The Best Time of Year to Buy a Car Probably Isn’t When You Think


Buying a car can be a painful process. You have to do a ton of research, you’re constantly asking your family and friends (and sometimes strangers) about their cars so you can get more input. And of course, the stereotypical car salesman doesn’t really help things because they are usually just trying to make a buck.

Overall, pretty stressful.

One way you can alleviate that pain is to know the best times of year to buy a car in order to get a deal. Kelsey Mays, senior editor of Cars.com, says, “Timing can be the difference between saving hundreds or thousands of dollars when buying a car.”


Mays adds, “No rule exists that dealers must increase discounts during a particular time of the week, month or year. That said, certain points have signaled a higher likelihood of savings on a vehicle purchase.”

Here are the best times of year to buy a car, according to Mays.

1. December 

Dealers and automakers are looking to meet their year-end sales goals in December and it’s a race to the finish on December 31. They’re also looking to clear out inventory for the upcoming year.

Regarding December, Mays said, “Luxury brands, which seldom advertise big incentives, traditionally juice up lease and finance deals this month, often marketing them as opportunities to surprise loved ones with a holiday gift.”


2. September 

Dealers usually want to transition their showrooms to highlight next year’s models beginning in September, meaning they’re looking to make room and that means deals for customers. September has been ranked in the top three months to buy a new car from 2014-2018.

3. The week after Christmas

We’re all inundated with after-Christmas sales on TV and on the radio, it makes you wonder if it’s all just hype. It’s important to do your research, but it is true that good deals do exist during the holidays.

Mays says, “When those weekends coincide with the end of the month, a time when dealers are also trying to hit sales quotas, discounts can soar even higher. And when those holiday weeks come as dealers look to hit sales numbers and clear out year-end inventory, the stars can align for serious deals.”


4. Other holidays (Memorial Day, Labor Day, and Thanksgiving)

Keep your eyes and ears open around these holiday weekends as well, as they tend to feature great deals on vehicles.

According to TrueCar‘s research, this is the best time to buy the following car types.

Midsize SUV: May
Large trucks: October
Midsize and compact cars: November
Small and premium SUVs: December

A couple more tips to keep in mind: try to buy early in the week, near the end of the month, and look for the beginning or end of a model year.

Good luck out there!