Buying a car, new or used, is always a tricky experience. Not only is purchasing a vehicle a big life event (and an expensive one at that), but it is also a huge commitment. A car is not just a fly-by purchase, it is something that is going to be with you for years to come.
You always want to guarantee yourself the best deal when getting a new vehicle. There are many ways to make that happen, but one of the most important is buying at the right time. Going too late or too early can cost you thousands, but knowing how and when to buy can save you bundles.
Getting a vehicle is always going to be expensive, but here we will break down a few different ways you can land an affordable deal.
The Best Time of Year (and Week) to Buy a Car
When it comes to getting the most value from your car, timing is everything. There are different parts of the year where cars tend to be cheaper (covered below), and there are cheap parts of the week as well.
Studies show that, despite popular belief, going to a dealership on busy weekends or right before it dealership closes is not a great way to get a discount. Rather, it is much better to shop for a new or used car on a Monday. TrueCar’s 2015 buying data shows that customers saved an average of 8.1 percent off of MSRP on Mondays compared to Saturday (7.77 percent) or Sunday (7.49 percent).
That trend continued for most of the early week, and reveals that almost all weekdays lead to better deals than weekends. Mondays work particularly well for car buying because, as there is less foot traffic, they give salespeople and customers more time to negotiate.
Beyond the days of the week, it also helps to pay attention to the time of the year. Getting a car during sales times (three-day weekends, New Years, etc.) is always a good way to go. End of the year sales are usually the best times for new cars because that is when dealerships are trying to unload old models.
One particularly good month is October. This is the best time of year to buy a car because it is when dealers and manufacturers are attempting to unload last year’s vehicles to make room for future models. In fact, Truecar’s data shows that during some days in late October, buyers were getting almost 8 percent off MSRP.
Buying or Leasing Older Models
Another good tip for buying a new car at a discounted price is buying a model from the previous year. Getting a vehicle during a closeout (which happens when the new model year fully arrives on dealers’ lots) is a good way to go. If you’re planning on doing this, fall is the best time of year to make it happen. Waiting until winter usually means you are too late on most models.
This is the best time to lease a car as well. Discounts typically affect both leases and sales, which means any deal you get on one you can get on another. Also note that if you can’t find what you’re looking for at one lot, don’t be afraid to go to another. Some dealerships “sell-down” differently and may have different selections at different times.
The Best Time to Buy a Used Car
While all of the above tips work for all cars, finding the best prices on used models can be a bit trickier. That is because they are volatile and are greatly affected by new car sales.
When looking for the best time to buy a used car, you want to typically look between March and September. Those months are great for the sale of new cars, which gives you a lot of bargaining power for used models. Dealerships often want to clear out their lots, and are eager to flip older cars.
Despite popular belief, there is no best place to buy used cars. As long as you know the right time and understand the shifts in prices you will get a good deal. For instance, look for four-wheel-drive vehicles during the summer when they are less in demand, or try to find convertibles in the winter.
Landing the Perfect Discount
Getting a new car is never going to be an easy or painless process. However, there is no doubt that certain tips and tricks can help you get a good deal. As long as you follow the steps laid out in this guide, you should be fine. Understanding the best time to buy a new car is not easy, but if you stick to the tips in this article you should be able to land yourself the deal of a lifetime.