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When is the best time to buy a car in Canada?

Time your next car purchase strategically to get the most savings. Find out when is the best time to buy a car by month, day and holiday.

We all know that buying a car takes time to find the right vehicle and money to seal the deal. But it’s not just your time and money that matters. Keeping a shrewd eye on times of the business year and your dealer’s financial goals too can put a lot of money back in your pocket, right where it belongs.

You might be ready to buy right now, but when is it really the best time to buy a car? To save the most money on your car purchase, it’s a good idea to time your purchase to take advantage of the best discounts. Interestingly, even waiting for the beginning of the week can potentially give you a better deal.

When is the best time to buy a car in Canada?

The best time to buy a car is generally within the last few months of the year – in October, November and December. This is true whether you’re buying a new or used car. Year-end sales can save you a bunch of money on extras and the actual cost of the car. It’s common to see interest-free deals then too. Especially in December, 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, even if it means making a smaller profit.

The best time to buy a car within the month

Knowing the best time of the year to buy a car can help you save money. But being even more strategic about when you visit the dealership can help you save even more. Here are some of the best times of the month to buy a car.

  • The end of the month or quarter

The end of each month or quarter is one of the best times to buy a car because, depending on the dealership, salespeople often need to reach a target goal. That makes negotiating a better price easier as salespeople want you to sign on the dotted line to help them meet their sales targets. Sometimes, dealerships offer salespeople bonuses if they meet certain targets by the end of the month or quarter, so you might be able to score a better deal if you shop during those times.

  • The best day to buy a car: Monday or Tuesday

When it comes to finding the best time to buy a car in order to lock in a good deal, the day of the week can even make a difference. 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.

  • The end of the business day

The best time to buy a car can literally come down to the time of day when you visit the dealership. If you know the exact car you want and go shortly before the end of the business day to buy it, you may be in a stronger negotiating position. Salespeople have worked a long shift and are likely looking forward to getting off work. They may be more eager to work with you to close the deal quickly. However, don’t expect this strategy to work if you don’t know exactly what you want. Being indecisive will undermine the salesperson’s perception that he or she can close the deal quickly and go home.

The best holidays and events to buy a car

If you can wait for these holidays or events throughout the year, you could save big on your next car purchase.

New Year’s Eve or Day

The end of the calendar year is one of the best times to buy a car. 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 off the lot. You may also be able to cash in on these deals during Boxing Day sales leading up to New Years.

May long weekend sales

Many dealerships cut prices and offer low interest deals to kick-off summer. If you can wait until the May long 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.

Black Friday sales

This is one of the best times to buy a car. 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.

Just after new models are released

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.

Compare car loans from top providers in Canada

Once you’ve decided on the best time to buy a car based on your schedule and needs, it’s time to lock in a good deal on financing. A high-interest car loan can negate any savings you cashed in on when purchasing your car, so it’s important you shop around for competitive loan terms. Compare car loan features from the Canadian car loan providers in the table below.

Getting pre-approved for a car loan can give you even more negotiating power at the dealership and help you stay on budget.

1 - 5 of 5
Name Product Ratings APR Loan Amount Loan Term Requirements Long Table Description
CarsFast Car Loans
Customer Survey:
3.90% - 29.90%
$500 - $75,000
12 - 96 months
Requirements: Min. income of $2,000 /month, 3+ months employed
Loans Canada Car Loans
Customer Survey:
0.99% - 46.96%
$500 - $35,000
3 - 60 months
Requirements: Min. income of $1,800 /month, 3+ months employed
Clutch Car Loans
Customer Survey:
From 8.49%
$7,500 - No max.
12 - 96 months
Requirements: 3+ months employed, Max.1 bankruptcy, Ontario & Nova Scotia only
Drive Away Car Loans
Not yet rated
3.90% - 29.99%
$300 - $75,000
12 - 96 months
Requirements: Min. income of $2,500 /month, employed
Canada Auto Finance
Customer Survey:
4.90% - 29.95%
$500 - $45,000
3 - 96 months
Requirements: Min. income of $1,500 /month, 3+ months employed

What kinds of discounts can I expect?

Once you know the best time to buy a car, it’s important to know what sort of discounts and deals you should be on the look out for.

  • Cash-back rebates. Cash back typically applies to the purchase price of the specific 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. Are you a student or a recent college grad? A member of the Canadian military or RCMP? Is this your first time buying a car? Have you recently bought or leased another vehicle from the same manufacturer? 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 with the latest perks and safety features 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 will only be given to buyers looking to purchase new.

Compare car loans

How else can I save?

Knowing when is the best time to buy a car isn’t the only way you can save on your next purchase. You might also want to:

  • Consider a used car. Used cars are typically cheaper than new cars and come with the added benefit of depreciating less over time.
  • Consider a Certified Pre-owned Vehicle. Want a new car? Certified Pre-Owned programs allow you to buy a used car that has been thoroughly checked over and polished by manufacturer-trained mechanics to make sure the vehicle is both high quality and reliable. Certain manufacturers also have warranty options specifically for Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles that come into effect as soon as the new car warranty has expired.
  • 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. Be sure to take care of your vehicle and clean it up before taking it into the dealership for a valuation so that you can get the best possible price.
  • Consider a mid-level or basic model. While high-end models might come with more features, consider whether you’re willing to pay for upgrades that aren’t essential for your driving experience or won’t affect it that much.
  • Shop around. Comparing cars from different types of sellers and financing options from different types of lenders can help you save on the total cost of your car. If you choose to get pre-approved for a car loan, you’ll know what kinds of rates and terms you’re eligible for and can potentially used a good offer from one dealer or lender to negotiate a better offer from another.

Bottom line

Buying a car can seem overwhelming, from researching brands and models, to finding a trustworthy dealership, to securing competitive financing. Now, however, you know when you can most likely get the best deals. Be sure to compare all of your options and read the terms and conditions of your finance deal before pulling off your new ride.

Want to know more about buying a car including where to go, what to look for and how to pay for your vehicle? Read our guide to buying a car, which is jam-packed full of tips and information to make you a confident, knowledgeable buyer.

Also, check out our guide to common car loan scams and how to avoid them so you’re prepared to avoid crafty sales tactics.

Frequently asked questions about the best time to buy a car

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