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best time to buy car

When’s the best time to buy a car?

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These are the best times of the year to make a new car purchase.

You may be ready to buy your new car right now, but when is the best time to buy a car? Should you wait for the end of the year sales, President’s Day, or even after Memorial Day?

When you’re ready to buy a car, you’ll want to look beyond the year, make and model to get the best deal. This guide will tell you the best times to head down to the dealership to get the most for your money.

Best times to buy a new car

  • End of the year

End of the year sales can save you a bunch of money on extras, as well as the actual cost of the car — it’s common to see interest-free deals too. You can find some of the best sales between Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve as dealers are trying to meet their sales quota.

  • The end of the month or quarter

Depending on the dealership, salespeople need to reach a target goal at the end each month or quarter. Negotiating a better price can be easier as salespeople want you to sign on the dotted line to help them meet their sales targets.

  • Model run out time

When new cars are released, buyers often run out to get the latest and greatest. After this initial sales rush is over, upgraded models start arriving and can cost the same price as the original model. Because of this, you can negotiate a lower price for the original model.

  • A Monday or a Tuesday

Saturdays and Sundays are salespeople’s busiest days, not making it an ideal environment for negotiating. Mondays and Tuesdays tend to be slower, allowing you more time to play hardball and see how low you can get the price.

  • New Year’s Eve or Day

It’s the end of the calendar year and on top of offering blowout sales, dealerships may be trying to meet an annual sales target. This means salespeople are more willing to negotiate with you to get the vehicle out the door.

  • Memorial Day weekend sales

Many dealerships cut prices and offer low interest deals to kick-off summer. If you can wait until Memorial weekend, you’ll be sure to find a competitive deal on a number of different makes and models. It’s also a good time to purchase a mid-sized SUV because May falls in between the periods when these models are most popular — winter and the beginning of the school year.

  • In October

During October, most dealerships are getting ready for next year’s models and need to free up space on the lot. To do this, dealers will cut prices — making a smaller profit — in order to bulk up on brand new inventory.

  • Black Friday sales

It’s close enough to the end of the year for dealers to start making their big sales push and it’s the beginning of the holiday season — expect sales and incentives to buy. With many people looking for bigger vehicles to get them through winter, you’ll find the best deals on midsize and compact models.

Get the best deals on new cars

What sort 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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Rates last updated October 23rd, 2018

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Name Product Product Description Minimum 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.
LendingClub Auto Refinancing
Lower your monthly car payments and save on interest through a fast and easy online application process.
Fair or poor 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.
myAutoloan.com Car Loans
Get up to four offers in minutes through one simple application. Multiple financing types available including new cars, used cars and refinancing.
550
24 to 84 months
Must have a Social Security number; make $24,000+/year; have no open bankruptcies.
LendingTree Auto Loans
Compare multiple financing options for auto refinance, new car purchase, used car purchase and lease buy out.
670
Typically 1 to 7 years
Must be a US citizen and 18+ years old. Must have good to excellent credit.
Capital One Auto Financing
You could qualify for a car loan of up to 40000, but not all dealers accept this bank's financing.
Good to excellent credit
36 to 72 months
Valid street address; existing Capital One accounts in good standing. Car must be a 2006 model or newer with less than 120,000 miles.

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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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