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Bottom Line Up Front

  • Strategic planning can help you get the best deal on a vehicle when you choose to buy. 
  • WHEN you choose to buy a vehicle is just as important as WHAT you decide to get.
  • Day of week, time of year, special events and new model availability all factor into price.

Time to Read

4 minutes

July 29, 2022

When you want the best deal on a car, what do you do? Look for a sales event? Practice your haggling skills? Both can help you land a good deal, but to maximize your savings, you should also consider your timing. Here are a few factors to consider when you’re determining the best time to buy a car.

Weekday vs. Weekend

Setting aside the weekend for car shopping is practical for most people, but that’s exactly why it’s the worst time of the week to visit a dealership. With so many people trying to buy a car on the weekend, there’s less incentive for a salesperson to cut you a deal—he or she could always move on to the next willing buyer.

For a better deal and better service, visit on a weekday—preferably in the middle of the week. Fridays tend to be busy with those first weekend shoppers, while Mondays may have spillover shoppers who didn’t manage to close a deal during the weekend.

Time of the Day, Month and Year

Early bird gets the worm? Not in this case. Car shoppers who wait until the last minute may be more likely to get a better deal. When you show up at the end of a long day, the salesperson may be less likely to draw out the haggling process and be willing to let you quickly walk out with a good deal so they can wrap up for the day.

Additionally, visiting the car lot at the end of the month or year can also net you some discounts. It’s the last chance for salespeople to meet their monthly and yearly sales quotas, so they won’t let buyers easily walk away without making a sale.

Holidays and Special Events

Holidays tend to bring great retail deals, and auto sales are no exception. Many dealers see holidays as a chance to capitalize on the excitement of a special event, which can mean anything from sticker price markdowns, to cash back, to higher trade-in values. Keep your eyes peeled for deals and discounts during these popular holidays and special events:

  • Presidents' Day
  • Memorial Day
  • Independence Day
  • Labor Day
  • Black Friday
  • New Year's Eve/Day

Keep in mind that national holidays aren’t the only special occasions for dealer markdowns and incentives. Many dealerships also participate in local events and days of recognition to attract local buyers. If there’s a reason to celebrate, chances are there’s a deal to be had.

New Model Availability

When next year’s car models become available, the current year’s models suddenly become less desirable. Car dealerships become eager to sell off the old models so they have room for the hot new models on their lots. It’s a perfect time for you to swoop in and get a deal on a car that’s still new—although it might be missing some nonessential newer features. Your discount may be even bigger if the car you want has a major redesign from this year to the next.

Since new car models are usually brought to market months before the actual calendar year begins, do some research on when they will become available so you can make your purchase at the perfect time. Most years, this sweet spot lands sometime around September and October.

Great Timing, Great Car, Great Rate

When you’ve timed everything perfectly and feel it’s the best time to buy your new car, Navy Federal Credit Union can help fund your purchase with 100% financing options and a great rate. View our auto loan rates and apply online.

Next Steps Next Steps

  1. Keep timing in mind as you’re shopping for a new car. Try to start your purchase mid-week, towards the end of the month for the best deal. Salespeople are eager to sell during these “slower” times.
  2. Keep an eye out for any holiday sales, special events or other incentives that dealerships might run to boost business throughout the year. Lower sticker prices, cash back and higher trade-in values are all common.
  3. If you can, try to time your next vehicle purchase right before the upcoming years' models roll out. Dealers will be more eager to give you a deal as they move inventory to prepare for new models.


This content is intended to provide general information and shouldn't be considered legal, tax or financial advice. It's always a good idea to consult a tax or financial advisor for specific information on how certain laws apply to your situation and about your individual financial situation.