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The 3 Worst Times to Buy a Car

A young brown woman holding car keys and sitting on a car's driver's seat and portraying the 3 worst times to avoid when buying a car.

Needless to say – buying a car is a major decision that can take a huge bite out of your monthly budget.  Beyond the type of vehicle you’ve set your sights on, you also have to make a variety of other important decisions, such as whether to buy new or used – whether to lease, finance, or pay cash – what features you want – and, how the car you choose will impact your auto insurance premium.

Yet, there’s another important factor car buyers often neglect. It’s deciding when to buy. As a result, would-be buyers who don’t avoid the 3 worst times to buy a car will usually end up paying more for their new ride.

To help you out, we’ve created a list of some of the worst times for you to throw your money down on a car.

During Springtime

While springtime is a great time to enjoy the nice weather, it may not be a good time to purchase or lease a car. People are out and about – many with money in their pockets after cashing their tax refund checks. Dealerships know this and don’t have to compete as vigorously to gain your business, so they may not offer the same discounts as they would during slower times of the year.

If you’re looking for a better time to buy, the winter months and the end of the year tend to be good times to find discounts on vehicles. You’ve undoubtedly heard or seen commercials about “year-end savings events.” When dealerships move into the next calendar year, they’re trying to meet sales quotas, and sales people are more than eager to sell cars to meet their quotas, as well. This is especially true with the seasonal holidays approaching.

Of course, if waiting until the end of the year isn’t an option, you might still get a much better deal on a vehicle should you buy at the end of the month, at the end of the quarter, or by visiting the dealership on a slower day (generally earlier in the week).

After that, you can take advantage of outgoing model sales when the dealership brings in the new model year vehicles in late summer or early fall.

When Your Bank Account Balance or Credit Score is Low

Truth is – those with excellent credit have much more negotiating power when walking into an automobile dealership. And, having a large down payment can also up your game. Unless you drive in with a highly-desirable trade-in, ideally, be prepared to give a down payment equal to at least 20% of the price of the vehicle.

According to most car sales people surveyed, a large number of consumers come into dealerships with bad credit more often than not. And, to complicate matters further, these same consumers rarely have a sufficient down payment.

Even more surprising – some consumers base what new car they want to buy on how they think their finances will be in the near future, as opposed to making their decision on their current financial situation and what they can actually afford at the present time. As a result, these buyers can end up with higher payments, or they may not get approved at all.

Buying on Impulse

This is definitely a bad time to buy a car. Reason being – when you buy on impulse, you generally won’t allow yourself the time necessary to completely think the purchase through. Let’s face it, cars are a notorious impulse buy, and this isn’t only because of clever advertising or crafty salesmen.

The cars you see in these dealerships and showrooms can be pretty enticing. Cars that park for you – cars that brake for you – even cars that talk to you. Before you know it, you’re pulling out your checkbook, without considering the impact on your monthly budget or auto insurance rates.

Luckily, as with getting an auto insurance quote comparison, the car buying process has changed somewhat and online research has become a key ingredient for most consumers. According to data published by CNBC, the average person now only visits 1.6 dealerships before buying a car compared to 10 years ago when visiting five dealerships was the norm.

CNBC also explains how once the consumer determines his or her vehicle preferences online, he or she may actually contact the dealership and state a purchase price. In some cases, the dealership may even deliver the vehicle to the consumer’s home, thereby completely eliminating any need to visit the dealership at all.

Even if online shopping is your preferred way to buy a car, try to avoid falling prey to an impulse purchase once you see the car of your dreams.

Overpaying for auto insurance is just as bad as paying too much for a new or used car. Both will cost you money. Make sure you’re getting the best auto insurance rates. Why not get a free auto insurance quote today?

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