Maybe your current car has spent more time with the mechanic than you’ve spent driving it. Or maybe your family is growing and you need something to accommodate that. Whatever the reason is, you’ll want to get the best deal possible. Depending on the type of car you want to purchase or if you’d like to make a fully digital transaction, consider these other timing tips.
Used car buying
When it comes to buying a used vehicle, standing in the rain as you try to make a decision is obviously not pleasant, but did you know it also can lead you to making the wrong purchase? Bad weather, such as heavy rain, can make it easier for a seller to hide dents and other damage, as the buyer is less likely to stand outside inspecting the vehicle closely.1
“Each used car is very unique,” Nick Woolard, director of industry and analytics at TrueCar, tells Amica.2 Woolard gives the example of a car’s tires. Buyers will want to look at the tread, because if the tread is worn down, they may want to add a few hundred dollars to the purchase price to better understand the entire cost of the car.
Additionally, Woolard emphasizes that for used cars, the most important step a buyer can take is to obtain a vehicle history report. He says with used cars there are many variables to consider that a history report could help with. For example, a history report may tell a buyer if the car has been involved in any accidents.
New car buying
If you’re not set on having the newest model, shopping for the current year’s model when next year’s model is about to be released may land you a great deal. Dealerships tend to release new models in summer, which is part of the reason why prices on the current year’s model go down during that time. Most sales representatives are eager to get rid of the current year’s model to make room on the lot for newer inventory.3
“As you get toward the end of a calendar year, (dealerships are) going to start offering bigger and bigger deals, incentives to close out their prior year’s models,” says Woolard. He notes that often the newest model of a specific car a buyer wants may not be starkly different from the previous year’s model, having only small upgrades or new features.
Online car buying
The market for buying a car end-to-end online is still in its infancy, as many buyers prefer to test-drive a new car in person before making a purchase, according to Woolard.
Another potential challenge to purchasing a car online is getting the timing right. Unlike the various tips for purchasing a car from a dealer, such as purchasing on a Monday, the price of a car online is more unpredictable. “From a consumer standpoint, just because you see a price today doesn’t mean you’ll have the same price tomorrow,” says Woolard.
Make sure you’re ready
Rain or shine, middle or end of the year, none of these tips matter quite as much as how prepared you are to make the final purchase. Conduct research on the vehicle you want and be ready to visit multiple dealers to compare pricing and find the best fit to your needs.
Woolard wisely advises, “The right time to buy a car is when you need a car. If you have more time and flexibility – that can afford you the potential to negotiate better savings, but you’re not always in a position to wait.”