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The Worst Times to Buy a Car: A Guide

Buying a Car

Getting an excellent deal on a new car takes strategic thinking and patience. If you plan to buy a car, it’s not enough to identify and save. It is also important to time your purchase appropriately to avoid paying premium prices. This will greatly help you save on the car purchase while taking advantage of available discounts. So, while car dealers tend to be in business all year long, the best deals only occur on or close to specific times and dates. Before you buy a car, ask yourself whether it is the worst or best time to close the deal. Here is an exclusive guide on the worst times to buy a car.

Weekend Shopping Hours

Salespersons are busiest during the weekends and have their hands full with many car shoppers. Therefore, buying a car during the weekend can be bad. To avoid the crowds, we highly recommend that you don’t go to the auto dealers on weekends when everyone else is off and is hurrying to complete the deal. If you can visit the dealership on weekdays rather than weekends, you can normally get more personalized attention and better deals. However, Although Sundays are often the busiest day at a car dealership, Sunday afternoons can be beneficial. You can sometimes get price reductions if the dealership has not achieved the anticipated sales for the last two days.

When A New Model Is Released

Another worst time to purchase a car is when a new model has been released on the market. This is because newer car models come in high demand. According to Jerry, the new models are priced higher than the subsequent models. Also, new models are not well tested for road use and might let you down occasionally. If the car is too new to have been reviewed and rated, you won’t have a way of knowing if it’s worth the investment or if it will end up having recalls. Experts recommend that you wait for two months after the release before placing your order. The point is that everyone wants the newly released model, and you don’t want to compete with everyone.

Furthermore, assessing the long-term financial implications of owning a new model is important as understanding the expected maintenance expenses helps in budgeting for future services and repairs. This includes comparing the best car insurance rates—since newer models often face higher premiums due to their value and the cost of repairs—as well as evaluating the fuel efficiency of your vehicle.

Before The Start of Spring and Summer

The cold winter season is gone, schools are closing, and everything is bright. Spring and Summer provide the peak driving season as the road visibility and weather are at their peaks. More people spend more time outdoors as compared to winter and spring. Due to these facts, the period before the onset of spring and summer experiences massive car sales.

According to Trusted Choice, most car shoppers visit dealerships from February through May. In these times, the dealerships are showing their newest models, and the discounts are few. More so, the dealers have maximum inventory, so they don’t require to make a deal. Therefore, purchasing a car at this time will see you paying a higher price than other times of the year. To avoid this, purchasing a car later or earlier than the summer is always advisable.

When The Car You Want Is on High Demand

According to Investopedia, on the basic laws of economics, the price of a product increases with the rise in demand and vice versa. Therefore, if a particular car is in demand, its prices are likely to appreciate, which makes it the worst time to buy the car. Avoiding cars in high demand is essential as you will be forced to pay a premium price. Instead, go for those not very high on demand because you will pay less.

After A Credit Inquiry

If you want to purchase a new car on credit or a hire purchase, you should not do it immediately after a credit inquiry. The law requires all car dealers to screen their buyers to establish their creditworthiness before they go on and sell them the car on credit. When the dealership notices that you have been through a credit inquiry recently, they will charge higher interest because of the high risks involved. This makes it the worst time to purchase a car. To avoid this, you can consider getting pre-approved loans before you go to the dealership.

You might risk decreasing your credit score if you have been negotiating finance terms at several dealerships over weeks. If several car dealerships check your credit score regularly for more than 14 days, the previous loan applications might harm your credit score. It would be best if you hence waited until you had a favorable rating before going on with the purchase. You can also avoid this by choosing one or two dealerships you like and then finishing loan applications with them within two weeks.

The Start of a Month or Year

Most car buyers often find the beginning of the month, year, or even weekends as the best time to visit auto dealers. This is because of their tight work schedules most of the time. The peak visits to car dealers result in high demand and relative increases in auto prices. It is recommended that your car purchases not coincide with these times.

Also, every year serves as the main reset for dealers and every month as a mini reset. After resetting at the start of the year or month, dealers often have less incentive to move the inventory. Taxes do not threaten them because they just paid them and probably got new vehicles in. Therefore, if there is no incentive to move the inventory, they won’t offer affordable deals to you. While you may still negotiate a good deal, you should be prepared to put in the effort ahead of time to show you are serious about making the purchase.

When You Aren’t Sure About Your Choice

Another worst time to buy a car is when you are undecided about your choice in the model, price, or anything else. If this is your case, you should not make the purchase. Don’t allow your family or other people to pressure you, and don’t deplete your pocket for a car you don’t want. After all, buying a car is a major decision and investment. Maybe you have been purchasing a car for use for several years, so you should think deeply before making the decision. This way, you won’t worry about being pressured when buying a car. However, when you are sure, you should close the deal without hesitation, even within yourself.

The Best Times to Purchase a Car

As you have seen, there are worse times to negotiate a deal for a car. So, when is the best time to buy a car? The following times may be the best to close a deal;

Special Holidays and Special Days

Special holidays and other special days provide a good opportunity for buying a new vehicle. Some of these holidays include; the new year, Memorial Day, Halloween, Labor Day, Back-to-school times, and Trade shows. During these times, cars have limited demand as most consumers go for other types of gifts. The best day to shop for a car is Black Friday, when most dealers provide great discount opportunities for savings. According to Consumer Reports, you can save thousands of dollars on a new vehicle by buying on Black Friday. Therefore, car prices tend to fall during these times.

End Of Month and Year

With all factors considered, the end of the month and year are the best times for purchasing a new car. According to Autotrader, purchasing a car at the end of the month or the end of years are the best times. Purchasing a car during these times might save you up to 8.5% or even more. It would be best if you timed your buy to be as close to these timings as possible.

Starting Off the Year for Used Car

Dealerships always try to end their year with a boom in new car sales. Likewise, they try doing the same at the beginning of the year with used car sales. This is highly attributed to the fact that January and February experience a massive intake of used vehicles as buyers trade in their old cars for new ones. According to, the months that close in the highest percentage of used car deals are December, January, and February.

Weekends are the worst times to buy a car as you will be competing with many people. To avoid the high traffic and inflated prices, you should consider shopping on Monday or Tuesday. Another advantage of purchasing a car early in the week is getting undivided attention as there is less traffic. You will have a better chance to ask questions, go for a test drive and negotiate a final price. More so, because financial institutions are open during business hours, loan applications might be easier.

When An Existing Car Model Becomes Outdated

One of the best times to buy a car is as soon as an existing model becomes obsolete. Car dealers often want to dispose of their stock to create more room for new models. The manufacturers stop making a particular model or redesign it. In these times, they often reduce their prices, such that they just want to recoup their cash even without making profits. You are hence most likely to spend less when purchasing this type of car. You won’t get the newest car on the road, but you will surely get a good deal. Also, when a new car model gets into the market, it is a perfect time to purchase an existing or older model. This also applies when a competitor releases a new model in the market. Although the new model is from a competitor, it forces the others to sell the already existing models at a lower price.

Car Dealers with Less Business

Car dealers are not the same. Different dealers receive a different number of clients. Some have been in the business for a long time and have gained a higher client base. As stated earlier, the higher the demand, the higher the prices, and vice versa. This means that car dealers receiving more business will normally charge more for the same car model than those with fewer clients. To save some cash, you should go for dealers with less business. These are often new in the car dealership industry and are mainly located in suburbs or rural areas where car demand is relatively low.

Low Season Months

Every product in the market has its life cycle, such as low and peak sales. It is important to factor in these times when shopping for a new car. In this case, May, June, December, September, and October generally experience the lowest car demands. Dealerships often have fewer car orders and business in these months. You will spend significantly less on purchasing a new car during these times than at any other time.

When The Dealership Is Providing Discounts

Last but not least, one of the best times to close in on a car deal is when a dealer is providing discount or promotion deals. The manufacturers normally give additional perks, such as leases with low monthly payments, cashback, and zero-cost deposits. If you are in debt, remember that getting a new one will make your life more difficult. It would be best if you waited to reduce your debts without owning a car until your budget stabilizes.

Bottom Line

That’s it. Hopefully, you now understand some of the worst times to buy a car. We now urge you to search for your next car cautiously and use the reviewed parameters above as your guide. Ultimately, the best tip to remember is to ensure you don’t purchase a car when you are desperate. The moment you need something desperately, you lose all your bargaining power.

For instance, if your car breaks down on Friday during the summer, you will purchase a car on the weekend during the busiest times, forcing you to make all these mistakes. Use the guide when preparing to purchase your next car, and give us your feedback on how you did by commenting below. All the best in searching for your next car.

Benjamin Smith

Written by Benjamin Smith

Benjamin Smith is one of the managing editors of Moneyinc. Ben's been focusing on the auto and motorcycle sector since 2005. He's written over 1000 articles in the space and continues to learn about it each day. His favorite car is "any Bugatti" and he's a die hard Harley Davidson fan.

Read more posts by Benjamin Smith

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