The Best Times to Buy a Car

Sometimes it’s all about timing. That’s certainly the case when buying a car. Before heading to the dealership, you may want to apply for a car loan online and also consider these ideas about the best time shop for a new vehicle.

Day of the Month All the savvy-car-shopping experts agree – the end of the calendar year is the best time to visit the car dealership. Don’t forget to do your research well before you go. The savviest of the savvy say there are actually specific months that bode best depending on what vehicle you’re buying. May isn’t just for flowers after April showers. It’s for midsized SUVs, too. Get down to the dealership with spring in the air and in your step to get yourself a healthy serving of safety with a side of savings. Are you a truck person? October is monster truck month – not just for a show – for epic savings – so be sure to get yours. It’s not spooky to win at saving. If sedans and coupes are your speed, November is for more than just Thanksgiving. Go talk turkey with your local car dealer. Luxury your thing? You’ll need to exercise some patience because your month is the year’s last. Deals abound in December on luxury vehicles, especially high-end SUVs. Give yourself a great gift and save money doing it. If you don’t believe in the month-specific-savings hype, you can buy a new vehicle any month of the year. Play darts with a calendar, but be sure to go at the end of whichever month you choose. The very best time is the last day of the year. Bonus savings points if it also happens to be the last day of the month.

Day of the Week & Time of Day Then there’s the day-of-the-week camp. They don’t care which month, but you’d better be sure you’re at the dealership early in the week. If you’re serious, make it Monday. Not sure what time to go? Don’t bother taking the day off. Have dinner and then stop by to see your local car dealer. Make an evening of it and plan to be out late. The later you keep them at the dealership, and yes, they will stay to close a deal, the better price you’ll negotiate.

Holidays / Special Events Pro tip: Black Friday isn’t just for TVs. We all know that Black Friday means getting up early or just skipping sleep altogether. Early bird gets the worm and all that. Still true. Go, fight big crowds, buy lots of gifts and save lots of money. Then, have a relaxing dinner and follow the same guidelines noted above. Finish your Black Friday with a gift for yourself – an awesome deal on a new car. All those three-day weekend holidays were basically invented for salespeople to make their yearly quotas. Hey, they’ve got to eat too and it helps you get great deals. Some things only the keenest car consumers know is that mother nature plays a role in the sales cycle. Other deal days are rainy days (and Mondays, but we’ve already covered that) and because we know we’re supposed to go at night – do it by the light of a full moon. Some experts say the lunar cycle and precipitation can make a difference in your favor. You can also enjoy savings offers during model changeovers and be sure to look out for special factory rebates. Another thing to keep in mind before you head to the dealership is how much you can afford. Try using an online car loan calculator so you know before you go. Now go forth and save!

Buying a Car When You Owe on Your Trade

Worried you owe too much on your current vehicle to buy another car? You’re not alone; nearly half of all car buyers find themselves in this position. It’s important to know the value of your trade-in before visiting the car dealership. Easily check this yourself with tools available online; be sure to use one or more reputable sources like Kelley Blue Book or Edmunds.

If you’re considered “underwater” on your vehicle, most dealers and finance companies will include the difference of your trade in the new loan. For example, if you owe $8k and your trade is only worth $6k, your car loan will have an extra $2k added to cover the difference. Increasing your loan value makes negotiating the best interest rate crucial. Be sure to check your credit score before talking with the dealership or finance company. Or, even better, get pre-qualified for your new loan. Keep in mind you may want to speak with the lender to extend your term in order to maintain a more affordable monthly payment.

To avoid being upside down on your new loan, there are some things you can do to prevent transferring your old balance to your new loan.

Sell It Outright  
Consider selling your car to a third party. Generally, you will get more selling it than you would as a trade.

Delay Your Purchase 
Wait to purchase your next vehicle and focus on paying down your loan in the meantime. Can you take on a part-time job to increase your payments? Also, there are companies that will refinance auto loans, which could help you pay yours off faster with a shorter term, or lower your payments to allow you to make additional payments.

Look for Big Incentive Deals   
Keep your eye out for dealerships offering big incentives at year-end or model-end sales. If you’re lucky, you may find a deal that covers your car equity deficit.

Buying a Car Without a Down Payment

So you need to buy a car, but you lack the funds for the down payment? This is a tough situation and to make it more difficult, your credit isn’t the best. It may seem the only thing you can do is pay a high interest rate – the rate you want to avoid. But wait…there’s hope – there may be another option.

The Smallest of  Down Payments  
In the past it was standard to put down 20% on a vehicle; these days many dealerships will take half that and sometimes, even less. If you can put down anything it will help lower your payment. However, if even the smallest down payment isn’t doable for you, there are car dealers and finance companies that will fully finance your loan at over 100%, to account for fees, but as you may have guessed, it’s going to cost you more every month at the highest interest rate.

If you can wait a few months to make your purchase and save for a modest down payment, the wait will literally pay off. Also during this time, strive to pay all bills on time and correct any potential issues on your credit report. A cleaner credit report should reduce your interest rate and therefore your monthly payment.

Do Your Homework  
Don’t be afraid to negotiate. If you have a deal in mind, you won’t get it if you don’t ask. Talk to dealerships, not only about the price of the car, but also about financing options. Again, you never know what they can do until you ask. Do your research – there are online tools that will prepare you before you visit a dealership or reach out to banks, credit unions and specialty finance companies. Take a few minutes and check out a Payment Calculator, Car Loan Calculator, and Income Calculator. Get familiar with the range of interest rates so you get the best deal. Don’t pay more than you should!