What Can You Learn from a Window Sticker?

If you’ve ever shopped for a new or used vehicle at a dealership, the window sticker was probably a large part of the evaluation process. These stickers have a lot of information and understanding this information allows a buyer to learn much about a vehicle within a matter of seconds, often eliminating the need to talk to a salesman until you are ready.

Equipment Information

The sticker is an excellent way to find out about standard equipment that comes with the car. You’ll learn about the safety and security features included on the vehicle, as well as media and comfort equipment. It’s a good way to learn about the most important features of the car you're considering.

Vehicle Model Info

Most window stickers follow the same basic layout. This means, when looking at a sticker, it’s likely you will view the same information in the same spots, speeding up the process. You can probably learn about several vehicles before a salesman comes around.

Here are the most common bits of vehicle information displayed on a sticker.

  • Model year
  • Engine type
  • Transmission style
  • Both exterior and interior colors

Optional Extras

Stickers often show off factory options already installed on a vehicle, but some will list extras that you can have added for an additional cost. Make sure to determine the options that are featured on the vehicle you are viewing and which will require an extra charge to add.

The Warranty

The sticker will also relate information concerning the possible presence of a warranty. Warranties offer additional security and value to the buyer. The sticker should detail features of the warranty like provision for maintenance or powertrain protection. Knowing the particulars of the warranty learned from the sticker can increase your confidence that you are making the right choice.

Safety Information

When looking at a sticker it’s common to find safety ratings given to that particular model. The safety information communicated should also help decide if the car is right for you and your family.

The sticker will also have EPA details of the gas mileage you can expect from the car. A car will cost you more than just the sales price. Saving money on gas during ownership is never a bad idea.

The Sticker Price Isn't Necessarily the Sales Price

While you won’t get an exact price when looking at one of the stickers, it’s common to see an MSRP. This data will give you a good idea of where to begin negotiations at the bargaining table.

A quick glance at the window sticker is all you need to learn much about a prospective vehicle. Just make sure that to pay attention to the details that matter to you, do research on what you find and use it to get the car you are looking for at the right price.