms used in auto auctions.

Here are the most common auto auction terms and their definitions:

ACV – this stands for Actual Cash Value. It refers to the estimated retail value as submitted by the owner/seller of the car to the auction company or business.

Auctioneer – this person is a trained professional who is responsible for carrying out the whole process of the auction, from the beginning till the moment the car is declared as sold.

Bid – is done when a potential buyer offers a certain amount for the car that is being auctioned. The potential buyer might put in a bid that is equal to the amount the auctioneer is asking, or bigger.

Bid Increment – this refers to the amount by which the auctioneer decides to increase the bidding. Bid figures and increments may be rounded up or down.

Buyer’s Fee – this is amount that the winning bidder must pay to the auction house.

Clearance – the term used to refer to any kind of passenger vehicle with with an estimated value of less than $5,000. It could be a car with very high mileage or one that’s of an older model.

Counter Bid – it refers to the bid made by the seller (owner of the car) to counter the offer of the highest bidder. (As sellers still have to approve the highest bid before the actual sale of the vehicle will take place.)

Commercial – this refers to vehicles used for business like utes, cabs, mini-trucks, and vans, among others.

End of Lease – these are cars that were used by lease and fleet companies. They are normally about 3 years old and have just been with one owner.

Inspected Write Off – this is a car that was deemed repairable by the WOVR (Written Off Vehicle Register), later on fixed and validated. It is still needs to be registered again to be used legally on the road.

Lane – it refers to the path right in front of the auctioneer where the car for sale travels to be block and held for auction.

Lot – used as a term of ‘measurement’ referring to a single unit of vehicle being offered for sale at the auction.

Make – the car manufacturer’s brand name

Passed or Unsold – is said by the auctioneer once a car fails to reach its reserve price.

Prestige – term used to describe luxury vehicles with prestigious brands such as Mercedes Benz, Audi, BMW, Lamborghini, Porsche, and more.

Reserve Price – (as mentioned above) this is the minimum price agreed to by the seller and the auction house/company, with confidentiality. It is never disclosed to buyers.

Repossession – a car that is owned by a bank or another financial institution.

Salvage – this pertains to vehicles that are damaged whether by accident, natural cause, poor maintenance, etc. It may refer to all kinds of passenger, commercial, or prestige vehicles.

Simulcast Auction – if an online auction is done, the auction house may do live broadcast so that buyers in other parts of Australia may also bid without having to be there in person.

Sublot – it refers to the vehicles which are sold by the auction house but are  not actually stored in the auction company’s main facility.

Write Offs – there are two kinds of write-offs: Statutory refers to salvage vehicles which could not be registered in Australia and therefore cannot be legally on the road, whereas a Repairable Write-off means it has been repaired, approved, and can be registered again.

VIN – also known as the Vehicle Identification Number, refers to the 17-digit alphanumeric code given to each vehicle by the manufacturer to identify it. You may see it at the driver’s side of the dashboard base.


As the saying goes, “ignorance excuses no one”. That is why, as your leading scrap cars for cash and car removal Melbourne company, we want you to be fully armed and prepared the moment you step into that auto auction house. So be familiar with all these terms before you finally dive in. That instead of wondering what do the auctioneers mean when they mention an auction jargon, we want you to focus more on reaching your goal – to score a nice used car at a price that perfectly fits your budget.

And if you’re looking to sell your used car instead of buying one, it doesn’t have to be as complicated as participating in an auction. Work with Advance Car Wreckers. We are one of the leading Melbourne salvage yards that have been in the car removal and cash for cars Melbourne industry for two decades now. Call us and see how big of an amount awaits you when you let our experts take your old ride.