When's The Best Time to Buy a Car?

Lucy Lazarony
December 3, 2020

At the end of the month, at the end of a quarter and at the end of the year are all really good times to buy a car. Car dealers have monthly, quarterly and yearly sales quotas to reach and they’ll be more likely to make a deal if they are close to a sales quota deadline.

December is the absolute best time to buy a car because there are monthly, quarterly and most importantly yearly sales quotas going on in December. Because of this, car dealers, looking to get their sales numbers up for the year, will be happy to strike a deal. And you the car buyer should take advantage. Other times of the year that make for good car buying months because of quarterly and monthly sales quotas for car dealers are March, June and September. So there are times throughout the year when you can land a good deal on a car. But the best month is December and if you can wait to shop until the second half of the month when a car dealer’s sales quota deadline is closing in all the better. That sales quota deadline works to the car buyer’s advantage.

Research Before You Buy

While it’s exciting to dash out and buy a new car, especially when the timing is so right for a good deal, you’ll want to do some research first. What kind of car do you need for your driving needs? Are you looking for a family car? A commuting car? A second car? A fancy car loaded with features? Decide what type of car that you need and/or want. Then start looking at models from car manufacturers. Is there a car manufacturer that you prefer? If so, it narrows the list considerably.

Once you have narrowed the list of cars that you like to two or three choices, it is time to do some research. Check out Kelley Blue Book, Edmunds, Motor Trend, Car and Driver and J.D. Power. Research the pros and cons of each car you are interested in as well as the latest pricing information.

Has your research led you to the right car for you? Congratulations, you are one step closer to being a new car owner. Now, it is just a matter of going out and getting it.

Three Separate Transactions

When buying a new car it is best to look at it as three separate transactions. There’s the trade-in value of your old car, there’s the price of the new car and there’s the financing. You want to negotiate each of these separately from each other and get the best deal you can on each transaction. Don’t let a dealer try to tie them altogether.

Crunching the Numbers

Are you trading in your old car? How much do you have for a down payment? Do you have money to put a couple of thousand dollars down for a cash down payment? Calculator.net has an auto loan calculator that allows you to input the car price, loan term, interest rate, down payment, trade-in value, so you can see what your monthly car payment would be. Crunch the numbers when deciding on a down payment. It can make a big difference to your monthly car payment if you are able to manage a big down payment up front.

Scooping Up Incentives

Car buying incentives, discount financing and cash back rebates, are great deals for consumers. So take a close look at the incentives being offered by car manufacturers. These can be quite generous. For example, a hefty cash back rebate could come in handy after buying a new car. And there may be special offers for students and college grads, military members and medical professionals. So if you are a member of these groups, be sure to ask about special rebates.

If you have excellent credit, you may qualify for a dealer’s discount financing. So this is another option to consider. Do you like what the low interest rate does to your monthly payment amount, and how much interest you will save on the loan? Now compare it with a cash rebate? Which do you prefer? As someone with excellent credit, you are in the driver’s seat, whichever incentive you want is yours.

Shopping Ahead for Car Financing

Be sure to shop around for financing for your new car and do it in advance of your car shopping. You want to walk into a car dealership with financing in hand so the dealer has to beat the best financing deal that you found on your own. Where should you shop for auto loans? Your bank or credit union is a good place to start. They know you and you already have a good relationship. Many online lenders offer excellent deals on auto loans as well. So give yourself time to shop around.

Check Car Insurance Rates for Your New Car

Shopping Around for Car Deals

Researching the prices on various car dealerships near you is one way to find a lower price on a car. A dealer may offer you a better deal when he knows you’ve been in touch with another dealer as well. So don’t be shy. Reach out to several car dealerships. The one that gives you the best price gets your business.

Shopping Around for Car Insurance

You’ve got the new car and now it’s time to think about car insurance. To get the best offer on insurance you’ll want to compare quotes from several different insurance companies.

SmartFinancial makes this easy to do. With SmartFinancial, you’ll be comparing auto insurance quotes from insurance companies near you in no time. SmartFinancial has access to more than 200 insurance companies so you are bound to find the auto insurance coverage and price that you want.

Insurance for a New Car

If you are financing your new car, your lender will require that you carry collision insurance and comprehensive insurance for your car. Collision insurance is coverage that helps to repair or replace your car if it’s damaged in an accident with another vehicle or object such as a fence or a tree. Comprehensive coverage covers events that aren’t covered by collision coverage. These events include fire, theft, vandalism and damages from weather such as a hailstorm, a windstorm, a hurricane and a tornado.

Both collision and comprehensive coverages require deductibles. A deductible is the amount you need to pay before your auto insurance company begins to pay for damages to your car or losses. Choosing a high deductible lowers your auto insurance premium. So if you are comfortable with $1,000 deductible or higher it will help to lower your car insurance premium.

When you are finished financing your car, collision and comprehensive coverages are no longer required by your lender and you can keep or discontinue the coverage as you wish. Whatever you do, make sure to comparison-shop using the app from SmartFinancial. Just enter your zip code to get started.

Get a Free Auto Insurance Quote Online Now.

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