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Best time to buy a car

I heard a snippet on NPR the other day that auto prices will be coming down…but I didn’t catch the all-important when. Anyone know? I’m thinking about a used car but might consider a new if the price-is-right. Thanks.
Keith in St. Louis, MO

If someone actually knew when and if…they could make a killing in the stock market on speculative buying.

There’s some thought that prices may actually rise. Especially with the possible short term shortage of vehicles and parts from Japan. It’s supply and demand. If supply is reduced or demand becomes higher…then prices go up.

In general a good time to buy is right after the new models start hitting the dealers…and then buy last years model. Another good time to buy is January thur March…dealers are hurting for business then.

The best answer is: a long time after you bought your previous car. Trying to guess exactly when in the year is best is relatively unimportant compared to the decision to buy after 3 vs 5 vs 10 years.

Pretty much what the other two said. I’ll add another time to Mike’s good points: The end of the month. Dealerships have quotas, and when it’s getting close to the end of the month, they get anxious about meeting them. This does not, of course, work on wildly popular cars where demand exceeds supply.

The best time to get a bargain on a new car is between now and the time all the 2011 cars are gone from the dealer’s lot. That assumes you want to hold onto it for a long time.

Just as important as knowing when to buy a car is knowing how to pay for a car.

If you are financing a car or leasing it, you are throwing a huge amount of money down the drain each year. Learn how to live within your means, save your money, and then pay cash for your next car.

Then, maintain that car flawlessly, and drive it for 7-10 years.
I have done this with all of my new cars over the past 40 years, and I have saved–literally–many thousands of dollars in the process.

small cars will continue to be expensive, no matter the brand. Trucks and suvs will suffer from high depreciation and can be great buys used.

The day before your current car dies (and you traded it in on a newer one).

I vaguely recall that NPR segment saying many car prices would come down in the fall of this year. That would be when Japanese automakers finally getting back to full production and dealers’ lots become replenished once again.

If you are financing a car or leasing it, you are throwing a huge amount of money down the drain each year. Learn how to live within your means, save your money, and then pay cash for your next car.

But my loan interest rate is 0.9% and my checking account interest rate is 3.75%. And over the total life of the loan, I’ll be looking at less than $500 in interest($409 if I remember correctly). Sometimes the loan does make sense.

That said, if you do get a loan, make sure you’re interest rate is low, and put enough of a downpayment that you’ll never be underwater on the loan. Leasing on the other hand is just a good way to end up poorer.

But my loan interest rate is 0.9% and my checking account interest rate is 3.75%

What bank it this…

The best I’ve seen for a 5-year CD is 2.5%…average checking interest rates are about 1.25%

Let me correct my previous post.

the BEST checking interest rates I’ve seen is 1.25%…the average is below 1%

Any bank that is giving 3.75% interest on their checking accounts is surely gouging you in some other way.

I have seen some banks paying above-average interest on checking accounts, but in order to get that rate, you have to either keep a very high balance in the account or do a very large number of debit card transactions per month. (I do not use a debit card, simply because there are so few consumer protections on debit card transactions, as compared to credit card transactions.)

Can malraux give us a link to his/her bank?
I would be very interested in seeing the exact details on that checking account because, as the old saying goes, “There is no such thing as a free lunch”.

It is reasonable to expect interest rates to rise in the not-too-distant future. It is certainly possible to get a loan now at a rate lower than what prevailing rates will pay on a CD a year or two from now. Not to mention there are many other ways to get a yield on the cash-- stocks, ETFs, etc. The one size fits all recommendation to never finance a vehicle is just plain bad advice

avoid (but do not completely rule out) dealer financing. do not pay for any sort of loan insurance bs, regardless

MMA’s (Money market Accounts) frequently give higher rates. They also typically have a minimum balance, from what I’ve seen, it’s normally in the $10K arena.

FWIW, I haven’t had an auto loan yet that wasn’t 0%. All through dealers. I also normally pay ~$500 over invoice. The exception was my 4Runner, due to the options I wanted on the vehicle…that was $1000 over invoice, after military and other discounts.

again, why rule out dealer financing? As the dealer gets a cut on financing you may have more leverage on price.

Many times dealer financing is NOT a good idea. The more you pay for a vehicle the better the dealer financing…I’ve and friends have found…that if you negotiate a good deal on a car…the interest rate goes up…

Dealers use their financing as incentive to buy their cars…

Best way to finance a car…

. First find out from your preferred finance institution how much they’ll give you a loan on…AND figure out what you can actually afford for monthly payments.

. Negotiate your best price from a dealer. Don’t even talk about financing with the dealer.

. Get loan from your preferred finance institution.

the dealership I bought my car at actually found a lower interest rate loan for me when they asked if they could. I checked websites for every bank in town and called the ones that didn’t show their rates online. I found a 4.25% rate, they found one with a 4.14% rate. Looking back, the bank they put me in was about the only bank I did NOT call/check at the time.