When is the best time to buy a car?

The difference in knowing when is the best time to buy a car and not knowing is $$$$ thousands of dollars $$$$.

Would you like to learn a few simple ways to save thousands on your next car no matter when you’re looking to buy?

Unknowingly I stumbled on to one of these tips when I bought my first new vehicle – a bright red Bigfoot Edition Jeep with really big tires. I knew nothing of negotiating, but I did know what I could afford. After a couple long hours at the Jeep dealer I knew I had gotten a good deal because the sales guy had this blank look on his face – he wasn’t happy. My guess is the manager made him give me the deal to get the sale so the dealer’s quota could be made. I could be wrong, but man I still remember that guy’s unhappy face after all these years.

You may be a negotiating Jedi, or you may be like most people and scared to death of negotiating (I used to be like this). No matter what level your negotiating skills are, these tips can help you walk away with an extra $1,000-$3,000 in your wallet by knowing when is the best time to buy a car. And you won’t have to become a Jedi master to use them!

Not following them can cause you to overpay and waste your hard earned money.

I understand you may have a situation where you have to have a new car by tomorrow, or you may be thinking about getting one next year. There are times of the day, week, month, and year that can save you money and reduce some of the time and hassles of negotiating. We’d all like to save on our next car, right?

End of the month

Most car dealers and individual salespeople have some e of sales goals each month in order to earn bonuses. It’s crunch time, and they can be willing to budge on price to fatten their paychecks.

If you show up at a dealer two or three days before the end of the month and they need to sell one more car to reach a $2,000 bonus, they have more incentive to make a deal with you by knocking $1,000 or more off the price. Dealers have the same incentives because they can receive kickbacks from the manufacturer if quotas are met.

You may find an eager dealer. However, you won’t know if the dealer or salesperson has already met their quota or not. You also won’t know how far off they are.

Be prepared to walk away if you don’t get the deal you want. Patience will save you money.

Early in the week

Shopping for a car on the weekends is like shopping on Black Friday. If a dealer is busy, just drive on by and come back another time.

Think about it – if there are a dozen buyers on the lot, how likely are they to make a deal with you when they have a dozen other potential buyers?

Go early in the week when there aren’t any crowds and you can get the undivided attention of a salesperson and the best service. You want to shop when there aren’t any other shoppers, and nothing is being sold for the best deal.

End of the year

The end of the calendar year to a car dealer is what Valentine’s Day is to a florist.

Dealerships are trying to make year-end sales quotas to reduce fees and taxes on their year-end inventory. They may allow salespeople to make even better deals to help the dealer achieve their overall sales goals. Salespeople are also trying to earn their annual bonuses.

If a dealer needs to make a few more sales to meet a sales goal they have the incentive to slash $2,000, $3,000 or even more off the price to get you to leave with a new set of car keys.

On top of that, most people are busy shopping for presents and spending time with family during the holidays. They aren’t spending money at dealerships  – that is good for you.

6.6% – the average discount in December and January for coupes, sedans, convertables, trucks, SUVs and minivans. The greatest average discount all year long.

Bad weather

Every winter there is some part of the country that gets shut down for days because of snow or ice storms. Here in Dallas where I live they shut the city down if it looks like it ‘might’ snow. Are people out buying cars when schools are closed or are they home sledding with their kids?

If people can barely get to the grocery store for milk and bread (ice cream and cookies for me), they certainly aren’t out shopping for a car. Without any customers, it’s an advantage for you because dealers and salespeople still have to make their quotas. Take a snowmobile or cross country ski to the dealership if you have to.

Try it out, and see if you don’t get a very attentive salesperson.


Dealers start receiving new-model-year vehicles in the late summer and fall. They don’t want last year’s models on their lots, so they get desperate to unload them and start slashing prices. For you a brand new car that is last year’s model can be the best deal.

Typically from one year to the next there are not a lot of differences in models. Maybe they upgraded the GPS software or added a new steering wheel cover. When the new models start arriving, any inventory for last year’s model is now considered a year old even if it has 20 miles on it. But it’s still a brand new car!

Frequently manufacturers add additional sales incentives to move inventory on outgoing models. These incentives can bring your price down even more.

What about the resale value of your now year old new car? The money you save by purchasing last year’s model will make up for any difference when you trade in for a new car down the road.

Best time to buy convertibles

Do you know many people driving around with their tops down in winter? Well, if you live in the South some people do that with their heaters turned all the way up. But people want to buy convertibles in the Spring and Summer when the weather is nice.

That means in the colder weather inventories for convertibles are collecting snow and ice, waiting for you to snag them the best deal.

Best time to buy SUVs and trucks

The opposite of shopping for a convertible in the winter is looking for a truck or SUV in the warm weather, when there aren’t any icy covered roads that require the 4×4 feature for maximum traction.

Closing time

After a long day salespeople are eager to get home for dinner.

So are the finance people.

So are the detail people.

You can take advantage of this by eating an early dinner first and then showing up 30 minutes before closing time. Salespeople may be more eager to negotiate a sale. Everyone wants to get you into a new car so they can leave.

Never show up at a car dealership on an empty stomach. You might be there for 2, 3 or even 4 hours if you are trading in a car. You don’t want to torpedo your buying plan by rushing the process because you get hungry.

Time it right

Patience can pay off big-time if you apply these tips. There are times of the day, week, month, season, and year where dealers and salespeople are more likely to offer you the best deal. Now that you know when is the best time to buy a car, by waiting you’ll improve your chances of walking away with big savings.

Have you had any success with any of these tips? Share your answer on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.

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