The Best Times to Buy a Car

If you’re ready to take the leap and have the sense of freedom that comes from owning your own set of wheels, know that there are some good times of the year, month and even day to strike.

Ring in the New… Car?

New Year’s Eve at a car dealership may not spring to mind as the ultimate party destination, but this happens to be one of the best days to score a deal. Not only do dealerships tend to run year-end promotions for those looking to make a big gesture at the holidays, but time is running out for sales people working to meet their quotas for the quarter or year. Plus, if you time your negotiations for later in the day, you might nab a salesperson eager to close the books and move on to the evening’s festivities.

In general, the most heavily discounted months are the last few of the year. In addition to holiday sales, dealerships start getting ready for new model years in September and October, so they may be focused on clearing remaining inventory. If last year’s model suits your needs and taste, you could save thousands over the newer version. Checking a dealer’s inventory online can provide some indication of how motivated they may be in negotiating an offer.

If the need for a new car strikes earlier in the year, keep an eye out for special offers during big holiday weekends, such as Presidents Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day.

Make moves mid-month…and at the end

If you’ll be buying from a dealership, start taking a closer look at your vehicle choice somewhere around or after mid-month. This is the time to get familiar with the car, its features and its options. While there’s no harm in connecting with a sales person, this is not necessarily the time to get locked into a contract.

Instead, circle back in the last few days of the month. Sales people typically have monthly quotas, and you may have a better chance at nabbing a good deal if their window is closing. On the other hand, if you’ve connected with a sales person who has met their quota, be aware you may not get very far.

And if you want to be sure you have a sales person’s full attention, consider making your move earlier in the week. Many people only have the weekends for their search, which means car lots can be crazy-busy. Aim for Monday or Tuesday for a greater chance at getting personal attention and time to bargain.

Time of day matters, too

Consistent with our theme, the latter part of the day is also a good time to make your move. Sales people may be looking forward to ending their day and getting home, so you may make more headway than first thing in the morning.

Of course, with the amount of information and shopping available online, car buying can be done even without setting foot on a lot. Be sure to do your research, such as with tried-and-true sources like Kelley Blue Book or Edmunds. No matter how you buy, test drive your chosen vehicle first.

Finally, do your homework when it comes to financing your purchase. Dealers can offer compelling interest rates, but consider checking with your bank to see what you may qualify for – the information could help you arrive at a more favorable agreement. Plus, you could keep that extra cash in your pocket to fill the tank for your first awesome road trip.