When you buy a car from a dealership, you’ll most likely walk away buying more than just the car. After the salesperson hands you off to the finance manager to sign the sales contract and other documents, it’s that manager’s job to sell you some extra products. And while some of those products can be beneficial to you and your new car, many of them are not. Here are some of the products that you can handily say “no” to when they are offered up.
There are a couple of different schools of thought when it comes to extended warranties. Some will say that they are a great way to “protect your investment,” especially if you plan to keep your car for a long time. While others believe that they are a complete waste of money only put in place to make the dealership more profitable.
Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide which option is best for you, however, U.S. News says to do some research before deciding. One tip is to read up on the extended warranty (or service contract) before deciding to buy one. Sites like the Better Business Bureau can tell you if a warranty is legit or not, based on consumer feedback. Then you’ll be able to make an informed decision on whether it’s right for your car and your budget.
The most important thing to note is that when you’re sitting in front of the finance manager, they will likely offer you a “discounted” rate if you buy today and include it in your monthly payment. Just remember that the “discounted” rate is typically not discounted at all as dealers will typically markup extended warranty prices by 50 to 100% above their cost and then cut the rate from there to make it look like they’re giving you a discount. In that case, it could be better to refuse it.
Paint and fabric protection
Don’t get us wrong, the paint and fabric protection that the dealer tries to sell you isn’t exactly snake oil, but you can probably do the same thing yourself for far less than what they charge you for it. U.S. News reported that many cars, like the Hyundai Santa Fe and Nissan Versa, come with fabric protection from the factory. And if your car doesn’t, then a $5 bottle of Scotch Guard can do wonders when it comes to protecting your car’s interior from the inevitable stains.
When it comes to paint protection, you can always have the car ceramic coated or have paint protection film applied to protect for many years. Those services from a third-party vendor are likely much cheaper than the rate the dealer will charge you.
Anti-theft window etching
VIN etching is when the dealer etches the car’s vehicle identification number into its windows in order to protect the car from being stolen. The thought here is that a would-be thief will see the window etching and will be less inclined to steal the car since the police will have an easier time finding it.
While that may or may not be true, what is true is that most dealers will charge at least a few hundred dollars for the job, which is not usually worth it. If you really want your car’s VIN etched onto the window, then you can always order a kit and do it yourself for around $20 instead.
Car keys are no longer the normal “twist and turn” keys of yesteryear. Nowadays, even the most affordable cars on the lot have proximity keys that are meant to add convenience with their accompanying push-start ignitions as well as an added layer of protection. It’s no secret that these fancy key fobs can cost you a lot of money to replace if they ever get lost, so dealers are trying to capitalize on this and the finance manager will likely offer you a “key protection” package.
However paying couple hundred dollars to insure a key that costs $500 typically isn’t worth it, especially if you loop that extra money into the auto loan. In that case, you will be paying monthly for a service that you most likely won’t use, unless you’re really prone to losing key fobs. In that case, it’s a good thing the car comes with two keys.
Remember to look over the sales contract
While it can be easy to refuse the aforementioned products when you’re sitting in front of the finance manager, it’s can be tougher if that manager ever tells you that you have to buy them in order to get a special financing rate. In that case, remember to tell them that you have to look over the sales contract first. Take your time and look it over, chances are that there’s nowhere in the contract that says you have to buy them.
Either way, it’s important to protect yourself as the customer when buying a car. No one should be hassled to buy anything that they don’t want. So be prepared to say “no” or in some cases, walk away from the deal altogether.