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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 mission is to help you make smarter financial decisions by providing you with interactive tools and financial calculators as well as publishing objective and unique content. We also allow you to conduct research and compare information at no cost – so that you can 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 Make Money The offers that appear on this website come from companies that pay us. This compensation can affect the way and where products appear on this website, for example 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. This compensation, however, does not influence the information we publish, or the reviews that you read on this site. We do not cover the vast array of companies or financial offers that may be available to you. Maskot/Getty

5 min read Published January 12, 2023

The article was written by Ben Luthi Written by Contributing writer Ben Luthi is a personal finance and travel writer who loves helping people discover how to live their lives more fully. His work has appeared in numerous publications such as U.S. News & World Report, USA Today, Yahoo! Finance and more. The article was edited by Rhys Subitch Edited by Auto loans editor Rhys has been editing and writing for Bankrate since the end of 2021. They are dedicated to helping readers gain confidence to take control of their finances with precise, well-researched and well-informed information that breaks down complicated topics into bite-sized pieces. The Bankrate guarantee

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If you have questions about money. Bankrate has answers. Our experts have been helping you master your money for over four decades. We are constantly striving to provide consumers with the expert guidance and the tools necessary to be successful throughout their financial journey. Bankrate adheres to a strict code of conduct policy, which means you can be confident that our content is honest and accurate. Our award-winning editors and journalists provide honest and trustworthy information to assist you in making the best financial decisions. The content we create by our editorial team is factual, objective, and not influenced through our sponsors. We’re transparent about the ways we’re capable of bringing high-quality content, competitive rates and useful tools to you by explaining how we earn our money. is an independent, advertising-supported publisher and comparison service. We receive compensation for placement of sponsored products and, services, or when you click on specific links on our site. So, this compensation can impact how, where and when the products are listed within categories, unless the law prohibits it for our mortgage, home equity and other home lending products. Other factors, like our own proprietary website rules and whether the product is offered in the area you reside in or is within your self-selected credit score range can also impact the manner in which products are featured on this website. We strive to provide an array of offers, Bankrate does not include specific information on each credit or financial item or product. When you purchase a brand new vehicle, you will be dealing with experienced sales professionals who will sell you extra products and services. Although some of those dealer options, upgrades and other extras may be worth it, it’s important to know the most detrimental dealer options when buying a car so you can avoid them. Rustproofing, VIN etching and extended warranties are just a few of the options that might not be worth your money. What are dealer options? Dealer options are options for accessories and equipment that can boost the value of the car. There are three types of options you may find: Factory-installed choices installed at the factory prior to the vehicle being shipped directly to the dealership. Port-installed choices: On vehicles imported from overseas when they are brought to 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 endorsed by the manufacturer of the vehicle. They are typically included in the warranty for new vehicles. You’ll find them listed in the window stickers that’s required for all new cars. Additionally, the price is identical, which means they’re not different between dealers. Contrary to this, dealer options aren’t approved by the manufacturer, and therefore aren’t covered in the warranty. They’re not mentioned in the window stickers that are official, but they should be detailed on a second sticker on the vehicle. Because they’re put in by the dealer, costs may vary depending on where you go. Most options offered by dealers are priced too high and utilized to increase profits on new vehicle sales. 6 worst dealer options to avoid if you are considering a dealer, it is essential to examine the car’s sticker for the various options. While it is not common to negotiate factory- and port-installed options, you may have some flexibility for dealer-installed options. Here are the six worst dealer options to stay clear of when buying a vehicle — as well as the best alternative to look at. 1. Rustproofing Dealer-applied undercoating can cost up to $600 or as little as $150, based on the model of the car and the treatment package — either basic or premium — as well as whether it has an extra option, like noise-reducing. It is available to buyers of new cars as a separate option from the dealer or included in a costly bundle known as”environmental package. “environmental Protection Package” that can also include paint sealant and fabric protection. “Cars that are leaving factories are all rustproofed to perfection,” says Mike Quincy the auto content specialist at the Consumer Reports Auto Test Center in Colchester, Connecticut. “[Dealershave a reason to use this method because they can earn quite a bit of markup they can get on the services.” The reason to skip 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 Some dealers will provide fabric protection, which is intended to shield your seats from staining. “A number dealers will also pitch you fabric protection, which is basically a spray that they will apply — a spray that costs them practically nothing, but which they could be able to charge $100 or more,” Quincy says. What you can do to avoid it

“If you truly require extra protection for your fabric, all you have to do is purchase an ounce of Scotchgard,” says John Nielsen the national director of auto repair and buying at AAA.

3. Protecting paint this dealer choice is often advertised by sales representatives in showrooms to offer new vehicles a year-round, non-wax shine, which provides an extremely long-lasting protection against the elements. Protective paint sealant can cost the prospective buyer around $200. The reason why you shouldn’t do it

Most automotive paints today are durable finishes that benefit more from regular washing and waxing, as per Nielsen.

4. VIN etching VIN etching is a procedure that allows you to create an adhesive plastic stencil containing your car’s vehicle identification number or VIN. You can then put the stencil on the glass and apply a special acid solution that chemically melts, or etches the number onto the glass. VIN etching can be a deterrent to thieves because it makes it difficult for them to make a profit selling windows and windshields and makes it harder to figure out a method to dispose of the car once it has been stolen. In fact, it’s recommended by agencies and police. Some insurance companies will give a discount on the comprehensive portion of your car insurance or waive your insurance deductibles if your vehicle is equipped with the option. It’s a simple process but VIN engraving as a dealer option could cost the car buyer from $150 to $300. If you decide to do it yourself, you could cut off more than $100. The reason you shouldn’t do the process

If you’d like to try VIN engraving, it’s less expensive to purchase a DIY kit that costs between $20 to $40 online.

5. Extended warranties As an option for dealers, basic warranties automobile warranties start at $1,000 and easily climb to thousands of dollars for high-performance or luxury cars. Extended warranties offer bumper-to-bumper protection, covering everything on your vehicle from major system repairs, heating or air problems, as well as engine problems. Extended warranties are, however are not able to cover parts typically replaced. Plan prices vary by mileage, length of coverage, and the deductible amount before signing off New vehicles typically already come with manufacturer warranties. If you’re purchasing used, you don’t need to get the warranty on the day you buy the car -which means you are able to shop around for one to find one if you truly want one. What are the reasons to skip it

It is usually better to spend the money you’d spend on an extended warranty to pay for the maintenance your car needs.

6. Nitrogen in your tires no matter the content of your tires with, nitrogen or oxygen, the four wheels pushing your vehicle forward will eventually be deflated. Tires can lose air due to a hole within the tread area, weak seal, or even just general wear and tear on the vehicle. Many dealers will urge buyers to apply nitrogen to their tires, which can cost up to $200. Unless you are racing car driver who requires an increased pressure on their tires, then the added expense isn’t worth it. If you really want nitrogen, stopping by a local body shop is going to cost you between $10 and $30 per tire. What are the reasons to avoid it

It is better to save 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 a vehicle can enhance your driving experience and even when you’re ready to sell or trade it into. You don’t need to take the dealer-installed choices you don’t prefer. If you notice that a vehicle you purchase comes with some dealer-installed options You can request the dealer to eliminate them and adjust the sales price of the vehicle in line with the changes. In some cases, it isn’t always possible- for example, in the event that paint protection or rustproofing has already been applied, it may not be easily removed. Make sure to get the car off the way you would normally do in case the dealer isn’t able or unwilling to eliminate an option. It’s not a assurance that this will succeed however, even showing some initiative during negotiations could alter the direction of the discussion. For example, consider making contact with a different dealer in the region to find out what it might cost for specific services or see what it will cost you if you do it yourself. This will provide a useful reference point in your negotiations. If the dealer won’t negotiate at all, or doesn’t want to fully negotiate it is possible to buy the car in its current condition or walk away. Factory options as opposed to. dealers options the factory and dealer options are additional expenses you’ll face when shopping. Unlike dealer options, factory options cannot be “added to” upon purchase. Manufacturers handle these options at the factory before the vehicle is delivered to the dealership. Factory options could include an alarm system as well as specific equipment including a spoiler or advanced engine configuration. These add-ons can increase the amount you pay, so consider what is essential and which you can go without. The bottom line is that dealer-installed options aren’t always worth the cost, so checking what you’re being charged for is important. Although dealers aren’t always ready to remove options they have installed or even negotiate on the cost, be aware that these aren’t the norm and you aren’t required to accept them. As with every other aspect of buying a car, you should consider and options from several dealers in your region to ensure that you get the most competitive price.


Written by Contributing writer Ben Luthi is a personal finance and travel writer who enjoys helping others understand how to live their lives fully. His work has appeared in a variety of publications such as U.S. News & World Report, USA Today, Yahoo! Finance, and many more. The article was edited by Rhys Subitch Edited by Auto loans editor Rhys has been editing and writing for Bankrate since late 2021. They are committed to helping readers to take control of their finances by providing clear, well-researched facts that break down otherwise complicated subjects into bite-sized pieces.

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