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When is the Best Time to Buy a Car? [2024 GUIDE]

That new car smell is so alluring—up until the point where the sticker shock sets in. Loan payments, fees, and fancy add-ons add up quickly and can bring even the most earnest buyer back down to earth.

The good news is that you can score a fantastic car deal with the right timing and a loan pre-approval in hand. Taking the right approach will allow you to find a vehicle that meets your needs and aligns with your financial goals.

Read on to discover when is the best time to buy a new car in 2024.

Taking Advantage of End-of-Year Deals
The end of December brings some of the year's best new and used car prices. This is when dealerships nationwide offer significant discounts. They aim to move as much inventory off their lots before the ball drops on New Year's Eve.

Next year’s models are already out. Dealers need as much parking lot space as possible to display the new cars. This means they must quickly sell the older vehicles, which can result in potential bargains for car buyers.

Dealerships normally take anywhere from 10-30% off the Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Prices (MSRP) on new and used vehicle inventory. And that's on top of already discounted "sale" prices. Additional savings can come through manufacturer rebates and dealer cash bonuses.

The selection will undoubtedly be narrower than earlier in the year. However, the thousands in savings make it worthwhile for savvy shoppers who aren't too picky about color or model options. Just be sure to move quickly on the best deals, as competition is high among buyers during this limited sale window.

Be Careful With "Special" Holiday Offers
Car dealerships often offer a wide range of discounts and special holiday pricing at the end of the year. In some cases, this is an ideal opportunity to save. In other cases, it may not provide the best deal.

Remember the following when it comes to holiday offers:

  • The “deal” you see online or in the newspaper may encompass a single or handful of vehicles.
  • Holiday deals for cars outside your price range are not worth the investment. Don’t see a deal as a way to buy more - but as an opportunity to spend less.
  • Shop around for an outstanding deal. Remember, the dealership needs to sell off as much inventory as possible. This gives buyers a clear advantage.

Look for a bargain that keeps costs down and includes incentives, such as bonus cash or oil change discounts. These enhanced offers may help you save money all year long. If the deal you want isn’t there, move on.

There are many opportunities for you to cut down on the overall cost of the vehicle you buy. Additionally, fewer people are shopping for cars when it’s cold outside. This, too, works in your favor.

How to Buy a Car at the End of the Year (and Save Money)
Buying a car in late December requires a little preparation and research to maximize your savings. You’ll first need to narrow down the specific vehicle make and model that appeals to you. Review Kelley Blue Book (KBB) and dealer invoice pricing to negotiate the lowest price when you visit the showroom.

When you make your offer, remember you have more negotiating wiggle room in your favor than the dealer will let on. Determine ahead of time what accessories or add-ons you want so you can use those to leverage a better overall package deal.

If trading in your old car, thoroughly research its current value and only accept offers higher than that amount. It can pay dividends when you make multiple dealerships compete for your trade-in.

Other Good Times to Buy a Car
You might wonder when is the best time to buy a used car—besides the end of the year. You can score a great deal during certain major holidays like Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and Labor Day.

End-of-the-month car purchases can also be advantageous. Dealerships aiming to hit sales goals are often more willing to play ball. This opens up possibilities for lower prices and additional buyer benefits.

Dealerships are almost always busier on weekends. Visiting anytime on a Monday means you'll likely receive more personalized attention and enjoy a better buying experience. You might even find a better deal due to the lower demand.

The end of a model year is another excellent time to look for a new car. As manufacturers release new models, dealerships are eager to sell off the older ones. This transition period often sees significant price reductions on last year's vehicles.

Benefits Of Buying A Car At The End Of The Year
It’s not hard to score a great new or used car deal at the end of the year. You’ll need to do your homework and be prepared to walk away if needed. Having a loan pre-approval in hand will prevent you from getting caught in dealership financing traps that work in their best interests.

It’s easy to get pre-approved with Best Reward Federal Credit Union. We simplify the process by providing easy online applications and fast lending decisions. Click below to discover the value you can expect from letting us help you finance your next car.

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