So, you’ve done it. You’ve bought a new car. After you’ve signed the paperwork, this is when a friendly and well-dressed sales person congratulates you on your purchase. They wants to discuss protecting your new investment and of course that means extra costs.
When you’re faced with a polite and friendly salesperson it can be easy to just agree to all of the features that they’re listing as it seems never ending: rustproofing, fabric protection for the upholstery, headlight and bonnet protectors and an extended warranty. However, these deals are their favourites because they cost the dealer very little but can be worth thousands in clear profit. They often more than the dealer makes on the car itself.
Let’s dive a little deeper into whether or not they are worth it for your new car.
Rustproofing has already been done at the factory by sophisticated electrochemical processes. This has been done before the car is painted.
However, you’re not thinking clearly. The glow you’ve been basking in suddenly feels like a coffin as you hear the word ‘rust’. You’ve just realised that your life savings have been spent on something that can get rusty. Not good. Gotta have it.
Try not to stress. After all, rust attacks metal, not paint. How could any aftermarket rustproofing treatment be effective if it's applied over the top of a finished car? Unless your car will be kept outside in an area where it’s always raining, it’s just going to be a waste of money.
Fabric protection can be effective, the well-dressed sales person explains, against sun damage. This is especially the case for leather interiors.
‘But… I’ve got leather seats. How did I not know before buying that I needed fabric protection.?’
Take a breath. Ask yourself if fabric protection is worth hundreds of dollars. Realistically, it’s probably not, especially when you can easily maintain your leather seats yourself.
Headlight and bonnet protectors
Unless you regularly follow other drivers too closely on dirt roads, all you'll gain from fitting these is reduced headlight efficiency because they’re difficult to clean properly. Although you might think you need them for that one time you go down the coast and drive on a dirt road instead of a gravel one, you probably don’t. The benefit you get from them won’t be worth the cost.
When you’re presented with the option of an extended warranty, your ears may immediately prick up and you’ll find yourself thinking, ‘How can this one be bad? It’s got the word ‘warranty’ in it.’ I’ll be protected if something goes wrong.
Well, that’s what you’ll say if anyone asks. You’ve forgotten the most important thing though. Their job is to upsell so you end up buying all the extras. Doing so means their commission will increase. It also means that your car loan repayments could increase and therefore the car’s ongoing costs will be higher. Have you budgeted for any of these extras?
Studies in Australia conducted by many organisations, including consumer group Choice have found that extended warranties aren’t actually worth it. There’s a lot of things that they cover, and many that they don’t.
You need to read the fine print because you might discover that the extended warranty is only valid if you return to the same dealership for servicing, and you guessed it, that means your car servicing could cost more than if you serviced your car through NRMA.