Should You Add Car Accessories to Your Loan?


Buying a new or used car can be one of the most stressful transactions of your life. As difficult as it might be to narrow find the car that’s right for you, haggling for a good price with a salesman who is trying to get as much out of you as possible is even harder. Once that’s taken care of, you’re sent to the dealership’s finance department to sign a giant stack of papers and answer questions about accessories, insurance and additional warranties to add to your loan. While adding accessories to your car is a good way to make it just right for your needs, you will want to consider the pros and cons before you add these additional costs to your loan.

Know where they come from

Not all accessories in the car world are made equal. Tom McParland of Jalopnik points out that there are generally two categories of accessories: factory- or port-installed accessories and dealer-installed accessories. Accessories installed by the manufacturer in the factory or at the port when they are brought into the United States are listed on a vehicle’s window sticker and cannot be removed from the vehicle. Oftentimes, the factory accessories are lumped in together with other related components as part of an equipment package. The fact that these extras cannot be taken off and are usually included in price of the car makes them automatically included in your loan. On the other hand, dealer-installed accessories can usually be removed and bought outside of the loan (or even months after the initial vehicle purchase).

Know who sells it

Before you consider adding an accessory to your car and loan, do your research. Depending on your vehicle, the accessory you’re looking for might be available from your manufacturer, but it could also be made by other parties for a similar cost. Joe Bruzek of Cars.com wrote in the Chicago Tribune that several accessories like wind deflectors, spoilers or mud flaps are available outside of a dealership, but you might choose to add them to your car in the dealership if you want to avoid the hassle of finding an accessory shop and qualified technician for installation. If there is a quality difference between the aftermarket part and the manufacturer’s part, your research will let you know so you can pick the option that will prove most reliable.

Know if you can afford it

The most important thing you should consider before adding a car accessory to your car loan is if you can really afford it. A dealership employee trying to convince you to purchase an add-on to your vehicle will probably just pose it to you as an additional cost per month with your loan. Before you sign on the dotted line, Craig Guillot of Interest.com recommends doing the math to figure out the real cost. You have to consider that the more you add to your loan, the more interest you will owe the bank by the time your loan is up.

Adding accessories to your car loan can make a lot of sense if it’s a pricey add-on that will significantly improve the function of your new vehicle. Make sure you look at all the numbers before you make a decision that could impact your budget for years to come.

 

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