Buying a car can be a significant investment, and everyone wants to ensure they’re getting the best deal. However, there are specific days of the year when the odds of landing a great deal are against you. Here’s a look at the worst days to make that big purchase.
1. Holiday Sales Events
Why it’s the worst time:Many people assume holiday sales events, such as President’s Day, Memorial Day, or Labor Day sales, are the perfect times to snag a car deal. But the reality is that these events often draw large crowds, and dealerships know this. High demand can lead to less motivation for dealers to negotiate, making discounts rare.
What to do instead: Wait a week or two after the holiday event. The crowds will have dissipated, and dealerships might be more motivated to make a sale after the rush.
2. The End of the Month
Why it’s the worst time: Contrary to popular belief, the end of the month might not always be the best time to get a deal. Salespeople might have already met their monthly quotas and might not be as motivated to give you a discount.
What To Do Instead: Start shopping in the middle of the month. While salespeople might be working toward their quotas, they’re not under the end-of-the-month pressure, so you might find a more relaxed and negotiable environment.
Why it’s the worst time: Weekends, especially Saturdays, are typically the busiest days for dealerships. The increased foot traffic means salespeople are less likely to spend a lot of time with each customer, and they may not be as flexible on price.
What to do instead: Opt for a weekday, ideally a Tuesday or Wednesday, when foot traffic is at its lowest. Salespeople will have more time to discuss options with you, and you might have better luck negotiating.
4. Immediately After a New Model Release
Why it’s the worst time: When a new car model is released, there’s often a lot of hype and excitement around it. The demand is high, and dealerships know they can command top dollar.
What to do instead: Wait a few months for the buzz to die down. Not only will the initial demand decrease, but dealers might also have excess inventory they’re keen on moving.
5. During Winter Holidays
Why it’s the worst time: December, especially around Christmas and New Year, sees a lot of promotional ads about year-end car sales. However, because these are some of the most popular shopping times of the year, you might face stiff competition from other buyers. Moreover, dealerships may not have a large selection left by year’s end.
What to do instead: If you’re keen on a year-end deal, start shopping early in December or even late November. The selection will be broader, and dealers will be eager to clear out the current year’s inventory.
6. Directly After the Tax Refund Season
Why it’s the worst time: After the season, many people receive refunds and are eager to use this extra money. Car dealerships are aware of this trend and might be less inclined to offer discounts when they know many buyers have refund checks burning holes in their pockets.
What to do instead: Hold onto your refund and wait a few months. When the influx of tax-refund-fueled buyers diminishes, you might find better deals.
The Bottom Line
While it’s essential to be aware of these less-than-ideal times to buy a car, remember that every dealership and salesperson is different. It’s always a good idea to do your research, understand the market, and be prepared to negotiate regardless of when you decide to buy. But by avoiding these peak times, you can potentially save yourself stress and money.
Editor's note: This article was produced via automated technology and then fine-tuned and verified for accuracy by a member of GOBankingRates' editorial team.
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