When you buy through links on our site, we may earn a commission. Learn more here.

Congratulations! It’s A Car!

And what a beautiful color.

So you’re buying a car. Maybe you’re buying your first car, maybe it’s your first time buying a car alone, or maybe you’re just looking to sharpen your tools before diving into the shark tank again.

Regardless of your position, there are a number of tricks and timing tips you can use to get the most out of buying a car. Let’s dive right in so you can go get your new ride with confidence!

Timing is everything. In the case of buying cars, this expression is spot on. The end of the calendar year is a great time to buy a car. Dealerships usually offer deals to boost their end-of-year sales numbers. it’s also a busy time of year. People will be taking advantage of the the sales and offers, leaving you with fewer choices on the lot. Don’t hold out too long if you need to have a specific car. You don’t want to lose it to someone else!

There’s another “end” of the year when you can find good deals. It’s the end of the model year for particular vehicle lines. Dealerships won’t always advertise this so you’ll have to keep an eye out. If you notice 2016 and 2017 models at the dealership, there’s a good chance they’re looking to move the older year models off the lot. That means a better deal for you on the previous year’s model!

Just like it’s good to shop at the year’s end, it’s good to shop at the end of the month, too. If they’ve had a slow month, they’ll be very willing to work with you. The less time a salesperson has to hold out for a sale, the more power you’ll have at the table.

If you can spin it, shopping on a weekday basically guarantees you’ll spend less time waiting and more time with an attentive representative. And just like waiting until the end of the month, It might be in your benefit to wait until later in the day to make an offer. If the salesperson hasn’t made a single sale all day, the prospect of selling to you could entice them to make you a better deal .

It’s worth spending time online looking at vehicles and looking at dealerships. Vehicle reviews can be invaluable, both from the experts and from the laypeople. Once you hone in on a vehicle you can start looking into dealerships. Shopping around gives you leverage, and leverage means better deals! Different dealerships can offer you different value-providing options. Free oil-changes, free carwashes, even free coffee while you browse can make a car buying deal that much sweeter.

A low selling price is good, but it is not the only factor you want to consider when buying a car. Like we talked about above, there are a lot of ways dealerships can sweeten the pot for you. Even if the price tag is a little high, the convenience of free oil changes or the potential savings down the road could make up for a higher price now. Be sure to note any additional fees and the trade-in value of the vehicle. Keep the bigger picture in sight. Don’t get locked into a low price at the expense of everything else.

These next bits of advice might seem like common sense but it would be such a bummer if you overlooked them in your car-buying excitement. You’d never forgive yourself! We just want you to be happy. So. What about features? Make sure you know all the features your prospective vehicle has to offer. If you want to get the most out of your new ride, make sure you know everything it can do! Knowing everything about the tech in the car helps with two things:

One, you aren’t surprised when you realize your vehicle can’t do what you thought it could. Imagine your first winter with your new vehicle. The temperature drops, you climb into your chilly captain’s seat, looking for the button that’ll send near-instant warmth coursing through your whole body. You keep looking for it. Now about five minutes have passed. You can’t find the seat warmer button. It turns out your car doesn’t have heated seats.

What a horrific oversight!

If you had known that, you would’ve worn your flannel underwear. Instead you’re showing up to dinner with chilled cheeks!

Two, it makes sure you aren’t overpaying for tech you don’t need. Maybe you don’t need the model with the navigation because you have a portable GPS. Maybe you don’t need the upgraded speaker system because you only listen to the sounds of the open road. It’s good to know these things so you can pick the right package for your wants and needs (without overpaying).

Speaking of overpaying, it’s worth checking your insurance rates for the potential new vehicle. This is especially smart when you’ll be sharing the automobile with younger drivers. Characteristics like vehicle color and a more powerful engine can add a hefty increase to your current auto-insurance. Give your provider a quick call before going all in on that new car.

You’ve timed it perfectly, the insurance rates are reasonable, and now you’re at the dealership with a salesperson and the lot all to yourself. Don’t skimp on the test drive! You are going to put tens of thousands of miles on this vehicle. Make the test drive count. The best way to do that is by mimicking your daily driving scenarios as closely as possible. Transporting kids? Bring them to the dealership and have them try the seats as you drive. Sharing the driving? Make sure you’re comfortable in the passenger seat. Have weird dimensions in the garage? Ask the salesperson if you can take it to your home and test the fit in your garage/driveway/parking space. Maybe you have a challenging stretch of road on your daily commute. Again, ask the salesperson if you could take the vehicle on an extended test-drive. In most cases, good salespeople will understand and let you try that steep hill or sharp curve.

In almost all cases, the sale is final. Remember that. You shouldn’t feel pressured out of taking your sweet time with this process. You shouldn’t feel sheepish about testing your future vehicle in a daily routine simulation (after the OK from the salesperson). Ask about the technology in the car. Make sure you know exactly what you’re getting into and exactly what you can get out of the vehicle. Do your research, time your shopping, and then enjoy the feel (and the price) of that freshly purchased automobile.