Home > What's the Best Time to Buy a Car? - OUCU Financial

What's the Best Time to Buy a Car?


Did you know that there is a best time to buy a car?

Many think buying a car is dependent only on your situation, but you could get a better deal if you wait for the right moment to make your big purchase. The time of day, the day of the week, and the month of the year when you buy your car can have a big influence on the price and number of vehicles available. 

As the saying goes, timing is everything.

Why Timing Matters When Buying a Car

All economic activity goes up and down with supply and demand, and car sales are no different. Some of the time there are too many cars and not enough buyers. Other times, the opposite is true

The trick is to be a part of the first scenario. You want to buy a car when sales are slow or inventory is high. At those times, dealers will be keen to move a car off the lot – for a great low price. 

The top things to consider are the time of the year, month, week, and even day! They all play a part in getting you a good deal.

Time of the Year

We all know car dealerships have great deals at certain times of the year, but narrowing that time down can make a difference in how much you pay. Consider these times of the year when judging the best time to buy a car:

  • Black Friday: This day is often considered the end of the cycle for car models, so look for discounts on last year's models while everyone else is busy at the big-box stores. 

  • October, November, and through the holiday season: Discounts are aplenty during these months as many companies and employees are trying to meet their year-end targets. They'll also be trying to move old models off the lot to make room for the new ones. 

  • Winter: When everyone else is home trying to stay warm, you can snag a great deal on a new car. On the other hand, low inventory may drive prices up.

  • Summer: The warm months bring new inventory, which can lead to bargains on older models.  

Time of the Month

The end of the month is when dealers might be close to hitting their monthly target and need you to tip the scales so they can get their bonus. You could even test drive cars earlier in the month then drop in later to close the deal.

Days of the Week

Mondays and Tuesdays are slow days for many businesses, so brighten up your dealer's day. Drop in at the beginning of the week and see if it works in your favor. If your state permits car sales on Sundays, this may be the best day of all!

Time of the Day

Just before closing time can be a good time to get a good deal because your dealer might have had a slow day and wants to make up for it. Alternatively, they might have had a banner day and are riding on a high and happy to cut you some slack. 

Bonus Dos and Don'ts of Buying a Car

If you're still wondering about the best time to buy a car, consider these tips:

  • Do search for rebates and incentives online and you might find a dealer pulling out all the stops to meet a manufacturers' targets. 

  • Do shop around for the best auto loan within two weeks so your credit score is dinged only once by multiple credit checks. After two weeks, another hard credit check from a potential lender will lead to another hit on your score. 

  • Don't rush to buy the hot new model the moment it hits the lot as the price will be at a premium. Plus, the added cost might bring only slight modifications to last year's model.

  • Don't shop in spring when everyone is feeling optimistic that winter is over and rushing to spend their tax refund at the car lot!

Best Time to Buy a Car: When You’re Pre-Approved! 

Having auto loan pre-approval is like showing up at the car lot with cash in your pocket. Because you're good to go, the dealer will take you seriously. 

Advantages of getting your loan pre-approved include:

  • You'll know your budget in advance.

  • You'll be able to focus solely on choosing your car once you get to the lot. 

  • You won't have to waste time wrangling with the dealer about monthly payments. 

  • You'll have the negotiating power, rather than the dealer.  

  • You'll get a better deal because you hold the balance of power.

So what are you waiting for? Choose the best time to buy a car that suits your needs, apply for your auto loan in advance, then hit the dealerships! Find out more in the article below. 

5 Reasons to Get Pre Approved

« Return to "Blog" Go to main navigation