Updated October 25, 2019

Best Time to Buy a New Car

Buying a new car is a huge expense, and it can be scary if you're worried that you might not get the best deal possible. Luckily, there are some surefire strategies for purchasing a new vehicle at the right time. Here are some tips for landing a great deal on some new wheels.

Look at the end of summer, beginning of fall.

One of the best times to look for low prices on cars is during the months of August and September. The end of summer and beginning of fall is when dealerships get new models. They want to make sure they have room for the new vehicles, so it's out with the old! Dealers will be more than happy to offer some fantastic prices on the older models. You'll easily be able to land a lower price tag for a same-year model. Who cares about having the most modern of cars when you know you're getting a good deal?

Deals at this time of the year are most likely to come in the form of promotional incentives that offer a set discount off the sticker price of the car. These discounts are usually in the $1,000 to $2,500 range regardless of the car's MSRP. Check the fine print, though - sometimes these incentives come with customer requirements, such as a "loyalty" discount for customers who have previously purchased cars of the same make or "new customer" discounts for customers who are new to the brand.

However, if you're looking to purchase a convertible, make sure you head to the dealerships in the winter. These cars are much more likely to be sold when it's actually good top-down weather, so dealerships are usually happy to mark down a convertible during the months when fewer people are shopping for them.

Check out prices at the end of the year.

You're also likely to find some amazing deals when you shop at the end of the year, especially the last two weeks of December. Dealers have annual quotas they have to meet, so they'll be happy just to get some cars off the lot. By shopping in the last few weeks of the year, you could be saving as much as $3,000 off the sticker price.

Discounts at this time of year are likely to be similar to the incentives offered at the end of summer/beginning of fall. Also, remember to look for special deals on car leases, such as no first month payment (savings of $150-$450 on average) or no money down (savings of $2,000-$5,000 on average). Many of these specials coincide with holiday shopping time as dealerships try to entice shoppers to add a new vehicle to their shopping list.

Shop towards the end of the month.

Once you've locked in shopping during the months mentioned above, there are even more specific shopping times that can be helpful in snagging deals. In addition to their annual goals, many salespeople also have monthly quotas that they have to meet. If you shop at the end of the month, you're likely to find a good deal since you're shopping when dealers are trying hard to make up for any time lost earlier in the month.

Head to the dealership at the beginning of the week.

It's also a good idea to shop at the beginning of the week. Most people shop during the weekends, so dealerships are crowded and salespeople are confident they don't have to negotiate to land a customer. If you shop on Mondays or Tuesdays, chances are business is slow, and salespeople might lower prices to nail down a deal.

Try to close the deal at the end of the day.

If you shop at the end of the day, salespeople just want to go home. They definitely don't want to spend a ton of time negotiating, so they're much more likely to accept a price you offer. Just make sure that you do your research ahead of time, and are ready to actually close the deal when you enter negotiations. You'll probably be tired at the end of the day too, so you'll want to be sharp enough that you don't miss any opportunities to lower that sticker price.

If you do your research, a little test driving, and stick to these tips, you'll find a great price on your next car!

Bonus Tip: Profit margins on new cars are notoriously thin for dealerships, so it will be tough to get your car salesman to drop much One place you can drive a harder bargain is in your financing options, though. Many dealerships offer special interest rate financing in the 1-2% range, and at some times throughout the year they may even offer 0%. If you qualify, the amount you'll save on interest payments can easily amount to several thousand dollars. Some dealers even let you use your credit card for part of your down payment (apply for a card with a 0% introductory APR).

(Writing by Erin K, Analysis by Leah N)

Erin K is a contributing writer at CreditDonkey, a credit card comparison and reviews website. Write to Erin K at erin@creditdonkey.com

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