February 25, 2024

Car dealerships are sneaky and use your excitement at buying a new car to try and sell you all kinds of add-ons that you really don’t need. Don’t get suckered into buying random stuff that doesn’t actually fill a real need.

1. Roof Rack Rodeo

Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Dealerships often push roof rack accessories on customers, pitching them as must-have items for those spontaneous camping or cross-country journeys. But let’s be real. Unless you regularly transport bulky items like canoes or bicycles, these add-ons are just costly dust collectors that can even decrease your car’s fuel efficiency.

2. Keys? Check!

Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Key protection sounds like a good idea, but most modern keys are durable, and many comprehensive insurance policies already cover lost or damaged keys. So, you might be paying twice for the same protection.

3. Windshield Warriors

Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Windshield protection can be attractive, especially if you often drive on gravel roads. But double-check your car insurance policy before you part with your hard-earned cash. Many insurers already provide windshield protection, making this add-on a redundant expense.

4. Tires To Spare

Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Tire protection plans can be enticing, especially with those scary stories of blowouts. But remember, tires are pretty robust, and good driving habits and regular maintenance usually suffice. Avoid potholes and keep your tires inflated properly, and you should be fine without this extra coverage.

5. The Dent Defender

Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Dent protection is another costly add-on that’s not often worth the price tag. It typically only covers small dents and dings, not major accident damage. It’s usually more cost-effective to pay out-of-pocket for minor repairs.

6. Credit Cover-up

Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Credit insurance can sound like a good idea, but it often carries a hefty premium and many limitations. It only pays out under specific conditions and typically covers the remaining car payments, not the full car value. Most people are better off investing in extended life and disability insurance policies that offer much broader coverage.

7. Gap Insurance Gaps

Image Credit: Shutterstock.

GAP insurance might seem like a safe bet to protect against car depreciation. However, GAP insurance can be an unnecessary and costly add-on if you’ve put down a good down payment or if your car holds its value well.

8. Warranty Wonders

Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Extended warranties can appear to offer peace of mind, but they come with a high cost. Moreover, most new cars are built to last well beyond the standard warranty period. So those extra years of coverage might not be necessary, and any minor repairs you need could be cheaper than the warranty.

9. Alarms and Awakenings

Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Car dealerships might also try to sell you upgraded car alarms and tracking devices. While these features can be useful in high-crime areas, most vehicles are equipped with basic alarms. Also, many insurance companies offer discounts for vehicles with installed tracking devices, so check with your insurer before investing.

10. Sealed Paint Pacts

Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Paint sealants can seem worthwhile, offering glossy finishes and good protection against the elements. However, with regular washing and occasional waxing, your car’s paint job should stay in good shape without the added expense of a sealant.

11. Fabric Follies

Image Credit: Nick Bear. Shutterstock.

Fabric protection is a clever preventive measure, especially if you have kids or pets. But most modern car fabrics are already quite resistant to stains. Instead of forking out for this add-on, consider investing in a good fabric cleaner that you can use as and when spills happen.

12. Tire Tricks

Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Nitrogen-filled tires are sometimes touted as superior to air-filled tires, but the benefits are minimal for regular drivers. While nitrogen might be beneficial for race cars or commercial jets, good old-fashioned air does the job just fine for your daily commute!

13. Window Wonders

Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Window tints and clear protection are sometimes pushed as essentials for protecting your car and keeping it cool. But before you agree to the dealer’s price, shop around. Often, you can find local shops that will do the same job for a fraction of the cost.

14. Door Defenses

Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Door edge protectors might seem like a good investment, promising to save your doors from chips and minor scratches. But these are usually an unnecessary expense. Minor scratches can be easily (and cheaply) fixed with touch-up paint or kits you can buy online.

15. Maintenance Magic

Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Service and maintenance packages might be presented as a convenience. But while it might feel good to have prepaid services, they’re often overpriced at the dealership. Your local mechanic can usually perform the same services for less.

16. Fancy Floor Coverings

Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Upgraded floor mats can look nice and give your car’s interior a more luxurious feel. But the truth is, your shoes, pets, and food spills don’t care how fancy your mats are! Standard mats usually do the job just fine, and let’s be honest – they’re just going to get dirty anyway!

17. Appearance Assurances

Image Credit: Shutterstock

Appearance packages can seem like a fun way to make your new car uniquely yours. But often, these packages are costly, and you can usually find cheaper, personalized upgrades elsewhere.

18. Mudflaps Mayhem

Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Mudflaps are another add-on that dealers might try to upsell. While they can protect your car from minor debris, they’re usually unnecessary for city driving. They could be useful if you’re regularly off-roading; otherwise, they’re likely just an unnecessary expense.


Katy Willis is a writer, lifelong homesteader, and master herbalist, master gardener, and canine nutritionist. Katy is a preparedness expert and modern homesteader practicing everyday preparedness, sustainability, and a holistic lifestyle.

She knows how important it is to be prepared for whatever life throws at you, because you just never know what’s coming. And preparedness helps you give your family the best chance to thrive in any situation.

Katy is passionate about living naturally, growing food, keeping livestock, foraging, and making and using herbal remedies. Katy is an experienced herbalist and a member of the CMA (Complementary Medical Association).

Her preparedness skills go beyond just being “ready”, she’s ready to survive the initial disaster, and thrive afterward, too. She grows 100% organic food on roughly 15 acres and raises goats, chickens, and ducks. She also lovingly tends her orchard, where she grows many different fruit trees. And, because she likes to know exactly what she’s feeding her family, she’s a seasoned from-scratch cook and gluten-free baker.

Katy teaches foraging and environmental education classes, too, including self-sufficient living, modern homesteading, seed saving, and organic vegetable gardening.

Katy helps others learn forgotten skills, including basic survival skills and self-reliance.

She’s been published on sites such as MSN, Angi, Home Advisor, Family Handyman, Wealth of Geeks, Readers Digest, and more.