Understanding a Car's Sticker Price

by Lee Wyatt
(last updated August 9, 2012)

For some reason, one of the more confusing aspects of buying a new car for most people is trying to understand a car's sticker price. The reason for this is that most stickers, while they look rather straight forward, are actually somewhat confusing with all of the fine print, the overly exact wording, and so on. Instead of simply assuming that you know what a sticker price is saying, actually take the time to learn best way to decode it. It's not particularly difficult, as long as you keep a few simple guidelines in mind.

  • Sticker price. The sticker price is usually what most people first notice when looking at the sticker on a car that is being sold. After all, it is pretty hard to miss with it usually being one of the larger items listed on the sticker. Typically, this sticker price will include items such as the delivery charge (what was charged to the dealer by the manufacturer for delivery of the vehicle), the cost of the standard vehicle, as well as any other options and additions that may have been included by the dealership itself.
  • MSRP. The acronym MSRP stands for "Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price," and basically is what the manufacturer of the vehicle hopes and expects the vehicle to sell for. This price is important to look at for one very, very, important reason which is to compare it with the sticker price listed above. If you notice a difference between the two (and it seems suspiciously large) then you absolutely need to talk to the dealer about it, find out the reason for the discrepancy, and get it in writing. This difference can often be a huge asset when it comes time to negotiate what you pay.
  • Car information. One of the most basic, and vital, pieces of information that you can find on the car sticker, is the general car information. This information is typically things like the make, model, and year of the car for a start. In addition to this basic information, you should also find the VIN number (which is mandatory in many parts of the country), as well as the manufacturing point of origin for the vehicle, and what percentage of the car was assembled where.
  • Additional information. In addition to the general car information that is detailed above, you can often find other bits of information on the sticker. This other information can (and often should) include such topics as the type of engine, transmission, and even the drivetrain that the car has. Furthermore, this part of the sticker should information about the average miles per gallon that the vehicle gets, as well as any warranties that come with the vehicle, the average estimated cost in fuel (at the current rate) and so on.

Author Bio

Lee Wyatt

Contributor of numerous Tips.Net articles, Lee Wyatt is quickly becoming a regular "Jack of all trades." He is currently an independent contractor specializing in writing and editing. Contact him today for all of your writing and editing needs! Click here to contact. ...

MORE FROM LEE

Tricks for Making a Narrow Hallway Wider

Even if you have a narrow hallway, there is nothing that says you have to live with it, or suffer through the lack of space. ...

Discover More

Reupholstery Tools

Reupholstering your furniture is a great way to not only create a new look, but also a great way to save money. Before you ...

Discover More

Teaching Cats Boundaries

Despite what many people would like to think, it is possible to train a cat. Not only is it possible, you should take the ...

Discover More
More Car Tips

Is Leasing a Car a Good Deal?

When looking to get a new car, there are typically two choices that most people have. Those choices are to either purchase ...

Discover More

Financing a Car Purchase

Financing can be one of the most stressful and difficult parts of any new car purchase. Here are some tips you can use to ...

Discover More

Figuring Out the True Cost of Car Ownership

On the average, when most people begin thinking of purchasing a new car they only really focus on the sticker price. A few ...

Discover More
Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 6 + 0?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)