14 Things You Should Never Buy at a Car Dealership

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Don’t Waste Your Money on These Costly Add-Ons

After negotiating a price for a new car, you might think that the amount you'll have to pay before driving off the lot is set in stone. Then you enter the financing office, which can be the most dangerous place in the dealership for your wallet if you're not prepared. 

When you buy or lease a car, most finance managers or sales consultants will try to sell you several add-ons. Knowing which dealer add-ons are worth it and which are not can save you thousands of dollars. Before you buy, it’s crucial you research the products, their prices, and their availability outside of the dealership. 

Unfortunately, some of the add-ons you’ll be offered are of questionable value, have massive markups, or can be found from other sources for a fraction of the price. Dealerships won't typically offer rustproofing or undercoating these days as they did so often in the past. Still, they have a plethora of pricey new add-ons, with aggressive sales pitches to match. 

There are benefits to buying some things at the dealership. Some add-ons can be included in your financing, so you don't have to pay the full price upfront. Some are covered by your car warranty and can be serviced at the dealership if they fail. Quite often, however, the benefits are outweighed by high markups and the interest you'll have to pay if you include them in your car's financing. Because add-ons don't typically add value to a vehicle, they can leave you with an auto loan balance that's far higher than the car's resale value. 

On the following pages, we’ll explore some of the add-ons you’ll likely be offered at the car dealership. Many are available with cheaper options elsewhere.

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