David Bakke is a contributor for Money Crashers Personal Finance, where he shares tips for car buying and maintenance, money management, smart shopping, and more.
If you ask 10 people when the best time of year is to buy a new car, you’re likely to get 10 different answers. But statistically speaking, there are certain times when you’re likely to get a better price. Comparing prices and negotiating with salesmen are two important aspects of the car buying process, but so is knowing when to shop.
1. End of September
This is the time of year when many of the next year’s models become available, which means dealerships are looking to move old inventory. Plus, if you shop toward the end of the month or on the very last day, you can often score a better deal, as sales staff †are trying to reach monthly goals.
2. End of December
There are three reasons why buying a car in December makes sense. First, dealers have to pay tax on unsold inventory at the beginning of each year. Next, in addition to monthly quotas, many dealers are subject to annual quotas as well. Finally, sales typically lag during the holiday season, which can mean that dealers are more willing to negotiate on price.
3. Early in the Week
Most car shopping takes place during the weekend, so searching for a new car early in the week means you’ll have less competition, more attentive sales staff, and more ability to get a lower price. Start your search on a Monday or a Tuesday for the best results.
4. Around the Holidays
Many dealers are constantly looking for a reason to have a sale. You can typically count on discounted prices around Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, Labor Day, and even Thanksgiving.
5. Not Around Tax Time
As important as it is to know the best time of year to buy a car, knowing the worst time can also save you money. When many consumers receive their tax refund money, they’re likely to be careless with it. For this reason, many dealers are less willing to haggle over prices.
You could score a great deal by strategically planning when you make your purchase – but you can get a great deal anytime as long as you know what you’re doing. Thoroughly research the car you want online before ever setting foot in a lot. Insist on negotiating the sales price and trade-in value, and always obtain financing beforehand. If you’re firm and don’t allow yourself to be pressured into buying, you’re more likely to get a great deal whenever you make your purchase.
When have you had the best luck finding a great sale on a vehicle?