The price of a new car has risen considerably over the years, with even lower end models costing more than $20,000 to own outright. On top of that, many dealerships try to get you to agree to a number of fees and services for the car that add to the total cost and allow the dealership to make more money. Unfortunately, many of these additional fees and services do little more than add to the dealership’s bottom line. You can reduce the price that you will ultimately pay for your new car by a significant amount if you are able to avoid these fees and services.
It is reasonable to expect to pay a destination charge for a new car. The destination charge covers the cost of having the vehicle shipped from the assembly plant to the dealership and have been around since Henry Ford and the Model T. The destination charge is usually listed on the window sticker and included in the invoice price of a car. The problem arises when the dealership also tries to charge you an additional delivery fee, effectively charging you twice for a single destination charge. Pointing this out to the business manager may result in the additional fee being waived.
Fabric Protection Service
For a charge of around $250, dealerships will offer buyers fabric protection service for their new cars. This is advertised as a way to make the interior of your car stain-resistant, but the newer fabrics used in most vehicle interiors are already stain-resistant. Unless your family is extremely messy the majority of the time, you can get pretty much the same amount of protection by buying a $10 can of Scotchgard and spraying it on the interior of the car yourself.
Paint Protection Service
For another $250 charge, many dealerships offer a paint protection service that can be applied to the vehicle before you drive it off of the lot. The service is billed as a way to keep the paint on the car looking like new for as long as possible, but with the advancements made in car finishes over the past few decades, the extra protection isn’t really necessary. A shopping cart hitting your car is still going to ding the paint. Because the paint protection service offers very little benefit, you would be better off spending that $250 on something else that you need or saving it for the future.
Join our newsletter
Subscribe to get the latest "Engineer Your Finances" content via email.