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

August 7, 2020
A new vehicle buyer gets her keys from her auto dealership representative after buying a new car.

How to Find the Best Auto Dealers in San Rafael 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 Marin 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 Marin County and issues related to buying from them.

The TOP 10 Auto Dealers in Marin County CA

The TOP 10 Auto Dealers in Marin County CA

Volvo Marin

  • Volvo Marin Profile
  • Volvo Marin Scorecard
  • Volvo Marin Reviews
  • Volvo Marin Photos
  • Volvo Marin Brands
  • Volvo Marin Articles
  • Volvo Marin Offers
(415) 496-2200
201 Casa Buena Dr
Corte Madera, CA 94925

Services: San Rafael CA, Mill Valley CA, Ross CA, Sausalito CA,…

RAB Motors Inc

  • RAB Motors Inc Profile
  • RAB Motors Inc Scorecard
  • RAB Motors Inc Reviews
  • RAB Motors Inc Photos
  • RAB Motors Inc Brands
  • RAB Motors Inc Articles
  • RAB Motors Inc Offers
(415) 454-0582
540 Francisco Blvd W
San Rafael, CA 94901

Services: Marin County incl. San Rafael CA, Novato CA, Mill Valley…

Sonnen BMW

  • Sonnen BMW Profile
  • Sonnen BMW Scorecard
  • Sonnen BMW Reviews
  • Sonnen BMW Photos
  • Sonnen BMW Brands
  • Sonnen BMW Articles
  • Sonnen BMW Offers
(415) 482-2000
1599 Francisco Blvd E
San Rafael, CA 94901

Services: San Rafael CA, Larkpur, Woodacre, Sausalito, Mill Valley, Novato, Tiburon,…

San Rafael Chevrolet

  • San Rafael Chevrolet Profile
  • San Rafael Chevrolet Scorecard
  • San Rafael Chevrolet Reviews
  • San Rafael Chevrolet Photos
  • San Rafael Chevrolet Brands
  • San Rafael Chevrolet Articles
  • San Rafael Chevrolet Offers
(415) 460-2000
2 Shoreline Pkwy
San Rafael, CA 94901

Services: Novato, San Rafael, Sausalito, Corte Madera, Tiburon, San Anselmo, Mill…

Toyota of Marin

  • Toyota of Marin Profile
  • Toyota of Marin Scorecard
  • Toyota of Marin Reviews
  • Toyota of Marin Photos
  • Toyota of Marin Brands
  • Toyota of Marin Articles
  • Toyota of Marin Offers
(415) 460-4800
445 Francisco Blvd E
San Rafael, CA 94901

Services: Novato, San Rafael, Mill Valley, Sausalito, Larkspur, San Anselmo, Tiburon,…

Ford of Marin

  • Ford of Marin Profile
  • Ford of Marin Scorecard
  • Ford of Marin Reviews
  • Ford of Marin Photos
  • Ford of Marin Brands
  • Ford of Marin Articles
  • Ford of Marin Offers
(415) 453-4220
619 Francisco Blvd E
San Rafael, CA 94901

Services: Marin, Novato, Sausalito, Mill Valley, San Rafael, Tiburon, San Anselmo,…

Novato Ford

  • Novato Ford Profile
  • Novato Ford Scorecard
  • Novato Ford Reviews
  • Novato Ford Photos
  • Novato Ford Brands
  • Novato Ford Articles
  • Novato Ford Offers
(415) 892-4286
6995 Redwood Blvd
Novato, CA 94945

Services: Marin County incl. San Rafael, Sausalito, Mill Valley, Ross, Tiburon,…

Sonnen Porsche

  • Sonnen Porsche Profile
  • Sonnen Porsche Scorecard
  • Sonnen Porsche Reviews
  • Sonnen Porsche Photos
  • Sonnen Porsche Brands
  • Sonnen Porsche Articles
  • Sonnen Porsche Offers
(415) 380-8000
900 Redwood Hwy
Mill Valley, CA 94941

Services: Mill Valley, San Rafael, Novato, San Anselmo, Fairfax CA, Woodacre,…

Honda of Marin Service

  • Honda of Marin Service Profile
  • Honda of Marin Service Scorecard
  • Honda of Marin Service Reviews
  • Honda of Marin Service Photos
  • Honda of Marin Service Brands
  • Honda of Marin Service Articles
  • Honda of Marin Service Offers
(415) 927-0833
5880 Paradise Drive
Corte Madera, CA 94925

Services: San Anselmo CA, Mill Valley CA, San Rafael CA, Tiburon…

How to Find the Best Auto Dealers in San Rafael CA

When it comes to new and used cars for sale in Marin 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.

Local Auto Dealers in Marin 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 Marin County can handle all of these. From the test drive to the final contract, good auto dealers in San Rafael 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 Marin County can find the automobile you want at another auto dealership lot. All auto dealers in San Rafael 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, Marin 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 Marin County,  there are many good auto dealerships in Marin County offering these cars. If you want to customize your new car before the purchase, most Marin 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 Marin County
When looking for the best car deals in Marin 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 Marin 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 Local Car Dealerships in Marin 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 Marin 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 Local Auto Dealers in Marin County CA Are Much Better Than Others
The Prime Buyer's Report lists these automobile dealerships in Marin County: Honda of Marin Service Corte Madera CA, Sonnen Porsche Mill Valley CA, Novato Ford Novato CA, Toyota of Marin San Rafael CA, Ford of Marin San Rafael CA, Volvo Marin Corte Madera CA, RAB Motors Inc San Rafael CA, Sonnen BMW San Rafael CA, San Rafael Chevrolet San Rafael CA. Other car dealerships in San Rafael 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 Marin 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 Marin 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 San Rafael

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 Marin 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 Marin 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 Marin County" to learn more.