When is the Best Time to Buy a Car?

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  • Car models are released almost yearly, this would mean that keeping up with one or two would be economically improbable and inefficient. However, there will be times when it would be wholly irresistible or urgently needed.
  • There are holiday sales, year-end, and month-end sales. These are time-sensitive events that you would have to wait for. Patience is a virtue needed to get the best deals through proper negotiation.
  • If you can’t wait for these sales, Mondays and Wednesdays may be the best days of the week to purchase a car. This is because these days are usually the slowest days for a salesperson. Fewer customers equate to a more aggressive need to sell.

Every year, carmakers release new versions of certain models and introduce innovative upgrades to keep up with ongoing advancements in the automotive industry. If you’re a total gearhead, or perhaps a car collector, it can be tempting to make a purchase as soon as a release is announced.

However, just like everything else, there is a right time to make that purchase. In this article, we will discuss the most optimal time to buy a car to ensure that you get the most bang for your buck.

the best time of the year to buy a new car is when the dealership starts offering discounts
Be patient and wait for excellent deals from the dealership if you’re planning to buy a car.

Best Times to Purchase a Car

There are several times in a year that you could purchase a car and save money. You just have to be patient and wait for excellent deals from the dealership. If you’re waiting for the right time to buy a car at the best price, here are some possible days or seasons to watch out for.

End of the Calendar Month and Year

Automakers usually have monthly, quarterly, and yearly sales goals. As they approach the end of each month, quarter, or year, car dealerships will be more likely to give large discounts due to their need to meet these quotas.

This is why you’ll usually see banners strewn across car dealership lots that say, “Year-End Sale!” or something similar. Car salespeople usually have bigger incentives to sell more units during these times, so you can typically expect better deals.

A key reminder is that not all dealerships will set sales deadlines on the last calendar day—so if you decide to come in at the end of the month, chances are, they may have already met their goals for that period.

Instead, come in about three days before the end of the month to ensure the best deal.

Holiday Sales

As previously mentioned, car dealerships provide huge incentives for their salespeople during key car-selling periods—which includes the holidays. This means they would be willing to sell for lower than retail.

The only difference here is that, while month-end and year-end sales typically last around 3-5 days, holiday sales don’t last as long.

salesman handing over the keys to a customer's new car
Dealerships provide huge incentives for their salespeople during key car-selling periods, which includes the holidays. This means they would be willing to sell for lower than retail.

Best Holidays to Purchase a Car

  • New Year’s Eve
  • President’s Day
  • Memorial Day
  • Labor Day
  • President’s Day
  • Fourth of July
  • Black Friday
  • Christmas Season

The more common theory is that buying a new car on New Year’s Day would be the best approach—but it’s not. Go for New Year’s Eve or even earlier. Why? Because if you think about it, salespeople have 30 more days to sell. Therefore, there wouldn’t really be a need to rush to move stock given that they have a longer time to meet their quotas.


You might be thinking why the day of the week would matter, or if it does matter at all. The answer is that it does. This is because studies show that Mondays are usually the slowest days of the week for car dealerships. This means that car salespeople are more likely to negotiate and have the time to do it.


This might be trickier for you to add to your schedule, as it’s the middle of the week. People tend to flock to the dealerships on weekends, so the early days of the week are typically slower. If you can’t make it on a Monday, try going on a Wednesday.

The slower the day is, the more aggressive your local salesperson will be with selling and negotiating.

Right Before New Model Releases

Before new models are released, car dealers and automakers are usually in a rush to get rid of old stock and make room for new inventory. This means you’re more likely to strike a good deal as the new stock rolls in. Model-year turnover for domestic car makes usually happens around August or September, while the model-year for imported makes usually end around October or November.

You’ll get even bigger discounts on vehicles that aren’t selling as well as the others, as well as the ones that are about to be discontinued.

Customer getting a great deal on a new car from the dealership
Before new models are released, car dealers and automakers are usually in a rush to get rid of old stock and make room for new inventory. You are more likely to get a good deal during this period.

Obviously, you can’t be picky here—you may not get the exact color or optional upgrades that you want from the selection they have. But if the goal is to save some money, then you have to decide what’s important to you. It’s all about having the right mindset. Being a year or two late from the general release of your beloved model can go a long way, and help you get some extra savings for the next year or so.

At the end of the day, there is no single “best time to buy a new car”—when you need a car, then you need a car. If you can’t wait for any of these sales, then just try to come in on a slower day. Also, make sure that you’re fully prepared for the negotiations that will ensue.

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