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When Is the Best Time of Year for Buying a Vehicle?

Buying a vehicle can be stressful and confusing whether you shop around before you need a new car or wait until it's an emergency. Fortunately, you can simplify the process with good timing. Choose from over 2.6 million new vehicles in the United States, and save time, money and hassle when you do your research and buy a vehicle at the right time of year.

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Visit the Dealership at the End of the Month

Visit the car lot or shop online at the end of the month. Dealerships and salespeople typically have monthly sales quotas to meet and may be able and willing to offer you a good price, extended warranty or other perks.

Celebrate the Holidays With a New Car

End the year by buying a vehicle on New Year's Eve. Since this holiday is the last day of the month, the quarter and the year, you could save big thanks to multiple offers.

If you're too busy ringing in the new year to head to the dealership, you can still buy a decent car during other annual holidays. Try shopping on three-day holiday weekends, including Memorial Day and Labor Day, or check out Fourth of July and Black Friday sales.

Wait Until the Last Quarter of the Year

Peak vehicle buying season occurs in the last quarter of the year between October and December. Wait until then to shop so that you can save money on a new car and access a large selection of used trade-in vehicles.

The fall is popular for buying end-of-the-year models, too. That's when new vehicle models are released and dealerships are motivated to sell the older models to make room for the updated options.

Keep in mind that you may also find decent deals at the end of March, June and September, too, when dealers need to reach quarterly sales goals.

When to Avoid Buying a Vehicle

Try to avoid buying a vehicle on certain days and times of the year. You're less likely to find a good deal when you shop on:

  • Saturday: Competition for vehicles, a salesperson's attention and deals are higher on weekends, so try to avoid car shopping on Saturdays.
  • February: The MSRP is lowest in February, so you might want to wait for better prices later in the year.

What to Consider When Buying a Vehicle

Now that you know the best times of year to buy a vehicle, consider three additional helpful tips.

1. Research the vehicle you want.

Finalize the type, brand, model, and color of your ideal car after you consider the features, safety ratings and technology of new versus old models. You can then test drive several options and verify maintenance and auto insurance costs before you head to the dealership.

2. Secure financing.

Most car dealerships offer financing, but you may be able to qualify for a lower loan rate when you secure financing from your bank or credit union before you shop. As a bonus, value your trade-in accurately to lower your overall car purchase price.

3. Buy used.

Used vehicles generally cost less than new models. For the best selection of used trade-ins, shop in the fall.

Buying a vehicle is an exciting yet challenging task. Use these tips to simplify the process. Talk to your local insurance agent also as you research options and find the right car for your needs.

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