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When Is the Best Time to Buy a Car?

Woman gazing into the side-view mirror of her car and smiling

Everybody wants to get a great deal on a new car. Part of scoring a great deal comes down to the make, model, and features of the car you choose. But the rest of the equation often comes down to little more than timing. Let’s break down the best time to buy a car.

Time of the Year 

In general, you’re more likely to find a good deal on a car by shopping at the end of the year. This means October, November, and December are some of your best bets for getting a great deal. It’s this time of the year that sellers are trying to get rid of cars from the previous model year in order to make room for new models. While “end of year” and “holiday” sales events are common, dealerships can begin making room for new model-year inventory as early as September.

Time of the Month

Many car dealerships have sales quotas they must meet by the end of each month. Meeting that sales quota can provide significant bonuses for the dealership, meaning dealers eager to meet the quota will usually offer great deals at month’s end. The only catch is that the deals are contingent on the fact that the dealership isn’t meeting its sales goals.

Time of the Week

According to 2019 data, states that allow dealerships to stay open all week typically offer the best savings on Sundays and the worst on Thursdays.* But believe it or not, there’s no significant difference in which day you buy a car if you’re shopping in a state that bans Sunday sales. The day of the week could still matter if you want more time and attention from the sales staff. In that case, avoid making your purchase on a Friday or Saturday, when business is busiest.

Other Considerations

If you are in the market for a car because yours has become less reliable, it might be best to go car shopping today instead of waiting for the best deal possible. That’s partly because your current car could help you earn trade-in money if it’s still in drivable condition. You should also consider what would happen if your car suddenly broke down entirely. In that case, you might end up scrambling to buy any decent car instead of finding the car that’s the right fit (and price) for you.

Another timing factor to consider is when you get your financing. To improve your odds of getting the deal you want, try to arrive at the dealership with approved financing in hand. Not only does this set an upper limit on how much you can spend, but you may also qualify for a better deal than you’d get from the dealership’s lenders. 

Great Rates With Discounts Available

Give yourself the upper hand in negotiations with an auto loan from DCU. We offer low rates, flexible terms, and discounts for members who maintain electronic payments and Plus or Relationship benefits on their DCU checking account. Learn about your options and apply online.

*Source: TrueCar. (December 4, 2020) The Best Time to Buy a New Car.

Please note, membership is required to accept a DCU vehicle loan.

This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to serve as legal, financial, investment or tax advice or indicate that a specific DCU product or service is right for you. For specific advice about your unique circumstances, you may wish to consult a financial professional.