Car buyers rejoice. Black Friday kicks off a season of holiday sales events that create one of the best times of year to shop. From the day after Thanksgiving through New Year, deals abound as automakers offer deep discounts on outgoing year models, dealerships make their own reductions, and both look to finish year-end sales on a high.
Despite the abundance, it’s a good idea to plan your purchase so you can take full advantage. That way, you’re better placed to maximize the potential savings and make a smart choice for the seasons ahead. Here are six steps to help you do it.
Dealerships will be busy, which often means less attention from sales staff, so research vehicles first to have a clear idea of what you want. Decide which model or models you’re interested in, and whether it will be new or used.
Estimate what you can afford to pay for a car, taking into account a potential down payment and trade-in value. If you’re financing the purchase, auto loan calculators will help you budget for the total price and monthly payment.
You may see and hear holiday car deals advertised on the TV and radio, but if you’re looking for a different model, visit the automaker’s website or call some dealerships to see if there’s an offer on it. Check their inventory while you’re about it, to help you plan where to shop. And as with any major purchase, it’s important to read the fine print.
Choose a day when it’s quieter, such as early in the week, to test drive the vehicle. If you know it’s right for you, you’ll be better prepared to make the purchase.
This is another way to save time and potentially more money. If preapproved for a loan, you’ll be able to shop at the dealership with the confidence of a cash buyer and focus on the deal, rather than arranging credit, as well. If the dealer offers you financing, you can compare it to your preapproval.
Get ahead of the crowds. Check when the dealership opens and turn up early in the day with all the necessary documents, like your loan voucher, driver’s license and proof of insurance, ready to make the purchase.