Buying a New Car? Check eBay Before Buying Optional Equipment From the Dealer

“They always get you on the floormats.” Pricing out a car online before visiting a dealership, and seeing the range of options available, is a no-brainer. But before you drop the coin on options like floormats, mudflaps, trunk nets, or whatever other easy-installation options strike your fancy, check eBay. Auto dealerships’ parts departments are actually selling the same items on eBay, at a discount to the marked-up rates they charge new-car buyers.

Two strategies: Print out the eBay rates and demand that your dealer match them. Or buy the car without the add-ons, then go shopping online after.

Of course, there are plenty of aftermarket parts for sale out there, too, but you can easily save some real coin AND buy OEM parts by hitting the internets.

(Photo: The Jamoker)

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  1. B says:

    Or just don’t buy the floor mats at all. Mudflaps, on the other hand, I recommend, as they keep trucks/SUVs from spraying mud everywhere.

  2. bedofnails says:

    I bought my last truck via Ebay – perfect transaction from a out of state dealership. Vehicle still under warranty, drove it back to state – even avoided sales/use tax.

  3. SaveMeJeebus says:

    You can get a set of all-weather floormats that you can hose off for pretty cheap and they won’t get cruddy like carpeted floormats. It bugs me to know that people get all these accessories (which add up quickly) and don’t even care because it is lumped into their financing. They don’t add shit to the trade-in value either.

  4. chrisgoh says:

    If you have a Honda, check out handa.com, I’ve used them many a time.

  5. TechnoDestructo says:

    @B:

    Floor mats are nice. They’re usually tougher than the carpet in your car, and they come out for easy cleaning.

    Auto-parts store floor mats rarely fit the foot well of the vehicle properly, and often aren’t as high-quality as OEM mats.

    The ebay recommendation is a good one. Going without floor mats cut specifically for your car is less of one.

  6. chrisgoh says:
  7. nffcnnr says:

    Who took the pic? looks like it’s in my neck-o-the-woods.

  8. mopar_man says:

    @B:

    I recommend floor mats for the reasons Techno described. I would never own a vehicle without mats. Also, mudflaps are handy for keeping the rock chips/scratches/rust off of cars too. They might look dorky but it’ll help keep up your car’s appearance.

  9. beyond says:

    Goes for other options too like navigation radios, etc.

  10. B says:

    Huh. I have carpeted floormats in my car, and I always thought they were a pain in the neck for cleaning. Actually, though, after four years they’re kind of worn out, but replacing them would be pretty inexpensive. I should check eBay.

  11. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    Hooray! You stole my secret (but it’s a good one and will encourage more sellers of before/aftermarket equipment to sell on ebay).

    I bought the first car I ever bought–a used 2004 PT Cruiser–in February, and knocked the dealer to the wall on the sales price based on the fact that the car, though clean and nice enough, was way light on options.

    I went on a spending spree on ebay and bought the few options I really cared about. That took about a quarter of the money I figure I saved at the dealership. With most of the rest of the money, I bought some options that were not present on the car when it was new, some cool trim, a factory roof rack I can put on and take off myself, and a hard shell case for it.

    The rest of the savings covered the minor upgrade to my insurance caused by going from liability and uninsured motorist only on my old Corolla to full coverage on the Cruiser, and a year’s subscription to the all-you-can-wash place a block from my house.

    Yeah, I am proud of myself, lol.

  12. shades_of_blue says:

    If you drive a Subaru, forget eBay and checkout http://www.subaruparts.com they’ve got the ‘cabin air filtration kit’ [guess that's what it's called] for 1/3 the dealership cost and a good selection of other Subaru goodies too.

  13. Buran says:

    I bought the OEM VW GTI mats but I bought them at the price you get at order time, which means they’re “port installed” which means they’re significantly cheaper than what you’d pay to get them at a dealer. Ditto with the Votex body kit appearance package, ditto on the price.

    For aftermarket things like better taillights with amber turn signals (always make sure what you are buying is DOT legal with things like reflectors, though), it’s fine to buy used for non-wear items. For powertrain components, DO YOUR RESEARCH and make sure you know what you’re getting, and don’t go used for something that could cause Big Problems if it fails.

    Short version: for some things, you can get them cheaper straight from the manufacturer because you avoid the dealer’s profit padding. For others, used is OK sometimes.

  14. ekthesy says:

    You want mudflaps? My girl’s got ‘em.

  15. Buran says:

    @Buran: Oh, and as for the price? Hefty, hefty down payment. I paid off 1/3 of the car before even driving off the lot and I’ll be done paying it off in four years. Ideally, a car should be bought out of pocket, but that’s not always possible, so if you can’t do that, pay as much as you can as a down payment.

  16. saintjohnson says:

    Yeah, I just bought a brand new Jeep off eBay from a dealership and paid almost $9000 under the sticker price.

    The dealership sellers on eBay may even give you an eBay price for items that aren’t listed on eBay, but is already stock.

  17. dohtem says:

    I want to add;

    Before buying aftermarket parts anywhere, visit online car forums. There are usually about a dozen good ones for each major car make. Car nuts there can usually point you in the right direction. They’ll show you reputable sellers and parts worth the money and if you are so inclined, a lot of them have written their own tutorials on how to install most of those of parts (with pictures included).

  18. TechnoDestructo says:

    @mopar_man:

    Also, I can’t hear the term “mud flaps” without thinking of the song “Big Bottom.”

  19. balthisar says:

    @Buran: of if you’re not a loser who has to pay interest on 0% financing deals from manufacturers, finance all you can with at little money down. Most people without screwed up credit qualify for these (not the same as saying most people qualify for these).

    If you can’t afford 0% for 36 months, also take a look at the total cost of the other terms. You’ll often get something like 1.9% for 48, or 3.9% for 60. In many, many cases you’re *much* better off using someone else’s money for that low rate.

    Are you going to be upside down? Yeah, maybe, but you’re financially responsible so it doesn’t matter now, does it?

  20. ivieso says:

    I got some dealer OEM all weather floormats on ebay for 50 bucks, whereas the dealer was $179.99. Then I went ahead got a OEM car cover. Ebay price was $200, dealer price was almost $400. Then I went to the strip club and gave them the $250 I saved. So in the end we all we were happy.

  21. jrdnjstn78 says:

    I have an F150 and have bought many aftermarket parts on http://www.fordtruckworld.com. Going to car websites and going to the forums is a good place to buy from. I have bought many auto parts on ebay also.

  22. Geekybiker says:

    Typically you can get OEM accessories for about half what the dealer wants for them. Note that accessories and options are a little different. Options are usually things like Nav, etc. Asscecories are the floor mats,etc.

  23. Buran says:

    @balthisar: I got a pretty good deal, never fear.

  24. zolielo says:

    I am all about going online: forums, small dealers that give part deals, and aftermarket; however with a new car be careful about which parts need to be dealer installed to continue a factory warranty. An example being a supercharger on a Scion tC needs to be installed on purchase by a dealer for the car to remain covered by a factory warranty.

  25. StevieD says:

    @bedofnails:

    Avoided sales and use tax?

    How?

    I am in Mississippi. Proof of payment of sales tax is required to register the car and receive your car tag. Louisiana does the same thing. If the car is a private or “internet” sale the car will be taxed at the time the car is registered.

    If Mississippi and Louisiana can figure out how to collect the tax, I am sure smarter states can figure it out as well.

    So HOW did you avoid sales and use tax? By the way, be careful how you answer. The tax man may be reading.

  26. rbcat says:

    @nffcnnr: That’s Neal Suzuki on IH-30 in Fort Worth. I’ve had the misfortune of driving by that blow-up doll before…

  27. Trackback says:

    Thanks again to everyone who suggested fun things to do in Boston and Newport. I’m taking a good number of the suggestions and will report back when possible.