The lowdown on the ubiquitous Monroney sticker.
Since 1958, the Monroney sticker has been compulsory on every new car weighing 10,000 pounds or less sold in the USA, whether it's a Toyota Prius, a Ford Focus, or a Ram 1500. But what is a Monroney label, actually? It is a car window sticker, required by law to be displayed on all new cars for sale that contains detailed information about the vehicle. It shows, among others, its price, optional equipment, fuel, economy, and safety ratings. The Monroney sticker has eased the car-buying process by providing:
Oklahoma senator Almer Stillwell Monroney was the driving force to get the legislation passed that made the sticker compulsory. The label became law, mandated by the Automobile Disclosure Act of 1958 that requires open disclosure of vehicle equipment, capabilities, and pricing. This is to protect consumers from being taken advantage of.
For the buyer's protection and convenience, the below information must appear on all vehicle window stickers:
There are online tools that you can use to enter any vehicle's VIN to access its full Monroney label. How to get a window sticker from a VIN number is even easier with a smartphone - there are smartphone apps available that can retrieve the Monroney sticker by VIN within moments. With these, you don't even have to type in the VIN manually; you can simply scan the VIN barcode and do the Monroney sticker lookup this way.
Monroney stickers for cars have become the most important piece of information on new cars for sale as they ensure complete transparency about the car's specifications and price. This helps to ensure that you are not swindled when buying a vehicle. Monroney decals are not required on pre-owned cars, but a similar sticker called a Buyer's Guide sticker is, and it shows similar info as well as potential issues to note.
The Monroney label allows you to compare apples with apples on the showroom floor, so you know what you pay for. Our tips in this post should help you decipher the window sticker with ease, and make buying a new car easier. For more guidance on buying a car, read our article about the process here.
The VIN can be found on the Monroney decal, on the dashboard when viewed through the windscreen, or on your insurance card. We discuss everything VIN-related here.
No, Monroney stickers are only attached to brand-new cars. However, the used-car replacement for the Monroney label is the Buyer's Guide sticker. It must, by federal law, contain warranty information (length, duration, terms, systems covered, potential issues, etc.) and show that the used car is sold as is. Wisconsin and Maine have used-car sticker rules that differ from federal law.
By law, the window sticker must be attached to the inside of any new car's side window, easily visible to anyone wanting to know details of the car.
There are plenty of completely free apps available that can do this, so you don't have to pay anything to get access to this type of vehicle information. Check your smartphone's specific app store for more information.