My kingdom for a horse: Trustworthy SoCal car dealers/mechanics
June 12, 2007 8:14 AM   Subscribe

Buying-a-used-Car in SoCal-filter : I'm looking for good used car dealerships in the Pomona / Inland Empire / greater LA area. Also, for good independent mechanics to examine a prospective used car. Also: Examples of dealers/mechanics to avoid and general advice.

I'm looking to buy a newer-than-2001 used car for 10-13k* at the end of July near to Pomona/Claremont, CA. I'm happy to go further afield to buy, but the nearer the better.

Does anyone have (or know of) any good / bad experiences with a particular dealership? Reputations of said dealers?

Bonus if you or someone you know bought a car in the last 3 months and had a good (or bad) interaction with a particular salesman / F&I office / post-dealer experience.

After I test drive the car, I'd like to get it examined by a mechanic to make sure it's kosher. Suggestions in the Pomona / Claremont / inland-empire areas? What's the going rate for an examination? Any joy in persuading/not persuading dealers to let you have the car examined?

Any other advice on buying a used car in SoCal gratefully received.

* I'm currently narrowing my choices from the standard Accords, Civics, and their import clones (nissan, mitsubishi hyundai, etc), as well as thinking about off-the wall cars like the Scion xB, VW cabriolet, Mitsubishi Eclipse Spider, Toyota Matrix and some others. Criteria: reliable, automatic, economical, 4-seater commuter car, fun. Any advice on these would be appreciated too!
posted by lalochezia to Travel & Transportation (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I used Takeda Enterprises in Gardena (?) when I lived in LA. Takeda is a young Japanese guy, but speaks English pretty well and knows A LOT about Japanese cars. He also buys & sells cars as a sideline.
posted by spacewrench at 9:25 AM on June 12, 2007

I've had nothing but good luck with CarMax, if there's one nearby. I've bought or sold 4 cars there over the years, and I've gotten good deals all around.
posted by MrMoonPie at 9:40 AM on June 12, 2007

I bought a 2002 Honda Civic at Metro Honda in Montclair. It was a totally stressful process. They basically pulled every trick you have heard of (switched contracts, trying to push me onto cars that I didn't want, miscellaneous fees at the end, cashing a check they told me they would hold for a few days, etc.)

In return I pulled every trick I had at my disposal, I went in knowing what I wanted, I did my research, I demanded respect (I was a college age girl shopping alone) and, when all else failed I burst into tears. This was partly trick and partly sheer exhaustion and stress. But it really stymied them.

If you had asked this question way back then (I purchased the car in 2003) I would have told you never to go to Metro Honda, but in retrospect, they didn't do anything outside the norm for your standard dealership, and the car is still running strong and holding it's value well (the base price was 11,500 or some such, and the KBB for it is around 6 or 7k now.)

If you go with them, and it sounds like you might since they are the biggest Honda dealer in the area, go in knowing what you want, and don't be afraid to have your guns drawn, and you'll be fine.
posted by paddingtonb at 10:15 AM on June 12, 2007

On preview, I looked at CarMax at the time, but the same car I ended up buying from Metro Honda was more expensive at CarMax. YMMV.
posted by paddingtonb at 10:16 AM on June 12, 2007

Best answer: The Mechanics Files is the best place to look up decent repair people (from CarTalk - the NPR guys.)
posted by filmgeek at 10:28 AM on June 12, 2007

Here's something I learned from working in close proximity to a HUGE car dealership. Dealerships keep the best trade-ins and lease returns for their own lots, and wholesale out the rest. If you are interested in getting a good car - go to a new car dealership the week after a big sale, when they'll have lots of trade-ins and lease returns to choose from.
posted by clh at 10:39 AM on June 12, 2007

My mil bought a new car from the toyota dealership in Glendora (right off the 210 at Lone Hill) a couple of years ago and had a good experience. I've been in just to look at cars and they are very low key, no pressure kind of salespeople, afaict. Next time I'm in the market, I'm going there first.
posted by jvilter at 10:47 AM on June 12, 2007

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