Are you in the market for a new car? If you are like me, you really don’t like to go car shopping. It can truly seem overwhelming. Every dealership you go to tells you that you have to buy today or the deal is gone… but how do you know if it’s truly a good deal? When is the best time of year to buy a new car?
This post has been sponsored by Lexington Law. All opinions are mine alone and are honestly conveyed.
Fall is a great time of year to go new car shopping and the time of year that you are most likely to get a good deal. Why is that? New cars for the next model year typically start making their way to dealerships in the late summer or early fall. This means that car dealerships need to make room for new inventory.
Tips for getting the best deal on your next car:
So what are some ways that you can get the best deal? Here are some things to look for and things to avoid when you are negotiating on buying your next car:
Clean up your credit.
Make sure that your credit is looking as good as possible when you are looking to buy a new car. The higher your credit score, the better financing that you will qualify for—and this will give you a lower payment each and every month.
Steer clear of first year models.
Whenever a company comes out with a new make or model, it is usually more expensive, especially if it has been highly anticipated. Car makers also refine and make changes to a design after a car has been on the market for a year or so that could affect safety, performance, or usability in future models.
Dealer cars are nearly new, without the new price.
Dealer-driven cars are basically new cars, except they will have a few miles on them. These cars may be driven by someone from the dealership or used as courtesy cars for a year and then sold. You can really get a good deal on these because they are considered “used” cars, even though title has never actually transferred.
Limit the extras.
Find out what options come standard on the vehicle that you are looking to purchase and which are extra. You can literally save thousands of dollars by getting a vehicle with only the options you need. But make sure that you decide this ahead of time, because once you test drive the loaded version of the car you want, the base model might seem a bit of a let-down.
Last year’s model will get a discount.
Just like any other retailer that needs to clear out old inventory to make room for the new, car dealers are willing to discount last year’s models to move them off the car lot. These cars are brand new, except for a couple of test-drive miles on them. You may not have a lot of choice in color or options because you will be limited based on what is left in inventory, but you are sure to save thousands of dollars as compared to the new model- year vehicles. This is actually a way that you can possibly get some of the extras that you want on the car, but not have to pay the huge price tag. Because these cars are selling for a bit less in order to make room for the new year’s model, you might be able to get some of the bells and whistles for much less than on a new model.
Do your research before you step onto the car lot.
When you think of car shopping, you probably think of having to visit several dealerships. And we all know that once you set foot onto the car lot, the process takes several hours of test driving a car and going back and forth with the finance department on what deal they can offer. But, this doesn’t have to be the case. In fact, there is quite a bit that you can do before you even visit a dealership.
- If you have a trade-in, or are looking to buy a used car, go to a website to estimate the car’s value, so you can know if what they are offering you is a fair trade-in price:
- Decide what type of car you want and what options you need. Saving money is only a good deal if the vehicle will suit your needs. Most car manufacturer’s websites have car builder options available. This allows you to price a new car with only the options that you want; this can give you a good idea of what price you can expect to pay.
- Look up inventory online. Many dealerships will have their inventory available to view online. This can be a huge time-saver when it comes to deciding which dealership to go to, instead of actually going from one car lot to the next to see what they have to offer.
- Call several dealerships before visiting in person. This is a quick, efficient way to comparison shop without having to spend an entire day driving from dealership to dealership to figure out where you can get the best deal. Most dealerships are willing to quote prices (excluding trade-in) over the phone. This is definitely worth your time to do because prices can vary greatly from dealership to dealership.
Buy a used car.
Buying a “new” car doesn’t mean that it actually has to be brand new. Getting a used car can save you thousands of dollars. It is well-known that the most depreciation happens the first few years of a car’s life, so opting for a used car can allow you to get a car with relatively low mileage and a lower price tag. Sometimes you can find nice used cars that still have a manufacturer’s warranty in place, or if it’s a certified used car, you are probably eligible to get an extended warranty, which can give you peace of mind for the any big ticket items that may need fixed.
Take a look at leasing your next car.
If you truly have your heart set on a brand new car, you may want to consider leasing. While you have to be aware of how many miles you are putting on your car each month—because you only get an allotted amount of miles each month or you will pay extra at lease turn-in. The nice thing about leasing though, is that you get to drive a new car without paying for the whole thing. In theory, you are only paying for the car while you are driving it, so you aren’t financing the entire price of the car up-front.