How to Find the Best Car Incentives and Rebates

There are many new car incentives if you know where to look

Capital One | 
May 22, 2018 | 3 min read

finding the best car incentives, car rebates, new vehicle incentives and rebates

As you embark on your search to find the right car, you’ll find yourself narrowing down all of your car choices to a handful of candidates that are separated by small margins. In these situations, even the slightest price differences can be huge deciding factors in the car you end up settling on. That’s when car incentives and vehicle rebates come into play—if taken advantage of, they can add up and result in a noticeable difference in total price. Here’s what you need to know.


It might sound like there are many different kinds of vehicle incentives and rebates, but in reality, there are three primary types: cash-back offers, financing deals, and lease incentives.

  • Cash-back offers don’t quite work as you’d expect—instead of giving you cash back after purchasing a car, they simply discount the price of the car. This type of offer is the most common and is typically only available to those buying new cars, not used. Cash-back incentives can go by many different names including vehicle rebates, cash allowances, customer cash, bonus cash offers, and cash incentives. Try not to let all of these different terms confuse you—all of them work in the same basic way.
  • Financing deals typically consist of a reduced interest rate you’ll get when financing your new vehicle. In general, these special deals offer better rates than those normally offered by the dealer or bank. Keep in mind that these special financing offers usually require the buyer to have a high credit score and to obtain financing through a specified provider. And, in most cases you won’t be able to combine a special financing offer with a cash-back incentive on the same vehicle, so it’s best to crunch some numbers and calculate which offer will result in a better deal for you overall. Try giving the over at Edmunds a whirl. Remember, every incentive is different and usually has its own fine print, so it's wise to read carefully.
  • While technically not a part of buying a car, lease incentives typically offer a lower monthly payment amount or discounts on the up-front lease payment.


With a bit of research on your end, you can easily find all of the incentives that are available for the vehicles you’re considering. Since requirements will vary from one deal to the next, always ask about eligibility criteria.

  • Check the manufacturer’s website. More often than not, each automaker will have a section dedicated to all ongoing specials for their models. These are usually updated on a monthly basis, so make sure that you’re up-to-date on all of the incentives that interest you.
  • Contact the dealership and inquire about any incentives being offered. Generally, dealers will be very forthcoming in letting you know whether they have any rebates or special offers for the vehicles you’re interested in.
  • Visit websites that aggregate the most attractive incentives, offers, and rebates for popular car models all in one place. Resources like and are useful since they’re usually updated monthly.

Finding available offers on your soon-to-be new car doesn’t preclude further negotiation on the vehicle’s price—you should continue on the assumption that the value of the incentive is a given and negotiate as per usual. By making sure you’ve got your car negotiation skills down pat and knowing what to say and what to say and what not to say at the dealership, you’ll be well on your way to getting a great deal on your favorite car.

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