Adding Up

Which car dealership services are worth it, and which are not

Car dealerships make a good amount of their money through tacked on services. That means you need to be aware of those offerings — and to know what’s worth your money and what’s not. We’ve sorted through some of the more common services offered in the dealership’s Finance and Insurance office so that you can be as educated as possible.

  • Extended Warranty. This is the most popular service offered by dealers. Before signing up for an extended warranty, research your car. If it is a fairly popular, reliable car, paying for an extended warranty might not be worth it. If you do want the service, first comb through the details. Know exactly what the warranty covers, for how long and for how much. If you can, get a factory-backed warranty, as that will allow you to take the car to any dealership, not just the one you where you purchased your car.
  • GAP coverage. The second-most popular service offered by dealerships is GAP coverage, or “guaranteed asset protection.” As Marketwatch reports, this covers the difference between the cash value of the vehicle and the remaining balance on your loan if the car gets stolen or totalled. The key here is to shop around. Many times your insurance company will offer this service, too, and at much lower rates than a dealership.
  • Tire and Wheel. Here’s a shocker: Extended warranties don’t usually cover any damage to tires. That means the damage from that pothole that came from nowhere comes out of your pocket even if you have an extended warranty. This coverage could be worth the money, depending on how often you drive and the profile of the car’s wheels.
  • Wear and Tear. If you’re leasing a car, wear and tear covers all the little blemishes inside and out. The coverage is activated when you turn the car in so you’re not left with a surprise bill.
  • Key replacement. Many dealerships will tempt you with key replacement coverage. However, should you need it, you’ll likely find a cheaper deal on a new key through a key and lock retailer.
  • Chris O'Shea

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