A couple talking with a car salesman.

The 4 best times of year to buy a car

Shopping for a new car can be an incredibly stressful experience. The car salesman seems to have all the information and if you make a mistake negotiating, it could cost you thousands of dollars. What’s more, if you pick the wrong vehicle, you’re in for many years of driving (and paying for) something you don’t even particularly like. Talk about pressure! One way you can save money is by picking the best time of year to buy a car. Here are four ways to decide when that time is best for you.

End of the month

Even if you don’t like to negotiate, buying a car at the end of the month can save you lots of money. Although they may deny it, car salesmen have monthly quotas. By going to a car dealership at the end of the month, you could find someone who hasn’t quite yet reached their quota. Although they won’t give you the car for free, they may be more likely to negotiate with you to make the deal happen if they've only got a few days left to meet their goal, rather than two weeks.

When the new cars come out

If you’re the type of person who wants to buy a new car and drive it for twenty years, you won’t care about the calendar age of the car. In the early fall, car dealerships begin selling their new model vehicles. This year, for example, Ford will begin selling its 2018 cars and trucks, even though there are still a few months left in 2017.

Once the 2018 vehicles go on sale, the rush is on to clear out the previous year’s stock. That can mean a savings of a few thousand dollars for a brand new car that’s “one year old.” The caveat, of course, is that, if you try to sell your vehicle five years from now, you’ll be selling a “six” year old car, not a five year old car.

In the spring

Although experts generally don’t recommend spring as the best time of year to buy a car, it could be the perfect season for you, depending on where you live. In a city with a lot of snow, moisture and potholes, buying your vehicle in the fall means subjecting it to an additional winter. Vancouverites might not care about how many “winters old” their car is, but people in Edmonton and Ottawa definitely do.

Holiday weekends and sale periods

Finally, once you’ve decided to buy a new car, keep your eyes open for sales and promotions. Some of the best promotions come out during holidays and long weekends. If you happen to be shopping for a previous year’s vehicle in the fall, there are two particular long weekends during that season that you can take advantage of (Labour Day and Thanksgiving weekend).

Car shopping is stressful enough without having the added pressure of needing to buy a car. Instead of waiting until your vehicle has quit, begin researching models and checking sale prices about a year before you’ll need a new car. This way, you can jump on any special promotions and be prepared to purchase during the best time of year to buy a car, and determine whether you need a loan or can finance the vehicle unassisted.