Many people love cars but hate buying them. The primary reason for this is they feel at a loss when they go to a dealership. We’ve all heard tales of the psychological ploy’s dealers use to get us to pay more than we actually should. Whether it’s over-inflating prices, lowballing the value of your trade-in or pushing expensive vehicle add-ons you don’t need, a lot of sellers have earned a bad reputation for the industry.
Here’s the thing though; you have the responsibility to learn all you can about anything you purchase. If you do your research, you’ll know what you need, how much you should pay and what your trade-in is rleally worth.
To that end, let’s look at some common unnecessary add-ons.
If you’re buying a new car, the factory warranty will cover everything that could possibly go wrong during the first three years or 36,000 miles (some go even longer). You’re getting an unnecessary secondary blanket of coverage with an extended warranty.
On the other hand, if you buy a used car—or your factory warranty runs out—these can be useful to have, if priced reasonably. However, research your car to see what its most common failures are and make sure the warranty covers those items before you buy it.
In a lot of cases, aftermarket warranties only cover items that seldom fail.
OK, so let’s say your car is involved in an accident and it will cost more to fix it than it is worth. Insurance companies consider this a total loss and will pay you the market value of the car so you can get a comparable replacement.
However, if you have a loan and you owe more than the car is worth, your insurance payout may not cover the difference—unless your policy covers the “gap”. Dealers offer this coverage—particularly with leases. However, you can also buy it from your insurance company for much less.
By the way, this is also true with financing. When it comes to bad credit car loans for example, you’ll find much better deals with a company like RoadLoans. Dealerships add “points” to insurance and financing, which means you’ll pay more for something you could have acquired on your own for less.
Undercoating/Paint Protection/Upholstery Protection
Every new car is treated at the factory to resist rust. Buying undercoating at a dealership is overkill. Don’t do it. Further, contemporary cars already have clear-coat paint protection. Your car’s finish will always sparkle with regular washes and wax twice a year. As for fabric protection, buy Scotchgard at WalMart, spray it on yourself and save hundreds of dollars.
Every car has a unique vehicle identification number (VIN). While it’s always located at the bottom corner of the windshield on the driver’s side of the car, it’s also stamped into a number of body panels. This makes it more difficult to strip a stolen car and sell the parts.
Dealers will offer to etch the VIN into all of your windows for an additional fee. Don’t go for it, it’s a waste of money. Glass is easily broken and easily replaced. Etching is not a deterrent at all. However, if you just have to have it, you can buy a kit online for $20 or so and do it yourself.
Which brings us to the cardinal rule of vehicle add-ons.
You’ll almost always get a better price on the aftermarket. Further, if you roll their costs into the price of the car and finance them, you’ll pay interest besides. Do your homework. Don’t let the excitement of getting a new car lead you to make poor decisions. Take your time and save your money.