It used to be that when you were buying a new car there was a big list of factory options to choose from. Nowadays it seems like your choices are restricted to a trim level and then two or three options within that, with little customization available. That’s where dealer-installed accessories come in.
Accessories range from common protection items like all-weather floor mats and splash guards, appearance modifications like body side moldings, or bigger things like a trailer hitch and transmission fluid cooler. There are some accessories that as technicians we often don’t like either because of the installation process, future servicing, or the actual usefulness of them. Running boards on SUVs that aren’t trucks are one of them. There is no need for them, and they get in the way when setting up the lift.
There are some accessories that kind of look cool but are excessive and annoying to install. One we have on Hondas are these lighted door sill trim pieces. Sure, they look nice, but do you really need them?
A lot of the big accessory installation jobs I’ve had recently have been on Pilots. Apparently $40,000 isn’t enough and customers feel the need to spend more by buying a few thousand of accessories. I had to install a heated steering wheel on one, which was an interesting project, and it led to another thing I don’t really like about some accessories, which is waste. Sometimes you replace parts with a new version and just throw out the old one, even if it’d be worth a couple hundred dollars if you were going to buy that part. In this case, the entire leather-wrapped steering wheel gets replaced, with just the buttons and airbag swapped over to the new one.
If I was buying a brand new car, which isn’t likely to happen, I wouldn’t want any accessories that require major work to the car. I’ve had to take apart a lot of interiors and take off a lot of bumpers to install things, and the more that gets taken apart, the more it’s likely for them to get damaged or not fit back together as well, and then your brand new car you just spent so much money on isn’t as nice as it was.
I’ve done a lot of complaining in this post, but mechanics always complain. If you have the money to buy a new car, do what you want with it. Buy that extra chrome trim, add that roof rack, cool that transmission. The technicians putting it all together may not be happy, but we’re doing it because you’re the customer.
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