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15 Useless Products Car Dealerships Trick People To Buy

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Car dealerships are a temple of temptation for the auto enthusiast. Yet, hidden among the shiny models are pitfalls. Here’s a guide to dodge those unnecessary extras and ensure your wallet survives the journey.

1. Paint Protection

Paint Protection
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

Similar to fabric defense, this service promises to shield your paint job. Yet, regular washes and quality wax do wonders without the premium price tag. Also, many of these products are available off the shelf for a fraction of the dealership’s cost.

2. Fabric Protection

A man cleaning car seat with microfiber cloth
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

Spill your coffee? Your car’s upholstery can likely handle it. Modern materials are resilient. This add-on is just an expensive sprinkle of fairy dust. A quick internet search reveals a myriad of DIY solutions that are both cheaper and just as effective.

3. Key Replacement Insurance

Key Replacement Insurance
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

Lost keys can be expensive, but this insurance often costs more than replacing the keys yourself. Better to keep a spare than pay for this. Also, technological advancements have made keys more durable and less prone to loss.

4. Window Etching

Worker washing the car window with a scraper
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

A security feature, they say. It etches your VIN onto the glass. Sounds special but adds little to theft prevention. The great thing is insurance discounts for it are minimal. Some insurers don’t even recognize it as a deterrent.

5. Nitrogen in Tires

Man driver checking air pressure and filling air in the tires
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

Air’s free and everywhere. Nitrogen? Not so much. It promises stable tire pressure, but the benefits are negligible for everyday drivers. Regular air checks achieve similar results without the ongoing costs.

6. Extended Warranties

Extended warranty sticker
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

Often not the safety net they seem. A Consumer Reports study found most owners spent more on the warranty than they saved on repairs. Keep that cash for actual issues. Besides, many issues are covered under the manufacturer’s warranty, rendering the extended option redundant.

7. Rustproofing

Rustproofing
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

Modern vehicles come with excellent corrosion protection. This service is a relic of the past, yet it persists in sales pitches. Trust in your vehicle’s built-in defenses and save the extra expense.

8. VIN Etching Kits

VIN Etching Kits
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

DIY versions of dealer etching. Still unnecessary and often overpriced. Your VIN is already visible in multiple spots on your vehicle. Moreover, the effectiveness of this as a theft deterrent is highly debated among experts.

9. Credit Insurance

Insurance claim of a car
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

This pays your car loan if you can’t. Sounds helpful but overlaps with existing life and disability policies. Check your current coverage first. Often, a well-structured emergency fund provides more flexibility and peace of mind.

10. Gap Insurance

GAP insurance form on a table with a book
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

Useful if you’re underwater on your loan, but often cheaper through your insurance company than the dealership. Plus, the need for it diminishes as you pay down your loan, making it a short-term necessity at best.

11. Dealer Preparation Fees

Dealer salesman giving car key to owner
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

Supposedly covers vehicle prep. Reality? Most costs are already included in the sticker price. This fee is just gravy for the dealer. A detailed review of your invoice can often help you negotiate these fees away.

12. Documentation Fees

Car insurance and car service
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

While some processing fees are inevitable, dealers sometimes inflate these costs. Know your state’s average and negotiate accordingly. Awareness of these norms can be a powerful bargaining chip.

13. Pinstriping

Pinstriping
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

Decorative, yes. Essential, no. Often an overpriced add-on that adds little to your car’s value or appearance. If pinstriping is your style, local artists often do custom work for less.

14. Aftermarket Accessories

Aftermarket Accessories
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

Floor mats, cargo organizers, you name it. Dealers mark these up significantly. Better to shop online or at auto parts stores. The selection is often more extensive and tailored to your needs elsewhere.

15. Undercoating

Worker painting a car
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

Like rustproofing, undercoating is marketed as a must-have. Yet, it’s often unnecessary thanks to modern vehicle protections. Plus, improper application can trap moisture and accelerate rust formation.

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