Best Time to Buy a New or Used Car?
There is plenty of information on the internet about the best time to buy a car. However, be cautious of where this information is coming from. Most of these so-called "experts in the field" have never worked in an actual car dealership or had the privilege to experience the day-to-day grind that comes with the career.
Timing is not the only factor when it comes to getting a great deal when buying a new or used car. However, there are certain times a dealer may be a little more flexible with pricing than others.
Based on my experience as a car dealer and working in the industry most of my adult life. I can tell you what some of the best and worse times are to buy a car from a dealership.
New car buying tips about the best time to buy a car in this section:
- When is the best time to buy a new car to pay the lowest possible price?
- Best time of the week to buy a new or used car from a car dealership.
- When is the best time of the month to buy a new or used car?
- The best time of the year to buy a new car.
- Other good times and bad times to buy a car.
- What to do after researching the best time to buy a new or used car.
When is the Best Time to Buy a Car and Pay the Lowest Price
To buy a new car at the absolute lowest possible price, you must buy the car 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 or 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.
Use this handy Car Payment Calculator to estimate the payment on any vehicle.
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. That's not a bad deal, is it?
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.
How to Make Car Dealers 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 CarClearanceDeals and Edmunds. These companies will provide you with new car price quotes from local dealers in your area. Reviewing these quotes will tell you which vehicles dealers 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 = 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 dealer lots. They tend to provide consumers and dealers with the most and biggest factory incentives and customer rebates during these months. Of course, the later in the year you can wait, the better.
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 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.
Visit a Car Dealership Right Before Closing Time
This happens almost on a daily basis. Many car buyers believe this is a very good technique to buy a car. They think they can get in and out of a car dealership without having to haggle over price for hours on end. These uneducated car buyers believe car salesmen and their managers will practically give a away a car because they've been working all day, ready to go home to their families, and don't want to stick around to pay hardball. THIS IS NOT TRUE!
Some dealership personnel are just downright rude if you show up right at closing time 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 from them. They'll haggle with you until midnight or later, if need be. The sales staff will do anything and 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 the best technique you can use and I would strongly advise against it.
Go to 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 for a dealer 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, selling off as much old inventory as possible to make room for the new incoming models. 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 before buying a car at any other time during the year. Dealerships are always promoting some kind of "BIG SALE!" Don't fall for the hype, it's all a numbers game to them. They will attempt to make as much money as they can from an uneducated buyer every chance they get.
Use Online Sources to See Current New Car Market Values
You can use free online price quote services to somewhat predict the pricing trends set forth by the manufacturers. Some have found very good deals using this technique in finding what dealers are selling a specific vehicle for in their local area.
Although it's impossible to predict car pricing trends in the industry because of the volatility of the new and used car market. You can increase your odds by seeing what other people are paying for the same car in your area.
There are many variables when it comes to pricing a new car. Some of these variables are current incentives, rebates, demand, model year changes, popularity, vehicle life cycles, and what others have paid for the same type of vehicle you're interested in.
Online sources will help you determine the current pricing of any vehicle you're interested in. 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 their day started 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 better deal. However, this is not an excuse to not do your homework and research before you go.
After Researching 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 and bookmark my online new car buying guide and if you're in the market for a used car, visit my used car buying guide to guarantee you get the best available deal.
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 will allow you to 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.
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Recommended Sites for Online Car Shopping
CarClearanceDeals and Edmunds are the quickest way to compare new car prices in your local area. These online sites will provide you with free, no-obligation price quotes and the discounts you receive will give you confidence on your next new car purchase. Walk away from the dealership knowing you received a good deal, not hoping you did.