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Aftermarket Products: Which are Needed and Which Aren’t?

The large size of the aftermarket industry signifies that we Indians like to personalize our cars. No matter which brand or model you purchase, you will always find a range of aftermarket products that can be fitted on to it. Primarily aftermarket products can be classified into two categories – 1) products offered by authorized dealerships, and 2) products that you purchase from the outside market on your own. In this article, we take a close look at aftermarket product categories and tell you which aftermarket products are worthy of buying while describing others which are just a waste of your hard-earned money.

1) Useful aftermarket products in which you should invest: Not just because a particular aftermarket product is offered by the authorized dealership makes it useful for your car. Similarly, you shouldn’t dismiss an accessory purely on the basis that it has been offered by private sellers in the outside market. The actual necessity of the product depends upon a particular situation and specific needs that your car has.

a) Extended Warranty: Purchasing an extended warranty can be of worth as it will provide you peace of mind for a longer period of time. This warranty comes over and above the standard warranty offered by the manufacturer. For example, Maruti-Suzuki India Limited (MSIL) offers a 2-year/40,000 km standard warranty on all its cars. As an owner of Maruti car, you can further opt for an extended warranty which is available in three different categories: Extended warranty (gold) – 3rd year/60,000 km, extended warranty Platinum – 3rd and 4th year/80,000 km, and extended warranty Royal Platinum – 3rd, 4th, and 5th year/1,00,000 km.

However, before buying an extended warranty you need to closely check out the details and make sure it covers all the critical parts of the car that are prone to breakdown and costly to repair or replace. If the extended warranty only covers the cosmetic damages excluding the mechanical hardware, then you should not buy it. In other cases, if you are buying a car which has already proved its reliability in the market then also it won’t be a wise decision to invest in the extended warranty. All you need to do is to follow the service schedule as per the recommendations and your car will be good to go for years.

b) Service Contract: It works along similar lines as of warranty although it specifically applies to the service of the car. It is sort of an insurance policy which saves you from heavy bills of repair and maintenance in case you encounter some unexpected breakdown. It is definitely a useful thing to invest in but makes sure you are well versed with the nitty-gritty of service contract – what is covered, what are deductibles, the time period of the contract, etc. For reference, Hyundai Motor India Limited (HMIL) which is the leading exporter and second-largest carmaker in India, offers four different types of service contracts to its customers – full maintenance contract (FMC) , annual maintenance contract (AMC), annual service contract (ASC), and onsite maintenance contract (OMC). Depending upon the requirements, customer can select from the given options and enjoy the convenience of service contracts.

c) Paint Protection: If you are buying a budget car or a used car, it does not make sense to go for paint protection. However, in case of a premium purchase where you have just bought a high-end, luxury SUV or sedan with exquisite color, we recommend you to go for paint protection job. It will inflate the bill by a few thousand but the paint protection will go a long way to protect your luxury car from losing its sheen.

d) Necessary Add-ons: In case you have purchased a lower variant of a car, it might not come equipped with all the necessary features. In that case, you should purchase some useful add-ons such as rear parking sensors and camera, tire pressure monitoring, gear lock, central locking and so forth. Make sure you wisely differentiate between necessary and luxury items and only go for fitting the things which are really useful for your driving experience.

2) Unusable Aftermarket products in which you should not invest

a) Anti-rust Protection: All the modern-day cars come with an anti-rust feature and you need not waste your money for getting any extra coating on your car to protect it against corrosion. On the contrary, if you go for anti-rust protection, it might lead to the nullification of the warranty your manufacturer provides against the perforation or corrosion. Therefore, it is recommended not to go for any kind of anti-rust protection especially the ones which require undercoating on your car.

b) Fuel Additives: Producers of fuel additives make some fancy claims about their effectiveness but in reality, they are rarely worth the money. Most of the fuel additives do not bring any significant change in the performance or fuel efficiency, and hence you should stay away from them especially in the first four to five years of your ownership experience. They might have some use once the car ages but even then you should not use them on a regular basis.

c) Body Spoilers: No doubt, spoilers look fancy and add to the aesthetics of the car. They are also required in case of high-performance cars as they reduce the dragging effect of air coming from the front. However, in the case of regular cars, spoilers are hardly needed and do not bring any additional benefit to the table. On the contrary, if you fit them on your car these might have an adverse impact on the performance and fuel efficiency of your vehicle.

d) Window Films: These might be helpful in keeping the temperature inside the cabin under control but at the same time these are illegal in our country. There are provisions for heavy monetary penalty in case your car is found with tinted glass and that makes window films an infeasible option for Indian roads.

Whether offered by dealerships or market sellers, aftermarket products should be carefully chosen depending upon their utility for your car. If you take the decision on the basis of rationality and intended use rather than the aesthetic value, you will make an investment that is right and logical for your vehicle.

Also Read:- Tips to keep your car’s Braking System Healthy