Best Time to Buy a New or Used Car?

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There is plenty of information on the Internet about this subject, but be cautious if the information your reading is coming from individuals that have never worked in the day-to-day grind of a dealership. As a car dealer, I can tell you in my experience what some of the best and worse times are to buy a new or used car from a dealership.

New car buying tips about the best time to buy a car you will find in this section:

When is the best time to buy a new car to pay the absolute lowest possible price?

To buy a new car at the absolute lowest possible price, you will need to buy it when it has the largest customer rebates and factory-to-dealer incentives available from the manufacturer. To understand more on how these programs can affect the price, read our section on customer rebates and factory incentives.

Best Time of the Week to Buy a New or Used Car

Weekends are normally crazy because this is when dealers hold sales events and focus on the outcome of their advertising. Having an abundance of traffic will tend to make a dealer hold profits. If they lose a sale because of it, they know they have another car buyer right behind you.

Mondays are normally "clean up days" for a dealership. They focus on following up from the weekend's business and taking care of any loose ends from the weekend's sales.

Best Time of the Week to Buy a New or Used Car = Tuesday and Wednesday

Tuesday and Wednesday are normally the slowest times of the week for a car dealership. Most people work during the week and do not normally shop for cars. This makes business slow and traffic on the dealer's lot scarce. I did whatever it took to sell a car when a customer showed up in the middle of the week. This is why I recommend Tuesday and Wednesday as the best times of the week to buy a car.

Best Time of the Month to Buy a New or Used Car

If you don't have the luxury of time on your hands and cannot wait for the huge rebates and dealer incentives that come out towards the end of the year. The very last day of the month is the most opportune day. If the last day of the month falls on the day the dealer may be closed or for some reason you can't make it on that day. You should time your visit as close to the last day of the month as possible.

For new cars, most of the dealer incentives and customer rebates are released from the manufacturers during the first few weeks of the month. So, you may miss out on these discounts if you buy a new car too early in the month. Go ahead and check to see if there are any current rebates and / or dealer incentives on the vehicle you want to buy. As it gets closer to the end of the month, salespeople, managers, and the dealers themselves are doing everything they can to hit their monthly sales goals and quotas.

The best time of the month to buy a used car is also the last few days of the month. The dealer's staff is hungry to hit personal goals and unit bonus's so they are more willing to negotiate a little more aggressively to get that last used car off the lot.

This is why you can't go wrong when it comes to getting the lowest price available when buying a new or used car as close to the end of the month as possible.

Best Time of the Month to Buy a New or Used Car = The Last Day of the Month

Buying a car at the end of the month is just part of the formula to guarantee you pay the lowest price possible on your next new car, truck, minivan, or SUV. Always figure the car dealer's true new car cost and calculate a fair profit new car offer before contacting a car dealership. Use this information combined with online automotive research and new car comparison services that provide you with free new car price quotes to ensure you're paying the lowest possible price for your next vehicle.

As I stated above, a dealer and it's sales staff have certain goals they must hit every month to achieve certain sales bonus's. As the end of the month draws to a close, some of these objectives are just a car sale or two away from being achieved. Salespeople and their managers become more flexible on making deals just to reach these quotas. Why? Because these goals are normally tied to their pay plans.

Some manufacturers give their dealers an added bonus for clearing out their inventory to make room for the newer models; we called ours a Retro Bonus. This extra bonus can be anywhere from $100 to $500 or more per vehicle retailed. The dealer must hit a quota to receive this money at the end of the sales month. If they're one car sale short, they receive nothing.

For example, let's say a dealer gets $500 bonus for ever Malibu he sells in the month of September and his quota is 50. If the dealer hits his quota of 50, he will make an additional $25,000. Not a bad deal, right?

What if you're the 50th person to walk into the dealership wanting to buy a Malibu, and it's the last day of the month? You think you might get a little better deal so the dealer can get his bonus money? Yeah, me too... This is why I believe the best time of the month to buy a new or used car is the last day of the month.

Get Car Dealer's to Compete Online for your business!

You can tell the popularity of a vehicle and how much a car dealer is willing to negotiate by requesting free online price quotes. The sites we recommend are TrueCar, Yahoo Autos,, CarsDirect, and These companies will provide you with new car price quotes from local dealers in your area. Reviewing these quotes will tell you which vehicles dealer's are willing to negotiate and also which dealer is willing to negotiate the most.

Best Time of the Year to Buy a New or Used Car

Manufacturers always apply the highest customer rebates and dealer incentives on new cars towards the end of the year. This helps the dealer move old inventory to make room for the new model year vehicles. You can find the latest and most up to date rebates and incentive information here Current New Car Rebates and Dealer Incentive Information.

Best Time of the Year to Buy a New or Used Car = The Last Few Months of the Year

September, October, November, and December are the months manufacturers are trying to make room for their new models on the dealer lots. They tend to give out the most and biggest factory incentives and customer rebates during these months.

Car Buying Tip - Combining the last day of the month with the end of the year will increase your chances of saving the most money when buying your next new car.

Keep in mind, as you get closer to the end of the year, the discounts get greater but a car dealer's "older" inventory starts to thin out, and so does your chances of getting the exact vehicle you want.

Other Good and Bad Times to Buy a New or Used Car

Weather, holidays, late nights, and promotions are other just a few of the outside factors that may affect car dealerships when selling cars to the public. Let's take a look at some good and bad scenarios you should take into consideration when determining the best time to buy a car.

Go to a car dealership right before closing time.

This happens almost on a daily basis. Some car buyers believe this is a very good technique to get in and out of a car dealership without having to haggle over price for hours on end. This is not true! Car salesmen and their managers have been working all day and are ready to go home to their families.

Some dealership's personnel are just rude to you if you show up right at the close of business and will tell you whatever to get you to leave. However, some salespeople will see you showing up late as opportunity to hammer on you for hours on end. If you're still in the dealership after closing time, the staff will close the gate and lock up the dealership not making it easy for you to leave unless you buy a car. They'll haggle with you until midnight if need be. The sales staff will do everything in their power to make you PAY, for making them stay!

Going to a car dealership right before they close may seem like a good idea, but it's not a good technique and I would strongly advise against it.

Visit a car dealership while it's raining.

Some car buyers believe if they visit a car dealership while it's raining, there will be no other customers on the lot and the dealer will be more willing to make a good deal to sell a car. Truth is, car dealers believe that if you're out shopping for a car in the rain you must really be WANTING or NEEDING to buy a car.

This technique is just going to get you soaking wet, shopping for a car. The dealer is going to negotiate with you the same way as if it were a nice sunny day. If you're shopping for a used car it will be difficult to really inspect the condition of the vehicle with the rain coming down. My advice is to stay dry and save your visit to the car dealership for a nice sunny day.

Car shopping during the holidays.

Business is traditionally slow around the holidays. During the Thanksgiving and Christmas period, customer rebates and incentives are normally higher than the rest of the year. However, car dealerships tend to cut back on their inventory around this time of year also. Depending on what kind of vehicle you're looking for, this may be a good time for you to buy.

If you're going to buy a vehicle during the holiday's, make sure you do your homework as you would do before buying a car anytime during the year. Dealer's run a "BIG SALE" all the time, and will attempt to make as much money as they can from an uneducated buyer every chance they get.

Use online sources to predict new car price trends.

You can use an online tool to predict the pricing trends set forth by the manufacturers. Some have found very good deals using this technique.

Although it's impossible to predict new and used car pricing trends in the industry because of the volatility of the new and used car market. You can increase your odds by using one of these tools. The best price predicting tool we've found is the one the car buying experts at has created. It's called True Market Value®: Predicted Price Trends (TMV) Pricing.

How it works is by forecasting the chances of a vehicle price change. There are many variables when it comes to predicting price changes. Incentives, rebates, model year changes, vehicle life cycles, and what others have paid for the same type of vehicle you're interested in.

How to get Car Dealer's to Compete Online!

Using Edmund's online tool will help you determine the current pricing of any vehicle you're interested in. If you're just looking for a good deal and don't really care what kind of car you drive. Every month will update and post their True Market Value® Deals of the Month.

I would say this technique will help you do preliminary research on the car you want to buy and should be your first step combined with other techniques on this page.

Go to a car dealership early in the week and earlier in the day.

Normally the weekend is the busiest time of the week for car dealers. This is when car dealers advertise their big sales events to draw people in. When a dealership has a lot full of car buyers and you're wanting to play hardball on the price of the car, they may not want to waste time with you and just "Broom" you out the door so they can move onto the next customer.

Visiting a dealership early or mid week and early in the day while business is slow will give you a greater advantage of getting that deal you're looking for. It will also help you avoid the Spot Delivery Scam. There will be no distractions and you will have the salesperson's full attention. Car dealers and salesmen love to sell cars earlier in the day. It gets the day started for them and puts everyone in a better mood. Don't let your guard down though; they're still out to make money.

I highly suggest visiting a car dealership on a Tuesday or Wednesday earlier in the day. In my personal experience, these days are typically the slowest days of the week and a car dealer is more likely to give you a good deal. Always make sure you do your homework and research before you go.

After You've Researched the Best Time to Buy a New or Used Car

Now that you know the best time to buy a car, you're still not ready to visit the dealership. To guarantee you pay the lowest possible price on your next new car, truck, minivan, or SUV. Read or bookmark our quick New Car Buyer's Guide. It is more of a "cliff note" version of the Auto Cheat Sheet. You have all the money saving information packed into a short step-by-step guide. If you're looking to buy a used car you can read through our Used Car Buyer's Guide as well.

The number one rule to saving money when buying a new or used car is to slow down and educate yourself on all of the aspects of the car buying process and familiarize yourself with the most common car buying scams.

Reading these sections, you can spend more time getting the car you really want, and less time worrying about haggling over price and wondering if you're being taken advantage of by the dealership.

How to Figure a Car Dealer's True Net New Car Cost

Get the Lowest Price on Any New Car | Car Buyer's Cost Sheet Index

- Factory Invoice is not a Car Dealers True New Car Cost - When is the Best Time to Buy a New or Used Car
- How to Calculate a Fair Profit New Car Offer - How Online New Car Price Services Work
- Top New Car Price Quoting Services Reviewed - How Much Should I Pay for a New Car
- What are Factory Incentives and Customer Rebates - Dealer Holdback | Hold Back Rates | How to Figure Holdback
- How Much Money Should You Put Down on a Car? - Car Dealer's Compete Online | Create an Online Bidding War

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