So, you’re going to buy a car from a dealership and need some advice on how to get the best value for your hard-earned money? That’s what we’ll talk about in this article.
When you buy a new vehicle from a dealership, you’re presented with a range of optional extras that can be added to your purchase. When buying a used car, dealers often include those without letting you know. Tricky, isn’t it?
Are those adding value to your vehicle or extra profit for the car dealership?
We’ll answer that and other questions you may have to help you make the right decision.
What Are Dealer Options?
Factory-installed extras such as heated seats, navigation systems, and advanced safety features available for modern vehicles are also called options.
The dealer can add things like paint protection or window tints to your new car. But if you know anything about car customizations, you also know these can be added later at a much better price.
Here is how new car options differ from one another:
Dealer installs are accessories and equipment the dealership adds to the vehicle to increase its sales price. These options may include wheel locks, fabric protection, or nitrogen tire inflation.
Unlike factory options installed during manufacturing, dealer options are added after the car makes its way to the lot.
Factory options, on the other hand, are accessories and equipment that are approved by the vehicle manufacturer. These options are typically listed on the car window sticker and are covered by the manufacturer’s warranty.
Examples of factory options include a sunroof, a premium sound system, or visual enhancements.
Finally, port-installed options are installed at the port of entry on vehicles imported from overseas. That occurs after it has been shipped from the factory before the vehicle arrives at the dealership.
A third-party company typically installs these options and may include roof racks, cargo organizers, or remote start systems.
What Are the Most Popular Dealer-Installed Options?
When shopping for a new car, you’ll likely come across a range of dealer-installed options that can be added to your purchase. While the specific options available may vary from one dealer to another, there are a few popular options that you’re likely to encounter.
Here are some of the most common dealer-added options:
- Alarm system
An alarm system is a popular dealer-installed option that can help protect your car from theft or break-ins. These systems typically include sensors that detect when someone tries to break into your vehicle.
- VIN etching
VIN etching is a process in which the car’s vehicle identification number (VIN) is etched onto the car’s windows, making it more difficult for thieves to sell the car’s parts. This option may be included as part of a larger security package.
- Extended warranty
An extended warranty is an insurance policy covering the cost of repairs or replacements for certain parts after the manufacturer’s warranty has expired. This option can provide peace of mind for new car shoppers, as it can help protect against unexpected repair costs down the line.
- Fabric protection
Fabric protection is a dealer-installed option that can help keep your interior looking new for longer. This option typically involves applying a protective coating to the car’s upholstery, which can help repel stains and spills.
- Nitrogen tire inflation
That dealer option involves filling your car’s tires with nitrogen instead of regular air. The dealer will advertise it as improving tire performance and longevity, as nitrogen is less likely to leak out of the tires over time.
- Paint protection packages
Paint protection can help keep your car looking new for longer. These packages typically include a clear protective film applied to the car’s exterior, helping prevent scratches and other forms of damage.
- Environmental protection packages
Such dealer-installed options are designed to help protect your car and the environment. These packages may include undercoating, which can help prevent rust and corrosion, or fuel additives and air filters to reduce emissions and improve fuel efficiency.
What Dealer Add-Ons to Avoid?
All dealer-installed options will add to the vehicle’s price, but most are not worth it. Around 30% of the dealers selling new cars profit more from add-ons.
So, what dealer options from the list above should you avoid? The answer is all of them. These are the most popular because dealers make the most money selling them to average buyers.
Here are a few examples to prove that point:
You can do the VIN etching yourself by purchasing a kit for around $50, which is much cheaper than the dealer will charge you. Additionally, your insurance company may do it for free.
The extended warranty isn’t mandatory when buying a new car. You can get it just before your factory warranty expires. Getting it from the auto manufacturer is also the better choice as it covers everything you see on the official window sticker, which isn’t always the case when you purchase it as a dealer add-on.
Inflating your tires with nitrogen is something other than what you need for a daily driver. It won’t affect how your tires wear, and you can have it done at your local tire shop anytime.
Most paint protection packages dealers offer are way too expensive. Washing and waxing your car regularly or applying the protection at a professional shop will cost you less.
Can You Get a Car Dealer to Remove Options?
Dealerships can remove some options depending on their policies if they haven’t yet been installed. It won’t hurt to ask the dealer. You may negotiate a lower price for the vehicle by opting out of certain dealer-installed options.
Dealer-Installed Options Worth Considering
It’s always recommended to stick with options installed at the factory before the car arrives at the dealership. However, there are some extras worth to add on new vehicles.
These are primarily safety-related dealer options such as:
- Bluetooth text dictators
- Blind spot detectors
- Surround-view monitors
If you’re interested in purchasing a vehicle but are concerned about the cost of dealer-installed options, it’s worth discussing it with the dealership in advance. It will save you both time and money.