Among the many pitfalls of buying a new car, blowing your budget on overpriced options can be one of the most annoying (and preventable) missteps. Whether from the factory or dealer-installed, some options just aren't worth the money. What car option is the biggest rip-off?

From the choose-your-crook department: For my money, it's the infamous "VIN etching" scam. Etching a car's VIN number on its windows can protect your ownership investment, but paying $300 or more for the service is a crime. How does VIN-etching work? Engraving a vehicle's ID onto the windshield and windows puts a speed bump in thieves' plans, since they'd have to either replace the glass before selling the car, or take a loss on the glass pieces themselves, which can bring in good money on the lucrative black market. But while some insurance agencies offer discounts on VIN-etched cars, there's no need to pay the huge dealership mark-up. Buy an etching kit and do it yourself. Better yet, look into community-sponsored VIN etching events — or organize one yourself with the local cops.


(QOTD is your chance to address the day's most pressing automotive questions and to experience the opinions of the insightful insiders, practicing pundits, and gleeful gearheads that make up the Jalopnik commentariat. If you've got a suggestion for a good Question of the Day, send an email to tips at jalopnik dot com.)

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