Thursday, July 24, 2014

New Craigslist Feature -- Search By Transmission

If you are anything like me, you spend a lot of time surfing Craigslist for cars, trucks & free furniture.  Probably too much time, if you ask my wife, but that is an issue for me and my therapist to work out. Anyway, Craigslist browsing is an often fun distraction from other things, but recently (okay, this happened a few weeks ago, but it took a while to publish the story) things got better -- much better.  Craigslist had added additional searchable input fields to the top of the search menu that include worthless options like paint color, size, and type, but they have also included a transmission, driven wheels, fuel and title status filters.  Halleluiah, I can find manual transmission equipped Mini Coopers, Supra Mk IV, Land Rover Defenders and Kenworth trucks all in one window!!

Anyway, your quest to find the perfect manual transmission, diesel, brown, wagon suddenly got a whole lot easier.  What can you find with the new optional tools in your local craigslist?

Updated to include information about wildcards as suggested by Eric below.  Craigslist allows the use of wildcards (*, -, |, "" ) to help find more results.

For instance you can search for Merc* and it will return Mercedes-Benz and Mercedes.  You need at least two characters before the * and none following it.  H* won't work and neither will Hon*a.

Use the - character to remove items, like Wagon -honda will exclude hondas from the results.

The | character can be used as and, DMC|DeLorean will return DMC and DeLorean results.

The "" characters can be used to find a phrase like "ran when parked" "too much to list" "selling for a friend" "Nigerian money orders accepted."

You can read more about it directly here on craigslist's advanced search help page.


  1. I'm sorry, but I have no time for Craig's List. If it isn't on eBay, I'm not interested. I also don't look at Hemmings, where the prices are inflated.

    1. You're missing out on some local goodies. CL is pretty quick. Here are my 2 tips:
      - Always select 'title' in your search. Unless you want to weed through the listings where people dump in a bunch of key words.
      - Make use of the wild card " * ". For example, are you in the market for a highly depreciated porsche? Then search for " Porsche 200* " to check out the glorious depreciated 996. Or maybe a toyota truck? try searching " 198* Toyota ". Then for a good time remove the title search check & search for V12, salvage, or roll cage.
      Also with these great new filters searching has never been better.

    2. Oh one more tip use quotes for exact match searches. For example use quotes and search for "the bad".

      I'm curious, what are other people's "good time" craigslist searches?

    3. Eric - you bring a good point about wild cards - I used the pipe command for and a lot ( this little thing that looks like a flattened colon next to the backslash key "|"). I'll add the wildcard suggestions to the main posting.


    4. I've found tons of cool cars using "V8 Conversion" and "V8 Swap" and then look for usual suspects or add Jag or my personal favorite Corvair if I'm trying to winnow it down.

    5. try "one of a kind" for some entertainment value

    6. I prefer the term "rare" when I'm in the mood for entertainment. Note to sellers: sometimes there's a very good reason for a car being rare. I'm looking at you, Sterling 800 series owners.

  2. it depends on your goals - if you are looking for something specific, that's one thing - in my tipster role here, it's more about what catches my eye - i'll reveal i do often filter for age ranges to cut away some bulk from the results - the thing is, people are often sloppy, can't spell, can't use a dropdown menu - there's interesting stuff that will fail to filter the way you expect - the human eye deals with patterns and outliers in almost magical ways - some of my best finds have been things i wouldn't have expected, where some minor unfilterable aspect caught my attention

    eBay works pretty well for later model, more popular, fungible stuff - the good unusual cars get noticed and bid up - the random hoarder slop is on CL and that's where i can uncover nice, cheap surprises in the hedgerows and middens

    as to region, CL for SF Bay Area is the best, no contest

    1. You're spot on about the unexpected extras (filter fails). I'm always amazed by what pops up that's well outside what I've asked for, but are frequently entertaining or worthwhile.

      I find the ebay search engine to be far better for culling out the stuff I don't want to see. As you said, I frequently put in an age range, but then filter those results by lowest mileage first. Those grandma cars rise like helium balloons when sorting by lowest mileage. I'd rather have an older lower mileage car especially when the models don't change much from year to year.

      The other thing about ebay is the VIN. Nothing faster than copying the VIN into a google search to see where else its been recently or notoriously.

    2. I very rarely look at eBay. The fact that you have to actually pay money to list and sell filters out all the good stuff you find on Craigslist.

  3. This is big news. I like this feature. A lot. I have spent a lot of time trying to come up with keyword searches to find the coolest stuff among the Tauruses and Camrys. If you haven't tried SearchTempest I suggest it. It is great for sharp-shooting a rare desirable car from all the Craigslist ads within your chosen radius.

  4. What is everyone using to search Craigslist nationwide? Google? Other?

    I have been using Ad Huntr


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