These days, car buying can be a long, painstaking, and expensive process. While the ability to shop for cars online has made buying a vehicle a bit easier, there's still a lot of fluidity in the auto industry when it comes to finding the best deal on a car purchase.
The biggest question buyers usually ask is how to know when the best time to buy a car is. Unfortunately, the answer can vary according to the day, month, and year, and also depends upon which dealership or website you visit.
By car shopping during a few key times throughout the year and paying attention to advertised deals, you'll have the best chance to save big on cars.
The best day of the week to buy a car is generally Monday. Why? Well, because other people who could be in the market for a new car are likely at work. This means that a dealership's sales team will be super attentive toward anyone who comes in on Monday to buy a car, which will make the process faster and easier, and you can possibly receive a better deal in the process too.
At the very least, dealers could be in a good mood from a weekend of lucrative car sales and might be more inclined to spend more time with their clients or throw in some extras to entice you to purchase, like free oil changes or car washes.
Some months are better for car buying than others. May is a great month for buying a car because it marks the start of summer – the busiest buying season for auto dealers. The beginning to middle of May is also when Memorial Day sales will start to be advertised, and you can often take advantage of this sale well before the holiday actually arrives.
Although May is a great month for buying a car, additional months that offer the best car deals include October, November, and December.
Car dealerships set up sales quotas that they usually separate by the year, month, and quarter. As a year ends, a dealership will start focusing on its annual sales goal. If it's coming up short for the goal, then the dealership will start advertising more tempting offers to make its sales quota.
Dealerships also want to display the newest cars. If they still have old models to offload, then they'll be more likely to make you a deal to get one off the lot and into your garage to make room for the newest (and most expensive) vehicles.
Keep in mind that getting a good deal means that you'll more than likely have to choose a car that's available from the dealership's current inventory. You may not be able to select your favorite color or get all the options you wanted, so it's best to be flexible in your expectations.
If you can't wait until the end of the year to get a car, then visit car dealerships at the end of the month or quarter. This is when you might be able to take advantage of a bonus opportunity on the purchase price or an additional incentive.
All those holiday-themed commercials encouraging you to buy a car aren't false advertisements – you can, indeed, save big on cars during the holidays. The sales offered by car dealerships often feature large discounts when compared to what you would pay during other times of the year.
The best holidays for car purchases are:
If you can make it work, New Year's Eve could be one of the best holidays for purchasing a new car. Salespeople who are close to making their sales goals and are trying to earn a nice holiday bonus may be especially willing to give you a good deal.
Along with buying a car at the end of the calendar year, keep an eye on when vehicle models reach the end of their model year. This is the time when car companies start bringing out new versions of their vehicles. And, when the new versions roll out, dealers want to offload last year's models as soon as possible, which means offering discounts and other incentives on the rest of the inventory they have on the "old" model.
Of course, ultimately the best time to buy a car is when your finances allow for it. That means knowing how much you can afford to spend on a car down payment as well as on the monthly payments.
Sometimes a dealership will offer zero percent financing to qualified buyers who have a good credit score. To check your credit score for free, log in to your (or create a new) Pocket360® account. Check your credit score to see if yours qualifies you for the best terms and rates.