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How to Avoid Paying For Options You Don’t Need


When you are finally ready to sign on the dotted line for that new car and the dealer asks (or tells) you about all those optional extras that you are sure to need, Stop! Optional extras do not come for free. 

The dealer may try to make out he is doing you a favor by having the car Scotchgarded for an extra five hundred, but you can buy the spray-cans and do it yourself for something like $5 per can. 

And watch out for the ‘can’t get finance without anti-theft devices’ trick. It will pay you to double-check with your insurance provider or financial institution. It may be true or it may not, and you may also be able to get them installed somewhere else a lot cheaper. 

Remember, it’s when you move to the finance office to finalize the deal on your car that’s the most dangerous time. You’ve let your guard down because you thought it was all over. Wrong! Now is the time when someone will come along and try to sell you $700 worth of extras for $3500 — or more. 

The only time you won’t be subject to this scam is if you bought your car from a reputable online dealer. 

Some other optional extras that you really shouldn’t need are: 

* Rustproofing. They’ll charge you $800 when it cost them $40. Most cars come with rustproofing that’s guaranteed for 6 years or 100,000 miles. How much more do you want? 

* Paint Sealant. $300 for a $10 job. 

This is usually just wax from a bottle; no wax lasts for years. Read the instructions on the bottle. 

* Detailing/pinstriping. It’ll cost you close to $400 and them $30. If you really want it, get a quote from a private person. You’ll save a bomb. * Credit Life Insurance. $200 for you and $30 for them. It is against the law for them to tell you that you must take this if your credit is bad. 

Watch out for Credit Disability Insurance. It doesn’t kick in until after 15 days so if you’ve been injured for 12 days you get nothing. 

If you want insurance get it from another place, not the dealer. Watch that they don’t try to sneak it in. There are more extras — list goes on…and on. Dealers can make up to $3500 extra profit on extras like these, so keep your wits about you and know what’s on the paper before you sign.

How to Get the Most Value for Your Trade-in

When the question of trading in your car comes up, you’ll want to know how to get the best price for it. What you get will be determined by its condition and age as much as anything. But is it a good idea to trade-in your old car when you are buying the new one? Or will you get more money by selling privately? 

Many car-dealing guides claim that you will get more money selling your old car privately, but money may not be the only thing to consider. 

That advantage of trading in your car is that you won’t have the expense and trouble of placing ads, making appointments and dealing with buyers, many of whom have no real desire to purchase. You can get rid of the old car at the same time you pick up the new one, and it may get you a better deal or lower payments. 

In fact, you may even pay less sales tax where there is a trade-in, depending on the laws of your state. To get the trade-in price of your car, go to and click on the TMV (true market value)’Used Car Appraiser’. Type in all required information for a specific trade-in value. 

This might differ from what the dealers offer you, which can vary due to anything from the manager’s mood to his inventory or the time of the month. To boost the value of your trade-in, go to several dealers and tell them that the sale of the new car will depend on the trade-in price they offer. 

Let them know they are not the only people you are seeing. If this seems like too much trouble, remember it is less effort than advertising and showing it to a long procession of private buyers. It goes without saying that you should present your trade-in in the best possible light that you can. Go to the trouble to wash and polish it, inside and out. 

Get rid of all the rubbish from the floor; make little repairs that don’t cost a lot. This will tell the dealer that you have looked after the car for the time that you’ve had it. Realize that most dealers don’t make a great deal of profit on trade-ins. 

Another point to consider is that if the dealer already has four or five cars in his yard the same make, model, and color of yours, he won’t be overly enthusiastic about getting another one, so will not want to give you top dollar for yours. In that case, you might want to check out another dealership.

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