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When Is the Best Time to Buy a Car?

When Is the Best Time to Buy a Car?

By Matt Diehl • May 03, 2019

Ever heard of the phrase “timing is everything”? If you’re in the market to purchase a new or used car, timing could be your key to getting the best deal.

Here are some of the best days, months and other favorable times to buy a car:

Best holidays to buy a car

  • Memorial Day — Summer is usually one the most expensive times of year to buy a car, but the one exception is Memorial Day weekend. Since next year’s models aren’t out yet, each car dealership may be running their own special or promotion based on their current inventory. Search your area dealerships to see if the make and model you want is on sale that weekend.

  • Black Friday — Black Friday is a huge sales event for all retailers, not just car dealerships. It’s also when most dealers transition to next year’s models, so you could see big discounts on outgoing models. One extra bit of advice: this is one of the busiest shopping days of the year, so it could help to get a value on your trade-in and get preapproved for an auto loan before you go.

  • New Year’s Eve — A lot of people have plans for New Year’s Eve, but if you’re in the market, your plans should be buying a car. This isn’t just the last day of the year — it’s also the last day for any monthly, quarterly or annual quota for salespeople. Use this pressure to your advantage.

Best months to buy a car

  • October — October is the month where most dealers and manufacturers are preparing to transition to next year’s model. Unless their lot is empty, this means they need to make room for dozens of new vehicles. Use this knowledge to your advantage when walking the lot and negotiating with the salesperson.

  • November — Did someone say, “Black Friday”? The unofficial kickoff to the holiday sales season is also the beginning of most “end of the year” sales for car dealerships. In fact, some dealers might start events earlier in the month and run them for several weeks.

  • December — The last month of the year means one thing to car salespeople — meet your annual sales goals and earn a bonus. And as days pass by, car prices might continue to drop if they haven’t reached their target yet. Look for some great deals between Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve.

Best days to buy a car

  • Early in the week — Most car dealerships are busiest during the weekends because a lot of their customers work during the week. So, if you’re looking for more personal attention and more time to negotiate a deal, avoid the crowds and come in on a slower day like Monday or Tuesday.

  • Last week of the month — As monthly sales quotas come to an end, salespeople can be eager to make a deal. But — not all quotas sync up with the end of the calendar month. Try shopping for your next car a few days before the end of the month to be safe.

Other favorable times to buy a car

  • New model releases — You’ve probably heard commercials like this before: “These old models got to go” and “End of the model year clearance.” Model years traditionally end around Labor Day so look out for great deals on outgoing models and brand new arrivals in late summer and early fall.

  • Limited time offers — Most new and used car dealerships run limited-time offers to create buzz and get people in the door. If you’re keeping an eye on a certain car, be sure to watch your local dealerships for pop-up events like this.

Wait for the green light

Waiting for the best time to buy a car can take a lot of patience, especially if you’ve picked one out already. But if you make a car buying plan, hold off until the right time and negotiate with confidence, you could save hundreds or thousands of dollars off the sticker price.

The information in this article is provided for general education and informational purposes only, without any express or implied warranty of any kind, including warranties of accuracy, completeness or fitness for any particular purpose. It is not intended to be and does not constitute financial, legal or any other advice specific to you the user or anyone else. The companies and individuals (other than OneMain Financial’s sponsored partners) referred to in this message are not sponsors of, do not endorse, and are not otherwise affiliated with OneMain Financial.