If you’re starting to think about buying a new or used vehicle, there are lots of ways to help you stay in budget and save money. But one of the easiest ways to give yourself a better negotiating position with very little effort is to choose the best time to buy a car. There are certain months, days of the week, and times of day that are better than others.
What’s the Best Month to Buy a Car?
The best months to buy a car are usually October, November, and December. Just like it’s cheaper to buy a winter coat in the spring, purchase outdoor furniture in late fall, or scoop up next year’s Christmas tree in January, there is a time of year where cars will automatically be less expensive.
There are actually two reasons that buying a vehicle late in the year can help you save money.
- End of the year deals–Dealerships will discount cars to move inventory and make sales goals towards the end of every quarter and especially towards the end of the year.
- After a model change—After the next year models have been released, the still-new cars on the dealership are not valued as highly since they’re not on the cutting edge any more. By purchasing in the colder months, you can snag a shiny new car without paying top dollar for next-year’s model.
Even better, buying at the end of a winter month can give you an even better chance to save because dealers will be pushing to hit monthly sales goals. Try the post-Christmas/pre-New Year’s week to secure some great deals and avoid big crowds. It could even be your late Christmas gift to you!
Bottom line: The best months to buy a car are October, November, and December—and the last days of these months are ideal.
Worst Months to Buy: Avoid the spring months like March and April. This is when inventory is high, new models are still the newest on the market and people have tax returns sweetening their car deals. Auto dealers know this and are less likely to need to cut you a deal.
What’s the Best Day of the Week to Buy a Car?
Auto research by TrueCar.com shows buying a car at the end of a weekend, like Sunday, leads to deeper discounts as salesmen are trying to make deals to meet weekly goals. But going early in the week during usual work hours is also a slow time for many dealers who may be willing to work with you to get their sales started.
An added bonus of going during off hours early in the week is getting more personal attention. If you’re one of the only shoppers on the lot, sales people will have more time to help you find what you’re looking for since you’re the only fish on the line!
Bottom line: The best days to buy a car are Sundays or Mondays. But on Mondays make sure to go during normal work hours so it isn’t busy.
Worst Days to Buy: Avoid the craziness of Friday and Saturday, but especially steer clear of Friday. Research has shown consumers spend about $2,000 more on a car purchased on Friday than if they waited to purchase the same car on Sunday.
What’s the Best Time of Day to Buy a Car?
It might sound silly to think that you can get a better price on your car if you go at a certain time of day, but it’s true. Other than our advice above about Mondays, buying late in the day usually gets the best deal. But keep in mind that the buying process often takes some time—between test driving, comparing features, and checking availability of makes and models.
If you prepare ahead by getting pre-approved for an auto loan (in addition to often getting a better interest rate), you’ll be able to show dealers you’re serious about buying. But plan to shop around first, and once you’ve decided on a vehicle you like, you can go back to the dealer at the best purchasing time to finalize everything.
So try going early in the day (or spread over several days) and shopping at a leisurely pace. No need to rush to get a good deal.
Once you’ve decided what you want, test drive the car, check the vehicle history report (if it’s used), and start the negotiation process, but don’t settle on a price just yet. Wait until closer to closing time to come back and seal the deal. Often, when faced with the choice between making or not making a sale that day, the dealership will be more likely to work with you.
Bottom line: Near closing time is the best time of day to buy, but don’t rush the shopping and negotiating process. Get the shopping done early and return later to actually purchase.
Worst Time of Day to Buy:Avoid the morning hours when car dealers have all day to get the paperwork done and not a ton of incentive to haggle with you.
No matter what time of year you’re looking to buy, choosing the right time can help you save (sometimes thousands of dollars) and give you a sense of confidence about closing the deal on your own terms.
This article is for educational purposes only. Tulsa FCU makes no representations as to the accuracy, completeness, or specific suitability of any information presented. Information provided should not be relied on or interpreted as legal, tax or financial advice. Nor does the information directly relate to our products and/or services terms and conditions.