Frequently Asked Questions and General Help


The results don't load properly.

Here are a few general things to try when things don't seem to work right. (In fact, these steps can be useful when any website isn't working for you.)

And if NONE of that works, we have a forum set up where you can search for more answers, or ask your own question. There's lots of useful info there already, and more being added every day. Feel free to post your question there if you don't see the answer already. I check for new posts regularly.

The craigslist results tab isn't working properly.

The craigslist results are handled by our partner site, Check out the SearchTempest FAQ for more info. Please note that neither SearchTempest nor AutoTempest has any affiliation with craigslist, which is a trademark of craigslist, Inc.

Just remember that craigslist only deals in keywords - they aren't a car site. So for example, if you search for a 1998-2002 car, you might also match an ad where someone has listed their ride for $2000. Similarly, "BMW M3" might match "Honda Civic - BMW M3 exhaust tips!!!".

Some of this is unavoidable, but check out the options in the yellow section at the top of the craigslist results. Searching titles only, or only 4-digit years, will cut down some of the false positives, but might cause you to miss the occasional real result too - which is why we leave the choice up to you.

There's a car missing from the results, but I know it should be there!

First, if it's a craigslist ad missing, please see the missing posts answer in the SearchTempest FAQ. (The craigslist results are powered by SearchTempest.) Keep in mind that craigslist doesn't know anything about cars and model years and such. It's just words. So if you search for a 2008 Honda Accord, SearchTempest will search for "2008", "Honda", and "Accord". If those words don't appear in the post, it won't show up. (However, you do have the option to tweak the auto-generated keywords if they don't make sense.)

Otherwise, the most likely explanation is that you've set an option such as maybe max mileage or body style, which is filtering out the result you're expecting to see.

If you still can't find the ad, please feel free to get ahold of us, and let us know which ad you expect to see but don't. We'll look into it ASAP. Please include the URL (link) to your AutoTempest results page, so we can see exactly what you're seeing.

AutoTempest always forgets my search parameters, so I have to enter them again.

AutoTempest should remember all your settings. If this isn't happening, you probably need to enable cookies.


How do I search for a model that isn't in the list?

You can still search for other models, even though they aren't in the dropdown list. Do do so, leave the dropdown set to "Any Model", then type the model that you want into the "Keywords" field below. We realize this is a bit clunky, and are planning to improve it soon.

Why don't you show all the sites together? What's with the tabs?

Many sites justifiably don't like people scraping their results. On the other hand, most sites appreciate traffic being sent to their actual results pages. So this is how AutoTempest is able to include all the major players. In addition, it makes for less of a learning curve, since the results are exactly what you'd expect searching the sites individually.

Is it possible to show only results since a certain date, or filter the results in some other way?

Unfortunately, this isn't as easy as it would seem. Because the results go directly from the cars sites to your browser, my code can't actually do anything with them. If the site itself (AutoTrader for example) allows filtering by date, we can tie into that; but if it doesn't, we can't. Essentially all AutoTempest does is present their features in a more convenient manner, then type the search queries in for you (Not that it isn't extremely useful regardless).

Why do keywords only work for some sites?

Some sites just don't let you search by keywords. Sadly we are limited in what we can do by what the sites provide. (See the point above.) Check out our supported features page for a full list of which sites support what.

How do I get the address for an individual ad?

One way to copy the link to an individual ad is to right-click on it and select "Open in New Window" or "Open in New Tab." This will take you directly to the ad page and you can easily grab its URL (or add it to your favorites) there.

Tips and Tricks

Getting the Best Results from Keywords

The optional keywords box will allow you to filter the results for certain... well... keywords.

Make sure you check all the other options first. For example, to search convertibles, it's better to choose the "convertible" body style by setting the Bodystyle drop-down to "Convertible" under the "More Options" pane.

They can be very useful for some things though. ie.

leather black

to get cars with leather interior, black (either exterior or interior - but at least it narrows it down). Some sites (craigslist and eBay in particular) even support negative keywords, so you can eliminate ads with certain words like this:

leather black -smelly -racoons

Using the craigslist Options

Remember that craigslist isn't a car site per se. If you search for 1985 Civic, you might get "Do your civic duty by purchasing a Yugo - $1985", or whatever. To reduce false positives, take a look at the yellow options section at the top of the craigslist results. You can choose to only search for 4-digit years (2003 instead of '03), or to search titles only (not the body of the ads). These will eliminate most of the bad results, but you might miss some real ones too, which is why we leave it up to you.

Also, please note that we have no affiliation with craigslist, a registered trademark of craigslist, Inc.

Open Car Ads in New Tabs

When you find a car you're interested in, rather than just clicking on the ad, try middle-clicking (clicking with the mouse wheel) to open the ad in a new tab. (If you don't have a mouse wheel or middle mouse button, you can Control-click, or Command-click on a Mac.) This will allow you to bookmark the individual ads, grab their links to email them or post them somewhere, or just keep the ads open for reference while you continue to search the listings.

More tips will be added as they come up! And again, if your question isn't answered here, you can check in the forum, or get ahold of us!