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The Best Time Of The Year To Buy A Car

Jan. 1, 1970 Financial Samurai

My 13 year old SUV named Moose feels like it’s on its last legs. There’s a loud whiny noise every time I turn the steering wheel, which likely means the power steering box is cracked. Moose drips engine oil everywhere he goes and now he leaks coolant!

With a Blue Book value of only around $3,000, spending ~$1,000 to fix doesn’t seem prudent. It costs around $100 to fill up his 24 gallon tank and he only gets roughly 16 miles per gallon. Luckily I only drive about 6,500 miles a year.

The other reason why I’m looking to buy a new car is due to the advancement in safety features. Better brakes, better traction control, and more airbags would be nice. I’m not even sure my airbags work after 13 years!

One of my all time favorite things to do is spend time at a car dealer. There’s nothing like inhaling that new car smell and taking the latest models for a spin for free. All told I’ve probably visited a car dealership 25 times in the last 12 months and probably over 100 times in the last five years. Call me thorough, crazy, an enthusiast, or simply a consumer who shows great constraint for not spending any money on one of his favorite things. Whatever you say there’s nothing better than finding something you love to do that’s free.

* Memorial Day Weekend.  Memorial Day is the traditional start of Summer. After researching car incentives for over 10 years, Memorial Day Weekend, and the following 30 days, is the absolute best time to buy a car. One of the key reasons is that auto dealerships need to clear inventory for next year’s models which come out in the Fall. For example, the 2014 BMW 335i Coupe [came] out in August 2013. This launch cycle is consistent with practically every major auto manufacture in existence. Memorial Day Weekend will also have brand new left over inventory from the previous year. These are often the best deals because you not only get a new car, you get a huge discount, and a warranty that starts at the time of purchase and not the time of manufacture. For example, [two years ago,] I found a 2012 BMW 335i Coupe for $11,500 off to $44,700. Time period: End of May and the month of June.

If there’s one negotiation tip I’ve come away with after speaking to hundreds of car salespeople is that you must always be willing to walk away to get the best price. Even after you’ve spent an hour negotiating, walk away for a bit and go through the pros and cons. Get some lunch or literally go for a nice long walk. During this time period of wait, your salesperson will be wondering if you’ll ever come back. He’ll start doing the math on how much lower he’ll be willing to go if you do come back.

If you’ve decided now is the time to buy the car, go back and wait until he offers something extra before you start negotiating again. You should already have in mind through online research what the invoice, MSRP, and second hand price are for the car you like. Now it’s a matter of you being patient enough to get the deal of the year!

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