The Prime Buyer's Report

The definitive guide to local shopping; methodically researched, updated daily.

San Francisco Bay Area Edition

Prime Buyers Guide Auto Dealers

How to Find the Best Auto Dealers in Redwood City CA

When buying a car, you'll get the best results by buying from a car dealer who can be trusted. , But it's hard to know the honest car dealers in San Mateo County are, so we've done the work for you whether you're buying a new car or used car.

The following research by The Prime Buyer's Report identifies the best auto dealers in San Mateo County and issues related to buying from them.

Updated September 27, 2013

 The TOP 10 Auto Dealers in San Mateo County CA

BMW Specialist
(650) 872-2022
1359 San Mateo Ave
South SF, CA 94080

Areas Served: South SF, Daly City CA, San Bruno CA, Brisbane CA, Millbrae CA

Toyota 101
(650) 365-5000
525 E Bayshore Rd
Redwood City, CA 94063

Areas Served: Redwood City CA, Menlo Park CA, San Carlos CA, Belmont CA, Woodside CA

Peter Pan Motors Inc
(650) 349-9077
2695 S El Camino Real
San Mateo, CA 94403

Areas Served: San Mateo CA, Foster City CA, Belmont CA, Burlingame CA, Hillsborough CA, San Carlos CA

Putnam Chevrolet Cadillac Inc
(650) 342-9500
198 California Dr
Burlingame, CA 94010

Areas Served: Burlingame CA, Millbrae CA, San Mateo CA, Hillsborough CA, San Bruno CA

Grace Honda
(650) 873-0800
345 El Camino Real
San Bruno, CA 94066

Areas Served: San Bruno CA, Millbrae CA, Burlingame CA, South SF, Pacifica CA

Boardwalk Auto Center
(650) 364-0100
1 Bair Island Rd
Redwood City, CA 94063

Areas Served: Redwood City CA, Woodside CA, Menlo Park CA, Belmont CA, San Carlos CA

Serramonte Ford Used Cars
(650) 301-7105
999 Serramonte Blvd
Colma, CA 94014

Areas Served: San Mateo CA, Redwood City CA, South SF, San Bruno CA, Pacifica CA, Menlo Park CA

Autobahn Motors
(650) 631-0900
700 Island Pkwy
Belmont, CA 94002

Areas Served: Belmont CA, San Carlos CA, San Mateo CA, Redwood City CA, Foster City CA

Putnam Lexus
(650) 363-8500
390 Convention Way
Redwood City, CA 94063

Areas Served: Redwood City CA, Belmont CA, San Carlos CA, Menlo Park CA, Woodside CA

How to Find the Best Auto Dealers in Redwood City CA 

When it comes to cars for sale in San Mateo County, you should know that you stand to make or save more money and avoid mistakes by relying on the car dealers proven honest.

Used car dealers and new car dealerships are both required to have a license from the State of California. All auto dealerships bearing The Prime Buyer's Report—TOP 10 designation have had their license verified by our research staff, in addition to passing all other requirements for certification as Prime Buyer's Report—TOP 10 such as survey phone calls to previous clients, clean complaint record, and more.    


Auto Dealers in San Mateo County Offer Numerous Services
Most people, when buying a new car or used car, think of it as one solitary transaction. Actually, in most cases, it's three: The negotiations over the price of the new vehicle, the price the car dealers will give (credit) you for your trade-in, and car financing. New and used car dealers in San Mateo County can handle all of these. From the test drive to the final contract, good auto dealers in Redwood City, South SF and Burlingame can help make the purchase seamless.

If what you're looking for isn't on the lot, most pre-owned vehicle and new car dealers in San Mateo County can find the automobile you want at another auto dealership lot. All auto dealers in Redwood City, South SF and Burlingame have access to computer records of local inventory of the cars they sell, including color, trim packages and location, so finding the perfect car for you is usually not a problem. In addition, San Mateo County car dealerships can usually custom order cars with precisely the features you're looking for, although there may be a waiting period for it to arrive.

Whether you are looking for BMW dealers, Honda dealers, Ford dealerships or Toyota dealers in San Mateo County,  there are many good auto dealerships in San Mateo County offering these cars. If you want to customize your new car before the purchase, most San Mateo County auto dealers have parts on site, and can install larger wheels, CD players, window tinting, in-dash garage door openers, custom speakers, undercoating and more before you purchase the car.

New Car and Used Car Pricing at Good Car Dealers in San Mateo County
When looking for the best car deals in San Mateo County, the initial price that the auto dealers are asking should be clearly displayed on the Monroney sticker (not Maroney sticker), named for Almer Stillwell "Mike" Monroney, an Oklahoma senator who was the major sponsor of the Automobile Information Disclosure Act of 1958. The Monroney sticker includes the manufacturer's suggested retail price of the car, engine and transmission specifications, standard equipment and warranty details, optional equipment and pricing, and the city and highway fuel economy ratings.

The Monroney sticker gives you a baseline from which to begin negotiations with San Mateo County car dealers. There are so many variables in the pricing of new cars and used cars that car prices on Monroney stickers are rarely the prices paid. Sometimes it's more, if that particular model is in high demand and rare. More often, it's less, as auto dealers cut deals to move vehicles.

Negotiating with Car Dealerships in San Mateo County
One area of negotiation that often causes stress is the appraisal of your trade-in car. Dealers try to offer less than the cars are worth, since that increases their profit. On the other hand, buyers try to demand more on their used cars to save money on the purchase of their new cars. Most people have no idea what their used car is worth, and that can mean losing money when buying a new car or used car.

It's a good idea to check out the Kelley Blue Book (sometimes mistakenly called the Kelly Blue Book) to learn exactly what your car is worth before going to used car dealerships or new car dealerships. Knowledge is power when it comes to getting the best deal on new or used cars from San Mateo County car dealers. Remember however that car sales people know you want to buy a new car—you wouldn't be there otherwise. They will try to get you as involved and attached to the new car or used car and imply that they're doing you a favor by taking your old car off your hands. When you really, really want that new car, you're less likely to fight them over their offer on your trade-in. There is nothing insidious in this, it's just the nature of the business.

To avoid becoming emotionally attached to a new car before negotiating over your trade-in, it's often best to settle on a trade-in price before considering a new car, even though it's nearly always done the other way around. It's also a good idea to seek auto loan lenders independently of auto dealers to get pre-approval for your car loans. If you are a member of a credit union, for example, you will likely find much better rates there than any car dealerships can give. Having your pre-approved loan in hand gives you much more bargaining power. Remember, unlike many large purchases, when it comes to car sales, there is no "cooling off" period in California. When you sign the papers and drive off the lot in your new car, it's yours. You cannot bring it back because you changed your mind. But buying a new or used car need not be scary if you are educated and prepared.

Whether you are looking for a new or used vehicle, one avenue to consider is calling an automobile broker. Usually working for a set fee, car brokers can save you considerable time and money, as they do the footwork for you and negotiate a price that is usually lower than you could have gotten if you walked into the dealership on your own.

Some Auto Dealers in San Mateo County CA Are Much Better Than Others
The Prime Buyer's Report lists these automobile dealerships in San Mateo County: Autobahn Motors, Putnam Chevrolet Cadillac Inc, Serramonte Ford Used Cars, Toyota 101, Putnam Lexus, Boardwalk Auto Center, Peter Pan Motors Inc, Grace Honda, BMW Specialist. Other car dealerships in Redwood City, South SF and Burlingame CA that might still be in business include: .


 

 

Questions to Ask Car Dealers 

 

When choosing which car dealer to buy a car from, ask the right questions about their record, references, and methods before deciding.


• How long has the car dealer been in business?

• Will they give you client names and numbers you can call as references? (All auto dealerships bearing the Prime Buyer's Report-TOP 10 symbol have already had their customer references called by research staff at The Prime Buyer's Report so you don't have to.)

• Do they sell the car you have in mind?

• Do they currently have the car in stock that you're thinking of, and if not, can they get it for you from other local automobile dealers?

• If you have a particular make and model in mind, can they suggest an alternative that might suit you better, and for what reasons?

• How much experience does the specific rep have? You may get better results with an experienced, senior car salesperson.


• Do they offer special rates for purchasing from their car dealership over the internet?

• Do the auto dealers offer car financing or car loans themselves? If they use one outside lender, which company is that exactly?


When you've chosen the best car dealer in San Mateo County for your specific needs and priorities, make sure they are still licensed in good standing with the state and check their complaint record. (All auto dealers in San Mateo County bearing the Prime Buyer's Report—TOP 10 symbol have already had their license verified by research staff at The Prime Buyer's Report, as well as verification of their complaint record.)

 

 

Tips For Dealing with Car Dealers in Redwood City, South SF and Burlingame 



Write Down Your Requirements Before Talking with Auto Dealerships.

Think about what you have in mind for your new car. Obviously, you have to convey this as clearly as possible to the San Mateo County car dealers, so write it down. This will keep you on track. It's almost an antidote to the influence of that tempting automobile you really, really want. Also, since you'll likely be repeatedly explaining it to multiple car dealers, a written version can just be handed over, guaranteeing consistency and clarity. Not only will each used auto dealer or new car dealership appreciate this, but they will also be able to come up with car prices that can be fairly compared to the others.

Find Out Which is the Oldest Car on the Auto Dealership Lot
New car dealers are given money by the manufactures to offset the cost of financing their inventory. This is known as the holdback. This stipend offsets costs for a limited amount of time, and is reduced each day they have the cars, as the car dealers are making payments on their inventory. The sooner a car dealer can sell a particular car, the more of that money the car dealership gets to keep. Therefore, the longer a car sits on a new car lot, the more it costs the auto dealership. Car dealers will usually be more willing to negotiate better prices on cars that have been sitting in their inventory for a long time.


Do Your Homework When Buying a Car from San Mateo County Auto Sales Lots.
Remember, in California there is no "cooling off period." A deal is a deal. When you leave the lot, there's no going back. That's why it pays to do your homework on the car you'll be buying, the auto dealership you be buying it from, the value of your trade-in and the terms of car loans available outside the dealership. The more you know, the less you'll pay on your new or pre-owned vehicle.


Know Your Rights as a New Car or Used Car Buyer.
Although there is no cooling off period in California, you still have certain rights after the sale. Reference the California Department of Consumer Affairs Web site to learn more. See our article, "Resources about Auto Dealers in San Mateo County" to learn more.