Diamond Certified Companies are Rated Highest in Quality and Helpful Expertise.

  • Why this rating is the most accurate.
  • Our editors gather deep company info.
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Diamond certified companies are top rated and guaranteed

Why Trust Diamond Certified Auto Dealer Rated Highest in Quality?

SAN RAMON—You are the customer. If your goal is to choose a used auto dealer that will deliver high customer satisfaction and quality, you’ll feel confident in choosing a Diamond Certified used auto sales dealer. Each has been rated Highest in Quality in the most accurate ratings process anywhere. And you’re always backed by the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee. Here’s why the Diamond Certified ratings and certification process will help you find a top-rated used auto dealer and is unparalleled in its accuracy, rigor and usefulness:

1) Accuracy: All research is performed by live telephone interviews that verify only real customers are surveyed, so you’ll never be fooled by fake reviews.

2) Statistical Reliability: A large random sample of past customers is surveyed on an ongoing basis so the research results you see truly reflect a Diamond Certified company’s top-rated status.

3) Full Disclosure: By clicking the name of a company above you’ll see the exact rating results in charts and read verbatim survey responses as well as researched articles on each qualified company.

4) Guaranteed: Your purchase is backed up with mediation and the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee, so you can choose with confidence.

Click on the name of a Diamond Certified company above to read ratings results, researched articles and verbatim customer survey responses to help you make an informed decision.

More than 200,000 customers of local companies have been interviewed in live telephone calls, and only companies that score Highest in Quality in customer satisfaction–a 90+ on a 100 scale–as well as pass all of the credential-based ratings earn Diamond Certified. By requiring such a high score to qualify, the Diamond Certified program eliminates mediocre and poorly performing companies. Read detailed information about the ratings and certification process.

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Greg Meier is a 22-year veteran of the auto sales industry and owner of Diablo Motors Auto Sales, Brokerage, Consignment, Service, a Diamond Certified company since 2005. He can be reached at (925) 526-5985 or by email.

Greg Meier

diamond certified contributor profile and expert article

Greg Meier: No Strings Attached

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

SAN RAMON — Greg Meier had barely reached adulthood when he resolved to turn his automotive fascination into a lifelong career, but he never anticipated how far it would take him. “I was a car nut in high school, and back in those days, what you drove was part of who you were,” he remembers. “I had a ’66 Mustang that I took apart and put back together probably 20 times. Even after going to college to study architectural design, I ultimately decided I wanted to make cars my livelihood.”

Rather than enroll in a trade school or start working in a local repair shop, Greg opted to take a more self-determining route. “I started out small: I sold my car and bought two cheaper ones, sold those two and bought three more, and just kept reinvesting my money,” he says. “I didn’t really set out to be a salesperson, but I guess if you’re nice and honest with people, it just kind of flows.” Through the exponential growth of his investments, Greg was eventually able to establish a centrally located auto sales, brokerage and consignment service in San Ramon.

Today, as owner of Diablo Motors, Greg credits much of his success to his straightforward, no-strings-attached brand of salesmanship. “When you buy a car here, it generally takes 30 minutes to an hour because we remove all the haggling and arguing from the equation,” he explains. “We do this by showing all the pertinent numbers upfront, with the Kelley Blue Book retail price and our discounted price side by side. When a customer sees they’re already getting $3,000 off the retail price, there’s not a lot to argue about. Not to mention the fact that we do a 200-point inspection and guarantee each car we sell, which you don’t usually see at the big dealerships.”

A long-time resident of Danville (where he lives with his wife, Kellie, and their daughter, Rachael), Greg spends his time outside of work engaged in a variety of active pastimes. “I’m an avid cyclist, and I typically ride 100 to 200 miles each week,” he says. “I often ride my bike to pick up new cars, which lets me get a workout while sparing the air. I’m also an avid skier, whether it’s on the slopes during the winter or on the Delta during the summer.”

In his life and career, Greg espouses the virtue of making a positive impact. “I feel like my mission in life is to improve everything around me as best as I can,” he says. “For example, I do my part to help the environment by selling only fuel-efficient vehicles that are well-tuned and catalytic converter-compliant.” In keeping with this philosophy, when asked the first thing he’d do if he could retire tomorrow, Greg says he’d refocus his efforts toward saving the planet. “I would get involved in something that benefits the environment, like solar energy or Green building. I’d also like to buy a house in the hills that’s in close proximity to some nice skiing and biking spots. Also, my wife is into Equestrian sports, so she’d be able to have horses on the property.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: What was your first car?
A: A 1966 Mustang.

Q: Music or talk radio?
A: Definitely music, particularly from the ’80s, since that’s what I listened to during my formative college years.

Q: What’s your favorite movie?
A: “Caddyshack.”

Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
A: I just got back from Italy, and I’d go right back.

Q: What was your favorite toy as a child?
A: My Matchbox and Hot Wheels cars.

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The Truth About Oil Change Intervals


SAN RAMON — With the improved quality of modern synthetic oil products, many high-end auto manufacturers have extended their recommended oil change intervals. In some cases, manufacturers endorse driving for as many as 12,000 to 15,000 miles between services. This may be… Read more

Expert Video Tip

Video: The Truth About Oil Change Intervals

Complete Video Transcription:

SAN RAMON — Host, Sarah Rutan: While many car manufacturers are recommending longer oil change intervals, this may not be such a good idea in practice. Today… Read more




  • Acura

  • Audi

  • Chrysler

  • Ford

  • GM

  • Honda

  • Hyundai

  • Infiniti

  • Isuzu

  • Jaguar

Aston Martin
Chevrolet / Chevy
Land Rover
Volkswagen / VW

used pickup sales
auto trade-in sales
used motorhome sales / RV sales
motor scooter sales
used minivans
impounded auto sales
commercial vehicle sales
used car dealerships
used auto trading
pre-owned car sales
online used auto sales
certified used cars
used car auction sales
used car financing
used luxury cars
used trucks
used vans
used family vehicles
private used car sales
classic car dealers
rare auto sales
wholesale auto sales
muscle car sales
used SUV sales
used auto leasing
used hatchback cars
repossessed car sales
used motorcycle sales

Bay Point
Bethel Island
Discovery Bay
El Cerrito
El Sobrante
Hilltop Mall
Los Medanos
North Richmond
Pleasant Hill
Point Richmond
Port Chicago
Port Costa
Rheem Valley
San Pablo
San Ramon
Tara Hills
Vine Hill
Walnut Creek
Walnut Heights
West Pittsburg


American Automobile Association (AAA) (http://www.aaa.com/)
California Motor Car Dealers Association (http://www.cmcda.com/)
Independent Automobile Dealers Association of California (http://www.iadac.org/)
National Automobile Dealers Association (http://www.nada.org/)
National Independent Automobile Dealers Association (http://www.niada.com/)

Know What You Want
Think About Your Needs Before Shopping at Local Used Vehicle Centers

Before you start looking for a used car dealership in Contra Costa County, think about some specific used car sales questions you may have.

Get some ideas down on paper. Maybe you are mostly concerned with the used car price, or the quality of the used cars. You may want someone to take extra time explaining used car options.

Being precise about your used car dealership needs will help you measure the responses of car dealers. Here are some sample questions about used car sales:

  • Do you want a Diamond Certified used car dealership that is rated best in quality and is backed by the Diamond Certified Guarantee?
  • Do I want a pre-owned vehicle from a used car lot that has a good reputation?
  • What kind of used vehicle am I looking for (van, car, SUV, classic car, truck, motorcycle, etc.)?
  • What details do I need to know about the used car I’m most interested in buying? (This may include make and model, year, color, condition, amenities, warranty, accident history, etc.)
  • How much do I plan to spend on a preowned car?
  • What is the absolute most I can spend on a used vehicle?(This should include up-front costs and monthly payments if you are planning on financing your purchase.)
  • Will I need financing options?
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What To Ask In Person
What to Ask Contra Costa County Used Car Dealership Sales Staff

After narrowing down the field by talking on the phone with a few representatives of used car centers, you may decide to visit some used car dealerships in Concord, Pittsburg, Walnut Creek, Antioch, Richmond or your area.

Take notes on your visit, and record which of the pre-owned vehicle lots have the vehicles that most interest you. It’s also important to take note of which sales staff made you feel the most comfortable, which used car center had financing options that worked best for you, and other aspects that will factor into your decision.

Questions like the following may help you choose between used car dealerships:

  • Do you have the makes and models of used vehicles that I am most interested in test driving?
  • What exactly takes place during the typical used car sales process?
  • What are the used cars I most want likely to cost at your dealership, and what could cause those amounts to be greater than expected?
  • How likely it that the used car sales process here will go well and save me time and money over another dealership?
  • Does your used vehicle dealership sell certified pre-owned vehicles or offer additional warranties on the cars you sell?
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  • What To Ask References
    Questions for Previous Customers of Used Car Dealerships in Contra Costa County

    Ask the used car centers if they will give you the names and phone numbers of their 10 most recent customers. This will enable you to check a few references and see how those customers’ experiences went at the dealership.

    Be sure to write down their answers so you can recall which used auto dealership had the most satisfied customers.

    Diamond Certified used car dealerships give used car buyers a big advantage. You can be sure of quality with Diamond Certified used car dealerships. That’s because all Diamond Certified companies have passed an in-depth rating process including random surveys of actual customers. And you will have the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee to back up your used car purchase.

    When calling the references, ask a few general questions about the second hand car dealer and some specific questions about the used car buying process.

    Questions you may want to ask include these:

    • What used car did you buy at the dealership, and what did it cost?
    • Did you feel good about the overall process of buying a used vehicle from this dealership?
    • Was the dealership staff prompt and attentive?
    • Were there any unpleasant surprises at the used car dealership?
    • Did the used car dealership staff treat you well and fully explain things?
    • Was the  cost reasonable, and close to the second hand car price you had expected?
    • What parts of the used car sales process were done particularly well by the dealership?
    • Would you go back to the dealership to buy a car used?
    • Do you recommend buying from this used car dealership?
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  • Review Your Options
    Choose the Best Used Vehicle Dealership for You

    The Diamond Certified symbol has been awarded to companies that scored Highest in Quality in an accurate ratings process.

    Review your notes and think back to which of the used vehicle centers most impressed you with their selection, service and prices.

    Ask yourself these final questions before going back to the used auto center that best meets your needs.

    • Did one of the used vehicle locations offer a vehicle or vehicles that fit your preferences for make, model, amenities, warranty and price?
    • Can the used car dealership you’re thinking about in Contra Costa County do the important things, including providing honest and helpful service?
    • Will the second hand car dealership give you clear information and treat you honestly?
    • Is the used car dealership rated highly by customers buying a car used in Contra Costa County?
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  • How To Work With
    Cooperating with Used Car Dealerships in Contra Costa County

    California used car dealerships are all licensed by the California DMV, but you want to confirm that the second hand car dealer you choose will be the best fit for your used car sales process.

    All Diamond Certified used car dealerships have been checked in advance for high quality, in such areas as high random customer approval ratings, customer-friendly practices, and customer-satisfaction principles.  If you don’t choose a Diamond Certified used car dealership in Contra Costa County, you should search carefully yourself for a second hand car dealership that will truly meet your used car needs.

    Used car dealerships in the larger Contra Costa County cities of Pittsburg, Concord, Antioch, Walnut Creek and Richmond may save you more when you buy a car used than do other second hand car dealerships.

    Be sure you understand the used car price you are considering, and the details of the used car financing. You should be comfortable with the used car dealership facts and the possible financing options for buying the car used. Ask used car sales questions as needed, and make notes on the responses.

    Remember to read the used car sales contract carefully to find out exactly what the second hand car will cost, including the total with the used car financing cost added.

    If you are financing your vehicle purchase through the dealership, make sure that you understand all terms and conditions of the financing.

    Sign a Sales Contract with a Used Car Dealership in Contra Costa County, Including a Second Hand Car Dealership in the Larger Cities of Pittsburg, Concord, Antioch, Walnut Creek and Richmond
    Review the used car dealership return policy if there is one, and be sure you understand the terms. Then, take plenty of time to read the used car contract, looking particularly for anything extra or unusual you may have agreed upon—or not agree upon—with the used car salesman.

    Verify that the details of the agreement match the actual used vehicle you’re purchasing (mileage/odometer, make and model, color, condition, VIN, license plate, etc.).

    When you’re satisfied with the used car price, financing and terms that the Contra Costa County used car dealership is offering, sign the sales contract.

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  • Be a Good Customer
    Perfecting the Art of Buying a Used Vehicle

    Good service is the responsibility of the used car dealers with whom you’re dealing.  But there are some simple steps you can take to make the transaction go more smoothly.

    Here are some tips to being the kind of customer with whom local used auto centers like to deal:

    • Be direct with your contact at the used car dealership. Make your wishes known up front to avoid any miscommunications from the start.
    • Be honest about your budget, the type of vehicle you are looking for and the features that are important to you. Your used car sales representative will need to know the details so that he or she can locate the vehicles in which you are most interested.
    • Be friendly and polite with the dealership salesman when buying a car used.
    • Be patient with the process. Buying a used car can take time, especially if you are choosy about the car you’re getting and the details of the transaction.
    • Pay for your pre-owned vehicle promptly.

    It works for you and for the used car dealership when you take the time to be a good used car sales customer. Contra Costa County used car dealerships work well with quality used car customers.

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Check The Work
Check the Used Car Against Your Sales Contract

Make sure everything about the used car you have just purchased is as you expected, and that you have all the phone numbers or e-mail addresses you may need for working with the used car dealership in the present and future.

Verify that the make and model, mileage, condition, color, VIN and other details are exactly as stated in the bill of sale before you drive the vehicle off the used car lot. This is your protection when it comes to being sure the vehicle you’ve purchased is the vehicle you’re driving home.

You may also choose to have your new car checked out by a local mechanic immediately after purchase to ensure that the mechanical condition of the car is as promised. Before purchasing a used vehicle, make sure you know what to do if there is any discrepancy in the condition of the vehicle versus what is promised on your bill of sale.

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Written Warranties
Get Warranties from Contra Costa County Used Car Dealerships

Some pre-owned vehicle dealers in Contra Costa County, including those in Concord, Walnut Creek, Richmond, Pittsburg and your area offer certified pre-owned cars and other used vehicles that come with warranties similar to those covering new cars.

If warranties apply to the vehicle you’re buying, be sure to get those warranties in writing before you sign the paperwork.

For your protection, all written warranties should include the following items:

  • The used car dealership’s state license number and physical address.
  • A detailed description of what’s covered by the used car dealership warranty.
  • Instructions for taking action on the used car dealership warranty, including all the actions you are required to take and items you must provide in order to claim the warranty.
  • Information regarding the dealership’s responsibility in making good on the warranty claim, including whether they will offer repair, replacement or money back if the vehicle or components covered by warranty fail.
  • The time period covered by the used car dealership warranty and whether the guarantee is prorated or expires on a specific date and time.
  • Any exclusions or special terms that apply to your vehicle or sales agreement.
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Top 10 Requests
Common Requests Handled By Pre-Owned Automobile Dealers in Contra Costa County

Pre-Owned Car Sales
Sales of pre-owned vehicles include used cars, trucks, vans and SUVs. Vehicles that are classified as pre-owned are used cars, but many are in very good condition and may come with a warranty or guarantee.

Used Auto Sales in Contra Costa County
Used auto sales are sales of any used automobile. These include all makes and models, from classic cars like muscle cars to previously leased and almost-new vehicles.

Used Luxury Cars
Used luxury cars include brands such as Jaguar, Land Rover, Volvo, BMW, Infiniti, Lexus, Aston Martin, Fisker, Rolls-Royce, Cadillac, Bentley, Lamborghini, Maserati, Porsche and Lincoln. These luxury vehicles are often available for reasonable prices from used car dealerships, some of which specialize in luxury used cars.

Certified Used Cars
Certified used vehicles are those that have been evaluated and certified by dealerships or manufacturers. These certified pre-owned vehicles often go through stringent inspections and have been refurbished or repaired by the manufacturer. Certified used vehicles usually come with an extended waranty, special financing or other benefits that can make them a smart buy.

Used Car Financing Services in Contra Costa County
Financing is available from many used car dealerships in Contra Costa County, including those in Concord, Antioch, Richmond, Brentwood, San Ramon, Martinez, Walnut Creek, Danville, Pittsburg and other areas. However, be sure to review the terms carefully, as some financing for used cars can charge exorbitant late fees or high interest.

Used Auto Leasing
Used auto leasing is often available through used car dealers. These are used cars that are available for short-term or long-term lease, often at reduced rates from new vehicle leases.

Auto Trade-Ins
Auto trade-in sales are those used car dealerships that purchase vehicles directly from consumers or allow consumers to trade in their own used vehicle toward credit on a different used vehicle. Some used car dealers look for certain types of trade-ins to vary their inventory and move used vehicles currently sitting on their lots.

Used Family Vehicles
Station wagons, SUVs and hatchback cars are some of the popular used family vehicles available at local used car dealerships in Contra Costa County. These are usually four-door cars or vans that allow for the transport of families of various sizes.

Used Motorcycles Sales
Some Alameda County used auto lots also sell used motorcycles. Many also offer pre-owned motorcycle sales and motorcycle financing.

Used Commercial Vehicles For Sale
Used commercial vehicles can be available from some pre-owned vehicle lots. These include commercial trucks, vans and other large vehicles that are often used by businesses for commercial purposes.

Popular Used Vehicle Brands Available at Alameda County Used Car Lots
The following vehicle brands and others are commonly found at used vehicle dealerships in Alameda County and the Bay Area.

  • BMW
  • Mercedes-Benz
  • Honda
  • Infiniti
  • Chevrolet
  • Subaru
  • Volkswagen
  • Acura
  • Ford
  • Toyota
  • Audi
  • Lexus
  • Chrysler
  • GM
  • Land Rover
  • Volvo
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Glossary Of Terms
Glossary of Terms Used by Pre-Owned Auto Dealers

Below are some used car process terms which may be of help in understanding how to buy cars used or buy second hand cars:

Used car dealership term for credit bureau or credit rating. The used car dealership lender will always get a credit report on used car buyers before financing a loan to buy a car used.

Also known as: used car dealership, used car dealerships, car used, used cars, cars used, second hand car, second hand cars, used vehicles, used car sales, used car dealers

CarFax used car history
A website or report from that website for details about the history of a used car tracked through the vehicle identification number (VIN).

Also known as: used car dealership, used car dealerships, second hand cars, car used, cars used, second hand car, used vehicles, used cars, used car sales, used car dealers

certified pre-owned (CPO) used cars
Used cars that come with a warranty. These second hand cars will probably have a relatively low mileage and are generally sold at the used car section of a full dealership.

Also known as: car used, cars used, used cars, dealership, dealerships, second hand car, used vehicles

dealership asking price
The price the salesman is asking for to buy the car used. If the dealership salesman uses the term asking price, it is an obvious way of starting a used car negotiation. The used car price starting point is certain to be well above the price the dealership expects for the second hand car.

Also known as: used car, cars used, used cars, car used, dealerships, second hand car, dealership, used vehicles

dealership buy rate
The true interest rate that the used car lender charges. The buy rate is the basic lender interest rate for the customer to buy the car used, before adding used car dealership finance charges to increase car sales profits on the second hand car.

Also known as: used car dealers, used car dealership, dealership, car used, used cars, second hand car, used vehicles, used car sales

dealership closer
The dealership salesman who gets the customer to buy the used car, the salesman that can close the deal to buy the car used. The closer may pressure second hand car buyers to sign.

Also known as: used car dealership, used car dealerships, car used, used cars, used car sales, used car dealers, cars used, second hand car, second hand cars, used vehicles

dealership come-on
Something used car buyers may be offered at some dealerships, to lead them to buy a car used. Car buyers may later see this to have been incorrect or misleading used car dealership information.

Also known as: second hand car, used car dealership, used car dealerships, car used, used cars, second hand cars, used vehicles, used car sales, used car dealers, cars used

dealership kink
Trouble the used car buyer wants to keep from happening at a dealership. A kink in buying a car used could come from some figure or fact that was said wrong, estimated wrong, unmentioned, remembered wrong, or heard wrong. It’s good to be careful, clarify what you are told, and take notes of details to avoid misunderstandings that might turn the used car dealership buying experience sour.

Also known as: used car dealerships, car used, used car dealership, used cars, cars used, second hand car, second hand cars, used car dealers, used vehicles, used car sales

dealership liner
A dealership salesman who lines up used car buyers to some initial point before turning them over to a used car sales closer.

Also known as: used vehicles, used car dealership, car used, used cars, cars used, used car dealerships, second hand car, second hand cars, used car sales, used car dealers

dealership wholesale price
What the used car dealership probably won’t go below, because that’s what the dealership has already paid. The used car dealership likely will need more than the wholesale amount to cover what they have invested in the second hand car, especially if the dealership has reconditioned the used car.

Also known as: used vehicles, used car dealership, used car dealerships, used cars, cars used, second hand car, car used, second hand cars, used car sales, used car dealers

Kelley Blue Book used car price
“Blue book price” or “book price.” These terms are often used by used car dealership salesman and others. Kelley publishes a book containing used car dealer retail prices, private transaction prices, and trade-in allowance prices for used cars.

Also known as: used car dealership, used car dealerships, car used, used cars, cars used, second hand car, second hand cars, used vehicles, used car sales, used car dealers

out-the-door used car cost
What the used car really costs, including sales tax and registration and especially used car dealership fees that may be included.

Also known as: used car dealership, second hand car, used car dealerships, car used, used cars, second hand cars, used vehicles, used car sales, cars used, used car dealers

low ball used car price
A low price given by a used car dealership. A person interested in buying a car used might ask the dealership salesman for a used car comparison price, but be told an amount too low to actually buy the second hand car.

Also known as: used car dealership, used car dealerships, used cars, used vehicles, cars used, second hand car, second hand cars, car used, used car sales, used car dealers

no-hassle used car buying
Used car buying where the buyer accepts the used car dealership price for buying the car used without negotiation. If you believe the used car price is fair, you may accept the dealership price to save time and effort. It may cost you more to buy the car used without dickering at the dealership.

Also known as: used car dealership, used car dealerships, used cars, cars used, car used, used vehicles, second hand car, second hand cars, used car sales, used car dealers

used car average market value
The price of the used car based on actual transactions. The average market value for buying a car used is a determination based on multiple sources of used car sales data adjusted for different second hand car conditions and ages. One source for average used car market values is Edmunds.com.

Also known as: used car dealerships, used car dealers, car used, used cars, cars used, used car dealership, second hand car, second hand cars, used vehicles, used car sales

used car dealer retail price
Another kind of used car asking price. The used car dealership salesman has a price he would like based in some way on the Kelly Blue Book used car price. The used car dealer retail price is just another way of starting the negotiation. It doesn’t represent the average market value derived from actual sales prices for this used car.

Also known as: used car dealership, used car dealerships, car used, used cars, cars used, second hand car, second hand cars, used vehicles, used car sales, used car dealers

used car negotiation starting point
The beginning point for negotiating a used car price. The used car dealership salesman may start with the price on the used car window, or with some lower asking price for the second hand car. The person buying the car used should also have an informed starting point for the used car negotiating process. One approach would base the opening used car price relative to the second hand car trade-in price.

Also known as: cars used, used car dealership, used car dealerships, car used, used cars, second hand cars, used vehicles, used car sales, used car dealers, second hand car

used car pricing guides
Differing sources of used car fair market price figures. One widely used source for the price of buying a particular car used is the Kelley Blue Book, but that is certainly not the only authoritative info for second hand car prices. Be wary of a dealership salesman who acts like there is no other used car price guide. Used car prices will never be exactly the same between sources, and should be thought of as differing valid estimates of used car value.

Also known as: used car dealership, used car dealerships, second hand cars, used cars, cars used, car used, second hand car, used vehicles, used car sales, used car dealers

used car reserve money
A kickback a used car dealership may sometimes get from the lender when selling a car used. The kickback is hidden in a used car interest rate that is higher than the discounted basic rate the lender is charging to finance the used car. This may result in a higher effective price to buy used cars at a dealership.

Also known as: used car dealerships, used car dealership, car used, used cars, cars used, second hand car, second hand cars, used car sales, used vehicles, used car dealers

used car trade-in price
What the used car dealership will give you for the used car you want to trade in. This negotiable used car price can be thought of as the auction price for buying a car used.

Also known as: used car dealership, car used, used cars, cars used, second hand car, used car sales, second hand cars, used vehicles, used car dealerships, used car dealers

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Frequently Asked Questions
FAQ for Local Used Vehicle Dealerships

Q: Why choose a Diamond Certified used car dealership?
A: Because Diamond Certified dealerships end the guessing game by offering the used car customer a choice of top-rated used car dealers who have passed the most in-depth rating process. Most used vehicle sales locations can’t pass such a high standard, which means only the best local used car dealerships earn the Diamond Certified award and are rated Highest in Quality. American Ratings Corporation also looks at every Diamond Certified used car dealership with in-depth and ongoing research and ratings. And your used car dealership purchase is always backed up by the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee. So you can feel confident about having chosen a Diamond Certified used car dealership for your second hand car needs.

Q: How do I find out the value of the used car I am considering at a dealership?
A: One common way to get a used car price is the Kelley Blue Book website. The used car dealership price may be based on the suggested retail value there, known as the used car “blue book price” or simply “book price.”

Q: What is the meaning of the suggested retail used car price listed in the blue book?
A: The blue book retail value is what the used car dealer would like to get for the car, assuming a well-reconditioned used car with a good title. The used car retail price is an asking price the used car dealership uses for getting the second hand car buying process started, and includes various costs the used car dealership will have. The actual transaction price for buying the car used at the dealership will almost always be lower.

Q: Can I find out how much my own used car is worth as a dealership trade-in?
A: Used car values are also available at Kelley Blue Book. Remember, though, those are private-party sales values, so local auto sales shops may offer you less as a trade-in than what you might expect to make if you sold your old car by yourself.

Q: What does the used car dealership sticker tell me about buying the car used?
A: The big thing on the used car dealership sticker is whether the second hand car is being sold “as is” or is under a dealership warranty.  You are responsible for all necessary repairs when you buy a car used as is, unless you can prove that the dealership has made a bold specific statement about the used car that is untrue.

Q: What should I do if I begin to feel pressured to buy a used car at a dealership?
A: Good question. In general, you should remember your power in the competitive used car market, that you have lots of options in buying a car used. You don’t have to buy a particular used car from a particular dealership salesman: the second hand car choice is yours. Feeling pressured is a good sign that there’s a problem with some aspect of the used car dealership process, and that you need to go slower or walk away. Both are perfectly reasonable actions in the normal process of buying cars used.

Q: Should I trade in my own used car to the dealership or sell it separately?
A: Ideally you should probably buy the used car you want from the dealership without a trade-in and sell your previous used car separately. There are arguments both ways of course regarding whether to trade in a used car at a dealership. The bottom line is that the used car dealership will have to make money on the trade-in of your current used car: that’s what it means to be in the business of used cars. With a little effort, you can probably direct some of the money the used car dealers would have made on your used car into your own pocket.

Q: What should I know about the used car contract?
A: You should know that the used car contract is important to read thoroughly, and that it’s not a formality to be regarded lightly and skipped over quickly. Make sure the contract to buy the car used includes everything you expect the used car dealership to provide, including the price you think you have agreed on with the used car dealership.  Don’t sign the used car sales contract before having a mechanic look at the used car. The price for buying the car used may need to come down significantly for necessary repairs.

Q: What do I do before going to the used car dealership?
A: Two big things: figure out used car pricing, and figure out used car financing. Look at the used car you want to buy, maybe at several used car makes you would consider, and find out what used car dealerships are likely to be charging for those used cars.  You don’t want the basic used car price to be more than is practical for you. And don’t think the financing cost for buying the car used is less important than the price: it’s really part of the used car price. Shop around for good used car financing just as seriously as you do for a good used car price.

Q: Can I count on a legally-required three-day return option at a used car dealership?
A: No. There is no such thing as a legally-required three-day used car return option. You are protected only by what the used car dealership puts in writing regarding returning the second hand car, and must not misunderstand that. If a dealership salesman uses terms like “great return policy” or “money back guarantee,” ask to read the policy so you understand what’s really being promised in writing about returning the used car.

Q: What’s the best way to find a good used car dealership?
A: An ideal way to buy a car used is with a Diamond Certified used car dealership. Diamond Certified second hand car dealerships offer advantages that are hard to beat: highest scores on random customer references, customer-friendly business practices, customer satisfaction principles, mediation, and great guarantees for buying cars used.

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