Ask three different people when the best time to buy a car is and you're bound to get four different answers. In truth, there are times that are more optimal to buy a car, but the specific timing depends on what kind of car you want to buy.
Shawn Tucker, an auto analyst at AutoTrader.com says, not surprisingly, that right now is the best time to buy a car. Well, right now, after you do your research.If you want to pick up a car before the end of 2010, Tucker suggests looking for deals on models that have been discontinued, like the Honda Element, because dealers will be more motivated to clear the lot of models that won't be getting advertised.
You can also score some deals on 2010 models that have been revamped for 2011, like the Ford Mustang or Explorer.
Tucker suggests that you look at the New Model Showcase on Autotrader, which will tell you when the new models are coming out, and how extensive the changes will be, both in options and appearance. The bigger the changes, the better deal you can get on the previous year's model.
Pay attention to the weather, when searching for end-of-the-year or new year car deals. If the weather outside is frightful, the dealership will likely be desolate and more apt to make a deal instead of leaving the day as a snowy loss.
Similarly, you can score a good deal on a convertible around Valentine's Day and you'll also see lower prices on all wheel drive vehicles when demand dies down in the early part of 2011.
As far as finding the best time of the month, week or time of day to buy a car, there are times that may be in your favor depending on advertising campaigns and dealer contests.
Bottom line, Tucker told WalletPop: "Dealers want to sell a car." Dealers and salespeople, he said, would rather sell a car than keep it on the lot.
So the best time to buy a car is after you've done your research -- if that happens to coincide with a snowstorm and the release of a new model, well then you can walk in with a bit more confidence.
The Best Times to Buy a Car in 2010 and 2011