Whether it’s your first car or next car, you want a vehicle that’s low-maintenance, fun to drive, and as affordable as possible.
For the first two, it’s all about what you buy. But when it comes to affordability, it’s also about when.
From the supermarket to the housing market, the time of year has a lot to do with how much things cost. This is especially true at your local auto dealer, where sales goals and surplus inventory influence the deals that are offered.
So, when is the best time to buy a car? If you have the flexibility to wait, buying your vehicle at one of these times could keep more money in your pocket.
Early in the Week
The weekend may be convenient, but it’s also a dealer’s busiest time of the week. Visiting the dealer on a weekday, especially Monday, gives you two key advantages:
- Less business: With fewer customers stopping by, your salesperson may be more motivated to close the deal.
- More attention: A quieter sales floor can also give you undivided attention from a salesperson, which might give you a better opportunity to talk down the price.
When New Inventory Comes In
Fall is an especially good season for car buyers due to holiday sales events (we’ll get to that next) and dealers’ efforts to offload inventory to make room for next year’s models. Buying a vehicle at the end of its model year is a proven money-saver for car buyers.
Beginning at the end of October, many dealers begin to lower the prices on the previous year’s models. According to U.S. News & World Report, some dealers drove down prices as much as 8% off MSRP. On many vehicles, that’s thousands of dollars in savings.
Just like other businesses, car dealers offer special sales events during three-day holiday weekends, as well as during and after Black Friday. You’ll have to contend with bigger crowds at the dealership, but you may find a generous cash-back offer or other perks.
To help you save time and enter the process with confidence, you’ll want to prepare thoroughly. Before visiting the dealer, figure out your budget, research your options, and call ahead to make sure the vehicle is still available.
Late in the Month, Quarter, or Year
Dealers usually have sales quotas for each month, quarter, and year. In the last few days of a sales period, a salesperson may be especially motived to sell in order to hit their sales target. (Note that sales periods may not match exactly with the months on a calendar.)
You wouldn’t think of late December as the best time to save money at the dealership, but in the days leading up to New Year’s Eve, you could secure a great deal from a salesperson looking for a last-minute sale.
Have Time on Your Side
If your current vehicle’s transmission dies, the pressure to find a replacement vehicle could force you to pay a price you’re not happy with. That’s why the best time to look for a new car, truck, or SUV is before you need it.
If your car is starting to show its age, now is the time to research various makes and models, read owner reviews, and compare prices. This way, you can take your time in exploring your options and speaking with salespeople. If you and a dealer can’t agree on a price, it’s easier to walk away.
Let’s Get You Moving
We get it: Negotiating with a salesperson may not be your thing. If you’re looking for a straightforward, stress-free alternative, try our online car shopping tool. You can search inventory in our area, get full details about each vehicle, and lock in a great price that lets you avoid haggling altogether.
Remember, affordable financing can be just as important as a good sale price. You can save money every month with a credit union car loan from Dover Federal Credit Union. With some of the lowest rates in our area, a huge network of partner dealerships, and our special 1st Time Auto Buyers Program, it’s easier than ever to get behind the wheel. Learn more and apply for a pre-approved car loan today!