When buying a new car, it’s smart to have a list of the specifications you want. The type of engine, transmission, safety, navigation, body colour… all the important factors that will impact your day-to-day use directly. It’s a great way to keep your head straight in a showroom that’s designed to sway you to more expensive options that you may not necessarily need. However, the first-time car buyer might be surprised by another round of decision-making: picking the dealer extras.

From extended warranties and rustproofing to maintenance plans, how do you know which dealer extras are worth including with your new car purchase? In this article, we will detail some of the usual options that you’ll see on the order forms and whether or not it’s advisable to get them.

Paint, leather and fabric protection

Dealerships make this offer attractive by highlighting the peace of mind that comes with having an extra layer of protection against stain and abrasion on your car’s exterior and interior. Should you give in and get this dealer extra?

No. First, keep in mind that new cars come with a warranty that covers any paint and leather degrade, including stubborn stains. Second, new vehicles today already have a ‘clear over base’ paint coat from the factory that is enough to guard the exterior against wearing throughout the car’s lifespan. The same thing can be said with modern upholstery. New technologies on leather and fabric allow them to last longer than usual. Lastly, if you really want extra protection, your local auto parts store can provide you with more affordable options to the same effect: polymer sealant car wax, fabric protector, and all-leather care products.

Extended Warranties

An extended warranty is extremely enticing. Who wouldn’t want to extend the worry-free years on their cars, right? But slow down and consider this: most car manufacturers now offer 5-7 years of warranty. A lot of people upgrade their vehicles during that period.

Still think you need an extension? Here’s some news: even if you do, you don’t need to get one immediately. An extended warranty is something that you can acquire later and separately — when you are not pressured and you have considered all your options. Most warranties are comprehensive, but not the extensions. Take time to read through the coverage of the dealer’s extended warranty then find out the price. Compare it with an extended factory warranty and that of third-party providers.

With an extended factory warranty, you can get more comprehensive coverage for almost the same price. If you get the dealer option right away, you’ll lose the chance to shop around for the best deal you can get. Moreover, a dealer’s extended warranty is often only valid with the same dealership location. This could be a problem if you decide to relocate to another city or state. On the other hand, third-party companies may offer better-extended warranties that are less expensive and that you can access from any location through authorised service providers.

Floor mats and boot mats

Okay, so now let’s talk about dealer extras that you should definitely take. All floor and boot mats can help keep your car clean, but the ones from the dealer are usually better. For one, they are the exact fit for your car and getting them now will save you the time later. Cheaper aftermarket products are available but they’re not the same quality.

Also, the original floor mats and boot mats from the dealerships will add more value to your car.

Paint Protection Films and Bonnet Shields

Like we mentioned above, the car’s body paint out of the factory is already more durable than they were in the past and can withstand fading and rust (to a certain degree). However, paint protection film can be a good addition to the package. This clear film will help preserve the integrity of the paint no matter how many k’s it will cover in the future. It will prevent the paint from deteriorating and when the time comes that you want to sell the vehicle, you can just peel off the paint protection film and the car will look brand new.

Getting the film fitted by the dealer-affiliated specialist will make sure that it’s done perfectly. Again, aftermarket products are cheaper, but there’s no guarantee that the application to your car will be as flawless.

A bonnet shield is something you can consider getting as well. A dealership-supplied bonnet shield fits best to your new car and aftermarket products will not be the same no matter how cheap they are.

Extra Window Tinting

This is another option where specialist providers can give you a better offer. Prior to your dealership trip, find out how much window tinting is at your local nominated provider. Compare it with the dealership price and you’ll be surprised by how much you can save.

However, there are things that you need to make sure of if you’re getting a third-party service. Don’t opt for tint darker than what your state law allows. Ask the service provider for the most suitable colour options for your car so you can choose accordingly. Also, consider getting a window tinting product that has a higher level of UV protection.

More Dealer Extras to Avoid

A lot of car accessories are much cheaper from aftermarket suppliers, especially from specialist shops. Plus they have a wider range of options. These accessories include:

  • Towbars and Roof Racks – Independent installers do them better
  • Rustproofing – New cars already have rustproofing
  • GPS – Aftermarket system providers are cheaper. Mobile apps are even free.
  • Prepaid Maintenance Plans – These are usually overpriced and have inflexible and stricter terms.
  • Headlight Protectors – If your car isn’t for off-road driving, this is not necessary.
  • Vehicle ID Number Etching – There are DIY kits that you can use alternatively.
  • Car Alarm Installation – Aside from cheaper aftermarket products, car alarms are not really reliable anti-theft devices. Moreover, you may get fined for faulty alarms that activate for no reason.
  • Ceramic Brake Pads – Unnecessary for non-off-road cars.
  • Bundled Insurance – Third-party providers have better insurance value.
  • Nitrogen Inflation – The difference between tyres with and without nitrogen is hardly noticeable.

Read our previous article on avoiding dealership traps.

Additional Tips

When purchasing dealer extras along with a luxury car, they will be counted in the luxury car tax (LCT) computation. Ask the dealership if you can purchase the accessories separately after the car delivery, but you still get the same package pricing. This way, you will not pay additional tax on the dealer extras.

You may be able to get some of these dealer options for lower prices (or free) if you know how to bargain. If there’s an accessory that you plan to purchase that is a bit pricey, you can try to persuade the dealer to throw in some freebies or cheaper extras before proceeding with the purchase.

Most important of all, make sure that you do enough research about all the options available. Even before you go to the dealership, find out which extras are the best to include in your purchase. Take note of the services or accessories that you would rather get from a third-party vendor so you won’t make a mistake at the dealership.

You can always talk to the experts at Aussie Car Loans. We provide car finance for dealership purchases and can give advice on what you should and shouldn’t get on top. Call us on 1300 889 669 to speak to one of our finance consultants or apply online.

Image Courtesy Flickr: JCT 600