Understanding a New Car Window Sticker


Aside from checking the price of the car, new car shoppers also look at the car’s window sticker. Because this sticker is more than just a sticker, it also holds other information about the car that can be useful to buyers.

Every vehicle that comes from the dealership has that sticker, but what do they actually tell you? In this article, we have listed some of the most common fundamentals of a new car window sticker to help you prepare before buying a new car.

What is a New Car Window Sticker?

A car window sticker a the sticker that is located at the window of your new car. It gives you specific information about the car like its safety ratings, pricing information, total price, and the standard and optional equipment.

Basic Elements of a New Car Window Sticker

The layout of a new car window sticker depends on the vehicle’s makes, models, and years. But the information you will find on a new car window sticker are:

Model Information– This section is usually located at that top left or top right corner. This is where you will see the basic model information of the car such as its make, year, model, interior and exterior color, and engine and transmission combination. Reading this part of the sticker will ensure you that the car you’re looking at has the correct engine and color.

Standard Equipment- This part of the car window sticker is where you’ll find the vehicle’s features that are included in the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price. It includes the car’s safety and security, comfort and convenience, and the car’s mechanical and performance information.

Optional Equipment- This part will tell you about the car’s factory-installed options. Some of the car manufacturers bundle this into packages but some of them like to do it one by one. Knowing about the car’s optional equipment can help you compare the car with other cars on the lot.

Warranty Information- This section will help you know more about the details of the car’s warranties like its bumper-to-bumper warranties, free maintenance warranties, and powertrain warranties.

Pricing Information-  The pricing information will help you find the base price of the car. It also provides the breakdown of options and fees that you should know about. Other information that you can find here is the destination charge and gas-guzzler tax. Sometimes, the total price of the vehicle is also included here but if often has its own space.

Parts Content Information- This part of the new car window sticker tells you about where the car was assembled and sometimes the amount of American and Canadian parts that the car has.

Total Price of the Car- This part tells you about the total Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of the car. Even if it does not mean that you have to pay the price, this part gives you a point of reference in your negotiations. Sometimes this part also tells you the actual fair price of the car. Be sure to check all the cars first and shop around before settling on a final price.

Fuel Economy Label-  This section tells you about the fuel economy label, also known as an EPA label. It gives you evaluations of the car’s fuel efficiency. This part also helps you compare the miles per gallon (MPG) on one car versus another. Take note that the combined miles per gallon number is the most important thing to remember.

QR Code- By scanning this pixelated square with your smartphone’s camera, it will automatically link you to the mobile EPA website. By this, you can easily customize your driving statistics and get personalized fuel economy data.

Safety Ratings- This section will tell you all about the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s safety rating about the car. Sometimes the ratings of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) are also included in the new car window sticker.

Additional Window Stickers- Sometimes car dealers attach a supplemental window sticker next to the actual window sticker they usually do this to list the dealer-added accessories on the car. You should be keen on looking for this and reading this sticker carefully because sometimes it includes accessories that you might not be interested in and it could raise the price of the car.

The new car window sticker holds a lot of important information about a car. So before you head on down to the dealership, make sure that you are familiar with the information each section provides so that you will be prepared to compare one car to the other and their pros and cons. And you will know exactly what you want and what you’re going to buy.Understanding a New Car Window Sticker

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