When’s the Best Time to Buy a New Car?

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Point of Interest

Do you know that the time of the month and year when you buy a car can have a huge impact on the amount you pay? If you’re armed with this info, you’ll know when it’s the right time to secure good deals on a car.

Buying a car is a major expense that can have a considerable impact on your finances, and you’ll want to make sure that you do what you can to cut down on the costs when making that purchase. The timing of your purchase may have a significant impact on the price that you’ll pay.

If you buy your new vehicle at the right time you can save hundreds or even thousands of dollars. To make that happen, though, you’ll need to know when the best time to buy a car is so you can secure the best deal possible.

The best time to buy a car

Weekly

The best days of the week to buy a car on are Monday or Tuesday — primarily because you’ll get the best treatment and most attention from the car dealer at the beginning of the week.

Weekends are known to be the high-traffic time, as most people do their car shopping on their time off. If you visit the dealer earlier in the week, though, you can get the salesman’s full attention, and you can ask questions and resolve any possible doubts or reservations you may have.

Keep in mind that if the dealership is closed on Sundays, Monday could end up being the busiest day. If that’s the case, you should skip Monday and go on the next working day, which is Tuesday.

Quarterly

Salespeople at dealerships will often have targets for each quarter that they need to meet in order to get their bonuses. This means that they will be motivated to cut you a better deal if you visit at the end of a quarter, which is on or a few days before March 31st, June 30th, Sept. 30th and Dec. 31st, which is the last day of the year and Q4.

Keep in mind that sales quota cut-off day may fall a few days before those exact dates, so you may want to pay a visit to a dealership a couple of days before the last day of the quarter to make sure you don’t miss it.

If you can’t wait until the end of the quarter, you may want to consider waiting until the month-end, because that is the time when dealers are anxious to meet their monthly targets — as the quarterly targets are usually broken down in smaller monthly chunks.

Yearly

The best time in the year to buy a car is December, as car dealers are running after not only their quarterly and monthly quotas, but also the most important target — the annual quota. This is also the time when dealerships want to clear up their showrooms to make space for brand new inventory.

TrueCar, a data company that assesses, among other things, car purchase transactions, states that the best time of year to buy a car is New Year’s Eve, when you can save around 8% off the sticker price.

Other dates for when it’s good to buy a car include Black Friday, which is traditionally one of the biggest car-buying days of the year, with dealerships offering door crasher deals and special promotions. If you need a car mid-year, make sure you check Memorial Day car deals as well.

The do’s and don’ts of buying a car

Buying a new car can be a fun and exciting event, but it can also turn into a source of regret if you aren’t approaching it while prepared and level-headed. Luckily, there are plenty of tips to help you guide you through this overwhelming experience, including:

Do plan ahead for what car you need and how much you can spend.

Do consider carefully your needs and weigh which cars you can realistically afford. A car is a major purchase that may considerably affect your finances. It’s easy to get carried away with all the nice, expensive models you see at the dealership and make a decision you regret. You should always go into the showroom knowing what type of car you need and how much you can pay for it. Set a figure and stick to it.

Don’t accept the sticker price without negotiating.

Sticker prices almost always have room for negotiation, so use it. If you go in at the right time, the salesperson will be motivated to meet their quota and may give you a better price just to get you to buy the car. Walk in with a clear vision of what you want to buy, how much you want to pay for it and how far you want to go in negotiation.

Do your research, set aside enough time to shop around and do the test drive.

Make sure that you do thorough research and identify the best deals for the car that you want to buy. Take into account all of the aspects that affect how much a car really costs you, such as special financing rates, cash-back offers, rebates, zero-percent loans and lease deals. Good deals come in different shapes and sizes.

And make sure to go for a test drive. You really don’t want to buy a car, only to discover that you don’t like how it drives later on.

Don’t get rushed or pressured to go for something that’s not part of your plan.

Don’t get pressured into buying additional equipment or an extended warranty that wasn’t part of your purchase plan. You should also make sure you are not signing anything that isn’t what you agreed to. Remember, a dealer is motivated to sell you an expensive car with expensive equipment, which you may or may not need, and they are trained to talk customers into spending. All those extras add up quickly — so don’t fall for that trap.

Financing with an auto loan

A car purchase is a large expense. If you can’t afford to pay cash up front, you can finance your purchase using a car loan, which you can get from a bank or through a dealership. You’ll pay the loan back in monthly installments, with interest, for a set number of years.

You may want to go to a bank to get pre-approved for a car loan before going to a dealership so that you can compare the two offers or negotiate for a better rate. For more information about auto loan rates, make sure you check out the best auto loan rates for 2020.

The final word

Buying a car is exciting and it’s easy to get carried away and overspend. To make the most of your purchase, keep in mind that there are times when it’s best to buy a car. Use those tips to secure the best deals possible, and be sure to make a reasonable decision that you won’t regret once the adrenaline rush is over.

Aleksandra Deric

Personal Finance Contributor

Alex Deric is a freelance finance and technology writer that brings in-depth investment knowledge and experience to her writing. Originally from Serbia, Alex has spent more than a decade working in the finance industry around the world, including London and New York. After having studied at Oxford and the London School of Economics, she is now working towards her PhD degree. You will find her published work on sites such as CQNet, FundingHQ, NetworkNewsWire, and CS Strategies. She’s an avid runner and a firm believer that financial education can make the world a better place.