Rick's Free Auto Repair Advice

Dealer options to skip

Skip these new car options

Car dealers try to upsell you with add-ons after you’ve negotiated the price of the car. Most of these options are overpriced or unnecessary. Here are the dealer options to skip.

Pre-installed options

The dealer installs paint protection film, wheel locks (to prevent theft of expensive alloy wheels), glass protection, paint sealant, stain resistance on the seats, and glass etching (etch the car’s VIN number into  glass window to deter theft). Here are the dealer options to skip.

Car dealer options to skip

Paint sealant

Paint sealant is nothing more than an acrylic based wax that provides a glass-like shine. If you buy it from  the dealer you’ll pay at least twice as much as you would from a car wash or detailing shop. Plus, you’ll have to return to the dealer for re-applications every four to six months and you’ll have to pay for each additional application, again at twice the price—it is not a one-time application.

If you want this option don’t buy it from the dealer. Any car wash or auto detailing shop can apply paint sealant for a fraction of the price of the dealer. In fact, the dealer is just sending you car to one of these detailing shops to have it applied in the first place.

Another option is to apply paint sealant yourself. Just buy Meguiars Ultimate Liquid Wax, or Mirror Glaze #21 Synthetic Sealant, Klasse High Gloss Sealant, or Blackfire Wet Diamond.

Paint Protection film

3M is the big player in this area and they make a high quality clear rubbery film that adheres to the front 1/3 of your hood and fenders. The film protects your paint from chips due to kicked-up gravel and stone. The film has UV inhibitors to prevent the breakdown of the paint under the film. That can be a downside later on when the film ages and you want to remove it. You’ll have two different colors on your hood and that will affect its value. It’s a good product though. However, you can get paint protection film added at any time and for a lot less than the dealer charges. Just take your car to an independent paint protection film installer.

Or, you can buy a 3M spray-on kit for about $30. The spray on protection film is easy  to apply and lasts about a year. But it’s a lot less expensive than the professionally  installed film


New cars come with some of the best rustproofing you can get. In fact, most owner’s manuals advise you NOT to add rustproofing because it can interfere with the factory rustproofing. In fact, some car makers will void your factory corrosion protection warranty if you add rustproofing or undercoating. If you still want rustproofing, go directly to a rustproofing service in your area. They’ll be at least half the price of the dealer.

Fabric protection

Can you spray fabric stain protection on your seats yourself? Because that’s all the dealer is going to do. Buy a spray bottle of Vectra 22, Scotchgard Auto Fabric and Carpet Protector, or 303 Fabric Guard and save a bundle.

Alarm/remote start

Most new cars already come with an anti-theft security system. So dealers really push the value of a remote start system especially in colder climates. The better quality units work well. But keep in mind that the dealers never install these items in their own shops. They sub-contract the work to a reputable installer in your area. Why pay the dealer’s markup? Find an installer in your area and pay them to install it. Just make sure you buy a high quality unit. The cheap remote starters fail early and cause all kinds of stalling and no-start problems.

Extended warranty

If you buy a vehicle known for its high quality, you don’t need an extended warranty. Period.  But if you feel more comfortable knowing that you’ve got coverage, at least be smart about it and buy a warranty that actually covers the expected repairs, because most dealer warranties don’t cover very much. Read this post on extended warranties to learn how to read the contracts and avoid buying a worthless warranty.

Floor mats

Factory floor mats are nice. But for about the same money you can buy a higher quality custom fit floor mat from weathertech.com. Go to their site and click on DigitalFit and review their floor mats before you buy from the dealer.

Nudge, brush, and bull bars, truck toppers, bumpers, roof racks, and trailer hitches

Buy from a local installer like radcotruckaccessories.com for a fraction of the price of the dealer.

VIN Etching

VIN etching acts as a deterrent to thieves by permanently etching your vehicle’s VIN number into all glass on  your vehicle. Dealer’s charge $150 to as much as $300 for this service. Some insurance companies offer a discount if you etch your VIN. You can order a kit from armourproducts.com and do it yourself. The kit includes a stencil with your VIN and a bottle of etching fluid. You stick the stencil to the glass and brush on the etching fluid. Leave it on for 10-mins. Then peel off the stencil and rinse the glass with water. Repeat on each window.

©, 2016 Rick Muscoplat

Posted on by Rick Muscoplat


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