Unlock the Best Time of Year to Buy a Car: Expert Savings Tips Revealed

The ebb and flow of the car market can significantly sway car prices, and savvy shoppers can harness these cycles to their advantage. Let’s uncover the secret times of the year that can help you save money on your next car purchase, and find out the best time of year to buy a car.

Key Takeaways

  • Uncover the optimal times to buy a car throughout the year, including May for summer buying season offers and November for Black Friday deals.
  • Mondays offer less crowded showrooms and more negotiation time while Tuesdays are ideal in regions with Sunday dealership closures.
  • Take advantage of holiday sales events, strong trade-in values from certain brands, loan preapproval incentives & discounts when negotiating your car purchase.

The Magic Months: Uncovering the Best Times to Buy a Car

Like the rhythm of the tides, the rhythm of the car market also has its peaks and lows. So, when are these magical months that hold the promise of a good deal?

We will traverse through the calendar year, highlighting the optimal months for purchasing a vehicle.

May: Summer Buying Season Begins

May is when the summer buying season kicks off and the car dealerships start to buzz with activity. Imagine a beehive buzzing with bees; that’s an accurate depiction of your local car dealership in May. But why May? The answer is twofold. First, tax refunds often land in the laps of potential buyers around this time of year, forming a handy down payment for a new car. Second, the onset of summer weather makes outdoor car shopping and test drives much more appealing.

During the Memorial Day weekend, generous cash back options become the norm rather than the exception, making May a great time to buy a car. Whether it’s low or zero percent APR financing, extended loan terms, or enticing lease deals, May presents an array of offers for car buyers to capitalize on.

October: Outgoing Models on Sale

As the leaves turn golden and fall, October ushers in the season of discounts on outgoing models. Consider it akin to a clearance sale, where the old gives way for the new arrivals. The outgoing model year vehicles, eager to vacate the showroom for their shinier successors, come with a host of incentives and discounts.

But, there’s a catch. When buying an outgoing model, it’s worth pondering why the automaker decided to discontinue it. Was it due to poor sales, mechanical issues, or just a routine model refresh? Doing some background checks can help prevent ending up with a faulty vehicle.

November: Black Friday and Financing Incentives

As November rolls in, the car market prepares to dazzle buyers with a plethora of Black Friday deals. Yes, Black Friday isn’t just for snagging that fancy espresso machine or the latest smartphone. It’s a golden opportunity to drive away in a new car while saving a pretty penny.

Black Friday car deals usually include:

  • Financing options
  • Trade-in credits
  • Reduced prices
  • Cash back offers
  • Discounts on particular models

On average, the discount on a new vehicle can exceed $1,000, although the exact savings may vary depending on the make, model, and dealership’s promotions, as well as the manufacturer’s suggested retail price.

Therefore, with a range of low APR rates, cash back offers, and bonus cash on specific models, November presents abundant opportunities in the car market, making it an ideal time to secure financing from a bank or credit union.

December: Year-End Sales Goals and Deals

With the year winding down, December ushers in a host of deals and appealing financing possibilities. Car dealerships, with their eyes firmly on year-end sales goals, roll out red carpets for buyers. It’s a win-win situation. The dealerships inch closer to their sales quotas, and buyers benefit from attractive pricing and deals.

As the clock ticks towards the end of the year, dealerships may even be willing to incur losses on a deal to meet their sales objectives. Whether it’s cash rebates, low-interest financing, or special lease deals, the drive to meet annual new car sales goals in December can lead to serious savings for car buyers.

As the year ends, so does a particular car’s model year, making December the best time to negotiate a deal and drive home in one of the prior model year cars.

Weekday Wisdom: Optimal Days for Car Shopping

Beyond the magic months, there’s wisdom to be gleaned from the days of the week. Yes, the day you step into the showroom can impact the deal you walk out with. Let’s reveal the optimal days of the week for car shopping.

Mondays: Less Busy Showrooms and More Negotiation Time

Mondays often go unnoticed as advantageous days for car shopping. As the week begins, the hustle and bustle at car dealerships subside, giving way to less crowded showrooms and more time for negotiations. While everyone else is buried under Monday’s to-do lists, you have a unique opportunity to engage with salespeople who are eager to start their week on a high note.

The reduced foot traffic on Mondays can tip the scales in your favor during negotiations. With fewer customers to attend to, salespeople have more time to devote to you, allowing for a more thoughtful and relaxed negotiation process. This can lead to better communication and potentially more attractive deals. Consider scheduling your next dealership visit on a Monday for potential advantages.

Tuesdays: A Great Alternative if Dealerships Close on Sundays

In some regions, local laws mandate car dealerships to close on Sundays. If you’re in such a region, fret not. Tuesdays make for a great substitute time to shop for a car. Just like Mondays, Tuesdays also see reduced foot traffic in showrooms, leading to a calmer and more focused shopping experience.

The benefits of shopping on Tuesdays mirror those of Mondays. With fewer customers vying for attention, you get more time and attention from the sales staff. This can lead to a more personalized car shopping experience and potentially better deals. So, if your local dealership shuts its doors on Sundays, make sure to mark Tuesday on your car shopping calendar.

Holiday Hype: Capitalizing on Special Sales Events

Beyond the weekdays and the magic months, there’s another time frame that holds promise for car buyers – significant sales events, especially during a holiday weekend. Holidays like:

  • Christmas Eve
  • New Year’s Eve
  • Memorial Day
  • July 4th
  • Labor Day
  • Black Friday

The car buying process, which includes understanding a car’s life cycle, can turn the auto loan market into a goldmine of car deals for car shoppers.

These holiday sales events can feel like a scavenger hunt for car buyers. Dealerships, eager to cash in on the holiday shopping frenzy, roll out a slew of offers and discounts. Whether it’s cash back options, attractive financing deals, or doorbuster discounts on specific models, holidays can offer a cornucopia of deals for those willing to brave the holiday crowds.

Navigating the Current Auto Market: Challenges and Opportunities

The car market, like any market, is subject to the forces of supply and demand. Recent years have seen some unprecedented challenges, like inflation, supply-chain disruptions, and production shortages, which have caused car prices to soar to new heights.

Despite these challenges, the current auto market presents unique opportunities for car buyers. For instance, trade-in values remain strong, so if you have a used vehicle to sell, now could be a good time to maximize its value.

Mastering the Art of Negotiation: Tips for Getting the Best Deal

Now that you know the optimal times to buy a car, it’s time to refine your negotiation abilities. After all, getting the best deal on a car is as much an art as it is a science.

One of the key tools in your negotiation arsenal is loan pre-approval. Getting pre-approved for a loan puts you in a stronger position to negotiate as it gives you a clear understanding of your budget and borrowing limit. It also gives you leverage to negotiate better interest rates and loan terms with the dealership.

Keep in mind, success in negotiation heavily relies on preparation. So, do your homework, compare offers, and don’t be afraid to ask about incentives and discounts.

Used Car Considerations: Timing Your Purchase Right

While much of our discussion has revolved around buying new cars, the principles largely hold true for used cars as well. The timing of your purchase can significantly impact the price and value you get.

Similar to new cars, used cars also witness an increase in inventory and potentially lower prices between October and December. This is primarily due to more trade-ins coming into the market as people buy new cars. However, caution is advised if you’re shopping for a used car shortly after a major flood or disaster as these cars may have sustained significant hidden damage.


In the world of car buying, timing is everything. Whether it’s the magic months of May, October, November, and December, the weekdays of Monday and Tuesday, or the exciting holiday sales events, each offers unique advantages to the discerning car buyer. The key lies in understanding these cycles and aligning your purchase accordingly. With the right timing and a dash of negotiation skills, your dream car might just be within your reach.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the cheapest month to buy a car?

December is the cheapest month to buy a car, as it is when dealerships are most aggressively trying to meet their sales goals and offer higher discounts and incentives. October through January 1st are also good times to purchase a car, as they typically include deals, discounts, rebates and other incentives. Likewise the spring time when tax dollars hit the market is an excellent time to buy a car.

Are weekdays better for car shopping?

Weekdays, especially Mondays and Tuesdays, are the best days for car shopping as it leads to less crowded showrooms and more time for negotiation.

What are the challenges and opportunities in the current auto market?

The current auto market poses challenges such as inflation, supply-chain disruptions, and production shortages, but it also offers opportunities like strong trade-in values and discounts on certain brands.

How can loan pre-approval help in getting a better car deal?

Loan pre-approval gives you a clear understanding of your budget and borrowing limit which helps you negotiate better interest rates and loan terms with the dealership, giving you the upper hand in getting a better car deal.

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