Date registered: Aug 2005
Vehicle: 1972 250C, Ducati ST
Location: Norfolk, Virginia
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RE: ResistALL Paint / Fabric Sealant
Paint sealants and carpet treatments are just some of the high-markup services that dealers provide in order to raise their profit margin. You could do both of those treatments yourself for less than $20 in supplies, or even have them done by a professional detail shop for less than $150.
Some other examples of high-margin dealer "services" are:
Window tinting - compare what the dealer charges to what local tint shops charge, and then consider that the dealer is probably having their cars tinted by one of those same local shops.
Rustproofing/Undercoating - Not needed for just about any modern car, and horribly overpriced if you have the dealer do it. I don't see this being offered as often as I used to, though. I think part of the reason is that aftermarket undercoatings may actually void the factory corrosion warranty in some cases.
Etching the vehicle's VIN number on the glass - Compare what the dealer charges to just buying the kit and doing it yourself for $20. It's nothing complicated - just some hydroflouric acid paste and a stencil.
Aftermarket alarms - see window tinting above.
Floor Mats - Believe it or not, not all cars come with carpeted floor mats as standard equipment, and for the cars where they're optional, the dealer charges through the nose for them - often $100-$150 for a set of four.
Accessories - whether they're fog lamps, dealer-installed sunroofs or landau tops, you can almost always have them added yourself at a local shop for less money. As with window tint and alarms, the dealers are probably farming the work out to a local shop anyway - you may as well cut out the middleman.
Extended warranties - The dealers have done the math, and if they weren't making money on them in the long haul, they wouldn't offer them. The peace-of-mind may make it worthwhile for you, but financially-speaking, they're usually a losing proposition.
In general, all of the dealer-added services and accessories are nothing more than moneymakers for the dealer. Refuse them if they're offered. If they're already on the car (like tint or VIN etching), refuse to pay for them or bargain the price down accordingly. If the dealer gives you a hard time, walk out. They spend so little money on these services that they'll probably give in and eat the cost rather than lose the sale. Remember, if they're forced to throw in the $699 paint sealant and carpet treatment for free, it's not costing them $699 - it's costing them more like $50.