We all love our cars, but not every upgrade is worth the cash. Some mods might sound great in theory, but in reality, they’re a total waste of money.

In this article, we’re breaking down 12 car upgrades that just aren’t worth it—complete with prices. Save your hard-earned cash and steer clear of these pointless mods.

Extended Warranties

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  • Average Estimated Cost: $1,000 to $3,000

While they promise peace of mind, extended warranties usually cover less than expected, making them an expensive and unnecessary bet for most new car buyers.

Seat and Fabric Protection

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  • Average Estimated Cost: $150-250

Offered as a shield against stains, the reality is that seat and fabric protection is often an overpriced and unnecessary service, given the affordable alternatives available.

Dent Protection

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  • Average Estimated Cost: $200

Dent protection probably sounds tempting, but its numerous limitations can render it ineffective when you need it most, making it an upgrade that lots of people regret.

Nitrogen Tire Inflation

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  • Average Estimated Cost: $100

Filling your tires with nitrogen for about $100 is often marketed with promises of “better tire pressure retention” and “improved fuel efficiency”. However, considering that standard air is already 78% nitrogen, the benefits for most drivers are barely noticeable.

Vehicle Identification Number Etching

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  • Average Estimated Cost: $200

VIN etching is sold as a theft deterrent service, but the price tag is steep compared to DIY kits available for under $30. Despite its potential security benefits, the cost doesn’t stack up, especially when more effective anti-theft options exist.

Key Replacement Plans

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  • Average Estimated Cost: $200-$600

While the convenience of a replacement key plan is undeniable, the cost can quickly become excessive. With plans ranging up to $600, it’s an upgrade many find too pricey for the peace of mind it offers.

Vehicle Undercoating

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  • Average Estimated Cost: $500-$1,000

Dealerships may insist on undercoating to protect against rust and corrosion, but modern vehicles already have sufficient protection. This makes undercoating an often redundant and costly add-on.

Gap Insurance

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  • Average Estimated Cost: $500-$700

Gap insurance can be wise for some, yet the dealership markup makes it worthwhile to look elsewhere. It’s a reminder to evaluate what’s included with your vehicle purchase and opt for additional services judiciously.

Paint Protection Films

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  • Average Estimated Cost: $400-$1,000

Though touted as a defense against scratches and chips, paint protection films might not offer value unless you’re driving in harsh conditions or are particularly focused on maintaining a car’s appearance for resale.

Wheel and Tire Protection

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  • Average Estimated Cost: $500-$1,500

With coverage that often includes numerous exclusions, the appeal of wheel and tire protection plans can quickly diminish, leaving many to question their value.

GPS Recovery

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  • Average Estimated Cost: $699-$1,499

With most new vehicles featuring built-in GPS tracking, paying a premium for a GPS theft recovery device feels pointless, especially considering the monthly subscription fees involved.

Credit Life Insurance

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  • Average Estimated Cost: around $.50 for every $100 borrowed annually

Though not the most expensive, credit life insurance is a questionable investment, benefiting the lender at the borrower’s expense, especially since it doesn’t offer any direct benefit to you if you’re unable to make payments due to unforeseen circumstances.

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Author: Abbie Clark

Title: Co-Founder

Expertise: Automotive Industry, Electric Vehicles, DIY Car Repairs


Abbie Clark is a writer, blog, and founder of RideRambler, Hey She Thrives, and The Bearded Bunch.

From clever car cleaning tricks to the freshest car features and reviews, Abbie loves sharing her knowledge on everything automotive. Outside of her time writing for her websites, you’ll find her fishing with her husband, deciphering her toddler’s babbling, or baking up something sweet.

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