Monday, April 24, 2006

Just say "No Thank You" to Vin Etching

With spring approaching, car buying season can't be far behind. One easy way to save money on that new or used car purchase is to carefully read your purchase order (and also the installment contract, if you are financing your purchase) and, if you see an item labelled "VIN etching", tell the dealer you don't want it and you won't pay extra for it. This "add on", which the dealer will frequently have preprinted on the form to give it the appearance of a required item, is optional and is nothing more than a way to increase the dealer's profit. Frequently priced at $199.00 or more and touted as a theft deterrent, it is an etching of the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) on the lower edge of the car's side windows. On all cars, the VIN already is stamped on a metal plate visible through the driver's side windshield. If you are a member of AAA, they often have clinics at which they offer VIN etching for free. More importantly, there is no evidence that a thief will be deterred from stealing your car because of VIN etching. Tell the dealer "No Thank You" and save yourself $199.00.