The best time to buy a new car is usually when you need one.
But if you’re planning ahead, you may have more flexibility to take advantage of holiday deals, end-of-month pushes and other special dealership offers. By understanding how car dealerships operate and when new models come out, you may be able to get the car you want at a better price.
The best times to buy a new car
You may be able to save thousands of dollars if you time a new car purchase carefully. While there’s no single best time of the year to head to the dealership, there are common times when you may be able to get a deal. Here are a few times to consider buying a new car.
Start of a model year
When car manufacturers introduce new models, dealerships can offer incentives and rebates to get people in the door. While new models used to typically arrive in the fall, now you can see them arrive year-round.
If you have a specific model in mind, find out when the next version will be released. Call the dealership, do some research or attend auto shows where manufacturers debut new models.
End of a model year
If you don’t care about getting the latest model, you may be able to score big discounts on models that dealers want to clear from their lots to make room for incoming vehicles.
Just keep in mind that by purchasing a new car at the end of a model year, you may miss out on improvements and modifications with the next model year. But if modifications are minor, buying the older model year could allow you to get a brand-new vehicle for a better price.
Since new models can trickle in throughout the year, you’ll need to be on top of your desired model’s cycle. If you have no model preference, the end of the summer could be a good time to find a deal on an outgoing model.
End of a model’s life cycle
Sometimes car manufacturers discontinue a certain model. While this means the car could depreciate more quickly, it can also be an opportunity to get a deal.
Before you jump on a discontinued model, though, make sure you understand why the manufacturer has pulled the plug on it. If it’s simply a matter of changing things up, you probably don’t have any cause for concern. But if it’s because the model has reliability or performance issues, it may not be worth the discount.
You’ve probably seen plenty of car commercials advertising holiday deals. Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, Labor Day and Black Friday are all big days for special financing and cash back incentives from car manufacturers, dealerships or both.
Just keep in mind that these deals typically attract a lot of like-minded people, so you may need to fight a crowd. To save time, do your research and schedule a test drive beforehand. You may then be able to close the deal during a holiday week.
Other good times to buy a new car
If you can manage to time your purchase, you can take advantage of big deals. But if you can’t wait for model years to start or end or for the next holiday weekend, here are a few other times to keep in mind.
Early in the week
Dealerships tend to be busier on weekends, when more people are off work. Taking the time to visit the dealership early in the week may not net you bigger discounts, but you may get more time and attention from the sales team. You may also have more time to negotiate the price.
The end of the month
Car dealerships may have sales quotas for how many cars they need to sell in a month, which means they may be more willing to give you a deal during crunch time.
Unfortunately, there’s no easy way to tell whether the sales floor has met its quotas. But you may get an idea if you notice a willingness to negotiate on the price.
The end of the year
December can often be one of the best months to buy a new car, but you may also see big discounts in October and November. The first few months of the year, on the other hand, tend to offer the least discounts. But remember, every dealership is different. Be on the lookout for good deals and sales all year.
New cars are a big investment, so do your research and consider purchasing during a time when you may be able to get a deal. By planning in advance for your next vehicle purchase and taking advantage of manufacturer and dealer incentives, you could knock thousands of dollars off the price tag.
In addition to getting your timing right, take some time to research your car of choice and learn how to negotiate with salespeople. While there’s no guarantee you will save more money this way, it doesn’t hurt to try.