Ready to buy a new car and looking to maximize value? Doing your research is an essential first step, but shopping during the right time of year (even down to the day of the week and hour) can make a huge impact on the deals you get. Here are the best times to buy a car (and a few to avoid).

Best time: When new models hit the market

If your priority is price, then buying a previous year’s model right when new models hit the market can yield real savings. Dealerships need to make room for new models on the lot, and many will offer sizable discounts on older models. While most new models tend to hit the market in late summer through early fall, end-of-model years don’t always line up with the calendar, so you’ll need to pay attention to when new models of the vehicles you’re interested in make their way to the dealership.

Best time: At the end of the day

It might be as simple as dealership employees wanting to go home at the end of a long workday. Buying at the end of the day could condense your negotiating time and score you a better deal than if you’d arrived bright and early the same day.

Best time: End of the month

Sales managers at dealerships typically have numbers they need to hit by month’s end (and sometimes a sales number that’s tied to a bonus). If you’re in the mood to negotiate, this could be a great time to hone your skills.

Best time: End of the year

In addition to being a good time to score a deal with last year’s leftover model, the winter months tend to be slow for car sellers who may be extra hungry to make you an amazing deal.

Best time: Holiday weekends

Labor Day. Veterans Day. Black Friday. Long holiday weekends (particularly in the fall and winter) are typically a great time to score big bargains at the car lot. Dealerships and manufacturers usually have special financing programs, sales, and incentives planned for holiday weekends. If you’re in the market for a new vehicle, it might be worth doing some shopping during the next long weekend to score thousands in potential savings at the dealership.

On the flip side, you can save money by not shopping during these times.

Worst time: When demand is high

As easy as it is to get caught up in the excitement around a new model hitting the car lot, vehicles that are surging in popularity rarely come with a sale tag. Buying a vehicle at the peak of demand means manufacturers and dealerships have the upper hand when it comes to negotiating.

Worst time: Springtime

As the cold days of winter melt away and tax refunds burn a hole in people’s pockets everywhere, springtime is actually quite a popular time for car shopping. The result? Dealers don’t need to offer as many enticements or incentives to potential customers. Waiting until winter (if you can) generally means hungrier dealers and better deals.

Worst time: Weekends

Sleepy weekdays can mean less foot traffic at the dealership — and that could translate into better deals for prospective customers. Weekends tend to be a bit busier, which could mean less individual attention (and thus less chance of a discount) for shoppers.

And when you’re ready to insure that new car of yours, make sure you have quality car insurance. Get a car insurance quote online.

DIY hacks | For your car


about Rebecca

Rebecca is a freelance copywriter and editor living in the SF Bay Area with her husband and two kids. She enjoys productively channeling her anxiety into safety-minded articles for home and garden, running with her robot trainer, and advocating on behalf of the Oxford comma.