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Car Shopping Hacks: Best Times to Buy a Car

2019 01 02 Blog Car Key On Hood Of New Car

By Madeline Klein on January 8, 2019 in Life Hacks

Car shopping isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Sure, exploring your options and test driving your favorite cars can be a blast. However, when it comes down to negotiating prices and dealing with the potentially pushy salespeople, car shopping can lose some of its charm.

But we’ve got a maybe not-so-secret insight for you. There are good times and bad times to go car shopping. By planning around these days and times of the year, your car shopping experience may be just a little bit more enjoyable.

1. Avoid weekends

Weekends tend to be a hectic time in the car shopping world. Dealerships are more crowded, and you’ll get less one-on-one time. That means negotiating might be a little more difficult.

Bankrate has some good advice and suggests that the ideal times to go are early in the week, like a Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday. You won’t deal with tons of people at the dealership, and the salespeople will have more time to talk. That means more time to talk about the cost, negotiate the price of a trade-in, and hopefully a big smile on your face when you walk out of the dealership.

2. Look for holiday sales

Holidays are historically great for sales on things like furniture, televisions, and not-so-surprisingly, cars. You’ve got holidays like:

  • Memorial Day
  • Black Friday
  • Christmas
  • New Year’s Eve

They all happen to be great days to look for your new ride too. Some may be busier than others, but those days will likely have some great deals to help ease the pain on your bank account from buying a car.

3. Shop old models

Old models typically go on sale when dealerships get a batch of the newest model onto their lots. That means you should look at getting the last of this year’s model as the brand new one comes out. This usually happens around August or September.

Dealerships are trying to get the old cars off the lot and will often throw in a discount if you opt for the older one. They make space for new cars, and you save some money on your ride. That’s a win-win in our book!

4. Check out sale cycles

Car salespeople usually work on commission. That means that if you can catch them when they’re trying to meet sales goals, they may be more willing to throw you a bone and make you a great deal.

Dealerships usually have quotas yearly, quarterly, and monthly. All three goals overlap near the end of the year, making Christmas and New Year’s Eve especially tempting times to buy.

But don’t overlook October and November too. Those last three months of the year tend to be a great time to buy because of the sales cycles.

PS: Not all sales quotas are the very last days of the month. Try coming in a few days before the last day to make sure you hit the mark.

5. Pay attention to discounted months

Some months are better than others for finding that discount you’re dreaming of. TrueCar looked into the least discounted months and found they are the first few of the year. January tends to have the least amount of money off an MSRP, with an average discount of 6.8 percent.

Later months like October, November, and December tend to be the most favorable for discounts. TrueCar also found that some people can get close to 8 percent off the MSRP if they shop in December. And it’s no mistake that this seems to align with the sales cycles for dealerships.

Don’t rush the process

If you’re not in a big hurry to buy a car, you’ll have the best chance at shopping around and getting exactly what you want. Take your time and find the perfect ride before signing the dotted line.

Once you’ve found what you love, see if you can wait until some of those times we mentioned above to seal the deal. It may be in your best interest to hold off on getting your new car until you hit a great holiday deal, or simply hold off until the end of the month. That way your salesperson may be a little more into negotiating with you for the price you want.

And don’t forget to review your coverage when you get a new car. You’ll want to make sure your auto insurance is up to par for a new car.

Want more advice like this? Well, we’ve got loads of it! Check out our blog.

Madeline Klein is Say's Digital Content Producer. She graduated from the University of Missouri with a Bachelor of Journalism, emphasis in Strategic Communication. Her experience is in writing and digital media. Madeline loves using her creativity to write and design new and exciting pieces of work for Say!