Labor Day is just around the corner. If you’re shopping for a used pickup truck, studies show that holiday weekends are one of the best times to buy.
You’ll often see or hear car dealerships advertising huge deals or blowout sales during holiday weekends, and those ads are almost always accurate. Dealers often offer special financing or discount deals for holiday weekends. While you might not want to spend your holiday weekend test-driving and signing the papers on a new truck or car, doing so could help you save thousands of dollars and give you the peace of mind that you got a great deal.
Labor Day is the last three-day weekend of summer, so as we go into the end of August and early September, you can expect to see some fairly aggressive deals from car dealerships as they try to wrap up the summer selling season.
How to shop for a used pickup truck on Labor Day Weekend.
Dealerships can get busy on long holiday weekends so here are some tips to avoid the crowds, alleviate stress and get a great deal.
1. Do your homework.
Do your research earlier in the week. Then, by the time the weekend rolls around, you should have narrowed your car list to about three models at most.
2. Figure out your trade-in.
- Use online tools to appraise your trade-in’s value. Edmunds.com and kbb.com are two great FREE resources.
- Pack all your trade-in’s accessories. Trading in your car means you are trading in everything that goes along with it. Make sure the original owner’s manual and any extra keys are in the vehicle when you arrive at the dealership. Dealers like used cars that still have all the accessories and may even give you a better deal on your trade when everything is there.
- Bring all vehicle paperwork with you. Dealers love it when you have all the documents ready to trade-in your car. It makes it easier for them to process your info with the DMV and leaves less room for error once the DMV receives your information. You will need:
- Certificate of title (if you don’t have it, the DMV can tell you how to get it replaced). Note: if you have an outstanding loan on the vehicle, this will not apply since the bank has your certificate of title.
- Current registration.
- If you still have a loan on the car, you’ll need to have your account number or a payment stub.
- Maintenance records. These help support your claims about whatever prior damage your car has had and the repairs it has undergone.
3. Know your credit score.
If you plan on using financing to buy a used pickup truck, your credit score is key to getting the lowest interest rates. Your credit score is a three-digit number that uses your credit information to assess how risky a borrower you are, and it can significantly influence how lenders decide the terms of your loan.
The higher your credit score, the lower your risk and the lower your interest rate. The lower your credit score, the riskier you are and the higher your interest rates. Be proactive in checking your credit score beforehand so you know where your credit stands before you apply for a loan.
You can obtain a free copy of your credit report.
FTC (Federal Trade Commission) Website: You’re entitled to one free copy of your credit report every 12 months from each of the three nationwide credit reporting companies. Order online from annualcreditreport.com, the only authorized website for free credit reports, or call 1-877-322-8228. You will need to provide your name, address, social security number, and date of birth to verify your identity.
Some states like Colorado have laws that allow you to get a free credit report in addition to the free annual credit report you’re entitled to by Federal law.
4. Choose your purchase method and set your budget.
The purchase of a used pickup truck includes different methods. Your options will be to pay cash, or finance your purchase. Most customers choose to finance and you’ll either use your trade-in as a down payment or pay cash down. Make some preliminary calculations on what you can afford.
ProTip: Get Pre-Approved.
This fast and easy process lets you choose how much you want to borrow based on the type of vehicle you’re looking for. You’ll know ahead of time what to expect…and that means less anxiety and more peace of mind.
One of our helpful finance specialists will contact you to discuss available financing options.
5. Check reviews.
If you already have a used pickup truck in mind, read expert reviews of the vehicle. Also check consumer reviews of the car you are considering. Then take a moment to see what other cars compete with the one you have selected. If you don’t yet know what you want to buy, build a list of three “target cars” to test drive.
6. Find the right dealer and set up a test drive.
Once you’ve landed on the car(s) you want to test drive, get in touch with the dealer to see if the vehicles are still available.
If possible, do your drive ahead of the Labor Day weekend. Your salesperson will be able to dedicate more time to showing you the car. Explain that you’ll be making a purchase decision later on the Labor Day weekend. It sets the expectations and should reduce a bit of the pressure.
7. Settle on a price.
Choosing the right car often depends on its price. Make sure you look at all aspects of the deal, including the interest rate, finance terms, and any additional fees. Pay attention to what feels best for you.
If you already know the dealership you’re working with – maybe you’ve purchased from them before – they should remind you about any Labor Day deals prior to your visit. If you’ve never shopped at that dealership, be sure to ask.
Wrapping up the sale…
- Be sure to bring any documents you might need to complete the sale such as your Driver’s License and Insurance info.
- Once your financing is settled, you’ll sign the contract and take delivery.
- If everything is settled, consider picking up your truck the day after the weekend. You’ll avoid the crowds and the salesperson will give you a more relaxed walk-through on the key features of the truck.