YOU'RE IN MASTERkit:

buy a car with confidence

LEARN MORE
+

buy a car with confidence

New or used? Lease or buy? Gas, electric, or hybrid? Buying a car raises lots of questions. This MasterKit has the answers. Our quizzes, articles and videos will help you get the best car for your money by making sure you ask yourself, and the salesperson, the right questions at the right time.
salesmen shaking hands with customer
Article / 2 MINS

When Are the Best and Worst Times to Buy a Car?

Timing is everything — even when buying a new vehicle. But thankfully it's not too hard to know when you should — and shouldn't — hit the dealership to make that big purchase.

When you're buying a car, not only does the time of year make a difference, the time of day you visit the dealership can even factor in to whether you get a good deal or not. Luckily, determining these windows of opportunity is easier than you think.
Best Times to Buy
1. In the Winter Months
There are several reasons that shopping for a car in the winter can be to your advantage. First, there are end-of-year sales on the previous year's cars to free up space on the lot for the new models. This is especially true if the new model has been redesigned or upgraded, so dealers will usually be willing cut prices on cars they need to move off the lot.

The weather also plays a role. People don't want to roam the lots when it's cold, so there are fewer people shopping for cars. When you're one of the few people to visit the dealership on a cold day, salespeople might be more likely to give you a great deal.

2. At the End of the Month
It's true that dealerships often have monthly quotas that their sales associates must meet. This means that salespeople might have extra incentives to close the deal with you on that car you want at a lower price than usual if you shop at the end of the month.

Pro Tip: Brush up on your car negotiating skills before you're ready to make a deal, no matter what time of the year you're buying.

3. At the End of the Day
Some dealerships also have daily goals, so showing up later in the day and taking advantage of that mini-quota can work in your favor as well. If you wait until Sunday afternoon, you may save even more.

4. Black Friday
It's known as the biggest day of the year for savings, and the same is true when it comes to buying a car. Dealers usually heavily discount last year's models to make room for the new year's models. Black Friday also falls around the end of November, so your salesperson may need to meet his or her quota—don't be afraid to negotiate hard to get the best deal.

Pro Tip: You could also get good deals during other holidays, including President's Day, Memorial Day and Labor Day. Just do your research upfront and don't get too caught up in the dealer's hype.

Worst Times to Buy
1. Spring Time
Historically, spring isn't a good time to buy a car. People are eager to get out on the road after being cooped up during the winter. Many also have a fat tax return check they can't wait to spend. And the dealers know it. They also have a bit of time before next year's models roll in and fill up their lots in the fall, so they probably won't be too pressed to cut any great deals with you.

2. When New Model Years First Come Out
If you have your heart set on that brand new model year SUV, expect to pay for it. As we mentioned previously, dealers are more eager to make deals on last year's models when new inventory is filling up their lots. So consider whether you really must have the latest model of the car you've been eyeing. You could get a better price negotiating last year's model.

Pro Tip: Don't make any deals on a new model until it's been reviewed by reputable industry professionals.

3. Seller's Market
Car buying, like everything else, falls under the basic principles of economics. When a car is popular (or in high demand), the dealer holds all the cards in negotiating the prices, especially when supply is low. Don't buy when it's a seller's market. Hold out until more cars are available. The price should fall, and you'll have more room for negotiation.

Keep in mind that dealerships always want to make money and sell cars, so a shopper armed with research and some negotiating skills can buy a vehicle at a reasonable price any time of the year. But if you can wait to buy at the end of the day at the end of the month in the winter, you might be able to shave a little extra off the total purchase price for the best deal.
WAS THIShelpful?
UP NEXT IN THE

buy a car with confidence

MASTERkit
YOU MAY ALSO LIKE THESE MASTERkits
Hand using wrench
9 ITEMS  /  29 MINS

conquer car care

Find a trustworthy mechanic, know maintenance costs and avoid unexpected problems –whether your car is new or old.
Man Plowing Snow
4 ITEMS  /  13 MINS

manage a mechanic

Take control of your auto repair with car facts and tips on effectively communicating with your mechanic.