Help me buy a used car in the bay area!
May 29, 2009 10:56 AM   Subscribe

Got a used car dealer in the Bay Area/Peninsula to recommend?

Hi all,

I'm moving to the Bay Area to start work and need to buy a used car (probably a Honda civic/accord or something similar) and am looking for your recommendations on a good used car dealer around the Burlingame/San Carlos area or nearby. Is it too much to hope to find one that won't try to rip me off?

In case these details are relevant: budget is 5k to 9k, will pay up front, and I don't have a trade in vehicle.

Welcome also is any advice about buying auto insurance!

Thanks in advance :)
posted by skaye to Travel & Transportation (1 answer total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I don't have a direct answer to your question, but nobody else has answered, so I thought I'd chime in.

The Bay Area pretty much relies on Craigslist for listings of older used cars. If you thought Craigslist was popular where you live, it's even more popular in the Bay Area. Both dealers and private parties advertise frequently there, and you'll have no trouble at all finding older Hondas in your price range.

If you go to one of the big dealers here, you'll have a hard time finding cars that are substantially cheaper than $10,000 or so -- it's only the smaller lots that deal in cheaper cars, and those lots are almost notoriously sketchy. You can look up the ratings of the various auto dealers near where you're living or are planning to live on Yelp, but pretty much all of the dealer reviews -- used or new, big or small -- are pretty dire. Many of the small lots fare extremely poorly, and so buying private party is generally considered the best way.

Dealing in-person with a private party on Craigslist in the Bay Area is almost always a slightly weird, flaky experience -- the competition is fierce, and folks around here tend to not to be on time -- but you're much more likely to get a decent car at a good price. Note that most of the scams on Craigslist are "remote sale" scams, where they say the car is far away, or that they're far away and they'll mail you the keys -- people don't typically get burned badly when they agree to meet and haggle over the sale of something in a public space, even if it can be awkward.

Hope this helps...
posted by eschatfische at 7:26 PM on May 30, 2009

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