Buying a new, or new-to-you, car is a totally emotional experience for many people. It’s the combo of the letting go of your trusty old ride to the excitement of getting something brand new. Or, maybe the old ride wasn’t so trusty and you’re just happy to move onto bigger and better things. Regardless of your reason to buy a new car, you know that, unlike real-estate, a car is often a sink-hole of money.
Maintenance, operational fees from licensing and government, unexpected repairs, gas, insurance – the whole bit. Of course, up front cost is an important consideration as well.
So, whether you’re choosing to buy your new ride outright, or if you’re financing it, the industry has tips for you to follow so you can get the best deal possible when you’re ready to buy a new car.
When NOT To Shop
It might be super tempting to shop around when the spring rolls in (who doesn’t want to be outside after being locked indoors for so long?) but this is when spring-fever can hit you right in the wallet. Additionally, avoid weekend shopping trips. So basically, April/May weekends are a no-no.
For the Short Term…Utilize The End-of-Month Rule
If you’re going to a dealer, whether it’s for brand new or second hand, all you have to do is understand one thing; they have goals to meet like everyone else in retail for that month and quarter. Use that to your advantage. They’ll be more likely to cut you a deal on the price of the vehicle to make their quota.
For the Short Term….Avoid Lunch Rushes
The time of day also matters when you’re shopping for a new car from a dealer. Think about it this way – everyone tries to get things done on their breaks, right? Of course the dealerships will be much busier during those times, and times right after and before traditional dinner hours and weekends. If your schedule allows, try to aim for mid week, early morning or very late in the evening, as in right before they close. This way, the sales person can give you undivided attention.
For the Long Term…August Is Best
It’s an industry standard that manufacturers release their upcoming models around late summer which requires dealerships to make room for the new inventory. Many people think that end-of-year Christmas and New Years sales are the best, simply because it’s right upon that new model time. But the dealers have been preparing for it for months, and you might miss out on some good deals if you wait.
Depending on where you live, you may also not want to “learn” the intricacies of your new vehicle in the dead of winter, aka: our wonderful Canadian ice and snow skating rinks that we call highways.
For the Long Term…Winter DOES Offer Better Prices
This relates back to the end-of-month rule, but just change it to the end-of-year rule. While August is a great time to shop for those initial price drops, if a dealer has stock left to clear, those prices will be even better by December. This one is totally your call and how soon you need your new ride (and, if you’re willing to potentially lose the make and model of the vehicle you want, since there’s no guarantee there will be any left by December).
Bonus: Negotiating Tips
If you plan on haggling for a good price, keep the following in mind and prepare before you go in:
1. Check the “Canadian Black Book” value (or Blue Book if you’re an American reader), regardless of if you’re trading in or doing a private sale of your current vehicle. You want to know the value of both your current car and the car you want to buy moving forward.
2. Research promo’s and shop around
That 0% APR sounds great. But maybe you really need a set of winter tires more. Figure out what you need most and then shop around for the right promotion to suit it.
3. The Price
Don’t talk about it until the final price is laid out firmly. You’ll haggle a bit (use your knowledge from the research) and once you have, tell them you’re prepared to take the car off the lot today if THEY match YOUR low-ball price.