Best Times to Buy a New or Used Car

By: Kathy Teel July 23, 2012
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When we need a new car, most of us go car shopping at times of the day and week that are most convenient to us. But did you know that certain times are better than others for purchasing a new or used car?

Follow these tips to get the best deals and the lowest prices.

Best Hour of the Day for Auto Sales

Many people think that going to the dealership right before close will get them the best deal on a used or new car, because the dealer will do anything to get them to leave. However, the dealer builds that time into his schedule...he closes the lot at 7 p.m., but is willing to stay late to make a sale.

Actually, the best time to shop for a new or used car is first thing in the morning. The salesperson is more apt to cut a deal with the first customer of the day because that gives him a sale already under his belt. The best hour of the day to buy a new car, therefore, is the first hour the dealership is open.

Best Day of the Week for Auto Sales

Weekends are the most hectic time in auto sales. Dealers spend a lot of money trying to get you onto the lot with advertising, with sales and rebates, as well as other incentives like pony rides and sidewalk carnivals. If you leave without buying anything on a weekend, a dealer knows another customer will be walking onto the lot right behind you. There isn't much incentive to cut a deal on the weekend.

It's the same thing with Mondays and Fridays. Mondays are usually spent finalizing deals that didn't quite happen over the weekend, and Fridays are days when potential car buyers start scouting around for the best deals.

Business at the car dealership is usually slowest on Wednesdays, with Tuesdays and Thursdays coming in second. Many salespeople will do whatever it takes to cut a deal in the middle of the week. If you can avoid shopping over the Friday-Monday stretch, you'll pay less on a new or used car.

Best Week of the Month for Auto Sales

Dealers have monthly quotas on auto sales. The closer to the end of the month, the better the deal a salesperson will be willing to cut on a new or used car.

In general, you'll get the very best deals in the last week of the month.

Best Month of the Year for Auto Sales

The best rebates and incentives in auto sales can be found in the last third of the year. Dealers need to start moving old inventory so they'll have room for the newest models. Holding off until after September will virtually guarantee you the best prices.

But remember, the later in the year you wait, the more "old" inventory will be gone. Waiting until the end of December may mean there are no deals left by the time you start shopping. In general, if you're looking for specific new or used cars, you should start shopping in's late enough to get a deal, but no so late that you can't get what you want.

Do you have a success - or horror! - story to tell about the last time you browsed cars for sale? Share with us in the comments below.

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