When it comes to buying a car, there’s often an overwhelming amount of dealer options available, so you may be wondering which ones you should consider and which ones are a rip off.
Dealerships can offer you a number of optional services and parts for your car that don’t come from the factory. Sometimes these are handy, and can help lengthen the lifespan of your vehicle. Additionally, you can easily roll the price of these additions into your monthly payments (if you’re financing your vehicle). Here are five useful dealership add-ons that you should consider.
Paint protection film/Clear Bra
You want to protect your car’s sexy paint finish from rock chips, right? A clear bra protects your car’s sensitive paint from flying debris. These are non-invasive, and hard to screw up by the dealership. They also tend to be pretty durable and they don’t need to be replaced for quite some time. You can also get clear bras for other parts of the car past just the front-bumper, like the hood or fenders.
Some dealerships have in-house tuning departments or performance accessories that you can take advantage of. Look at Scion and its Toyota Racing Division (TRD) parts that are available for many of its vehicles. Items like exhaust, brake kits or lowering springs get installed at the dealership and you can tack the price of them onto your monthly financing plan rather than swallow the whole cost in one go.
Seasonal Floor Mats
No one likes cleaning up and vacuuming their cars, especially in the months full of mud and snow. A set of custom fitted floor mats that are designed to fit perfectly and safely in your car (as in they won’t accidentally sit on the accelerator pedal) are a good bet to spend some extra money on.
Seasonal tires are a costly part of car ownership if you live in an area that gets a lot of snow. You might be able to swing a deal to buy a set of winter tires from your dealership at the point of purchasing the car, and even tie that into your monthly payments. Some dealerships also offer to store your tires, so you don’t have to worry about space in your garage or condo parking spot.
If you want to get some flair for your car, like pinstriping or other graphics, your best bet is to get it done at the dealership, that way your car will look sharp from the moment you pick it up.
However, several other items at the dealership are straight-up ripoffs. Many of the services are offered at a huge markup, and serve to line the dealer’s pockets. Here are five add-ons you should skip:
No one wants their car to rust, and rust proofing really drills into that fear. While new cars use galvanized steel that protects from rust, some people who live in areas that see a lot of snow may want to consider getting rust proofing done so their cars don’t suffer from all that salt used on the roads. In that case, skip the dealer’s offering, which is usually overpriced, and go straight to your nearest Krown or other rustproofing spot. Don’t forget that rust proofing should also be done annually, making the dealership’s offer even more useless.
New Car Prep/Paint Protection
A paint protection package is usually just a waxing, and again can be extremely expensive compared to getting your car cleaned up at your local detailer. Sometimes these services can also be called Dealership Prep Package. Skip this one for sure.
Extended warranties tend to be a waste of money, since your new car typically comes with pretty comprehensive coverage. The most expensive components are also typically covered beyond the traditional new car warranty, for example, the powertrain warranties for Kia, Hyundai and Mitsubishi extend to 10 years anyways, while hybrid vehicles tend to have extended coverage for their exclusive components. There’s typically no need to get an extended warranty, especially with a new car. Maybe consider it when the car gets a bit older.
Anti Theft Alarms
Many new cars have an anti-theft measure available from the factory, rather than the dealership. As a dealer-installed alarm has to be done at the dealership, where time is at a premium, you may run the risk of something being installed improperly. This isn’t ideal, especially as car alarms are involved with your car’s electric components. If you want an alarm, opt for your car’s factory setup if there’s one available.
Nitrogen is the latest scam being offered by dealerships and their service departments. The draw is that nitrogen gas is more stable and doesn’t react to temperature change as much as normal air. Additionally, Nitrogen gas doesn’t leak as much as the normal air you pump into a tire. Those sound like good advantages, but if you have to pay extra for it, you’re better off saving your cash and using regular old air.