Black Friday Car Buying Tips and Advice to Get a Good Deal

Black Friday car buying tips and advice to help you get a good deal on the shopping holiday.

Is Black Friday a good day to go car shopping? It depends on how you decide to go about it.

Forget about all of the standard dealership gimmicks.  Yes, adverts will still appear in newspapers, television, and radio.  When performing a search online for any automobile, a slew of pop-up ads will appear on your social media timelines.

However, even amid Black Friday craziness, your best approach in 2023 might not be stepping into a dealership to do your car shopping this year.

Is Black Friday a Good Day to Go Car Shopping?

We’re a nation of bargain hunters. That’s why Black Friday has become so big. In 2022, more than 122.7 million people visited U.S. brick-and-mortar stores over the Black Friday weekend, up 17% year-over-year. And 87.2 million U.S. consumers shopped online, roughly equal to 2021. (Source: NRF’s Annual Thanksgiving Weekend Consumer Survey, conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics)

Black Friday shoppers in 2022 were also the biggest spenders, with the average shopper handing over $547.

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But averages mean that some people will have spent much more. Quite a few consumers will have gone Black Friday car shopping, and some will have returned home with a great car or truck bought at a knock-down price. Others, however, will have spent needlessly more than they wanted or needed to.

Black Friday can be a great day to buy that vehicle you’ve dreamed about for the past few months. Dive in unprepared, though, and you risk severe buyer’s remorse when Cyber Monday rolls around. Here’s some background on those Black Friday car sales and car buying tips for getting the best deal.

Request a free car price quote from Edmunds.

November: Not a Good Month for Car Dealerships

The days are getting shorter, the weather cooler, and people are thinking about turkey and the Holidays. They’re not thinking about buying a new car. That’s why November is usually a lean time for car salespeople and the dealers they work for.

When Thanksgiving grows near, people start thinking about looking for bargains on the more significant purchases they’ve been delaying for the past few months. TVs, laptops, and cars are on that shopping list, and the dealerships know. That’s why they put out the balloons and banners. And spend thousands of advertising dollars buying spots on the Internet, newspaper, local radio, and TV channels: dealers are hungry and want your business.

Now, the Auto Cheat Sheet will show you how to turn their lousy situation into your advantage with some Black Friday car shopping tips.

The best car-buying and car shopping tools available online.

Understand Why Some Dealers Have Great Incentives

A Black Friday sales event is how retailers shift the inventory they’re struggling to move. Car dealers are no different. If you see a car advertised discounted thousands off the list price, there’s a reason. Rebates and “incentives” are other words used, but they amount to the same thing: money off the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP).

Black Friday Buying Tip:  If you’re in the market for a new or used car, you may have noticed that finding a reasonable price can be difficult in today’s market. Many car buyers end up paying more than the suggested retail price. But don’t worry! You can still get a great deal on a vehicle by requesting a free car price quote to compare dealer prices in your area.

The number one reason for steeply discounting a car is that it’s last year’s model, costing the dealer every minute it doesn’t sell. The factories have been building the 2024 models since midsummer, making 2023 model-year cars hard to move. That’s especially true when a significant model changes, like a facelift, additional options, technology, or new engines. The only way to persuade buyers to pick the old model over the latest one is with a substantial discount.

The other reason is that the dealer finds it hard to move a particular vehicle. Midsize sedans are a good example. Currently, SUVs sell fast, but few buyers lust after cars with trunks. As a result, you may see good deals on them (but not on SUVs.)

  • The cost of a new car from a dealer and the factory invoice price is not the same. The dealer’s cost is less than the invoice price.
  • Knowing the dealer’s costs puts you on a level playing field when negotiating the best price with the dealer.
  • Always negotiate up from the dealer’s cost, not from MSRP (or above) down.
  • Take advantage of free, no-cost online services to check what vehicles are currently selling for in your local area.
  • Please read my reviews on the top online car shopping sites: RydeShopper, Edmunds, MotorTrend, and CarsDirect.

Always Locate and Read the Fine Print on The Dealer’s Advertisement

The terrific deals you see advertised in the run-up to Black Friday most likely have some conditions attached. They might apply only to specific trims, engines, or vehicles on their lot. Sometimes, the deals are only for select groups – auto company employees or veterans perhaps – or related to specific financing terms like a minimum credit score.

The same applies to perks dealers advertise. They might offer a “free” iPad or TV with every truck, but make sure you know the qualifying criteria. You don’t want to demand an advertised deal or “freebie” only to be told you’re not eligible. That can lead to an uncomfortably red face, so read the ads carefully and always read the “fine print.”

Brace for Crowds of People at Dealerships

Recognize that every showroom will be full of people chasing a Black Friday car sale bargain. Everyone – well, most everyone – is off work, and they have plenty of time.

Plus, they’ve watched endless car commercials during the football games on television the day before and are in the mood to buy. In other words, don’t walk in expecting the salesman’s undivided attention or the opportunity to test drive a few vehicles.

Do Your Homework Before Black Friday

Know what you want to buy and how much you will pay. We’ve covered this before, but it bears repeating: all the information you wish to know about every car and truck ever built is online. Let Google do the work for you. You can also email dealers and ask for internet quotes ahead of time. That way, you’ll know how unique the deal you’re offered is.

If you plan on test-driving a couple of candidate vehicles, you should try to do this about a week before Black Friday. Be careful; don’t get talked into buying while you’re there – stick to your plan. That way, you’re not wasting time waiting for the vehicle you want to become available. If Black Friday is your only free day, go prepared with license and insurance information in hand.

I have done a lot of the legwork for you by putting together the ultimate list of online car-buying tools to help you research and compare before ever visiting a dealership.

Another good tip is to check the inventory at the dealerships you plan to visit. Many have their inventory on their websites, so you can search for the exact combination of trim and color that will make your life complete again before you visit!

Dealerships will trade vehicles between themselves to get a buyer the model they want, but it takes a few days, and when they’re busy, they may not want to spend time doing this. Driving a few extra miles could be a better use of your time.

Car prices are high but you can still find a great deal by using an online car buying service to get a free quote.

Arrange Auto Financing Before You Go!

You can usually get pre-approved for a loan, which speeds up the buying process.  Alternatively, if you plan on leasing, you should also research what deals are out there.  Be aware, though, that some dealerships may be able to offer financing on better terms than you can get from the bank.

You might also want to check your credit score before venturing onto the car lot, affecting the terms banks & lenders will offer you.

November is a bit late to boost your credit score for Black Friday car shopping, although there’s never a wrong time to work on your credit.

Don’t Expect to Spend Hours Haggling Over Price

The dealership will be busy (See “Brace for Crowds” above), so they’ll quickly offer the best available deal.

Sitting at the table for another hour is unlikely to see them go any lower because they’ll already be at their limit.

If you’re prepared to spend the whole day at the dealership haggling over price, you may be in for a surprise.  Dealers will not want to waste time with you over a couple hundred dollars.  They will either do the deal with you or not.

They will want to use their time wisely.  Missing three or four buying customers while dealing with you is not in their plan.

See what your vehicle is worth before contacting a car dealership.

Be Prepared if You Want to Score a Black Friday Car Bargain

Everyone loves a sale, and car dealerships have been eager to pile onto the Black Friday shopping mania. They’ll be running local TV and radio ads for days before Thanksgiving, hoping to whip up some excitement about the models they particularly want to shift. And that’s the key to successful Black Friday car shopping: remember that if a model is selling well, there won’t be much in the way of extra incentives. You might get a free tablet or TV thrown in, but one way or the other, you’re still paying for it.

If you’re happy to drive last year’s model, it will still be new, not the latest styling or engine. Black Friday can be a great time to buy a car. This is especially true if you keep your vehicles for a long time. The same applies if you’re not a follower of automotive fashion. Right now, everyone wants an SUV, but if you prefer the sedan experience, you could be in line for a terrific deal.

Regardless of the time of year, it also pays to be a savvy shopper. Make sure you understand the car buying process before hitting the streets.

Black Friday Car Shopping FAQs

The short answer is, “Yes!” If you’re in the market to buy a car, Black Friday weekend is a great time to buy.

For most dealerships, November is a slow month for automobile sales. Instead of purchasing a car, many individuals travel and prepare for the forthcoming holidays.

Many dealers look forward to Black Friday weekend and are prepared to go to any length to liquidate inventory to increase sales.

Yes.

Dealers and manufacturers will run specials, rebates, and incentives to boost sales beginning Black Friday weekend.  These deals are specifically geared toward increasing sales throughout the end of the year and also to move current year inventory.

Dealerships begin their Black Friday sales on Friday, November 25th, and continue through Cyber Monday, November 28th, 2022.

Many dealers will honor advertised deals for the entire month of November if you inquire.

Traditionally, many vehicle dealerships close on Thanksgiving and reopen on Black Friday for massive deals. However, whether or not their dealership lot is physically open, most dealers will continue to push sales online.

Be a Smart Black Friday Car Shopper

The number one tip for saving the most money when shopping for a new or used car is to always “DO YOUR CAR BUYING HOMEWORK FIRST!” For more hints and tips on navigating the new and used car buying process, spend a little time upfront before beginning your car shopping journey by browsing through my 100% free online car buying guide – AutoCheatSheet.com.

I recommend using an online referral service such as Ryde Shopper, Edmunds, Motor Trend, and Cars Direct before visiting a car dealership. Their free online price quotes will automatically include any discounts or cash-back incentives currently available.

Leading up to Black Friday weekend, learn how to find & research new cars online before ever stepping inside a dealership.

About the author
Carlton Wolf is the author and founder of Auto Cheat Sheet.My name is Carlton Wolf, and I’ve been in the car business since 1994, both retail and wholesale. I created the Auto Cheat Sheet to better educate buyers about the deceptive sales practices many dealerships use nationwide. Please understand that not all car dealers are dishonest. However, you never know who you’ll be dealing with, though. I’m willing to share my knowledge and experience with anyone who listens. Keep in mind that I’m a car guy, not a writer.