What’s A Good Dealership Rating Site?

Reader Etinterrapax wants to know if there’s any trustworthy car dealer ranking sites.

Could you post a call for opinions about auto dealership ratings sites like dealerrater.com? A dealership I’m considering boasts a good rating on the site, but I have no idea whether it’s full of shills. I’m much too cynical to believe that this many people reallyreally like any car dealer.

I’d love recommendations for other sites, if people know any. Thanks!

Whachoo got under the hood? — BEN POPKEN


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  1. acambras says:

    Cartalk.com has lots of useful information for car buyers and owners, but alas, I don’t see anything about rating dealers. I did see something about rating mechanics, though – nice when you’re relocating to a place where you don’t know anybody.

  2. thrillhouse says:

    I’ll go out on a limb and say that probably 90% suck. The best article I ever read on this topic was on Edmonds.com where they had put a journalist undercover a couple car dealerships.

    While the tricks may vary, they’re all out to get you. A few, fortunately, are less than shady. But I, like you, would not put it past those guys to be out boosting their dealership’s ratings. Seriously, they’ve got nothing else to do all day. They’ve taken over all of the online car posting forums. They’ll do damn near anything to get you on the lot. So I think I’d be hard pressed to trust any dealership rating sites.

    There is probably one place I would go if you had some specific dealerships in mind, but it works in reverse. Its your local BBB. They can’t fake a good rep with the BBB.

  3. brandshatch says:

    Cmon – there’s no such thing as a “Good” car dealership. At the very best, you might geta good lead on some sheister who won’t take your Y-fronts when they pull your shirt off your back

  4. bambino says:

    I’ll say it for the thousandth time: Do your homework, and you have nothing to worry about.

  5. Starfury says:

    If you have a Costco membership and are looking for a new car that’s the way to go. We bought a new Toyota and the process was about as painless as a car buying experience could be.

    They still tried to upsell warranties, clear coat, and some other stuff but we just said no.

  6. AskCars says:

    Hey guys,
    I’m an editor at a major car consumer website with “cars” in its url.
    Anyway, I don’t know of any site that compiles ratings of dealerships. I would guess the reason would be much like the bad boyfriend/date sites get lots of legal flack, I’m sure a site that suggested a dealer tried to defraud someone would get into trouble especially with how much leeway they write into their advertising, agreements etc. My advice to folks is to do their research first (on any reputable consumer site) test drive the cars you’re interested in. LEAVE the dealership. Figure out which one you want. Shop for quotes online and see what you find.
    then go with the best deal at hopefully a nearby dealership.

  7. Ray Wert says:

    Rabbi Dave — what the hell kind of a site doesn’t do “trucks” and “suv’s” anyway? Sounds like a ghetto site to me!

  8. tzzoooma says:
  9. segfault, registered cat offender says:

    I like Dealerrater, but the shills are usually obvious when there is a long string of perfect reviews posted sequentially. Look at the writing style in the comments box as well. If it’s similar, they’re probably shills.

  10. Mike M says:

    You could lurk at car enthusiast sites. For example, VW vortex has many posts reporting good and bad experiences with ‘Dub dearlers. Not exactly what is called for, but might work with some parsing.

  11. AskCars says:

    we have trucks and suvs! just not in the url. sheesh!

  12. factotum says:

    I second the car club suggestion. For example, Nissan-Infiniti Club and Maxima.org have sections in their forums for good and bad “stealership” experiences.

    Emunds.com used to (and probably still does) have a tutorial on buying a car. The summary of it is find the car you want including all the options and color, get financing through your own bank and then contact via fax the fleet managers at several dealerships. Give them 3 days to fax you their best offer. If they don’t respond, disregard them. Once you get quotes, you can make a counteroffer using the low bid against the high or just accept the low offer.

    This way you don’t play their game (sitting in a bare cubicle playing the shill game with the salesperson, his “let me talk to my manager” spiel, etc.)

    Walk in, sign the contract, hand over your bank check, and drive off.

  13. sfgraf says:

    the problem with dealer sites is not only the dealer but also us customers. sometimes people can go in there and give a bad review but no comments so you don’t know what happened. Maybe they bought their 1st import and they were upset there were no rebates. Or i read some reviews from a dealership i use and really like and they were bad, but i have never had the experience this particular person did.i think the ratings are hit or miss. my advice from buying cars:
    1. Shop all your options
    2. Buy at the end of the month for the best deal, everyone is trying to make their quotas
    3. See if you can find a board in the sales dept where you can see all the salespeople sales for the month. Find someone in the top half of the board, they usually are willing to spend the time with you to get you the vehicle they want (that is why they are the above average salespeople… like in any industry)
    4. If you are having a bad experience, ASK FOR A MANAGER immediatly. Salespeople are like children that managers are constantly having to monitor- every now and then they can be a little unruly. In a good dealership a manager will proactively come meet you.

  14. viewsource says:

    I’ve used dealerrater.com, in my area(northeast) there were about 20-30 reviews for each of the 4 dealers I was looking at. I only ended up visiting 2 of the dealers. One which had a mediocre rating, but was really close and one that had a really good rating (4.2/5) but some lengthy reviews which I wasn’t sure about. Turns out the dealer close to me was horrible and it was very much worth driving the extra 20 miles for the better dealership. My husband and I tried to make a donation to dealerrater.com for the help, but they don’t allow it for some reason. Anyway, after visiting that site as well as the 2 Honda forums, we really got some good advice on who to go to and who to avoid.

    Your best bet is word of mouth, ask and search around, there’s plenty out there now with everyone and their mother having a blog.