Here at AOL Autos, we recommend doing quite a bit of research before you go out shopping for your next new vehicle at the dealership. In fact, arming yourself with the right knowledge can put you at a significant advantage over the next car buyer and, if you play your cards right, you could end up walking away with a deal.
Because we want you to get the best possible deal on a new car, we are going to let you in on a powerful car-shopping tool -- a tool so powerful that it can put you at an advantage over the dealership, days or even weeks before you set foot on the showroom floor.
That tool is a calendar.
That’s right, an analysis done by TrueCar of enormous amounts of data shows that there are actually specific best and worst days to buy a car every single month. Though there have been fairly consistent public protests against the idea of dealers charging different prices on a day-to-day basis, the research doesn’t lie: the day that you buy your car matters.
What makes a specific day “better” than any other, you ask? According to TrueCar’s data, select days offer the largest potential for a discount off of a vehicle’s MSRP. In other words, the price you pay on a new vehicle could be significantly higher or lower today than the price you would pay if you held off on shopping until tomorrow or next week due to the dealer offering fluctuating percentages off of the price of a car.
And though many experts, including our own editors as well as those at Kelley Blue Book tend to stick to the common belief that the best time to buy a car is the end of the month, there could very well be “best” days can be more fruitful than others if you're looking for a deal.
For instance, are you shopping for a car this month? Avoid showing up to the dealership on the April 4th – Easter Sunday – as you will be subject to the lowest national average discount for the month – about 5.5%. Instead, hold off for a week and go on the 12th, when the average discount is 6.75% off the vehicle’s MSRP, the highest for the month.
TrueCar bases average percentages on historical data – the discounts consumers received on specific dates in the past – and on an analysis of current transaction price levels and relevant manufacturer incentives. When all is said and done, a surprisingly accurate and detailed forecast for daily average discounts becomes available and you, the consumer, have a leg up on the dealership.
If you are booked solid on the 12th this month or are simply too busy to schedule your shopping around the select best days, don’t worry. Data shows that you can still receive solid discounts by obeying a couple of simple rules that hold true year round:
1. The end of the month is better for car shopping than the beginning.
2. Weekdays are better than weekends.
3. The editors at KBB further recommend keeping an eye out for out-of-season vehicles and models that have been sitting on the lot for some time (for example, a 2010 model if a 2011 has been out for a few months).
Of course, we’re not saying that you should show up to the dealership on a certain day and expect to magically get a great deal – doing your homework is still the most effective tool for car shoppers. We’re saying that knowing when to shop can potentially put you in a much better position to receive a discount.