Is It Wise To Finance Vehicle Accessories When Buying A New Truck?

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Dealers LOVE to sell vehicle add-ons, like TRD performance upgrades, bedliners, etc. This is probably because new vehicle buyers love to purchase these add-ons. Dealership finance departments are often able to add the cost of accessories or new parts to the cost of a new truck, which means it’s often very easy to buy add-ons at the dealership. Dealers take care of adding all the gear you want, and you get a nicely customized truck for a monthly payment.

Is this practice of buying accessories at the dealership and financing them into the vehicle purchase price a good idea? Not really.

Is It Wise To Finance Vehicle Accessories When Buying A New Truck?

Financing vehicle accessories isn’t a great idea. Here’s why.

It’s Always About The Dollars

These days, manufacture accessories are a BIG deal. Need proof? Look no further than Mopar. At the 2014 Detroit Auto Show, Mopar had the largest display in their history. And when the new Chrysler 200 was unveiled, oh by the way, a Mopar-customized Chrysler 200 was on display too. Same thing happened when the new Jeep Renegade was unveiled.

Is It Wise To Finance Vehicle Accessories When Buying A New Truck?

Mopar had the largest display in their history at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show.

[insert photo of mopar display if you have it]

What gives? Profit, that’s what.

Factory accessories are loaded with profit for the manufacture. And I mean LOADED. An “official” factory accessory is often 2-3 times as expensive as an after-market part. This translates to a profit margin over 50%.

Compare that margin to the profits earned on an economy car like the Chrysler 200, which some analysts estimate is barely a “break even” product for Chrysler-Fiat. At best, the car earns a very small profit margin (5% or less), which translates to $1000 or less (and that’s if everything goes right). If something goes wrong, Chrysler-Fiat could very easily lose money on the 200.

This brings us back to parts. If Chrysler can sell $2,000 of genuine Mopar accessories to every Chrysler 200 buyer, the manufacturer’s total profit can very easily double. What’s more, the Chrysler dealership gets a taste of the action too.

Don’t Forget About The Bank!

Dealers and manufactures love accessory add-ons, but they’re not the only ones. Automotive finance companies like accessories too, as they’re able to charge borrowers interest on each accessory installed.

Of course, different lenders have different policies about accessory financing. The “captive” finance companies – like Toyota Financial, Ford Motor Credit, etc. – often have a very generous policy, allowing new vehicle buyers to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on accessories without changing terms.

Traditional and online lenders – like Chase Auto Finance – often set strict limits on “add-ons,” as they want to make sure their borrowers aren’t over-extended. This is actually a very good policy, as financing the purchase of add-ons is expensive. If you add up the additional interest paid on add-ons over 60, 72, or even 84 months, you quickly realize that it’s considerably cheaper to pay cash for your add-ons.

Add-ons and Resale Value

A lot of truck add-ons are highly desirable. A camper shell (aka topper) or tonneau cover is a valuable addition in many truck owner’s minds, and they will pay extra to buy a used truck that has these accessories. On the other hand, after-market (or genuine factory accessory) wheels can have minimal impact on value.

When it comes to accessories, it really depends on the buyer. Some people understand the value of a specific accessory and are willing to pay extra, while others don’t know or care about these add-ons. Even accessories that would seem to have a real impact on resale value – like bedliners – have almost no measurable impact on resale value (seriously, a bedliner adds $50-$75 to a vehicle’s value – see Do Bedliners Help Resale Value? for more info).

Basically, it’s hard to get your money back out of add-ons. This is why many often say that you should “strip your truck down to stock” before you sell it. Now imagine that you:

  1. Pay top dollar for accessories when you buy your truck, as you’re sold “genuine” accessories at full retail
  2. Finance the cost of these accessories over the course of a 5-7 year loan
  3. Sell or trade your vehicle with these accessories years after the fact, getting only pennies on the dollar

Add it all up, and buying accessories from the dealership is often a very bad idea.

When you purchase accessories for your new truck, be careful buying them from your dealership as part of the vehicle sale price. Our advice:

  • Shop around, as you’re often able to buy genuine factory accessories online at prices that will blow your dealer away, not to mention quality after-market accessories for even less
  • Pay cash – don’t finance the cost of accessories. Just wait and buy them later.
  • Buy parts for yourself – don’t buy them because they’re going to boost resale value (they won’t, at least not relative to their cost)

Any questions?

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  1. breathing borla says:

    But Tim,

    There cool!!


    • Tim Esterdahl says:

      LOL! Too funny.

      I just realized today is April Fools day and I’m hoping that people don’t take this post as a joke.


  2. Mickey says:

    Funny Tim I bought 4 pillows and 4 seat belt covers off ebay pretty cheap. They are made in China of all places. The pillows do well for me when traveling. One less thing to bring. Mine fits perfect when I want to sit back. I haven’t seen the tissue holder or I might just get one.

    • Tim Esterdahl says:


      LOL. I just found that photo somewhere and thought it went well with the story. I didn’t expect anyone to say they own it. But, hey, if it works for you, then more power to you!


  3. Larry says:

    4) never purchase anything from a dealer other then the truck since they are the only ones who make them

    3) never buy parts at a dealer

    2) never have a dealer service your truck unless it’s something like a computer software download which only they have

    1) Never borrow money for anything except a home, education, long term investments. Never under any circumstances borrow money for a depreciating asset, NEVER. Ten years of payments and you are left with no money and a worn out truck you can’t sell.

    It’s your money and the dealer want’s it, don’t give them a penny for anything but the truck and fight like crazy to get that truck at zero profit for the dealer.

    Having money means we are free and no set of floor mats is worth our freedom. If you have a net worth of 2 million dollars or more and can pay cash for everything, then by all means buy anything you want or give it to a better cause then a car dealer.

    I hate car/truck dealers!

    April fools?—- NOT

  4. chrome says:

    The older I get, the more Larry I am. Tell it big dog!

  5. Larry says:


    I turn 60 today.

    Just trying to help people keep money in their pocket and out of the dealer’s.

    My last Toyota was purchased for a dealer who’s owner operates all over the country. He made enough money to purchase an NBA franchise off the back of his customers. That dealer has also given me terrible pricing for parts on items for which there was no other source and warranty service requiring me to go back more then once.

    When it comes to rip off dealers, no holding back here. They flat out don’t earn their pay check. The last thing any of us should do is make interest payments for the privilege of being ripped off.

    • Tim Esterdahl says:

      Happy B-day!!


    • GoBig says:

      I have to admit. I’m more or less with Larry. I have never financed a car in my life.

      I bought a new 4runner from the dealer once, and the sales manager seemed a little disappointed I was paying cash. He got even more disappointed when I took a pass on the undercoating, Scotch guard, and extended warranty.

      After spending an hour convincing me how great the truck was, they spent thirty more minutes trying to convince me it would possible break, and need warranty work.

      The article hits the nail on the head. The real money is made after the vehicle purchase. The profit margin in add on stuff is huge.

  6. mk says:

    dah, common sense. I only go to dealer if under warranty. Aftermarket parts even cabin air filters and oil filters aftermarket are just as good, even better, than OEM at 1/2 the price.

    I don’t get it when the dealer service writer came out and told customer her camry cabin air filter needing replaced and cost would be about 40 bucks – OUCH!!! I told her I can do it for 10 bucks, she was shocked but said yes already. What a scam!

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