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5 Secrets of Summer Car Shopping

Jason Fogelson

What is the best time of year to buy a car? Google that phrase and you’ll typically get, “December, between Christmas and New Year’s.” That may be true in some cases, but it’s not always convenient to wait until winter to buy your next car.  Sometimes, the decision is forced upon you because of an accident, engine failure, theft or a change in circumstances, but for the most part, it’s up to you. As we see it, there are actually some very good reasons why shopping for a car in the summer can be a very good decision. And there are a few disadvantages, too.

1) Unless you work at an amusement park, chances are that you are less busy at work during the months of June, July and August.

 Traditionally, traffic at car dealerships slumps between Memorial Day and Labor Day. This convergence can result in a more relaxed shopping experience. Car sales associates will have more time for you, and they’ll be a little hungrier for a sale – which can mean that you’ll be able to negotiate a lower price.

2) Buying a car that’s new, but just prior to a model change, can work in your favor if you’re flexible.

Model years are not the same as calendar years. By the time August 2018 rolls around, many of the vehicles on showroom floors will be 2019 models. Factory production switches over to the new models sooner than you might expect, so your choice of current model year vehicles will be limited to those that have already been produced – no special orders. If you’re not totally locked in to a particular paint color/interior/equipment combination, this won’t affect you.

3) The model changeover can work to your advantage.

Dealers must make room for the new model year, so they’re motivated to sell leftover inventory to free up space (and capital). The later you wait in summer, the better the deals you can find on the outgoing model year. Of course, this advantage can be amplified the longer you wait – you might do a little better in December than you can in August. Only a crystal ball works when predicting the exact right moment for the lowest price.

4) If you’re shopping for a used car, summer offers a few opportunities.

Air-conditioning units can be the Achilles’ heel under the hood, so a test drive in warm weather can demonstrate true function. Don’t forget to test the heater during your drive, too.

Private-party sales benefit from good weather, too. It’s much easier to inspect a vehicle’s exterior condition on a beautiful day than on a cold, rainy one, so take advantage of what Nature offers.

5) Take advantage of the great resources you can find on the Internet before you step foot on a car lot.

Read reviews, compare prices, get your financing in order and do all of your homework before buying. You’ll save money, and you’ll be much more satisfied with your purchase in the long run – summer, fall, winter and spring.