The best times to buy a car to get a good deal | finder.com
best time to buy car

When’s the best time to buy a car?

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Time your next car purchase to get the most savings.

You might be ready to buy your new car right now, but when is the best time to buy a car? To save the most you might want to time your purchase to take advantage of discounts. Even waiting for the beginning of the week might get you a better deal.

Best times to buy a new car

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Rates last updated December 15th, 2018

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Name Product Product Description Min. Credit Score Term of Loan Requirements
car.Loan.com Car Loans
Apply with a simple online application to get paired with a local auto lender. No credit and bad credit accepted.
300
Varies by lender
Must be a US citizen with a current US address and employed full-time or have guaranteed fixed income.
Auto Credit Express Car Loans
Get connected with an auto lender near you, even if you have bad credit.
300
Typically 3 to 6 years
Must be employed full-time or have guaranteed fixed income of at least $1,500/month and be a current resident of the US or Canada.
LightStream Auto Loans
Quick car loans from $5,000 to $100,000 with competitive rates for borrowers with strong credit.
Good to excellent credit
Flexible terms
Good or excellent credit, enough income or assets to afford a new loan, US citizen or permanent resident, 18+ years old
RateGenius Auto Loan Refinance
Connect with a network of over 150 lenders to refinance your car loan.
510
Varies
Income of $2,000+/month, vehicle has less than 150,000 miles and is no older than 8 years, loan balance is between $10,000 and $100,000, debt-to-income ratio is less than 50%
LendingClub Auto Refinancing
Lower your monthly car payments and save on interest through a fast and easy online application process.
Fair or better credit
Minimum of 2 years
Car must be less than 10 years old with fewer than 120,000 miles. Current loan must have a balance between $5,000 and $55,000 and at least 24 months left in its term.
MotoRefi Car Loan Refinancing
A car loan connection service for borrowers looking to refinance.
525
1–6 years
Must have an income of at least $2,000/month and have a vehicle with less than 100,000 miles.
LendingTree Auto Loans
Compare multiple financing options for auto refinance, new car purchase, used car purchase and lease buy out.
Good to excellent credit
Typically 1 to 7 years
Must be a US citizen and 18+ years old. Must have good to excellent credit.

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What kinds of discounts can I expect?

Once you know the right time to buy, it’s important to know what sort of discounts and deals you can expect.

  • Cash back rebates. Cash back typically applies to the purchase price of the car you’re looking to buy, and not all models offer the same deal. You’ll have to research rebates separately, but it’s a good way to lower the overall cost of your next car.
  • Financing incentives. If you have excellent credit, you may qualify for interest rates between 0% to 5%. These rates are often advertised to get people through the door, so unless you know you have the credit, don’t expect to receive this good of a deal.
  • Special buyer discounts. Recent college grad? Military personnel? First-time car buyer? There’s a strong chance you’ll be able to get a discount from the dealer or manufacturer.
  • Leasing programs. Many manufacturers encourage buyers to lease by advertising low monthly payments. These can be beneficial for people who want to have the newest car every few years, and if you catch a dealer at the right time, you may be able to negotiate the price down even lower.

Keep in mind that many of the special discounts listed here are for new car buyers. This shouldn’t stop you from shopping for a used car and negotiating a good deal, but most rebates and low financing will only be given to buyers looking to purchase new.

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How else can I save?

Timing your next purchase isn’t the only way you can save on your car loan. You might also want to:

  • Consider a used car. Used cars are typically cheaper than new cars and come with the added benefit depreciating less over time.
  • Consider a certified preowned car (CPO). Want a new car? CPO programs allow you to buy a used car that the manufacturer has updated with features that would come with a newer model.
  • Trade in your car. If you already have a car, trading in your old vehicle can knock hundreds or thousands of dollars off your new car price.
  • Consider a midlevel model. While high-end models might come with more features, consider whether you’re willing to pay that price difference for something that might not affect your driving experience.
  • Shop around for financing. Comparing car loans can help you save on the total cost of your car. You’ll know what kinds of rates and terms you’re eligible for and might find something better than what your lender is offering.

Bottom line

There are a lot of considerations that come into play when you’re planning to buy a new car. Now you don’t have to worry about when to buy. Be sure to compare all of your options and read the terms and conditions of your finance deal before pulling off the lot in your shiny new car.

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