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Car dealerships are notorious for trying to convince customers that they need extras and add-ons for their car. Dealerships will offer customers a litany of potential features, and knowing which ones are worthwhile, if any, can be challenging.
This article explores all the different extras that you may be offered; which ones are valuable, and which ones to avoid no matter what. Read on so you are prepared when the time comes to purchase your car.
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Many of the extras that dealerships offer you are unnecessary or won’t provide a decent return on what you spend. There are a couple of extras that can be valuable, however, and the following section explores these.
Perhaps the most popular add on when purchasing a car is an extended warranty. The relatively small cost of an extended warranty can generate huge savings in the future if you have car trouble. The value and necessity of an extended warranty depend on a number of factors, though.
First, you should investigate the existing warranty and find out what it covers and how long it lasts. If you are offered a standard warranty that lasts as long as you expect to have the car and has decent coverage, an extended warranty may be unnecessary. Then, inspect the terms of the extended warranty. If the length or coverage is much better than the standard, you should consider the extended warranty.
Like an extended warranty, gap insurance is an investment that can pay off in the event of an accident in the future. If you get in an accident and the actual cash value of your car is suddenly less than what you owe on it, gap insurance will cover the difference. If you have to borrow a large amount to pay for your car, having gap insurance can protect you if something happens to the car.
The useful and valuable extras you can get when buying a car are outnumbered by the unnecessary ones. This section explores a range of extras that dealers may try to convince you to buy — read first before purchasing!
Dealers often include extras like chrome rims and trim on the display vehicle without mentioning it. These extras are purely aesthetic; they don’t have any effect on the performance of the car. So, if you aren’t willing to pay a huge premium for a small improvement in appearance, make sure you ask the dealer to remove them.
You are told that etching the vehicle identification number on your window will prevent theft because thieves would have to change all of the windows. However, car thieves are unlikely to notice window etching in the first place, so the added cost will likely go to waste.
Paint and fabric protection can cost more than $1,000, with the claim that it will make your paint job and interior last longer. The paint and fabric can often last just as long without the protectant, though. Furthermore, the cost of repairing damages to your paint job or interior is likely less than what the dealer charges for protection. Save your money and just repair any damages that are incurred.
Despite what the dealer says, most cars come with high-quality rust protection already. Given the high cost of rust proofing treatments, you won’t suffer any loss skipping this extra.
Keys that fail due to electrical or hardware failure are typically covered under warranty, and some auto insurers provide key coverage for much less than dealerships. If you think you are unlikely to lose your key, you probably don’t need key protection.
Nitrogen for tires is ideal for racing, but it costs $200-300 at dealerships and you likely won’t notice a difference in how the car handles or the tires wear. You can also often get a tire shop to put nitrogen in your tires for $10 or $20, a fraction of the cost at a dealership.
Anti-theft packages vary in detail, but the fact is most new cars come with a built-in anti-theft system that will get the job done. Audio and electronics shops can do a better job of providing advanced protection if you need it, and at a better rate than a dealership.
Most automobile insurers will cover damage to tires and wheels, so getting tire and wheel protection from your dealer is probably unnecessary. Furthermore, you have to hope that the dealer is still in business years down the road when you may need to cash in your protection.
Dealers like to offer upgraded tire and wheel packages, and sometimes even just include them in the car without saying anything. If you don’t have the need for upgraded tires and wheels, make sure your car has the originals before you sign anything. If you want better tires and wheels, you can probably get more options and a better price from a tire shop.
Whatever the dealer is charging for roof rack installment, there’s a good bet you can get a vastly cheaper rack at your local sporting goods store. Most stores will install them as well, and then you can easily move your rack to a different car.
Dealers sometimes claim that applying a coating to your windshield will make it more difficult to break. Whether or not this is true, broken windshields are uncommon and the cost of fixing them will probably be comparable or less than the cost of windshield protection anyway.
Built-in entertainment systems are typically enormously expensive. Instead, buy a tablet or a laptop and your passengers can get the same level of entertainment without the huge cost.
While there are a few extras that may be worthwhile, most of the features that dealers try to convince you to buy are overly expensive and unnecessary. If you let the dealer talk you into protection packages and add-ons, there’s a good chance you will spend more than the coverage will ever save you. Instead, keep your money and just put it towards any car needs that come up.