15 Tips for Buying a Car During Summer Sales

Looking for a new vehicle this summer? Here's how to save money on your purchase.
Updated May 15, 2024
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Do you plan to buy a car soon? If so, there are several ways you can keep more cash in your wallet when you purchase your new ride.

Here are some tips for saving money when shopping for a car during sales this summer.

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Drop some vehicles from your list of options

hedgehog94/Adobe young woman buying new car

Some vehicles are more popular than others during the summer, so this might not be the time to buy them.

You may want to skip buying that new minivan, for example, as buyers tend to grab them for summer road trips. Convertibles also become more popular in good weather.

Higher demand for these cars might make it more difficult to bargain for a good price that helps you get ahead financially.

Look for deals on SUVs and trucks

Maksym Povozniuk/Adobe couple buying a new car

SUVs and trucks are not as popular during the summer. But remember, eventually, summer will turn into fall and winter.

So, think ahead about snowy weather and icy road conditions as you try to save money now at the dealership.

See what types of all-wheel-drive options you can find at a dealer this summer. You might get a better deal now on an SUV or truck that can handle hazardous winter conditions when they return later this year.

Shop near the end of June

Nebojsa/Adobe man shaking hand with car dealer

The Fourth of July can be a good time to get a deal on a car. However, everybody knows this fact, which means you might also face some extra competition to find the vehicle you want and get it at a great price.

So, consider shopping a week earlier, at the end of June. Sales departments won’t be as busy, and you might get a better deal from a dealer looking to meet monthly sales goals.

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Try it

Negotiate like crazy

Serhii/Adobe couple buying new car

Do some research to learn more about summer incentives, the market price for the vehicle you want, and the prices at local dealerships. Then, prepare to negotiate like crazy.

Being prepared can put you in the perfect spot to negotiate the price down to something reasonable.

Don't take out a lengthy loan

Studio Romantic/Adobe young woman buys a car

Car dealers now offer longer loans for some vehicles. It can be tempting to take an offer of a long-term loan, as this can cut the size of your monthly payment.

However, taking a longer loan often means paying more over the life of the loan. The extra months can generate extra interest payments on the loan.

Research the cost

Nestor/Adobe couple talking to car dealer

Many dealerships list their inventory on their websites. So, it’s a good idea to compare the prices of the models you want. That way, you enhance your odds of getting the best deal.

Also, research the cost of your trade-in if you have one. A trade-in price can have a big impact on what you pay, so make sure you are getting a good deal on your current vehicle.

Watch for rebates and other incentives

DragonImages/Adobe test drive concept

Car manufacturers offer rebates and incentives on different models throughout the year, including during the summer.

You can find out about manufacturers' rebates and incentives online or ask about them when you visit a dealership.

Buy before new model years come in

Freedomz/Adobe handshake of cooperation

Manufacturers aren’t as dedicated to introducing new model years in September and October as they once were. However, there are still plenty of new models that come out around that time.

That means dealers may be more motivated to get the current year’s models off the lot during the summer so they can make room for the newer models. This gives you a good chance to make a deal.

Expand your search area

prostooleh/Adobe woman buying the car

You don’t have to stay local to get a good deal on a vehicle. Don’t be afraid to check the prices at other dealers that might not be as close to you.

A longer drive to another dealership can be a smart move if it saves you money on the purchase price.

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Know the car's value

Prostock-studio/Adobe salesman offering couple

Check the values of cars before you shop for one. Websites such as Kelley Blue Book or Edmunds can help you get a better idea of how much a vehicle might cost.

Look for your favorite makes and models so you can get a better idea of how much you should expect to pay.

Know the car's history

rh2010/Adobe couple choosing luxury car

Buyers who find a nice used car should pay particular attention to the vehicle’s history. Watch for any red flags, accidents, or other issues with the car that are detailed in this history.

Go online to sites that let you plug in the vehicle identification number of a particular vehicle to get its history. You may have to pay for some of these services, but doing so can be worth it if it helps you avoid a car with a bad history.

Get prequalified

New Africa/Adobe woman using laptop to buy car

Consider getting prequalified for an auto loan so you will have a better idea about what you can afford.

Check with your local bank or financial institution to learn more about the terms and interest rates they might offer you as part of a car loan.

Factor in depreciation

Minerva Studio/Adobe smiling man checking car

Depreciation is often substantial for cars, particularly for some makes and models. So, if you are buying used, remember that buying a car that has depreciated can save you money.

On the other hand, if you plan to sell a car in the future, remember that it might be challenging to get the price you desire on a car that depreciates quickly.

Be prepared to buy

makibestphoto/Adobe man signing car insurance

Summer can be a competitive time for car buyers, so if you find something you like, you should be ready to buy it quickly.

Of course, you don’t want to simply rush in and buy something foolishly: Make sure you do your research before you go to the car lot so you know what you are getting into.

Consider waiting until autumn

carballo/Adobe looking and buying used car

Autumn might be a better time to buy if a new model year is being introduced and you want to get a deal on the older model.

Waiting until fall to buy also might give you some extra time to research and test-drive vehicles so you can learn more about exactly what you want.

Bottom line

hedgehog94/Adobe businessman buying used car

A new or used vehicle can be an expensive purchase, so it’s important to factor in different costs in addition to the actual car.

Remember to create an estimated budget for your vehicle ownership that factors in the cost of gas, maintenance and repair. Also, shopping around and comparing quotes can help you save money on car insurance.

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Author Details

Jenny Cohen Jenny Cohen is a freelance writer who has covered a bit of everything, from finance to sports to her favorite TV shows. Her work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and FoxSports.com.

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