The Best and the Worst Time of the Year to Buy a New Car

Whatever your reason for buying a new car — it’s your first set of wheels, your family size has changed or your old vehicle has become a liability — timing is everything. Although a major part of your search for a new car will likely revolve around the make, model and style of vehicle that appeals to you, consider the financial picture as well.

When looking for new car deals, timing can have a big impact on the overall price you’ll pay. In fact, waiting just a few months before making that purchase can save you money, according to car-buying experts. When your need for new transportation isn’t urgent, exercise a bit of patience, and you’ll likely score a much better car deal.

Here’s a look at the best — and worst — time of the year to make a vehicle purchase.

The Best Time of Year to Buy a New Car

Car-buying experts say you can typically save some money by buying a new vehicle at a specific time of the year, month, time of day or even day of the week. Timing your purchase accordingly could really be worth it. Here are the best times of year to buy a new car:

1. At the End of the Month

This tip applies to any month of the year, so if you’re really in a pinch to make a purchase soon, this can increase your chances of saving money. The customer who comes in ready to buy at the end of the month might get a better deal if it helps put the manager over the top for their quota, said Mike Rabkin, owner and founder of From Car to Finish, a national new car deals negotiating service and information provider.

“When a vehicle needs help selling, the end of the month is a good time to buy if negotiating the vehicle yourself, because sales managers at dealerships have a monthly quota to hit and get compensated on whether they hit it or not,” he said.

Tip for this tactic: Brush up on your negotiating tactics before you make an appearance on the dealer’s lot at the end of the month.

A young woman showing the car keys through the car window.

2. When Models Are on the Way Out

When new vehicle models come out, dealers are eager to get in with the new and out with the old. So it pays to watch the life cycle of your desired vehicle and pull the trigger to buy right before the next best thing comes out.

“End-of-model-years — leftovers — get the best discounts, as the dealer is paying to inventory these units, and they need to free up space and cash for incoming, newer models,” said Albert L. Engel, executive vice president and chief retail lending officer for Valley National Bank.

Edmunds reports that December is the perfect time to get the best car prices because the last month of the year has the highest discounts and incentives.

Tip for this tactic: Pay attention to sales when older models will likely go down in price.

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