Buying a new car is an exciting experience, but it can also be filled with pitfalls, especially when it comes to navigating through additional products and services dealerships might try to sell you. While some add-ons can be beneficial, there are others that provide little to no value for the cost. Here’s a list of 18 products that dealerships often offer, but you may want to think twice before adding them to your purchase.
Dealerships love to offer extended warranties that go beyond the manufacturer’s original coverage. While it may seem like a smart idea, extended warranties often come with a high price tag and numerous exclusions, making them less valuable than they first appear.
The upsell on fabric protection for your car’s interior is usually marked up significantly at dealerships. In most cases, you can easily purchase a fabric protection spray at a local store and apply it yourself for a fraction of the cost.
Dealerships may offer to etch your vehicle’s identification number (VIN) into the car’s windows as a theft deterrent. While the idea sounds good, this is usually a service you can either do yourself or often find for less through local businesses.
Paint Protection Film
While paint protection film might sound like a good way to keep your car looking new, it often costs a small fortune when purchased through a dealership. Many car owners find that regular waxing provides sufficient protection for a lot less money.
The concept behind nitrogen-filled tires is that they maintain air pressure longer than regular air-filled tires. However, the benefit is minimal for everyday drivers and certainly not worth the added expense.
Key Replacement Insurance
Losing your car keys can be frustrating and expensive, but key replacement insurance often costs more than simply getting a new key from a locksmith or the manufacturer. Make sure to weigh the costs before opting for this service.
Modern cars are already designed to resist rust, making the dealership’s additional rustproofing service generally unnecessary. Furthermore, applying aftermarket rustproofing could potentially void sections of your manufacturer’s corrosion warranty.
Gap insurance covers the difference between the car’s market value and what you owe on it. While it can be useful in specific situations, it’s often cheaper to purchase it from a third-party provider than the dealership.
Dealerships offer prepaid maintenance packages that promise to make vehicle upkeep easier. However, these packages often cover only basic services and may lock you into getting your maintenance done at that specific dealership.
Car Alarms and Security Systems
While car security is important, the markup on dealership-installed alarms and security systems can be exorbitant. Many new cars already come with sufficient built-in security features. If you feel the need for additional security, third-party solutions are generally more cost-effective and offer similar, if not better, features. It’s worth shopping around and checking reviews before making a decision.
Dealerships often offer wheel locks as an add-on, claiming they deter theft of your rims and tires. The effectiveness of these devices is debatable, and should you lose the unique key required to remove them, you may find yourself in a costly situation. Basic precautions like parking in well-lit areas are often just as effective at deterring theft.
Credit Life Insurance
Some dealerships will offer credit life insurance that promises to pay off your car loan should you die before it’s fully paid. While the idea may seem prudent, these policies are often more expensive than regular term life insurance, which would also cover the loan in addition to providing for your family’s other needs. It’s advisable to consult with a financial advisor for a more comprehensive insurance strategy.
While having an organized trunk can be convenient, cargo organizers offered by dealerships are often priced much higher than similar products you can find at other retailers or online. Unless it’s a specialized item designed to fit your specific model perfectly, you’re likely better off looking elsewhere for your organization needs.
Premium Sound Systems
Many dealerships offer upgraded sound systems at a considerable markup. While these systems often do provide enhanced sound quality, the improvement may not justify the cost for every buyer. Before committing, consider whether the standard sound system meets your needs, or if a third-party system could offer similar quality at a lower price.
Remote Start Systems
Remote start can be a tempting feature, especially in extreme weather conditions. However, the price for installation at a dealership is often far above what you would pay for a similar system elsewhere. Plus, improper installation could void your vehicle’s warranty, so it’s crucial to weigh the pros and cons carefully.
Rear-Seat Entertainment Systems
These are often touted as essential for families, especially for long trips. While they do provide entertainment, the cost when added at a dealership can be significantly higher than portable devices or even tablets that offer the same function but at a fraction of the price. Additionally, built-in systems can become obsolete quickly as technology advances.
If you plan on towing regularly, a towing package might seem like a wise investment. However, it’s important to consider the actual towing capacity of your vehicle and whether or not you can easily add a hitch and other necessary features yourself or through a third-party for less money.
Body Side Moldings
Some dealerships will recommend body side moldings to protect your car’s doors from dings and scratches. While the intent is good, the cost of getting these installed at a dealership is often significantly higher than what you would pay elsewhere. Many aftermarket options provide the same level of protection at a fraction of the cost, and you can even install them yourself to save even more money.
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