10. Safety Ratings
NHTSA tests a number of new vehicles every year and issues star ratings based on the results. This information is in the safety rating section of the window sticker. Occasionally, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) scores also are displayed on the window sticker, as seen on our sample label. Because NHTSA doesn't test every car on the market, the safety-rating section will sometimes be blank. If this is the case, consumers can check the IIHS Web site.
Side Note: Supplemental Window Sticker
You won't always find this sticker on a new car, but if you do, pay attention. Dealers sometimes affix what's called a supplemental window sticker next to the actual window sticker and use it to list the dealer-added accessories that are on the car. Here are some tips on how to handle the dealer's new-car add-ons, which you may or may not want to buy.
"Sticker Is Quicker"
We once heard a salesman say this, referring to how much time could be saved if a customer would just pay the sticker price. We don't agree with that sentiment, but it's true that a new car's window sticker is the fastest way to verify the options on a vehicle so that you can accurately look up its TMV.
Whether you're shopping via the Internet and phone or in person, request a copy of the window sticker of a vehicle you are interested in. Once you have all the information a sticker contains, you can truly determine the best price to pay for a car that's right for you.