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BUYER’S GUIDE: Why Winter is a Great Time to Buy

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The beauty of fall has long since disappeared, and the world is a frozen tundra of ice and snow. It’s the time of year when we all want to stay inside, drink something warm, and cower under piles of blankets.

That may be tempting, but crawl out from under those blankets because there are bargains to be had if you are willing to brave the cold. Here’s why winter is the perfect time to get out there and buy your next car.

Dealerships are Empty

You don’t want to venture outside when it’s cold and neither does anyone else. This means dealerships are quiet, which is bad for them but could be very good for you. Salespeople are anxious to make that sale and so is that manager who holds the keys to making the sale.

Busy seasons mean there are plenty of people in line to get the exact same car you’re hoping to buy. If you aren’t willing to work with the dealer, then they can probably get the next guy to make the deal you declined. Getting a good deal is easier when there aren’t five more people right behind you willing to pay more for the same car.

You’ll still have to haggle, but the pressure is on the dealership. If they really need to make the sale, then it’s a risky move to let you walk away when there’s a snowstorm on the horizon and a chance no one else will be walking through those doors for days.

Cars are Winterized

You won’t generally find snow tires on a car sitting in the lot in the middle of June, but you might find them in February. You’ll also find more cars with winter features like heated steering wheels, heated seats, all-wheel drive, and windshield deicers.

If these features are important to you, then shop during the winter months. People want to buy a car that fits the moment, so that’s exactly what you’ll find sitting on dealer lots when it’s cold.

Even if the car with all the winter weather features you need isn’t right on the lot, chances are good it’s at least at another dealer nearby where it can easily be shipped to your location.

Save on Last Year’s Model

Automakers roll out the next year’s model well before the current year is through. This means last year’s models may still be sitting on lots into the new year and the dealer will be anxious to see them gone as quickly as possible.

Many times, there isn’t much of a difference from one model year to the next other than a better price on last year’s car. Sometimes the differences amount to nothing more than a new paint color, new interior trims, and a new feature or two. Other than the model year changing, there might not be a big difference.

Still, people like to have the latest and greatest. Faced with this year’s model or last year’s model, the natural tendency is to gravitate towards what’s new.

Do some research when you’re ready to buy and check out the differences between model years. If the older model fits your needs, then you could save some serious cash by buying one off the lot and removing a hard-to-sell car from the dealer’s inventory.

Take a Snowy Test Drive

The best way to know how a car handles in the snow is to take it out on the road. If you want to know if it’s good in the snow, then winter is the perfect time to go for a test drive.

We’re not recommending you take a test drive in a blizzard with 20 inches of snow and whiteout conditions, but try out your potential purchase in less than perfect weather lets. This will let you know if it really handles as well as all that sales literature claims.

If you live where there’s winter weather, then you’re used to how your current car handles in the snow. A wintry test drive in the car you’re thinking of buying will let you know if it matches up, does better, or falls behind your current ride.

Convertibles are a Steal

You’re thinking about a all-wheel-drive beast with heated seats and snow tires and lots of ground clearance, but what about a convertible? There might be snow on the ground, but that doesn’t mean you can’t look at a car that’s perfect for summer.

There are good reasons not to wait until springtime to look at that cute convertible. These cars don’t sell at all in the winter, especially if you live someplace where snow is the norm. Buying one while the ground is still frozen can get you quite a steal.

Time to Buy That Sports Car

Much like you don’t think about dropping the top and buying a convertible during the winter, sports cars also aren’t at the top of most lists when the weather is cold. They’ll also sit unwanted on dealer lots until the roads clear and people are ready for summer.

Dealers do not like having cars simply sit in inventory. It ties up their money and keeps them from buying the cars people are more likely to buy. Showing up in January to buy a sports car can save you a lot of cash as you help clean out that inventory by putting a car in your driveway.

Less Pressure

You found the car you want and you’re pretty sure you like the deal, but you need some time to think. The salesman is likely to tell you that whatever car you’re looking at is a hot property and can’t be guaranteed to still be on the lot in ten minutes much less tomorrow. Not so in winter.

You may still hear that line and the car you want could still sell minutes after you walk out the door, but the chances of that happening when the weather is frigid are much slimmer.

The pressure is off when people aren’t storming the dealership. The minute the weather turns sunny and warm, people will be showing up in droves and your car is much more likely to sell while you’re still trying to make a decision.

The beauty of shopping in the winter is that you have time to think. Check out other dealerships, shop online, and be sure you’re getting the car you want without worrying so much that it’ll be gone once you’re ready to buy.

Still have questions about buying your next car? Check out all our Buyer’s Guides and search BestRide.com’s listings. We’ll help you be ready when it’s time to buy.

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Nicole Wakelin

Nicole Wakelin