Ways to Avoid Car Dealership Fees
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Ways to Avoid Car Dealership Fees

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Car dealership fees are annoying, plain and simple. They can add hundreds or even thousands of dollars to your bill for almost no good reason.

Some fees are inevitable when purchasing a car, such as the destination fee, which is the fee paid for the transportation of your car from the factory to the dealership. If you pick up your car directly from the factory, you still have to pay this fee.

Even so, there are numerous fees you can ask to be removed or reduced. Arm yourself with the right information by reading on about common car dealer fees you can avoid.

Dealer Preparation Fees

Often between $100 and $500, this fee is supposed to account for the preparation of the vehicle for sale. Ask politely for it to be dropped. It’s fake and unnecessary – just an attempt to squeeze some extra profits out of you.

Dealer Markup Fees

Fees labeled “ADM” (additional dealer markup) and “ADP” (additional dealer profit) are useless. Push to have them dropped.

Document Fee

Sometimes called a “doc fee” or “documentation fee,” this fee is charged to process the paperwork for the car. It cannot be completely waived, but you may be able to get it reduced. Look up your state’s policy and find out if they have set a maximum document fee. If you’re being charged more than the maximum, let your dealer know.

VIN Etching Fee

It is a common anti-theft measure in car dealerships to etch a car’s identification number on the windshield and windows of the vehicle.

Some dealers charge you $200 or more for this. This is egregious; let them know that you wouldn’t like to pay that much for something you could do at home with a kit. It is possible that the dealer might oblige.

Advertising Fee

Sometimes dealers will have you pay for a portion of their advertising expenses in order to entice customers like yourself to come to the store. Let them know that you don’t want to pay for it. You might be able to get it removed.

Miscellaneous Add-On Fees

These can include fees for unnecessary services like paint protection and upholstery protection. Make sure you know what you’re paying for, and if the benefit seems unclear, talk to your dealer.

Gap Insurance

Not a fee, but it’s good to be on the lookout for it. Gap insurance is a good thing, generally – most people would like to cover the difference between their insurance payout and the remaining car payments in the case that the car is involved in an accident. However, gap insurance is usually priced a little higher than it needs to be. Consider asking for it to be lowered if the dollar amount seems exorbitant.


Warranties aren’t fees either, but they can be aggressively sold to you by dealers once you’re near finally signing the deal. If you think you might need warranties, go ahead and get them. But if you think that you’re capable of putting money every month into car repair savings, then it might be a good idea to turn down warranties.