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When is the Best Time to Buy a Car?

best time to buy a car
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Many people try to time their purchase of a new car with promotions or sales. While there may be a lot of talk in the news about the best time to buy a car, the truth is that the best time really depends on your needs and buying preferences. If you have a reliable car in good condition, you may be able to better time your purchase with sales or inventory clean outs. However, this may not be an option for everyone. Here are some of the best times to buy a car.

When You Need a New Car

If your car breaks down or your lease is up, you may not have the choice to wait to buy. If your car breaks down and the repairs are expensive, it may actually be a better financial decision to buy new. The great thing about buying a car today is that you can compare prices and features online. This can provide you with the information you need to make an informed decision when buying a new car.

Before You Need a New Car

Of course, you’re sure to find better deals and have more time to price shop when you buy before you need a new car. If your current car still works fine, you may also have more room to negotiate. You can offer a price well below the list price because if the seller declines, you still have access to reliable transportation. The more time you have, the more time you can spend comparing prices, interest rates, and pre-approval offers.

Knowing when to accept a deal before you need a new car can be more difficult. The car-buying market has been competitive over the last few years with supply shortages. While some car buyers have tried to wait out the increased prices, many found that there’s no end in sight. Car prices may not go back to where they were pre-pandemic anytime soon, if ever.

Beginning of the Week

Many car buyers leave shopping until the weekend. While this may fit in better with your schedule, it also means longer wait time and less negotiation power. Because other potential shoppers are checking out the cars on the lot at the same time as you, you may get stuck in a price bid. The car salesperson may also be less likely to spend their time understanding your wants and needs.

Visiting at the beginning of the week instead, when the dealership is slower, may give you the personalized care you need when shopping for a new car. Mondays tend to be the slowest day at the dealership and will usually get you the most focus. Tuesdays may also be slow enough to get a great price on your new car purchase.

Sundays

Some car buyers also believe that buying on Sundays can score you a good deal. Not all dealerships are open on Sundays, but if they are, they’re likely already preparing for meeting next week’s goals. If you can visit later in the day on a Sunday, you may just get a salesperson willing to start their week off with a reduced sale. You may also find less staff working on Sundays, which could mean less personalized assistance if they’re busy, or the inability to connect with the dealership on a more personalized level.

End of the Month

If you’re looking for the best deal on your new car purchase, the end of the month is a great time to go shopping. Many salespersons work on commission, and if they’re close to meeting their goal, they may be more willing to agree to a lower deal than they would have at the beginning of the month. Not only do salespersons rely on meeting sales quotas, but dealerships rely on those sales figures as well. Some dealerships may even offer incentives to boost their sales at the end of the month.

May

By May, many people are already planning their summer road trips. They may already be aware of any vehicle problems they need to address, or if it’s time to start shopping for a new car. May also follows the completion of many city’s auto shows, which means there’s already talk of next year’s cars. Shopping for and buying a new car in May helps you beat the summer demand that soon follows.

End of the Model Year

The end of the year is when many dealerships try to clear the lot to make room for next year’s models. If a dealership still has a lot of previous year’s models left over, they may be more willing to offer you a discounted deal. Keep in mind, however, that car manufacturers don’t typically follow a normal year. Many may begin releasing 2023 models in the middle of 2022. Typically, the start of a new year for many manufacturers begins in October.

Holidays

Traditionally, holidays weren’t spent buying new cars. However, dealerships and car manufacturers soon recognized the decline in sales and introduced holiday sales. Today, most dealerships have Memorial Day, Labor Day, and Black Friday sales. Depending on where you go, you can often find steep deals during these holiday weekends. Some also extend their sales to offer lower down payments or better lending rates.

During almost any three-day weekend, there’s sure to be a sale at your nearest dealership. Many dealerships will also advertise these sales, so you can decide ahead of time which one is the best to visit.

Specific Dealership Sales

While some of the best times to buy a car apply to most automotive sellers, you may also find specific sales and incentives at your nearest dealership. Dealerships may promote special sales to improve sales and make up for lost business throughout the year. Car manufacturers may also do the same if their quarterly sales aren’t as expected. Following the automotive news and subscribing to your nearest dealership’s newsletters or emails is a great way to learn about these special sales.

Some times of the year, especially around certain holidays and at the end of the season, offer the best rates on new cars. Whether you’re buying a new or used vehicle, following these car-buying timelines can get you the best cost.

FIXD Research Team

At FIXD, our mission is to make car ownership as simple, easy, and affordable as possible. Our research team utilizes the latest automotive data and insights to create tools and resources that help drivers get peace of mind and save money over the life of their car.

We’re here to help you simplify car care and save, so this post may contain affiliate links to help you do just that. If you click on a link and take action, we may earn a commission. However, the analysis and opinions expressed are our own.

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About the Author

FIXD Research Team

FIXD Research Team

At FIXD, our mission is to make car ownership as simple, easy, and affordable as possible. Our research team utilizes the latest automotive data and insights to create tools and resources that help drivers get peace of mind and save money over the life of their car.

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