6 dealer options to skip when buying a car Advertiser Disclosure Advertiser Disclosure We are an independent, advertising-supported comparison service. Our mission is to help you make better financial decisions by offering you interactive tools and financial calculators that provide objective and original content, by enabling users to conduct research and compare information for free and help you make sound financial decisions. Bankrate has agreements with issuers such as, but not limited to, American Express, Bank of America, Capital One, Chase, Citi and Discover. How We Earn money The products that appear on this site are from companies that pay us. This compensation could affect how and when products are featured on this website, for example the sequence in which they be listed within the categories of listing and other categories, unless prohibited by law. Our mortgage, home equity and other products for home loans. But this compensation does not influence the content we publish or the reviews that appear on this website. We do not cover the entire universe of businesses or financial deals that might be available to you. Maskot/Getty
5 min read Read Published 12 January 2023
The article was written by Ben Luthi Written by Contributing writer Ben Luthi is a personal finance and travel writer who loves helping people understand how to live life more fully. His work has appeared in several publications, including U.S. News & World Report, USA Today, Yahoo! Finance, and many more. The article was edited by Rhys Subitch Edited by Auto loans editor Rhys has been editing and writing for Bankrate since the end of 2021. They are dedicated to helping readers gain confidence to take control of their finances by providing clear, well-researched information that breaks down otherwise complex subjects into digestible pieces. The Bankrate promise
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If you have questions about money. Bankrate has answers. Our experts have been helping you master your finances for more than four decades. We are constantly striving to give consumers the professional guidance and the tools necessary to make it through life’s financial journey. Bankrate adheres to a strict code of conduct policy, which means you can be confident that our content is truthful and accurate. Our award-winning editors and journalists produce honest and reliable content to help you make the best financial decisions. The content we create by our editorial staff is objective, factual and is not influenced from our advertising. We’re transparent about the ways we’re in a position to provide quality content, competitive rates and helpful tools to you , by describing how we earn our money. Bankrate.com is an independent, advertising-supported publisher and comparison service. We receive compensation for the placement of sponsored products and, services, or through you clicking certain links posted on our website. So, this compensation can impact how, where and when the products are listed within categories, unless the law prohibits it for our mortgage, home equity and other home loan products. Other factors, like our own website rules and whether or not a product is available in the area you reside in or is within your personal credit score may also influence the way and place products are listed on this site. We strive to provide an array of offers, Bankrate does not include information about every credit or financial products or services. When you buy a new car, you deal with sales experts who are experienced and able to sell you add-on items and other services. While some of these choices, upgrades, and other extras may be worth the investment but it’s crucial to understand the most undesirable options offered by dealers when purchasing a vehicle to be able to steer clear of these. Rustproofing, VIN engraving and warranties with extended duration are only a few of the options that might not be worth the money. What are dealer options? Dealer options include accessories and other equipment that boost the value of the car. There are three kinds of options that you could come across: Factory-installed options: Installed at the factory prior to shipping the vehicle to the dealer. Port-installed options: Installed on vehicles imported from overseas when they are brought to the entry point. Options installed by the dealer: Installed by the dealer after the vehicle has arrived at the dealership’s lot. Options that are made available at the factory and port are endorsed by the vehicle’s manufacturer and generally are covered under the warranty for new vehicles. They’re listed in the window stickers mandatory for new vehicles. Moreover, the cost is uniform, meaning they won’t vary from dealer to dealer. Contrary to this, dealer options aren’t approved by manufacturer, so they aren’t included in the vehicle’s warranty. They’re not included in the window stickers that are official, but they should be detailed on a separate sticker attached to the vehicle. Additionally, since they are installed through the dealership, costs will vary based on the location. Most dealer options are expensive and used to increase the profits from new vehicle sales. The 6 most dangerous dealer choices you should avoid If you are , it is important to check the vehicle’s stickers for all options. While it is not common to get factory-installed or port-installed options, there may be some flexibility when you have options installed by a dealer. These are the six most unfavorable dealer options to avoid when purchasing a car and the most effective alternatives to think about instead. 1. Rustproofing Undercoating applied by dealers can cost up to $600 or as little as $150, depending on the vehicle, the type of treatment package — basic or premium, and whether it has an extra option like the ability to reduce sound. It is available to buyers of new cars as an option for dealers or as part of a costly bundle known as an “environmental security package” that also can include paint sealant as well as fabric protection. “Cars coming out of the factory are all rustproofed to perfection,” says Mike Quincy, auto content specialist in the Consumer Reports Auto Test Center in Colchester, Connecticut. “[Dealersare enticed to use this method because they can earn a fair amount of markup that they can make for these services.” The reason to skip it
All new cars already come with rustproofing, and some automakers will void the factory corrosion-perforation warranty if the car is undercoated by a third party.
2. Fabric protection A few dealers provide fabric protection, which is designed to protect your seats from stains. “A majority of dealers will also eagerly offer you fabric protection, that is essentially an aerosol spray they apply — a spray that costs them practically nothing, but which they may be able to charge $100 or more,” Quincy says. The reason you shouldn’t
“If you really need extra protection for your fabric all you need to do is buy an ounce of Scotchgard,” says John Nielsen who is the director of national automotive repair and purchasing at AAA.
3. Protection for paint This dealership option is often advertised by salespeople in the showroom as a product that offers new cars a year-round non-wax shine, which provides an extended protection from the environment. Paint sealants that protect the paint can cost the prospective buyer well over $200. It is a reason to avoid it.
The majority of automotive paints are durable finishes that are much better off with regular waxing and washing, according to Nielsen.
4. VIN etching VIN etching is an option that permits you to make an adhesive plastic stencil that includes your car’s vehicle identification number, or VIN. Then, you place the stencil on the window and apply a special acid solution that chemically burns, or etches the number on the glass. VIN Etching can act as a deterrent to thieves because it makes it difficult for them to profit from selling windshields or windows. It also makes it difficult to locate a way to dispose of a car when it’s stolen. In fact, it’s recommended by police and agencies. Some insurance companies will offer a discount on the extensive portion of your vehicle’s insurance or waive the deductibles for insurance if your vehicle has this feature. It’s a simple process however VIN marking as a dealer option can cost the buyer anywhere from $150 to $300. If you can do the work yourself, you’ll shave off over $100. Why you should skip this step
If you’re looking to perform VIN Etching, it’s more affordable to purchase a DIY kit that costs between $20 to $40 online.
5. Extended warranties as an option for dealers, basic warranties car warranties can begin at just $1,000, and can easily go up to thousands of dollars for luxury and high-performance automobiles. Extended warranties cover bumper-to bumper damage that covers everything on your car ranging from major system repairsto heating or air problems, as well as engine problems. Extended warranties however don’t cover the components typically replaced. Plan prices based on mileage, duration of coverage and deductible level before signing off New vehicles generally come with manufacturer warranties. If you’re purchasing new, you don’t have to purchase a warranty on the day you buy the car -This means that you have the option of shopping around if you really want one. What are the reasons to skip it
It is usually better to spend the money you’d pay on an extended warranty to pay for the maintenance your car requires.
6. Nitrogen in your tires No no matter what your tires are filled with, whether oxygen or nitrogen the four wheels that propel your vehicle along will inevitably decrease in size. Tires could lose air due to a gap within the tread area, a poor seal or just general wear and tear on the vehicle. Many dealers will urge customers to apply nitrogen to their tires, which can cost up to $200. If you’re not racing car drivers who require more consistent pressure from you tires, this additional expense isn’t worth it. If you truly want nitrogen, stopping at a local body shop could cost anywhere from $10 to $30 per tire. What are the reasons to avoid it
It is best to keep your cash and watch for any damage to your tires that is likely to happen with vehicle age.
How to avoid dealer-installed options The correct options on a vehicle can enhance your driving experience and even when you’re ready sell it or trade it into. However, you don’t have to take the dealer-installed choices you don’t prefer. If you find that a vehicle you purchase includes some options that are added by the dealer you may ask the dealer to take them off and adjust the sales price accordingly. In some cases, it may not be possible -for instance, when paint protection or rustproofing has already been applied the option may not be easily removed. Make sure to get the car off the way you would normally do in case the dealer is unable or unwilling to remove an option. Again, there’s no assurance that this will succeed, but even showing an interest in negotiations can change the course of the conversation. For instance, you could try making contact with a different dealer in your area to get an idea of what they cost for specific options or even see how much it could cost if you were to do it yourself. This could provide a useful basis to use in negotiations. If a dealer doesn’t budge much, or is unwilling to fully negotiate You can decide to pay for the car in its current condition or take it off the market. Factory options vs. dealer options Both the factory options and dealer options are added expenses you’ll face when shopping. Contrary to dealer options, factory options aren’t “added to” at purchase. The manufacturer handles these extras in the factory prior to when the vehicle is delivered to the dealership. Options available from the factory could include an alarm system, specific equipment, a spoiler or an modern engine layout. Both add-ons will increase the you pay, so consider what is essential and which you can go without. The bottom line is that dealer-installed options can be costly and so assessing the charges you’re charged is vital. Although dealers aren’t always ready to take away the options they’ve installed or even negotiate on the cost, be aware that these options aren’t standard, and you don’t have to accept them. Like every other part of the car-buying process, and choices from different dealers in your area to ensure that you get the most competitive price.
Written by a contributing writer Ben Luthi is a personal writer of travel and finance who enjoys helping others understand how to live life more completely. His work has appeared in numerous publications that include U.S. News & World Report, USA Today, Yahoo! Finance, and many more. The article was edited by Rhys Subitch Edited by Auto loans editor Rhys has been writing and editing for Bankrate since late 2021. They are committed to helping readers feel confident to manage their finances through providing concise, well-studied facts that break down otherwise complicated subjects into bite-sized pieces.
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