The Best Times to Buy a Car

Shopping for a new or used car at the right time of year can make a big difference on how much you pay.


You’re ready to buy a car: You’ve done the research; you’ve considered your budget; and you have the money for a down payment. Now, you just need the best deal possible.

That’s when timing can make a huge difference. Making your purchase at the right time of year could save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Here are three great times to buy a car.

Memorial Day deals

Not sure if you should buy a new or used car? Here are 4 factors to consider.

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Memorial Day weekend typically is a good time to buy a new vehicle. Why? Because the holiday marks the convergence of a few factors that mean bargains for buyers.

In recent years, carmakers have begun releasing new models ahead of the traditional fall schedule—sometimes as early as June—to beat their competitors to market. To make room for those incoming models, manufacturers offer enticing rebates and dealers cut prices on the outgoing models.

The holiday comes on the last weekend in May. Many dealerships set monthly sales goals for their employees, so the last week of the month is when salespeople are most willing to make deals to meet their goals.

Many automakers offer military discounts year-round. But some boost those discounts in May to give service members an extra thank you, in honor of Memorial Day. These discounts aren’t always publicized, so eligible shoppers should inquire.

Happy new (model) year

If you’re planning to buy a new vehicle, but don’t want to wait until the end of the year, the traditional end of the model year can bring great savings.

According TrueCar, August is one of the best months in which to buy a new car. That’s because automakers are introducing next year’s models. Accordingly, local car dealers are eager to get rid of the “old” ones to make room on their lots for the “new” ones, and they can offer price flexibility and incentives.

As a result, TrueCar says the average transaction price in August historically is about 2.4 percent lower than during the rest of the year. So when should you go during the month? While the last few days are a great time to buy, the first couple of days prove to be even better, according to TrueCar’s research. There’s an average of $390 in savings over the remainder of the month.

Great deals in the holiday season

As the calendar year comes to a close, sales goals are closing and savings are in abundance. Many shoppers are also focused on other matters—holiday shopping and traveling—so showrooms aren’t as busy. There’s plenty of incentive for dealerships to move cars off the lot.

The last week of December also holds a unique double advantage. Dealers are required to hit a quota or sell a certain number by the end of the month—and by the end of the year. That can mean even bigger savings for customers.

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