The Worst Time of Year to Buy a New Car
Alternatively, there are certain times that car-buying experts say are the worst times of the year to find new car deals. Delay looking at cars for sale during these times to avoid these car-buying pitfalls. Here are the worst times of year to buy a new car:
1. When a Vehicle Is in High Demand
Like many commodities, buying a new car when it’s in high demand might not be the wisest decision. That’s when car dealers and manufacturers have the upper hand.
“The best time to buy a new vehicle will vary depending on the supply and demand of a vehicle,” Rabkin said. “If it’s in demand and selling faster than they can get them in, it’s a seller’s market, and there is no best time because the dealer sets the price if they have what everyone wants.”
Tip for this tactic: Consider repairing your current vehicle first, or tightening your budget for a few more months to hold off on the purchase of your new car.
2. Following Recent Credit Inquiries
Auto dealers will check your credit score before negotiating terms if you plan on financing your new ride. Say you go to one auto dealer and apply for an auto loan but don’t like the interest rate you’re offered. You can go to another dealer or two and apply for loans as long as you do so within a 14-day window of the first inquiry, according to consumer credit bureau Experian.
By doing so, the credit inquiries basically all count as one inquiry. Waiting several weeks or months and then applying for another loan, however, will count as an additional hard inquiry and could have a negative impact on your credit score and the loan rate you are offered. In short, to save the most, plan your applications and credit checks strategically, or hold off until you are certain you will buy no matter what the terms offered.
Tip for this tactic: Don’t agree to a dealer’s credit check until you are ready to finance your purchase.
3. In the Spring
When considering when to buy a new car, you should think twice before purchasing new wheels in the spring, according to USAA. Winter weather is no longer an issue, tax refund season is in full swing and the summer travel season is on the horizon — all of which are conditions that make people more likely to be interested in buying a car. And when a dealership has an increase in willing customers who are ready to buy, it isn’t as likely to offer frequent discounts and incentives.
Tip for this tactic: Instead of blowing your tax refund on a new ride, put that money into savings until new car deals emerge later in the year.