When is the best time to buy a car? If your drive to work this morning ended in a tow to the garage, you may already have the answer to that question. Yes, sometimes the timing of your biggest purchase of the year will come down to necessity rather than choice.

After eight years of operating our highly successful reverse car auction process, AutoeBid knows a thing or two about getting you the best deals. So whether you're a first-time buyer or a seasoned negotiator, here are some of our top tips for picking the best time to buy a car.

Buy your car in the "low" season

It might sound counter-intuitive but summer isn't the best time to buy that convertible you've had your eye on. Wait until barbecue season is over and dealers will be hungrier and more open to negotiating. Call it delayed gratification, but your bank balance will look healthier for it. At the other end of the scale, if you're in the market for an off-roader -- then summer is the best time to buy a car. You'll be in a better position to get a great deal -- especially if you buy through AutoeBid.

Buy your car later -- buy cheaper

Good things come to he or she who waits. If you're someone who regularly books their holiday just days before departure, you'll know that timing is everything. So before you head off to your local car dealer, check your calendar and try to hit:

  • The end of the quarter
  • The end of the month
  • The end of the week

That's right: Friday afternoon is a great time to choose the car dealership over a lingering lunch in the pub. You'll get the dealer's attention and you might get a bargain.

Remember, salesmen live and die by their targets. You want to be approaching them at a time when they're keen to "close". That's usually when a month or quarter is drawing to a close and they're under pressure to make their figures look as good as possible.

Autumn car bargain or early Christmas present?

Think of it as early Christmas shopping or getting a jump on the sales, but October-December is often the best time to buy a car. You'll often find that dealers are offering generous discounts then because they want to clear stock before the new models arrive in January.

If you can drag yourself off the sofa, that "dead" post-Christmas period will also find dealers full of seasonal good cheer. They want to keep those order books ticking over and you'll be welcomed with open arms.

Here are a few more tips to bear in mind:

Wait until the new plate vehicles are released and you might pick up a great deal on a previous plate model.

Consider buying the previous generation car at the time the new model is first launched.

Above all, be flexible!

Of course we think the best time to buy a car is when AutoeBid's network of more than 1,500 registered suppliers have had a chance to compete for your business. So why not give it a try?

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