Columbus Day falls on the second Monday of October, a date that commemorates this European explorer’s landing in the new world. Federal workers enjoy the day off as do some state and private sector employees. Whether you get the day off or not, car dealers are offering specials that can benefit all car shoppers throughout the extended weekend.
Make your plans accordingly if you are looking to land a great deal on a used car. We have outlined three reasons to purchase a used car this weekend. We’ve also identified three general steps to take as you shop and complete your deal.
Reason No. 1 — New Car Deals Beget Used Car Finds
Whenever there is a three-day holiday weekend, car dealers plan special deals to lure shoppers. Further, shoppers of new cars are also able to take advantage of monthly manufacturer specials launched just days earlier for purchasing a new car.
Conveniently, Columbus Day falls closer to the beginning of the month than certain other major holidays such as Memorial Day and Thanksgiving. And because most shoppers trade in when they buy new, used car inventories are also bloated. As a used car shopper this means you’ll have a better selection of cars to choose from with fresh incentives available.
Reason No. 2 — Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) Vehicle Specials
Holiday or not, the latest certified pre-owned (CPO) vehicle deals are active. CPO cars are a special breed of used car that are typically no older than five years. They also usually offer special financing incentives by manufacturers.
Most manufacturers provide low-rate financing and in some cases sweeten the deal with a cash credit or a free monthly payment. Once in a while you may find an offer providing complimentary maintenance for up to one year. Please keep in mind that CPO incentives vary not just by brand, but sometimes by model line.
Reason No. 3 — Year End Incentives Are In Effect
October is the beginning of the fourth quarter, and for some manufacturers the year end incentives are already in place. Because October is also the traditional month to introduce the next model year, dealers are eager to clear their lots to make way for 2016 models.
Year- and model-end specials as well as clearance initiatives have a cascading effect that brings in more new car shoppers, increases used car inventories and puts pressure on sales staff to strike deals. Take advantage of Columbus Day to secure your best deal.
Before You Buy
Now that you have three good reasons to shop for a used car on Columbus Day weekend, there are three steps you should take to ensure that you find the right vehicle with a correspondingly sweet deal to go with it.
Step No. 1 — Establish Your Goals
What kind of vehicle do you want? Do you have a make and model in mind? What features are important to you (i.e., GPS navigation, heated seats, or crash avoidance systems)? How much do you plan to spend? Will you be paying cash or financing your purchase? Is there a trade in involved?
Once you answer these questions, you’ll have your goal in mind and a basis for moving on to the next step.
Step No. 2 — Conduct Your Research
You are now ready to explore your financing options, including checking with your bank or credit union as well as viewing the manufacturer’s website for financing deals. You might also read car reviews, including our selection of model overviews and new car reviews, and shop dealer websites for real-time inventory information.
If you see a car that interests you, send a note to the Internet sales department expressing your interest. The dealer will contact you to arrange a test drive. Before you negotiate your Columbus Day deal, make sure that the used or CPO car is what you want. If not, then keep searching.
Step No. 3 — Let’s Make a Deal!
Before you sit down with a salesperson to negotiate a deal, you should have a figure in mind for what you want to pay for the car. Typically, windshield prices are negotiable, but you probably do not know what to offer without obtaining price information from a vehicle valuation site.
The sales staff should be aware of what incentives are available and take those numbers into consideration. You should only sign the deal when you are satisfied with the condition of the car, its price after all incentives are taken, and have financing you can live with.
Columbus Day Deals
Take advantage of the Columbus Day used car deals for as long as they are available to you. Some dealers may extend their specials beyond the weekend, which can give you some extra time to review the updated inventory. At the same time, the car you really want may be sold if you put off your decision for too long.