Used car shopping research extension for Craigslist, eBay, AutoTrader and Yahoo Autos

Craigslist car research extension is now available as a Firefox Addon, Greasemonkey userscript and Google Chrome extension. Pretty useful for anyone looking for a car.

Articles about it

  • CNET news CNET news : Make car shopping on Craigslist less cumbersome .. read
  • lifehacker Lifehacker : Craigslist Car Research Extension Makes Used-Car Shopping Easier .. read
used car shopping browser extension for craigslist, ebay, kijiji, aol, autotrader, cars.com, vehix and yahoo autos

Sites this extension works on: craigslist, ebay, kijiji, autotrader, cars.com, vehix, aol and yahoo autos

Used car listings supported by this extension:

The Google Chrome version of Craigslist Car extension was one of the top 50 featured extension on the launch of Google Chrome Extension Gallery.

Download

Other extension that works well with this one:
– Craigslist car listing filter

Also created a related userscript that gives estimated cost of Importing US car or motorcycle to Canada.

Now this mashup is heavy but adding the enable/disable feature buttons is handy to manage the clutter and speedup browser load.

If the listing is in correct format then it will get that car’s model’s information from sites like MSN Autos, Edmunds.com, Automotive.com, motortrend.com, etc.

Features:

  • Gives estimated price from multiple sources. Also provides links for further research.
  • Factory car recalls for the car model.
  • Consumer reviews, this is the real gem.
  • Car reliability information. It shows the msn autos page focused at reliability section. This shows what kinda engine problems occur in that particular car. Other info is also there but reliability info is most useful on that page. Takes like 2 sec to get idea of how reliable that car model is.
  • Scans the posting and shows a highlighted message on top informing about:- accident car, rebuilt car, moving sale, one owner, suggests buyer to ask if the car was involved in an accident.
  • Lists similar (year/make/model) ads from craigslist on top. This gives the idea of going price and the supply/demand.
  • Aggregates car listing.
  • Shows thumbnails from Flickr (Gives idea of what the vehicle looks like and the appeal factor)
  • Recently viewed Ads.
  • Add your Notes to the ads using Recently Viewed list.
  • If there is a phone number in the post then it makes it easy to do a search of the phone number on Craigslist to find out if the ad poster has posted any other ads. This sometimes help in determining if its moving sale or a ad by a reseller etc.
craigslist used car suggestion

suggestions on craigslist car post

craigslist car price estimate from various sources

craigslist car price estimate from various sources

Craigslist car research extension with features disabled

Disabled / collapsed state of features in Craigslist Car Research

craigslist car reviews

craigslist car research showing consumer car reviews

craigslist car research showing discussions about the model at Edmunds

Craigslist Car Research showing relevant discussion from Edmunds

craigslist car research msn autos, kelly blue book, recalls

car reliablility, KBB Kelly Blue Book value, msn autos

browser extension for kijiji car

craigslist car extension works on Kijiji too

(my old site).

Updates

Version : 0.945
Jan 20, 2009

  • Now the extension also works on Cars.com, AOL autos, Vehix, freebo.com and pickuptrucks.com.

Version : 0.935
Jan 15, 2009

  • Now the extension works on eBay motors (US) and Yahoo Autos also.
  • Makes it easy to do search on VIN number.

Version : 0.925
Jan 10, 2009

  • Now it works on Kijiji (US) too beside Craigslist.
  • Lists similar matches from Yahoo Autos, Oodle. This gives idea of pricing and availability.
  • Now it lets user specify ‘Year’ or ‘Model’ if either one is missing or is not recognized from the listing title.
  • Flickr thumbnail gallery.
  • Improved feature collapse/expand functionality.

Version : 0.910
Dec 05, 2009

  • Fixed ‘turn car-research On’ link.
  • Added reviews from ReviewCentre?. This is experimental for now as sometimes it returns wrong results.
  • Added Epinion reviews. This is also experimental feature as it sometimes fail to work in Google Chrome.
  • Added AboutAutomobile? TSB (Technical Service Bulletin).
  • Added Google Videos of relevant car.

Version : 0.909
Nov 24, 2009

  • Similar car ads listing is now sorted by price
  • Clicking on main category blocks (Price, Reviews, Reliability) toggles subcategory blocks.
  • Added icon to suggestion box at top, to indicate that its part of extension and not from craigslist.
  • Minor changes to color scheme.

Version : 0.905
Nov 12, 2009

  • totally changed layout
  • created main category blocks Price, Reviews, Reliability.
  • moved some of the features from top of page to bottom so that the screen looks more clean and less busy.
  • added +/x buttons to enable/disable features. Removed old enable/disable buttons from top.
  • added background to indicate this is separate content then the original craigslist post.
  • now using safe `JSON` method to parse data instead of `eval` or `return new Function`
  • changed the search engine for finding Similar car ads on craigslist. Now it returns more recent listings.
  • re-enabled MSN Autos frame.
  • web annotations links (twitter, facebook,..) feature is removed for now.
  • re-designed the car-research on/off button and functionality.
  • now ‘Home of this utility (feedback)’ is minimized at first run.

Version: 0.501

  • Added Edmunds TMV price.
  • Fixed Enable/Disable buttons. They were not working properly in Firefox 3.6b1pre and Minefield 3.7a1pre.
  • Fixed code. Now Edmunds (discussion/reviews), Motortrend pricing, etc are working in Firefox 3.6b1pre and Minefield 3.7a1pre also.
  • Cosmetic change to the bottom block (‘Home of this utility’ block).
  • Added my icon

Version: 0.312

  • Added a feature that makes it easier to search all craigslist for other ads posted by the poster. Basically searches craigslist for matching phone number listed in the ad.

Car reviews etc

Added a new firefox extension “Car reviews etc“. Its a port of the above extension and works on any webpage not just craigslist. Its a strip down version of above extension and works by selecting text (in format “year model”, e.g. “2007 civic” or “2006 toyota camry”) on webpage and right-click to get context-menu. From context-menu select “car reviews etc”. This will show reviews, pricing, recall info etc.

firefox context-menu with car reviews etc extension

firefox context-menu with car reviews etc extension

© 2009, 2010 tech4computer

18 responses to “Used car shopping research extension for Craigslist, eBay, AutoTrader and Yahoo Autos

  1. This makes buying car on craigslist more fun. Great work!

  2. Nice thought but were is the how too I added the plug-in now how do I use it

    • Thanks yy4u,
      After adding plugin, restart the browser and then go to car listing on http://www.Craigslist.org (choose your city in craigslist).
      For example for Denver (US) city area car listing go to:
      craigslist -> Denver -> cars & trucks -> click on any car posting there:
      http://denver.craigslist.org/cta/
      http://denver.craigslist.org/cto/1455176633.html (Honda Accord ad – the plugin should work on this link)

      If the ad title is in proper format then it should pull out extra information next to the actual ad. I’m going to update this addon in next couple days.

      What version of Firefox are you using?
      Also what version of my plugin you using? The latest version is 0.501

      For this addon/plugin to work the craigslist ad have to be in a certain format (most of ads are in this format). Let me know what link you testing it on.

      Let me know if you still have issues?

  3. Doesn’t work on Montreal Craigslist. But strangely it works on Toronto Craigslist…I’ll have to check other Canadian cities.

    • Thanks for finding this out. I’m guessing that you are using Google Chrome version of the extension. After reading your comment I tried Montreal craigslist and it seemed like a hit n miss when using the Google Chrome. But when viewsing same Montreal postings with Firefox + this firefox addon or Firefox + the greasemonkey userscript port of it the extension works fine.

      I will try to find out why its not working in Google Chrome. I’m guessing that it could be because the extension functionality in Google Chrome is still in Beta.

  4. Well seems to be hit and miss..works on some Canadian cities ..doesn’t work on others,,like Montreal, where I live. So much
    for this extension.

  5. Pingback: Craigslist Peek extension « Tech4computer’s Blog

  6. I can get version .909 working, however it does not show me anything.
    I am back at .312 on firefox 3.5.8
    I do have other plugins running.
    Adblock plus 1.1.3
    Downloadhelper 4.7
    fireftp 1.0.7
    java quick starter 1.0
    N0hr propfire 0.73.18
    noscript 1.9.9.47
    webmail notifier 2.3.1
    WOT 20091028
    xmarks 3.4.10

    This setup works with your version .312
    I had not downloaded other updates you had done.
    Until mid January this year.
    I am wondering if it is noscript that is causing the error.
    Since I have not had a chance to see the new version, I don’t know if it is making popups or if opening other browser windows.
    How can I help you?

    • I just tested version 0.945 again on Firefox 3.6, firefox 3.6b6pre (Namoroke), firefox 3.7a2pre, firefox3.7a1pre. I enabled all the features of this addon and it worked fine on all these versions. Also at the same time was using skype voice chat and had few other applications opened. My computer is about a year old with 3g ram and decent CPU.
      It could be that your computer isn’t powerful enough or have some other application running which is hogging your CPU and RAM. What’s your computers configuration? I have seen the error on many pages but not on craigslist with my extension.

      Can you try disabling (not uninstalling) all other addons/extensions and then see if it still gives error. In mid January I added Flickr photo gallery option under ‘Buzz’ category. Maybe you can disable ‘Buzz’ and see if that works. Try once disabling Adblock, downloadhelper, fireftp, NOhr propfire, noscript,… and then see if it still gives the error message. Let me know how it goes.

      • computer – Dell d520 core duo 1.66ghz with 2.5 gig ram.
        500 gig hd.
        Running XP pro 5.1.2600 serpack 3 build 2600
        On Firefox 3.5.8 with car research 0.945, all other addons disabled.
        Firefox loads. When I go to CL – status bar reports transfering data progress bar goes about 60% then seizes.
        Taskmanager reports cpu 50% for firefox process
        Applications firefox – not responding. When I watch it here in tm apps – it shows running status for about 5 seconds then shows not responding, then tm apps shows another cl firefox task , so there are two in the task list – both not responding.
        Processes – again shows 50% cp to firefox.
        Memory status – shows 1.8gb availible.
        No Error messages show now.

        Same systems works fine with .312
        As for disabling buzz on flickr, I can’t find any settings for CL car research. Where are they?
        Since CL does not load (wait the cl page shows but never finishes it seizes up forcing me to X out of firefox.) I think the settings for car research show up on the cl ad for a car, after the page loads, right? Well that is the way they do on .312, right?

        Thoughts?

  7. Update – working with Chrome no problem.
    I’ll just stick with that for my car shopping.
    Thank you!

    • I found out the problem. It’s more of a issue with firefox’s handling of javascript regular expression. Anyway the extension was causing it to choke on sites that had a long name (charlottesville.craigslist.org, inlandempire.craigslist.org).
      I have fixed the issue in version 0.946. Its sitting in Addons review queue. You can access it by clicking on All Versions link at bottom of addons page.

  8. Got it working. BUT: Some ads invoke the research functions and some do not.

    Nissan altima GXE. – $3950 (VALENCIA)
    Date: 2010-04-01, 10:31PM PDT
    Reply to: sale-r5ksr-1672737942@craigslist.org [Errors when replying to ads?]
    1999 NISSAN SENTRA GXE MANUAL
    PostingID: 1672737942

    Isn’t that enough info to invoke the intended research?

    • tech4computer

      Select car year from the drop down box.

      That should have added a year selector box right above the title with a blue background and label : Select Year : 1955.
      It should have worked once you change the 1955 to the model year of car that is 1999. I add that ‘Select Year’ part whenever the Year information isn’t clear. Give that ad a try again.

      Some ads are just poorly formatted that the utility fails to invoke on them, but it works for most.

  9. I cannot get firefox to work, it does ot respond and when I delete it and install a new version it too stalls out.

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