Myths About Car Buying and When to Buy a Car

When you're in the market for a new car, people are likely to shower you with advice. Some of that is valuable, but most of it tends to be untrue or not quite accurate. Many myths about car buying can focus on the best times of year or even the best times of day to purchase a car. While some car-buying advice is based on fact and the actual sale cycle for cars, don't let your decision to visit a dealership or not be influenced by a myth.

Myth: Always Shop in the Rain

People often claim that a rainy day is the perfect day to shop around for a new car. The thinking here is that fewer people head out in the rain, so you're likely to get a better deal on a car. Car shopping in the rain isn't all it's cracked up to be, for a few reasons. For one thing, if everyone else thinks that the dealer won't be busy, they'll all go out to buy a car in the rain too.

For another thing, when you're shopping in the rain, you might send an "I'm desperate for a new car" signal to a dealer. Instead of landing a great deal, you might end up with the opposite.

Myth: Always Buy in August

August is usually a great time to buy a car, according to the Today show. In the U.S. at least, car makers tend to release the next year's models in September, so the current year's models start to get marked down in August.

But August isn't the only month when you're likely to land a good deal. December can also be a great month for a car purchase, especially if you wait until the end of the month. Dealerships are trying to squeeze in a few more sales at the end of the year and might be willing to cut you a deal to get the car off of the lot and into their sale books.

There is one disadvantage to waiting until the end of the current model year or the end of the calendar year to buy a car. You're likely to find a limited selection at those times, as the more in-demand colors or models might sell out. That means you're likely to get a lower price than if you were to buy in spring, but you also might find yourself driving off the lot in a light blue compact when what you wanted was a black full-size.

Myth: Wait Until the End of the Day to Buy

Another popular myth about car buying is that you should stroll into a dealership 15 minutes before it closes and start the process of buying a car. The thinking here is that your car salesperson will want to go home and will do what he or she can to speed up the deal.

According to Edmunds, car salespeople are pretty used to this type of behavior and are totally fine with staying a bit late to work with you and get the sale completed. If a salesperson is getting paid a commission, he or she isn't going to cut corners just to be able to go home 15 minutes sooner.

Myth: Skip Black Friday

Black Friday has quite a reputation for crowds and craziness. But those crowds tend to be mainly at the mall or other retail shopping centers, not at car dealerships. According to Consumer Reports, Black Friday can be a great day to buy a car, as many current year models are deeply discounted to make way for next year's models and because dealerships don't tend to be very busy. Unless you're buying a car as a gift, shopping at the dealership on Black Friday won't help you check off your holiday shopping list. But it might help you save a fair amount of money on your next vehicle.

Remember to get a financing offer before you visit any dealerships. Knowing how much you're approved to borrow to buy a car will help you stay within budget. Plus, you'll often get a better loan offer from your credit union than you would from the dealership.

Return to Blog Posts