SANTA MONICA, Calif. — Everyone who’s shopped for a new car is familiar with the famous “window sticker.” But do they know exactly what information is included on those dozens of square inches, and how that information can be used to make them a smarter car shopper? Edmunds.com, the premier resource for automotive information, decodes the ubiquitous label with its new feature, “How to Read a New Car Window Sticker.”
“By taking the time to carefully review and understand the window sticker’s information, car buyers can have an easier time comparing the vehicles on their shopping lists,” says Edmunds.com Consumer Advice Editor Ron Montoya. “The layout of a window sticker can change depending on the automaker, but the information on what the industry calls the ‘Monroney label’ is required by law to be the same across all manufacturers.”
Edmunds.com identifies and explains the ten items of information that every shopper should look for on a new car’s window sticker:
1) Model Information – Check this part of the sticker to ensure that the car in front of you has the engine, trim and color configuration you’re looking for.
2) Standard Equipment – This section lists all items and features that are included as a part of the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP).
3) Warranty Information – This lists the length of the car’s bumper-to-bumper and powertrain warranties and free maintenance programs, and notes any roadside assistance package that the manufacturer offers.
4) Optional Equipment – Here you’ll find information on the car’s factory-installed options. Some carmakers bundle them into packages. Others offer them à la carte.
5) Pricing Information – This is where you’ll find the base price of the vehicle and a breakdown of the costs of options and some of the fees associated with the purchase. Other items that appear here are the destination charge and any gas-guzzler tax.
6) Parts Content Information – This section lists where the vehicle was assembled and often the percentage of U.S. and Canadian parts it contains.
7) Total Price – You don’t have to pay this price (also known as the MSRP), but it does give you a point of reference in your negotiations. Use Edmunds.com’s True Market Value (TMV®) calculator to help you determine a fair price.
8) Fuel Economy Label – The EPA label is all-new for the 2013 model year and provides more information than it previously had. Use this label to compare the MPG numbers between vehicles.
9) QR Code – Scan this pixelated square with a smartphone camera to link to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) mobile Web site. You can then customize your driving stats to get personalized fuel economy data for the vehicle.
10) Safety Ratings – This section posts the results of NHTSA’s or, occasionally, IIHS’s safety ratings for that vehicle. Because NHTSA doesn’t test every car on the market, the safety-rating section will sometimes be blank.
Edmunds.com offers a sample sticker with numbered labels to give car shoppers a better understanding of where they can find the information they need to make a smart choice on their next new car. Visitors can find the sample and more details on window sticker information at http://www.edmunds.com/car-
About Edmunds.com, Inc.
At Edmunds.com, we’re committed to helping people find the car that meets their every need. Almost 18 million visitors use our research, shopping and buying tools every month to make an easy and informed decision on their next new or used car. Whether you’re at the dealership or on the go, we’re always by your side with our five-star Edmunds.com iPhone and iPad apps and our Edmunds.com Android App. Our comprehensive car reviews, shopping tips, photos, videos and feature stories offer a friendly and authentic approach to the automotive world. We’re based in Santa Monica, Calif., but you can connect with us from anywhere by following @Edmunds on Twitter or by becoming a fan of Edmunds.com on Facebook.