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Dealer Add-ons and Extras - are they worth it?

Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,041
Pinstriping, paint sealant, fabric guard... are these items worth the price? Ask your questions here!


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  • bowled_overbowled_over Posts: 14
    I purchased a new Honda CR-V. The dealer tried to push the benefits of sthg called Auto Butler Vehicle Protection Program which includes applying 10 six monthly applications of paint sealant and fabriguard (no leather) over five year period for $800 upfront.

    Based on previous owners experiences, do any of you use such a protection, is it really required and is it really good (value for $800)
  • danf1danf1 Posts: 935
    Auto butler is good protection. The main reason that it works is that it is reapplied every six months. The cost seems quite high to me. I'd offer them about half that amount and you should be able to get it.
  • lhesslhess Posts: 379
    dealer add-on is that they are doing it to make more money. And, before you salespeople jump on that comment, there is nothing wrong with that - profit is what makes the free world turn. Buyers need to weigh the cost of the dealer add-on as opposed to doing something similar themselves. I may pay a dealer for an add-on that I am uncapable of doing myself (like pin-striping) or maybe it's very time-consuming and I don't have the time, but things like spraying scotchguard on the seats, I think I can handle that for the cost of a can of scotch guard and 20 minutes.

    My fear of things like this Auto Butler, they actually apply paint sealant every six months? Who makes sure the car is absolutely clean and they're not just applying a layer of gunk over road grime? My opinion is that once they sell the car and have the money, they really don't care what they are sealing in on your car. I would pass on that add-on and just wax it a couple of times a year myself.
  • danf1danf1 Posts: 935
    Whoever is reapplying the sealant should first wash the car. Auto butler machines are extremely expensive, around $35,000, and the replacement applicators aren't cheap either. So it is in the dealers best interest to make sure the car is clean, as it will prolong the life of the applicators. Auto butler provides a warranty on your paint against acid rain, bird droppings, tree sap etc... If any of the afformentioned affect the finish of your car, Auto butler will remove the damage and if necessary repaint your car for you. If you don't have a garage and don't like to wax your vehicles, it is a good program. The fabrigard is basically the same as Scothguarding yourself, so I would pass on that part in order to lower the price.

    And of course the dealer is making money by selling it to you. If we weren't making a profit, we wouldn't be doing it. That said, it is a much better program than most of your mopn'glow one time miracle waxes that are offered at most dealerships.
  • jhs70jhs70 Posts: 213
    dealer add-on is that they are doing it to make more money.

    BIngo, and they make LOTS of money on this stuff. Only the consumer can tell if they want or need this stuff. A good dealership will present these offers and let the consumer decide for him/herself whether they need/want them. The bad ones force sell them, and we've all been there at one time or another, haven't we? Me, I don't need any of this stuff. I'm convinced I can go without, do it myself, or find it MUCH cheaper elsewhere. But that's just me.
  • lhesslhess Posts: 379
    is when the dealer has decided to go ahead and do an add-on (like pin-striping) and then just tack the price on the car. At that point, it's a matter of paying for it, even if you would have passed on it otherwise, if you want the car. I consider that the same as a dealer "bump sticker" and I walk away from dealerships that use "market adjustment" stickers. I see nothing wrong with add-ons if the dealership is honest about them and gives you the choice of buying them or not buying - don't already have them on the car.

    I just bought an RX 8 and have added some accessories. I've worked a deal with the dealer to get a cost plus 10% plus installation deal on these. I just paid $291 for the rear wing, installed. You can bet they would have added about $500 to the price of the car had that spoiler already been on there when i bought it.
  • cadillacmikecadillacmike Posts: 543
    And don't forget the mop n glo stickers that some dealers put on the cars while they are still on the trailers and still have the protective plastic sheeting on them ;)
  • chiefjschiefjs Posts: 39
    I am buying a CRV from Bock Honda in Massachusetts and the saleman gave me some brochures on some protective packages. He said to look them over let him know if I am interested, but did not give a price.

    One is called Resist AllPlus+ that is a clear protective film with two options. The Leading Edge Kit protects the nose and hood of the vehicle. The Headlight Kit protects the lights.

    They also have a ResistAll stain barrier for the interior and a paint sealer protector.

    Finally, they are offering GuidePoint, a stolen vehicle recovery system that uses satellites rather than the Lojack RF. I believe he said this costs about $1,000, but there are no addtional charges.

    Your comments and opinions will be appreciated. :)
  • danf1danf1 Posts: 935
    The Leading edge kit might be good if you do a lot of highway driving. The headlights I wouldn't consider because they are impact resistant plastic and I wouldn't want any film over them that could possibly discolor and block some light. The stain barrier is basically Scotchguard. Buy a can on your own and save a lot of money. The theft recovery sounds interesting, but expensive.
  • bobstbobst Posts: 1,783
    Chief, if your car is stolen, do you want it back or would you rather get the money from your insurance company and buy a new car?
  • lhesslhess Posts: 379
    why people spend so much money on products to recover a stolen vehicle. If mine ever gets stolen, I hope to never see it again!!!!!!!!!

    Also, as to the protective film on the nose and hood, can't that discolor too?
  • danf1danf1 Posts: 935
    I have no personal experience with the protective film, but have heard good reviews of it. I can't remember where I heard about it, but it has been a while.
  • nortsr1nortsr1 Posts: 1,060
    If you go to the accessories forum and scroll down to front end protective bras and deflectors, there is discussion about same. All favorable...but....expensive.
  • lokkilokki Posts: 1,200
    Always remind me of the car bra conundrum:

    Paint chips will make the nose of my car ugly. Therefore I will protect the nose. How? By putting an ugly bra on it that costs as much as repainting the nose of the car at 30,000 miles would.

    The clear plastics are almost as weird IMHO. Like plastic slip covers on your leather sofa.

    Did you buy the car to use or did you buy it for the next guy? It's not going to be pretty with all that junk on it.

    Paint sealers from the dealer may work, but how many times could you have that car waxed at a car wash for $800?

    I try to avoid all those dealer extras, and I agree with Ihess - go to the parts department and do some pricing before you agree to let the salesman tack anything on your car. The difference in the markup is amazing.
  • lhesslhess Posts: 379
    I don't like the bra thing or the other options that are out there to protect the front of your car. It makes me sick to see the new paint chips every time you wash, but I personally think they look better than a big black cover on the front of the car or the cheap acrylic covers.

    Has anyone had any real luck with touch-up paints? It's available for my rx8 and I've thought about getting it (it's really cheap, less than $8, I think), but wasn't sure if i'd end up making a bigger mess of things. Any real talent involved?
  • bobstbobst Posts: 1,783
    Maybe that is because you follow other cars too closely.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 19,668
    Your "touch up" job can make the problem worse. The bras trap water and dirt that will abrade your paint. The clear film is expensive but it does work well.

    bobst is right about following other cars too close. I see this everyday and I think about the rock chips those cars must have.
  • lhesslhess Posts: 379
    it's living in coal country. Coal trucks, gravel trucks...when something comes off one of those trucks, a good quarter mile won't save you!!
  • bobstbobst Posts: 1,783
    Here in Virginia, the trucks need to cover their loads to help stop rocks flying off into the road.

    A few years ago, a state legislator had his windshield cracked by a rock falling off a truck, so he got a law passed to make them cover their loads. See, politicians can do some pretty cool things sometime.
  • mirthmirth Posts: 1,212
    ...maybe we should stick some legislators with big health care bills...
  • cadillacmikecadillacmike Posts: 543
    Not only trhat but when a dump truck lets loose with stones / gravel / whatever, either from its load (which is supposed to be covered here in FL too!) or from its tires, no mop n glo treatment is going to save your hood or grille or bumper.

    and using a bra?? if you don't remove it to wash and wax the car, you'll ruin the hood wit it as well!
  • Statement: If my car is stolen I don't want it back?
    Response You have no choice! Insurance companies are not in the business of buying you a new car because your a nice guy and you just had your car stolen. They are in the business of making money.

    Where to begin...

    1. The moment you drive off the dealers lot your car depreciates... imagine an invisible bubble around the dealership... you drive through it and you burst the bubble that was you cars value! BANG now you cars MSRP is meaningless as your car is now valued based off ACV or Actual Cash Value.

    To put this plainly - you buy car for $20,000 - you drive off lot - car now worth $19,000 - you drive 5,000 miles and car worth $17,500 welcome to ACV

    2. You buy Brand new $40,000 SUV with $6,000 in rims that cost the dealer $1,500 and you haggled down to $3,000 to show you wife what a hairy chested REAL MAN you are. The next morning you walk out you front door to an empty driveway and immediately run back in red faced crying to your wife that YOUR CAR WAS STOLEN.

    **** NEWS BULLETIN **** Police recover stolen vehicles 65% of the time... though it is two weeks later with an average of $8,000 in damage.

    POP QUIZ: Your an insurance sompany (hint: in the business of making money) and you have a $40,000 SUV with $8,000 in damage do you a.) total the car out and cut a check to the custom for $37K or b.) piece it back together

    ANSWER: You lose either way.

  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 66,831
    Umm.... if you lease.. with GAP insurance... .none of the above applies..


    Prices Paid, Lease Questions, SUVs

  • dcarrdcarr Posts: 1
    My dealer adds a twist that was not mentioned when I signed up for the Auto Butler service: unless I am also getting an oil change at the same time (for which I pay $29.95), it is up to ME to bring in the car all washed and clean and ready for the service.

    Also, I am sent a card in the mail and have essentially a month or so in which to use the service. Since it can take anywhere from an hour and a half to most of the day (depending on how busy the dealer is), this can be a real pain in the a** at certain points. At this time of year, dealers are overtaxed with tuneups, etc, for people planning on a long road trip--I don't get the sense that washing your car and applying something you've already paid for is tops on their priority list. The service does do a good job, though. And it probably lasts more than six months anyway (my vehicle is still shiny even though it is time to reapply). But, I think in the future I will not pay in advance, but see how much the service costs each time and get it just when I need it and have the time to drop my car off for a day.
  • I'll start with Auto Butler specifically and then comment on the other dealer add-ons.

    Auto Butler is a fantastic product that has tremendous benefit to the customer--as long as the dealership employees are properly trained on the equipment, chemicals, and application process. My dealership sells Auto Butler and I personally had is applied to my own vehicle. I love it. However, you must make sure that the dealership is knowledgeable in the product. Yes, the dealership is supposed to thoroughly wash the car before applying the product. Not doing so will damage the finish instead of preserving it (even then though, the Auto Butler warranty that comes with the product would pay to fix the problem.) The catch is the cost. The person who said that the cost was $800 obviously is concerned about that number. Understandable. The question should not be (as with any purchase) how much profit there is, but whether or not the asking price makes it beneficial for you to own it. However, just to give you a clue without having all the other dealers on here send me death threats, my dealership sells 5 years of Auto Butler paint protection for $595 and 5 years of Fabric or Leather for $199--and we're still making a healthy profit on it.

    Now, as far as the rest of the add-ons go, if you are going to a reputable dealership, you will usually find that any products they offer are, in fact, very beneficial to the customer. The car sales market is so competitive that we don't want you buying your NEXT car from the dealer down the street because we sold you pin-striping that peels or paint protection that doesn't protect. We usually do our homework and make sure that the stuff we sell is of high quality and actually does what it claims. The only issue is price. Again, you need to ask yourself if the benefits outweigh the cost--if the answer is yes, then buy it. If it's no, then don't. If all you're concerned about is how much money the dealer is making off it, then all I can say is that if everyone wasn't obsessed with buying the car at $1000 below factory invoice, then these products could be sold at a more reasonable markup. There are MANY, MANY times that we make more profit from selling Auto Butler and Security Etching than we made off the sale of the car itself. These dealer add-ons usually have a fairly substantial profit margin--but somewhere along the line, we've got to make some money.
  • eharri3eharri3 Posts: 645
    As someone else said, around Philly sometimes even several car lengths or a quarter mile doesn't save you. When those dump trucks are flying down the road with a flapping tarp that only goes a few feet down the side of the truck, the debris that comes out can fly quite a long way before coming to rest. It's why sometimes I want to say to heck with the 3m film, I want to get my whole truck Line-Xed or Rhinoed.
  • tig41tig41 Posts: 1
    is there a site that has factory add on i have the part # just looking for a better deal
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,041
    Hm... what vehicle are you looking to upgrade?

    You will probably have better luck in our Sound Systems - Aftermarket & OEM Upgrades discussion.


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  • mia13mia13 Posts: 6
    Yesterday, Friday, I signed the agreement for my new car. I agreed to get the Simoniz Teflon treatment for $500!!!!(I could kick myself!!) The car is not yet at the dealer's as it has to be delivered from Massachusetts. Please let me know if I can call them on Monday morning and STOP this waste of money, scam and have them take off the $500 from my final cost. Am I binded by the contract? Please advice soon as I am losing it right now. Thank you!!!
  • rroyce10rroyce10 Posts: 9,359
    ..... Hmmm, this sounds familiar ....

    My neighbor just bought $4,800 worth of furniture and paid $250 to have it Scotch guarded before it was delivered -- now it's delivered .. he now thinks it was a scam and he paid "too much" .... he did, but he shouldn't been stupid enough to buy it ...

    It's not a scam .. it's just a very inexpensive product that can be done for $80/$90 .... in your case, you haven't taken delivery yet - so nicely get with the dealer and have that part removed and enjoy your new car ..... ;)


    PS: next time you'll know better.
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