You’ve found the perfect car, negotiated with the dealership, and you’ve managed to get a fair price. You’ve even been able to get a car loan as an expat or international student. Before you sign on the dotted line though, make sure you understand exactly what you’re paying for.
Many dealerships provide optional add ons, often at an additional cost, but sometimes as part of the money you’re paying for the car. In fact, if you and the salesperson are having difficulties agreeing on price, they may provide some extras to “sweeten the deal.”
Whether they’re adding the extras for nothing, or they’re asking you to pay for them, it’s worth understanding what you’re getting for your money. We’ve covered many of the popular add ons below — read through and see if they apply to you. If they’re included as part of your deal, that’s great. If not, carefully consider if it’s worth paying extra, as in many cases, it’s not.
An Extended Warranty on the Vehicle
One of the most popular options is an extended warranty. This provides additional coverage once the dealership’s warranty or guarantee expires. To help you decide if an extended warranty is worth it, think about the following questions:
What Is the Standard Warranty You’re Getting When You Buy the Car?
All new cars and most used cars should already come with a warranty. For example, new cars will often be covered for any defects for between two and four years after you’ve purchased them. If you’re only going to use the car for two to four years, it doesn’t make sense to buy an extended warranty.
What Does the Extended Warranty Cover?
Not all extended warranties are created equal. Some will cover every part of the car, others might only cover the drivetrain (the engine, drive shaft, wheel axles etc.) make sure you understand exactly what the extended warranty will take care of. Check if the extended warranty covers parts and labor, and anything you might be liable for as the car owner. Here’s some useful information on extended warranties.
How Reliable Is the Car?
Hopefully you’ve already completed some research on the reliability of the vehicle you’re buying. If it’s a reliable model, you may decide you can live without an extended warranty, especially if the car is new. If the model isn’t that reliable, an extended warranty can give you some peace of mind. Here are some good resources for checking the reliability of various makes of car:
There are two main types of warranties offered by dealers — a seven or ten year drivetrain / powertrain warranty which covers the engine and transmission, and a three year / 30,000 mile bumper-to-bumper warranty that covers other parts of the vehicle. That’s why you can often find good vehicles for sale in dealerships with more than 30,000 miles as they are just about to have their bumper-to-bumper warranties revoked.
Maintenance and Servicing for Your Car
In many cases dealers will want you to use their service centers to maintain and take care of your car. If servicing is included in the purchase price of your vehicle, that’s great, be sure to take advantage of it. If not, it can often be cheaper to get your car serviced elsewhere. Bear in mind that you can do some routine maintenance yourself.
Many dealers offer a prepaid maintenance plan for vehicles. Ask yourself if you want to be tied to this particular dealer when you need your car maintained. Bankrate has some helpful information on if prepaid maintenance plans are worth it.
Extra Insurance on the Car
Some dealers will try to sell you extra insurance, for example life cover or disability. In most cases it’s not worth taking out these insurance policies, as almost all the insurance you need will be covered by your standard automobile insurance policy. If you’re not sure, check with your insurance broker. If you do want extra insurance, it’s often cheaper to buy it independently. Here are some resources for buying insurance and comparing quotes.
- Geico automobile insurance
- Progressive automobile insurance
- Nerdwallet car insurance comparison
- The Zebra car insurance comparison
- com auto insurance comparison
Note that auto insurance offered by your dealer is not likely to be the most competitive car insurance you can find. As an international student or expat you may have to pay a higher premium for the first year or two but by providing proof of your driving history from your native country you can reduce that cost dramatically.
If you already have insurance and find a better deal, it is very easy to switch between insurance companies and there are typically no fees for doing so.
Rust Proofing and Environmental Protection for Your Car
These are coatings applied to a vehicle to protect it from the environment. The cost of these treatments means they are typically not worth the money, especially as most cars already have excellent rust protection. Here’s why you probably don’t need rust proofing.
Fabric and Upholstery Protection for Your Car
This is a treatment applied to your car seats. You don’t need it as most car fabrics are already stain resistant, and if they’re not a can of fabric protector costs under $10. Here’s a comparison of the best fabric protectors for your car.
Paint Protection for Your Car
Another add on you don’t need, paint protection says it will protect the finish on the body of your car. Most cars already have good protection and just require regular washing and waxing. More information on why you don’t need paint protection.
Chrome Trim or Wheel Rims, Running Boards, All Weather Mats Etc.
Many dealers will have already installed extras on the car. Cosmetic additions like chrome wheel rims, window tints, splash guards, pinstriping, or other additions don’t do anything other than change the appearance of the car. There’s no reason you should have to pay for that, so if you don’t want these items ask the dealer to remove them and reduce the price.
Filling Tires with Nitrogen
Some dealers will claim that filling tires with nitrogen will extend their life. That’s probably not true (since air is mainly nitrogen anyway) so you can easily do without this expensive add on. Here’s an explainer of whether nitrogen in tires is a good idea.
Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) Etching
A VIN is a way to uniquely identify a specific vehicle. VIN etching is a service dealers offer that involves adding your VIN to the windows of the car. This can make the car less attractive to thieves, however the price dealers charge for this service is way more than what it is worth. If you’re concerned about theft you can buy your own VIN kit for less than $50. Find out more about VIN etching on Wikipedia.
Negotiating For or Against Dealer Add Ons
When it comes to getting the most value for your money, here are some tips on negotiation.
- If you and the salesperson are having difficulty agreeing on the right price, see if they are willing to include any optional add ons. Many of these services don’t cost the dealer very much, but could be useful to you.
- If you have found a car you like at the dealership, contact them ahead of time and ask about any add on installed on the vehicle. Find out how much this adds to the car’s sale price, and how much the price would be without them
- If you don’t want to pay for the add ons, let the salesperson know they will need to be removed.
Car Finance — Financing Your New or Used Car Purchase
As an expat or international student, it’s vital to have good financing in place for your vehicle purchase. Whether you’re buying a car with or without add ons, we can help. Here at Lendbuzz, we work closely with individuals who don’t have a credit history in the U.S. and provide automobile loans at competitive interest rates.
Car loans for International Students
As an international student, you have plenty to think about besides buying a car. At Lendbuzz we take your unique circumstances into account including:
- Having an international student visa and not being a permanent resident.
- Not having a social security number or credit history in the U.S.
- Your educational background and your potential earnings.
We provide car loans at competitive rates that meet your budget and help you build your U.S. credit history and score.
Car loans for expats
When you’re moving to the U.S. as an expat, you’ll need a vehicle to get around. We provide comprehensive car loans to immigrants and other expats and take into account several different factors.
- A lack of a credit history in the U.S.
- Your profession in your home country.
- Your financial stability, and ability to repay the loan.
- Different types of residency, citizenship, permits, and visas.
It’s important to build a credit history in the U.S. Our simple car loans are competitive and let you improve your credit score.
Applying for a loan with us is quick and easy, and we’re here to help you. Why not apply today?
Lendbuzz is an online platform providing car loan for international students and car loan for expats in the U.S.
Any questions? contact us for more details
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