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6 dealer options to skip when buying a car Advertiser Disclosure Advertiser Disclosure We are an independent, advertising-supported comparison service. Our aim is to assist you make smarter financial decisions by offering you interactive tools and financial calculators, publishing original and objective content. This allows users to conduct research and compare data for free and help you make informed financial decisions. Bankrate has partnerships with issuers including, but not limited to, American Express, Bank of America, Capital One, Chase, Citi and Discover. How We Earn Money The deals that are displayed on this website come from companies that pay us. This compensation could affect how and when products appear on the site, such as the sequence in which they appear within the listing categories, except where prohibited by law for our mortgage home equity, mortgage and other products for home loans. However, this compensation will have no impact on the information we provide, or the reviews that appear on this website. We do not cover the vast array of companies or financial deals that might be accessible to you. Maskot/Getty

5 minutes read. Published 12 January 2023

Ben Luthi Ben Luthi Written by Contributing writer Ben Luthi is a personal travel and finance writer who is passionate about helping others discover how to live their lives more fully. His work has been published in several publications such as U.S. News & World Report, USA Today, Yahoo! Finance and many more. Edited by Rhys Subitch Edited by Auto loans editor Rhys has been writing and editing for Bankrate since the end of 2021. They are dedicated to helping readers gain confidence to manage their finances by providing precise, well-researched and well-informed information that breaks down otherwise complex topics into manageable bites. The Bankrate guarantee

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They ensure that what we write is objective, accurate and reliable. We have loans reporters and editors are focused on the points consumers care about the most — different kinds of lending options and the most competitive rates, the most reliable lenders, how to repay debt, and much more. So you’ll be able to feel secure when making your decision to invest your money. Integrity of the editing

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If you have questions about money. Bankrate has answers. Our experts have been helping you manage your money for over four years. We continually strive to provide consumers with the expert advice and the tools required to make it through life’s financial journey. Bankrate adheres to strict standards policy, which means you can be confident that our information is trustworthy and reliable. Our award-winning editors and journalists provide honest and trustworthy content to help you make the best financial choices. The content created by our editorial staff is accurate, truthful, and not influenced through our sponsors. We’re transparent about how we are in a position to provide quality content, competitive rates and useful tools to you by explaining how we make money. is an independent, advertising-supported publisher and comparison service. We receive compensation for placement of sponsored products and, services, or through you clicking certain links posted on our site. So, this compensation can affect the way, location and when products are displayed within the listing categories, with the exception of those the law prohibits it for our mortgage or home equity products, as well as other home lending products. Other factors, like our own website rules and whether or not a product is available within the area you reside in or is within your self-selected credit score range can also impact the way and place products are listed on this site. We strive to provide a wide range offers, Bankrate does not include information about every credit or financial product or service. When you purchase a brand new car, you deal with knowledgeable sales representatives who will sell you extra goods and solutions. Although some of the dealer options, upgrades and other extras may be worth the cost, it’s important to know the worst dealer options when purchasing a vehicle so you can avoid these. For instance, rustproofing VIN Etching and Extended Warranty are just a handful of the options that might not be worth the cost. What are dealer alternatives? Dealer options include accessories and equipment that can boost the value of the car. There are three types of options that you can encounter: Factory-installed options installed at the factory before the vehicle is shipped to the dealer. Port-installed options: Applied to vehicles imported from overseas as they arrive at the port of entry. Dealer-installed options: Installed by the dealer when the vehicle reaches the lot of the dealership. Options that are made available at the factory or port are approved by the vehicle’s manufacturer and generally are covered under the warranty of the new vehicle. You’ll see them in the window stickers mandatory for new vehicles. Furthermore, the price is uniform, meaning they’re not different from dealer to dealer. Contrary to this, dealer options aren’t approved by manufacturer and, therefore, aren’t part of the warranty. They are not listed in the window stickers that are official however, they must be listed on a separate sticker attached to the car. Because they’re put in at the expense of the dealer the prices can vary depending on the location. Most dealer options are expensive and utilized to increase profits on new vehicle sales. Six dealer choices that you should stay clear of are , it is important to check the vehicle’s stickers for every option. While it is not common to bargain with port and factory installed options, you might have some leeway for dealer-installed options. Here are the six worst dealer options to avoid when buying a car — as well as the best alternatives to consider instead. 1. Rustproofing Dealer-applied undercoating can cost up to 600 dollars or as low as $150, depending on the vehicle and the kind of treatment package — either basic or premium, and whether it includes an extra option, such as noise-reducing. It’s available to new car buyers as an option for dealers or as part of a costly bundle known as an “environmental protection package” which can also include paint sealant and fabric protection. “Cars leaving the factories today have excellent rustproofing,” says Mike Quincy, auto content specialist for the Consumer Reports Auto Test Center located in Colchester, Connecticut. “[Dealershave a reason to do it because there’s quite a bit of markup they can earn on these services.” What you can do to avoid it

All new cars already come with rustproofing, and some automakers will void the factory corrosion-perforation warranty if the car is undercoated by a third party.

2. Fabric protection A few dealers offer protection for fabric, which is intended to shield your seats from stains. “A number of dealers will also eagerly offer you fabric protection, that is essentially an aerosol spray they put on — the spray costs nearly nothing, but for which they might later charge you up to $100,” Quincy says. What you can do to avoid it

“If you’re in need of more protection for your fabrics all you need to do is purchase a bottle of Scotchgard,” says John Nielsen, national director of repairs and purchasing for AAA.

3. Protection for paint This dealership choice is often promoted by salespeople in the showroom to offer new cars an all-year-round, no-wax shine which creates an extremely long-lasting protection against the environment. Paint sealants that protect the paint can cost the buyer of a new car well over $200. Why you should skip it

The majority of automotive paints are durable finishes that are much better off with regular waxing and washing, according to Nielsen.

4. VIN etching the process that allows you to make an adhesive stencil made of plastic that contains the vehicle identification number of your vehicle or VIN. Then, you place the stencil on a window and apply a special acid solution that chemically burns or etches, the number onto the glass. VIN etching can be an deterrent to thieves as it makes it nearly impossible to earn a profit selling windows and windshields and makes it harder to figure out a method to dispose of a car after it’s been taken. In fact, it’s a recommendation by police and agencies. Some insurers will even offer discounts on the part that covers the comprehensive portion of your insurance, or even waive the deductibles for insurance if your vehicle has this option. It’s a straightforward process, however VIN marking as an option for dealers can cost the car buyer from $150 to $300. If you decide to do it yourself, you can save over $100. The reason you shouldn’t do this step

If you’d like to do VIN etching, it’s cheaper to buy a kit that you can make yourself, which runs from $20 to $40 online.

5. Extended warranties are an option offered by dealers, the basic for cars can start at just $1,000, and can easily go up to several thousand dollars for high-performance and luxury cars. Extended warranties cover bumper-to bumper damage that covers everything on your vehicle, from major system repairsto heating or air issues and engine troubles. Extended warranties however don’t cover the components typically replaced. Plan price varies based on mileage, duration of coverage, and the deductible amount prior to signing off. New cars generally come with manufacturer warranties. Even if you’re buying second-hand, you do not have to purchase a warranty the moment you purchase the vehicleThis means that you have the option of shopping around if you really want one. What are the reasons to skip it

It’s usually best to utilize the money you’d spend on a warranty extension to cover the maintenance your car requires.

6. Nitrogen in your tires No no matter the content of your tires with, whether oxygen or nitrogen the four wheels that propel your vehicle will eventually decrease in size. Tires can lose air due to a gap within the tread area, a lack of seal, or simply wear and tear to the vehicle. Many dealers will urge customers to include nitrogen in their tires, which can be as high as $200. Unless you are racing car driver who requires an increased pressure on your tires, the added expense isn’t worth it. If you really want nitrogen, stopping at the local body shop will you cost $10 to $30 for a tire. Why you should skip it

It is best to keep your cash and look for any damage to your tires that is likely to happen with the age of your vehicle.

How to avoid dealer-added options The best options for an automobile can help improve your driving experience and even when you are ready to sell it or trade it in. However, you don’t have to take the dealer-installed choices you don’t prefer. If you notice that a new vehicle comes with some dealer-installed options, you can ask the dealer to take them off and adjust the sales cost of the vehicle accordingly. In some cases, it may not be possible — for example, in the event that paint protection or rustproofing is already in place the option may not be easily removed. You can try to remove the vehicle like you normally would if the dealer can’t or won’t eliminate the alternative. There’s no guarantee that this will be successful however, even showing an interest in negotiations can change the course of the conversation. Consider, for instance, making contact with a different dealer in the area to get an idea of what they cost for specific services or see what it could cost if you were to do it yourself. This can give you a good base for your negotiations. If a dealer isn’t willing to negotiate at all, or doesn’t want to fully negotiate, you can choose to pay for the vehicle as is or take it off the market. Factory options vs. choices from dealers Both factory options and dealer options are added charges you’ll have to pay when you go car shopping. Unlike dealer options, factory choices aren’t “added on” upon purchase. The manufacturer handles these extras in the factory prior to when the vehicle arrives on the lot. Options available from the factory could include an alarm system or a specific piece of equipment, a spoiler or an sophisticated engine setup. These add-ons can increase the amount cost you pay, so think about what is essential and which you can go without. Bottom line, dealer-installed features aren’t always worth the cost, so checking the amount you’re being charged is vital. Although dealers may not always be willing to eliminate options they’ve installed or to negotiate the cost, be aware that these options aren’t standard and you shouldn’t be forced to agree with them. Similar to every other aspect of the car-buying process, and choices from several dealers in your region to ensure that you get the best price available.


Written by Contributing writer Ben Luthi is a personal writer of travel and finance who loves helping people learn how to live life more completely. His writing has been featured in a variety of publications such as U.S. News & World Report, USA Today, Yahoo! Finance, and many other publications. Written by Rhys Subitch Edited by Auto loans editor Rhys has been writing and editing for Bankrate since the end of 2021. They are passionate about helping readers gain the confidence to control their finances with clear, well-researched details that cut complicated subjects into bite-sized pieces.

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