How to Avoid Being Overcharged for a New Car

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Car seller and couple of buyers signing contractSo you’ve finished negotiating with dealer over a new car. Unfortunately, the process isn’t over yet. Dealerships will sometimes add more charges or fees onto your final bill when it comes time to pay. They will tell you, of course, but you might not be aware or prepared when you see those numbers. Even if you pay the sticker price, and you think those extra charges of $20 to $200 are not much, you should definitely stay informed and know what you are agreeing to when signing that paperwork.

Here’s a short list of some of the most common extra fees:

“Dealer Prep” or something similarly named: Dealers and dealerships often offer to look “inspect” the car from bumper to bumper for any issues, and they will fix them if they find any. Sounds like a reasonable service for the extra $100 – $200 right? Here’s the thing: all new cars should be have a manufacturer’s warranty protecting you against any issues so you should not need to spend extra on this.

car mechanic cleaning car wheel brake disk from rust corrosion at automobile repair service station

Rust Proofing: It sounds like a convenience, and you don’t want your car to rust right? Dealers take advantage of the fact that customers buying a new car want it in pristine condition for as long as possible. Sometimes they will charge you $100 to $200 to “rust proof” the vehicle. Again that does not seem like such a big extra fee. New car buyers should know that a brand new vehicle is already protected against rust. Some manufactures even offer an extended warranty to protect you from premature corrosion and rust. Also, worst case scenario, you can purchase other protective items at a discount store to protect the and exterior interior of the vehicle at a small fraction of that extra fee.

Miscellaneous Charges: You should definitely expect closing costs, surcharges and handling charges, that’s just how buying a car works. However, you should always be aware of the smaller fees. Always ask your dealer to put these charges and the actual (or supposed) benefit in writing before you agree to them so you know exactly what you are being asked to pay for.

Sue Rogers has been working and writing for automotive industry for seven plus years and is excited to share her knowledge and experience with you.