If you’re like most people, you probably want to feel like you’ve scored the deal of a lifetime when making a major purchase. Buying a car fits firmly into that category, much like scoring noticeable savings on a new TV or a dream vacation. Regardless of whether your car purchase was planned well in advance or showed up as an urgent need, driving off the lot with a new set of wheels is more exhilarating when you know you saved some cash in the process.
Some believe getting the best price on a vehicle purchase has everything to do with timing, but that isn’t necessarily the case. Here’s what you need to know about potential savings and timing your car buying experience.
Dispelling Timing Myths
A quick search of the almighty internet will deliver thousands of results about the timing of buying a car, including crazy stories of deep discounts on specific days of the month or the year. Long weekends and the last day of each month often top lists of the best times to purchase a vehicle, followed closely by rainy days and end of seasons. There is a running myth that car dealerships are more motivated to sell during these magical days due to pressure to meet sales quotas or move inventory quickly. This may sound exciting but, unfortunately, there’s just no such thing as a single, secret discount day.
According to Edmund’s, the discount you can receive on a vehicle’s MSRP during just about any day of the year ranges from 5.7 to 6.1%. On a $30,000 vehicle, that’s nearly $2,000 in savings without the hassle of negotiating. Dealerships want to sell vehicles any and every day of the year, so salespeople will work with you to get to the price that fits both parties’ needs as quickly as possible.
That being said, you may be able to reap some extra rewards by shopping at the end of the model year when the latest and greatest vehicles are being brought to dealership lots. There may also be extra savings available during big shopping events, like Black Friday or the day after Christmas, but each dealership varies in terms of offered discounts and deals.
Overall, you’re sure to get the best price on your shiny new wheels by sticking to the following tried and true tactics.
Do Your Research!
The best thing you can do as a car buyer is put in the time and effort to find the vehicle you want. For most shoppers, there is ample time to conduct research on different models of vehicles, the price differences between new and slightly used, and the dealerships with the most attractive incentives or discounts.
Several online resources tailor to you, the buyer, to help you determine what a fair price is for your next car purchase and direct you to the dealerships willing to make that a reality. Remember that inventories on dealership lots change frequently. If you can’t find what you’re looking for immediately, don’t give up. Pack your patience throughout the process, and you’ll be much more likely to find the car at the price point you want.
Know What You’re Willing (and Able) to Pay
Getting up close and personal with your budget is also a necessary step in the car buying process and will help tremendously with getting the right price for your new vehicle. Take the time to know what you can manage to pay each month on an auto loan—and don’t forget the added costs of insurance and maintenance that add up over time. Some dealerships make this easy by providing a payment calculator right on their website.
If possible, try to work with your dealership before buying to secure the most affordable financing. Having that crucial part of the process done ahead of time will mean your salesperson is more likely to meet you where you are on the purchase price.
While showing up on an overcast Tuesday morning may seem like your best bet in snagging extra savings on your car purchase, it’s just not the case. Go when you’re ready to buy, after you’ve done your research and have a solid understanding of what you can afford. If you take these simple steps, you’ll be sure to get the car you want for the price you want it—no matter what time of day, month, or year you visit the dealership.