How To Read A Vehicle’s Window Sticker
More than a price tag, a window sticker can provide these seven pieces of information that can prove useful when shopping for a new car, truck, or SUV.
When shopping for a new truck, crossover, or SUV, the window sticker – or “Monroney” – is a great source of information. While these large labels do provide pricing information, they’re much more than mere price tags. In fact, window stickers are packed with information that can be extremely useful when buying a new vehicle.
The Basics: A window sticker is not a generic price tag. By law, every sticker must be tailored to a specific vehicle. To ensure there’s no confusion, each sticker not only tells the year, make, model, and trim level of the vehicle in question, but also lists exterior and interior colors and the vehicle identification number (VIN) it represents.
Standard Equipment: Content listed in the standard equipment section represents the various features and equipment included with the vehicle.
Optional Equipment: Optional equipment, or features installed at the factory at added cost, are also listed on the window sticker. On a window sticker, options are itemized, allowing you to not only see what a particular vehicle is equipped with, but also its associated cost.
Pricing: The window sticker helps break down the manufacturer’s suggested retail pricing (or MSRP) of a particular vehicle. Prices listed on the window sticker include:
• Standard Vehicle Price: Essentially the base MSRP, which represents the manufacturer’s suggested retail price for a vehicle built only with standard equipment and nothing more.
• Total Options: The total cost added to the vehicle through factory-installed options.
• Destination charge: The cost associated with shipping the vehicle from the factory to a dealership.
• Total Vehicle Price: The MSRP for a specific vehicle as built, including options and destination charge.
It’s important to note the window sticker won’t include items like sales tax, titling or registration fees or applicable incentives that could affect the vehicle’s final price. Talk to a GMC salesperson for more information.
Fuel Economy: With the exception of some heavy-duty pickups, all window stickers include fuel economy information provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Redesigned in 2013, this box provides city, highway, and combined fuel economy ratings, along with estimated annual fuel costs for the vehicle. This box will also indicate what sort of fuels the vehicle is designed to run on. For instance, if a vehicle is flex fuel capable – meaning it can run on both gasoline and an E85 ethanol blend -- this will also be indicated here.
Safety Ratings: If results are available, this section provides the results of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s New Car Assessment Program (NCAP). The NCAP star ratings provide consumers with information about the crash protection and rollover safety of new vehicles beyond what is required by Federal law. One star is the lowest rating; five stars is the highest. These scores are based on how well the vehicle performs in specific tests and evaluations performed by NHTSA.
It’s important to note that because of differences in testing procedures, these ratings cannot be directly compared directly either to either NHTSA results performed before 2011 or to any safety tests performed by the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS).
QR Codes: These fuzzy-looking square barcodes can provide additional information on a given vehicle with a few touches of a smartphone. Scanning the QR code at the top of the window sticker with a reader app will load a page with specific information on that vehicle. Scanning the QR code located within the fuel economy box will load the EPA’s own Fueleconomy.gov, which provides not only provides more detailed fuel economy information, but also comparison tools