Hold On to Your Car's Sticker
What's the first thing you do when you drive your shiny new car home? Grab a razor blaze to get rid of that ugly sticker the dealer left on the side window — you know, the one that's creating a terrible blind spot when you pass?
If the window sticker — or Monroney label, as it’s called — hasn't already been removed by the dealer and placed in the glove box, you should carefully remove it, make a few extra copies in case one gets lost, and put them away for safe keeping in your bank safety deposit box or vault. Don't leave it in the glove box, where age and misplaced fries are going to ruin it.
The Monroney label is loaded with valuable information, from the serial number of your vehicle to where it was assembled. It also includes all items that came standard and all items that were extra-cost options on your new vehicle. That’s information that will be valuable later; the Monroney label is a printed DNA of your vehicle.
When someone, like your insurance agent, asks if the car has antilock brakes, stability control and side curtain airbags — safety features that may qualify for a premium discount — you’ll have written proof to show him. And two years down the road when the car is in an accident, vandalized or stolen and you have to make a claim with the insurance company, you have proof the car came with that top-of-the-line audio system, navigation system and higher-output engine, rather than just the base V-6. Those are features that entitle you to a larger settlement.
Then, five years down the road when you hear or read that cars like yours, produced in a specific plant with specific equipment, have been recalled, you can pull out the Monroney label and see the serial number of your car, where it was built and all the equipment it has to find out if the recall impacts you. If you’ve moved and the recall notice didn't get to your new address, you can use the information on the Monroney to set up a recall inspection and fix with a dealer.
When it comes time to trade the car in or sell it to a private party, your copy of the Monroney label answers all the "Does it have a ..." questions that the buyer will ask about systems and components he can't see, such as stability control.
Having the label at hand will also help justify asking more for it; you’ll be able to show potential buyers all the standard and optional equipment that came with the car. Once a deal’s been struck, you can then give the label to the new buyer so he or she has all that info, too.
When buying a new vehicle, don’t forget this important piece of car DNA. Ask the dealer to remove the label and hand it to you with all the other paperwork. Don't leave and tell him to mail it, or you may never see it again.