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Dear Patty, My husband and I have recently purchased a New 2008 Toyota Camry and we have a question. Is it a good idea to purchase the "Appearance Protection Package" offered by the dealership at the time of purchase. This package includes "Paint Sealant" which protect the entire surface of your car's paint from the environment, prevents fading, discoloring and loss of gloss (7 yr. warranty) for the cost of $289.95. "Undercoat-Quiet Ride" which protect the undercarriage from road salt and provides 60% Quieter ride (lifetime warranty) for the cost of $299.95. "Carpet Protector" Protects carpet from stains at a cost of $189.95. They said they would work on any and all stains until the customer was satisfied. And finally, "Vinyl and Leather Protector" Protects your cars vinyl and Cloth from stains (7 yr. warranty) for $169.95. The total cost of these 4 protection packages, if purchases separately, would be $949.80 but if we purchase all 4 plans they discount the price by $250.00 for a total cost of $699.00. Do you think these protection plans are worth the money? If we do buy this package should we ask for a guarantee in writing? Thanks for your help with this question.

Answers from the Automotive Experts

Debbie Lee, President at Professional Car Care Patty, Always get your warranty in writing.. The dealership may not be the one guaranting the work so you would want to know that also... I have put the sealant package on every car I have bought in the past 25 years I have been in the automotive industry.. I believe in protection of the exterior and interior. The most important thing is that you still need to keep up on washing and waxing, and keeping clean your interior.. Debbie Lee

Elizabeth Daniels, Owner and General Manager at Daniels Chevyland NO....your new vehicle is good to go from the factory. The protection package is just a profit center for the dealer and the cost is probably a fifth of that figure.

Jenny Trostel, Partner at Anderson of Hunt Valley Look at your past history with your car. Have you had trouble with faded paint, stains on the carpet or rust on the under carriage? Do you keep your car for 7 years? You can decide when you answer these questions. Good Luck!

Susan Seboda, President at Congressional Motors Hi Patty, I am a VW/Mazda dealer and sell these products as well. I would purchase the paint and interior protection and not the undercoating since most cars don't really need it anymore. For example, you cannot even apply undercoating to VWs any longer. And to be frank, I am not sure what it really does. We have it available if someone is interested but we do not offer it. A good quality paint and interior protection product can be worth it especially if something happens down the road. It is like insurance. The key is to save your warranty information. This is your written proof. Also question the dealership about the supplier of the products, ie. how long have they been in business, etc. I buy our products from a company we have been doing business with for 25 years. I am not concerned about them honoring a warranty 5 years from now. On the other hand, there are a few "fly by night companies" that would give me concern. Good luck! Thanks, Sue Seboda

Wendy Engelberg, Director of Operations and Founder at Autovisuals Personally, I would not purchase any of these and here is why: 1) Paint Sealant: This is actually a good product and works great. However, rocks will still get through and chip your paint or you could back up until something and have to get your paint the area repaired. If this happens, paint won't stick to the sealant, you it must be removed and re applied, so you would just be paying twice. If you keep your car clean and use a good wax, I believe that is plenty and will save you money in the long run if any repairs need to be done. Carpet Protector: Virtually all of these I know don't work very well. Vinyl and Leather protector: Lexol: The best product around and under $10. I hope this helps! Wendy, AutoVisuals

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