Large car window stickers are affixed to all vehicles offered for sale. Learn what information goes on a vehicle window decal, how to read one, and why you should keep it even after the sale is made. Window decals date back to the 1950s when a fed up Oklahoma senator of dealers charging arbitrary prices for new cars, sponsored an act of Congress that somehow standardized certain basic information for consumers.
Window stickers list some standard equipment, what optional features are installed on the car, the destination charge, federal fuel economy and safety information, or EPA-mandated electric vehicle numbers. Window stickers look a lot like mattress stickers. Consumers should be the one to remove them from a vehicle, although this rarely happens in practice. Most new car owners prefer a freshly detailed car to one with paper still attached to the glass. By law, dealerships must provide a car window decal. So be sure to ask to see the one that’s included with your car. Make sure the serial number, as well as the options listed, match the car you are about to take home. TIP: Don’t throw away your Monroney sticker. It will be as important to the next car owner as it was to you. Here’s a quick look at the information you’ll find on a car window decal. Standard equipment and model information More than half of the sticker space is usually taken up by standard equipment lists, as well as make / model, serial number, and interior and exterior colors. Don’t Miss: The 25 Most Fuel Efficient SUVs of 2021 Look closely at this information to make sure it matches the car you are about to buy, if you chose a red car and the window sticker says it is blue, that is cause for immediate concern. Optional Equipment Optional equipment lists how much the automaker suggests the dealer charge for features installed in the vehicle. Suggest is an important phrase here, as most new cars are discounted, while high-demand vehicles may demand more than the MSRP or manufacturer’s suggested retail price. More on that in a moment. Fundamentally, go through the listed optional equipment and confirm that everything is present in your new car. You can’t miss large items like a sunroof. But the smaller features, like the floor mats, may be gone. You are paying for them, so make sure they are there. Some dealers will also add additional accessories to vehicles. Dealers should add a separate column to list features ranging from window tint to upgraded wheels and tires. Read: Everything you need to know about full-size trucks Don’t feel compelled to buy a car with these features unless you want them and feel like the price being charged is fair. Most items can be removed or you can take your business to another dealer. MSRP The Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price, or MSRP, is the price the manufacturer suggests the dealer asks for a car. However, it is like clothing. It’s the retail price, or the dollar amount that the dealer should ask for for the car, depending on the automaker. But that doesn’t mean you pay that price for the vehicle, given dealer incentives and other discounts you may request. See: Cars Under $ 20k Although the MSRP is the MSRP, dealers may order more, if a car is in high demand, or less than this figure. Fuel Economy and Environment The top right corner shows the EPA estimated fuel economy, as well as other data such as how many gallons the car is expected to use per mile, as well as annual fuel cost estimates and a gas rating of greenhouse effect. Hybrid and electric vehicles display separate data to provide an estimate of how much it will cost to charge, what the vehicle’s miles per gallon (MPGe) equivalent is, estimated charge times, and more. It is important to note that any figure in the fuel economy and environment section is an estimate based on a series of EPA tests that may not be achievable for some drivers. Warranty Information All new car window decals include warranty information. Manufacturers generally provide warranties for a set period of time on new cars, including a bumper-to-bumper warranty, powertrain, and sometimes roadside assistance becomes part of the warranty. Often times, used cars also come with warranties, even if they are limited. Safety Ratings Another important component of a modern window sticker is the safety ratings. The federal government‘s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NTSHA, classifies vehicles into front, side, and rollover categories. All security ratings will be displayed in a window label. Above those ratings, the vehicle’s “overall” rating is displayed, essentially an average of the three. Related: Three Cars That Won North American Car of the Year Award Use these figures to compare cars, but also note that more detailed information is available on the NHTSA website. Also, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tests do not appear on window stickers. Experts consider the tests funded by the insurance industry to be more stringent than those employed by the federal government. Manufacturing and shipping data Window stickers also contain information that shows where a car was assembled, as well as where some of its major components were built. Also, the window sticker shows the dealership where the car was initially delivered, which may not match the dealer selling as dealers often trade new cars with each other if they don’t have the car in stock that the customer wants. . Information on the contents of the parts The last important element on the stickers of the car windows is a section entitled “Information on the contents of the parts”. This section lets potential buyers know precisely how much of the car’s content comes from the US It also lists the country of origin for most parts, if not from the US Also see: 5 Credit Errors They may bite back at you Finally, Show Car Assembly Endpoint – Helpful Information for Buyers Interested in an American-Made Car Attachments High-demand cars are sometimes branded, a practice that dealers generally refer to as “market tuning.” This controversial practice should be noted in the appendix. Make sure this is listed if this is the case. This story was originally published on Autotrader.com.