How to Find the Best Black Friday 2018 Car Deals
Embrace the chaos, and cash in on one of the biggest discount days of the year
Updated Nov. 5, 2018
The alarm squeals just after 5 a.m. on Black Friday, and you bounce out of bed with visions of discounts dancing in your head.
Thanksgiving has come and gone (except for the gravy stains on your favorite shirt), and now you’re ready to bag one of the biggest birds of the holiday season—a great deal on a new car.
Lining up at Best Buy or Walmart to save a few hundred on a flatscreen used to get your blood pumping, but now you’ve decided to answer the clarion call of the car dealership—where Black Friday has become one of the deepest discount (holi)days of the year.
But you can’t just stumble into a dealership on Black Friday and expect them to lay a few grand in discounts at your feet. You need a strategy—7 steps that begin with a plateful of prep work and end with embracing the chaos of the biggest bargain-hunting day of the year.
1. DO YOUR BLACK FRIDAY RESEARCH AND TEST DRIVING EARLY
A week out from the big day, narrow your choices and compare prices online, get multiple quotes from dealerships on the phone or via e-mail, and then take test drives. That way, when you arrive bright and early on Black Friday you can focus on the car you want and the juicy discounts on the table.
2. COMPARE CASH BACK AND LOW FINANCING OFFERS
Almost every ad during the Thanksgiving Day football games promises 0% percent financing on new cars and trucks, or gobs of cash back. Which one will save you more? Plug the numbers into
3. GET PRE-QUALIFIED BEFORE BLACK FRIDAY
This advice is good any day of the year, but amid the frenzy of Black Friday, having financing in hand means one less holiday headache. Several lenders, including Capital One, provide online tools for pre-qualifying. If the dealership offers you a buffet of better options and APRs, by all means, help yourself.
4. GET YOUR TRADE-IN APPRAISED
We know, more prep work. But it’ll be worth it. When you schedule a test drive, set up an appointment with the used-car manager and ask for an estimate on your trade-in value. Check the value online, too. Knowing what your trade-in is worth will speed things up on Black Friday. Also, don’t forget to bring the title with you. (Same goes for other essential documents, such as driver’s license and proof of insurance, income, and residence.)
5. ON BLACK FRIDAY, ARRIVE EARLY AND BE PATIENT
Some dealers open at 6 a.m. on Black Friday, but because of the crowds it will still be a marathon day. Pack a lunch (turkey sandwiches, anyone?), read a book, and be patient. Some dealers bring in additional sales staff on Black Friday, but that’s not likely to help with the gridlock at the financing office. Good things come to those who wait.
6. DON’T LET THE FOG OF BLACK FRIDAY AFFECT YOUR NEGOTIATING SKILLS
Stay focused, settle on the right car and right price for you first. Then discuss trade-in, financing, down payment, warranty, and add-ons. You need to be prepared for every stage of car negotiations. Same as any other day of the year. And if you’re not getting the sweet deal you envisioned, try another day or another dealership. Many of the Black Friday discounts and incentives will last at least through November. Check the fine print.
7. TAKE DELIVERY OF YOUR VEHICLE A FEW DAYS AFTER BLACK FRIDAY
Some shoppers want to drive home with their new wheels on Black Friday. We get it—like a hunter proudly displaying their latest trophy. But if you can wait a day or three, the detailing department will have more time to give your car some extra TLC, and the salesperson will have more time to walk you through some of the technology in your new vehicle. It could also get you out of the dealership faster on Black Friday—and you’ll have time to cash in on a few more big holiday deals.