As Jalopnik’s resident car-buying expert and a professional car shopper, I get emails. Lots of emails. I’ve picked a few of your questions and will try to help out. This week we are discussing factory orders with mix-and-match options and whether rust proofing is ever worth buying.
“One thing I’ve always wanted to know is what do manufacturers allow in terms of mixing and matching (and deleting) of features?
If I wanted to order a car with, say, a midlevel build, could I add a feature or features from an upper level? This question is of course premised on placing an order and waiting for it to flow through the manufacturing pipeline.”
One of the more frustrating things about vehicle configurators is that the automakers often bundle certain options together, forcing you to pay for features you may not want in order to get the one item you are interested in.
Generally, you are limited to how the configurator lets you add features to your order. While there are some super expensive brands that would be open to building the car the way you want it (depending on how much money you throw at them), most automakers will only permit certain combinations. It’s a matter of keeping things simple for the assembly line — and making sure customers can’t order options that would conflict.
For example, if there is a trim with a heads-up-display and that is $5,000 more, that brand won’t let you add just that HUD for a separate price on a lower trim.
“I live in the heart of the Rust Belt and salted roads and am looking to buy a Honda Civic Si later this year. I know factory corrosion resistance has come a long way even in the last decade, but if I plan on keeping this car for at least 150,000 miles and multiple winters, is it better to go with the rustproofing the dealer is pushing?
I know most of that stuff is unnecessary, but rust is one thing that is a pain to deal with.”
No one wants a rusty car (well, almost no one) but rust isn’t nearly the problem it once was, thanks to modern manufacturing techniques. You should read this article from Hagerty on the history of automobile manufacturing and how the automakers use galvanization to prevent rust. It’s a fairly extensive process. So I have a hard time believing that whatever spray or treatment a dealer would apply to a car is going to be substantially better than what is already applied at the factory level.
Got a car buying conundrum that you need some assistance with? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!