Timing can be the difference between saving hundreds or thousands of dollars when buying a car. While there are no guarantees when it comes to discounts, there are certain points throughout the year where you’re more likely to save money on a vehicle purchase.
Best Time to Buy A Car
Whether it's a used or new car, some of the “best times” to buy a car are:
Early in the Week
End of the Month, Quarter or Calendar Year
End of the Model Year
Fourth of July
1. Early in the Week
It’s no secret that car dealers are busiest during weekends, which means your odds of scoring a deal on weekends are low. Early in the week, however, dealers are much less crowded, and salespeople have more time to interact with you on an intimate level. This gives you more negotiating time and leverage.
2. End of the Month, Quarter or Calendar Year
Like most other businesses, dealers and their salespeople have monthly, quarterly and yearly sales goals. If a dealer or salesperson is close to meeting these quotas near the end of a month, quarter or year, they may be motivated to offer you a better discount in order to close the sale.
Additionally, the end of the calendar year can be one of the best times to buy a car as it also signals the end of a month and quarter, and dealers want to finish the year strong amid the winter holiday season. You can also likely get the biggest discount on any remaining vehicles from the outgoing model year during this time.
3. End of the Model Year
Dealers may offer incentives for vehicles from the outgoing model year in order to sell them quickly and make room on the lot for the incoming model year. While this timing can vary by automaker and vehicle, the end of summer/beginning of fall is typically when you can find these end-of-model-year deals.
4. Holiday Weekends
As we mentioned earlier, weekends are typically bad times to buy cars, but dealers do offer incentives over holiday weekends. Many of these are heavily advertised and typically include special rebates and promotional financing. However, not all holidays give the gift of savings, so be on the lookout for the following events.
5. Memorial Day
Many people consider Memorial Day to be the unofficial start of summer, and dealers are no different. Summer’s arrival means they only have a few months left to sell their outgoing model-year stock, so their goal is to get a head start on the season. For good measure, Memorial Day also falls at the end of May.
6. Fourth of July
Because Independence Day is in the middle of summer, dealers usually have a mix of vehicles from both the outgoing and incoming model years. As a result, you can potentially find more savings on an outgoing model-year vehicle if the incoming model year is already available around the Fourth of July.
7. Labor Day
Labor Day falls near the end of the model year, so dealers may offer bigger discounts on remaining vehicles from the outgoing model year. This can be especially true if a vehicle is being redesigned for the incoming model year.
8. Black Friday
Dealers also offer discounts and promotions for Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving that’s become the biggest retail shopping day of the year. While the crowds may be bad, the savings can be among the best you’ll find over the course of the year as dealers kick off the start of the holiday shopping season.
If you’re fortunate enough to not have an immediate need for a new vehicle, these are some of the best times of the year to buy a car once you’ve saved enough money and completed your research. With a combination of patience and the right timing, you can ease some of the burden on your bank account as you drive off the lot in your dream car.