Useless car extras revealed

Don’t get taken for a ride with expensive or unnecessary new car options.
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In brief

  • Some options, such as rustproofing, are unnecessary for typical car owners
  • Accessories such as roof racks can be pricy when dealer-supplied.
  • Factory-fitted safety options are definitely worth having

If you’ve ever bought a new car, you’ll have experienced the hard sell from the dealer, pushing you to add options to the vehicle. Some options are just a matter of taste and budget, such as premium paint colours, alloy wheels and spoilers. Decisions about those are easy — if you want it and think the price is right, go for it.

But for many other options, there’s more to consider. How about an extended warranty? Extra rustproofing and paint protection? Or even a safety package, such as extra airbags? Are any of these worth the money? Some are — others, not necessarily.

CHOICE verdict

Dealers often ‘throw in’ a few options to sweeten the deal, so it’s good to know the dollar value of what they’re offering. Before you go shopping for a new car, check the manufacturer websites. Most list the available options with prices and let you experiment with configuring a car in different ways.

Look at brochures from auto stores so you can compare prices for accessories. Armed with this information, you can negotiate a better deal when you hit the showroom.

Please note: this information was current as of August 2008 but is still a useful guide today.



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