What do you guys think of add-on packages offered by dealerships?

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Nov 01, 2000

Dear Tom and Ray:

I just bought a new Toyota minivan. At the last stage of the sale process, I was turned over to a different individual from the dealer's back-room sales staff, who made a darned good pitch for some add-ons. Specifically, what is your opinion regarding the value of the extra rust protection package (covers rust beyond that resulting in perforation, which the warranty covers)? The package also includes undercarriage treatment, acid-rain sealant and fabric protection. They are asking $600 for this add-on. I plan to keep the car for at least five years. What do you think? -- James

RAY: Oh, yeah. Every dealership has an "Igor" in the back. Was he chained to the floor when you walked in?

TOM: I think you should run away from this guy as fast as you can. This is actually a guy who's so good at selling people stuff they don't want, that they can't waste him on individual customers out in the showroom. They have to hold him in the back and run customers through him "assembly line" style.

RAY: And I think it's safe to say that you can pretty much ignore any of the add-ons that the dealer tries to sell you after you've agreed to buy the car. Think about it. These are "products" of such questionable value, that even the automobile manufacturers themselves don't want to be associated with them.

TOM: For the most part, the stuff they try to add on after the sale is completely unnecessary and simply designed to win back the profit they lost in the negotiation process.

RAY: The only possible exception is the extended warranty, which might be right for some people, under some conditions, with some cars (people who worry a lot, fit the mileage and time restraints in the warranty, and are buying a car that's likely to need excessive repairs).

TOM: But rustproofing, pinstriping, paint sealing ... save your money, James. You don't need that stuff.

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