Useless car extras revealed

Don’t get taken for a ride with expensive or unnecessary new car options.
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02.Extras to avoid

  • Extended warranties can sound great in the showroom, but the devil is in the detail. Dealer extended warranties often require you to have the car serviced exclusively by the dealer who sells you the car, and missing a scheduled service can void the warranty. They can also be very restrictive in what they cover.
  • Extended factory warranties are usually less restrictive than those from dealers, but you still need to read the terms and conditions carefully before signing. In most cases the standard three- or five-year warranty is good enough.
  • Rustproofing and paint protection raise the question: isn’t the car already rustproofed? The answer is yes. New cars are treated at the factory and any rust problems should be covered by the warranty. Unless you live next to the sea or like to drive along the beach, don’t opt for extra rustproofing.
    Paintwork is also covered by warranty for major problems and shouldn’t need anything more than an occasional clean and polish. Dealers often charge several hundred dollars for paint and rust protection; if you really want this extra treatment, you can get it aftermarket (or even do it yourself) for much less.
  • Fabric protection might consist of nothing more than the dealer treating the car seats with a can of fabric protector from the supermarket. You can do that yourself for a lot less and with just as good a result.
  • Alarms are of questionable value. It’s likely to be ignored if it goes off, and you could even be fined for noise pollution if it goes off without good cause. All new cars have engine immobilisers, usually with central locking, and that’s all you need. If you want a fully featured alarm system, compare the dealer price with aftermarket options; you might get a better deal elsewhere.

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