Financial Advice

Buy & Own a Car

TOPICS

Is Now a Good Time to Buy a Car?

When is the best time to buy a car? The obvious answer is when you need one! If your current ride is showing its age, it’s a good idea to get a head start on car shopping. Anticipating the end of your car’s useful life can help you time your new car purchase to your best advantage.

If 2021 is your year for new car shopping, UFCU’s auto financing experts can help. Call us at (512) 498-CARS (2277), (800) 252-8311, or visit any UFCU location for a free credit review.

In a post-pandemic world, many dealerships have a lower than usual inventory of new and used cars. This shortage can mean that consumers suffer and don’t have much room to negotiate. On the other hand, many dealers are offering fair prices for trade-ins. All of these market trends can (and should) affect your decision about when to get started.

Now is the time to spend the extra time researching and shopping around. And you’ll definitely want to expand your search area. You could really benefit from looking beyond your neighborhood dealership. If you are willing to leave the Central Texas area and head out to San Antonio, Houston, or Dallas, you might have more luck finding the right car at the right price. Keep an open mind, and consider these additional options for buying a car at the best time.

Have Your Financial House in Order

You’ll be a much more attractive buyer if you go into the process with a strong financial picture. Lenders consider a borrower’s credit score and credit history when evaluating a loan application and determining loan terms. In fact, your credit determines your eligibility, your interest rate, and your payment. Make it your goal to get your credit score to at least 670; for even better interest rates, shoot for a score in the upper 700s.

Shop at Month and Quarter End

The fall months leading to year-end traditionally offer the best opportunities for great car deals. Car dealers want to clear out current year inventory to make room for new models, and offer promotions and discounts to entice shoppers to become buyers.

But if you weren’t in the market at year-end, don’t despair. There are still plenty of opportunities to find a good deal. When you’re ready to buy and have your financial house in order, focus your shopping around the end of months and at quarter end — March, June, September, December. That’s because sales teams are tasked with meeting monthly and quarterly quotas. If they have not yet met those goals as the period ends, it’s likely they will be motivated to offer discounts to close your sale.

The Day of the Week Matters

What’s the best day of the week to purchase your car? According to recent TrueCar® analysis, the answer is Sunday. Its data shows that Sunday buyers reap an average savings of 10% off the MSRP. But in Texas where many car dealers aren’t open on Sundays, opt instead for Tuesdays for the next best savings.

Watch for Deals and Incentives

Since the pandemic, many manufacturers and dealers are enticing buyers with incentives including cash back and deep discounts to move their car inventory. If you’re looking to buy a new car, research dealer incentives and come to the dealerships prepared with competitors’ information.

The holidays often are another common time to take advantage of special dealer incentives, especially on major holiday weekends. (May is historically one of the best times of the year for car buying due to Memorial Day Weekend deals and incentives.)