Weekend Shopping: Are Car Dealerships Open on Sunday?

car dealerships open on sundays

If you've ever tried car shopping on the weekend, you may have noticed that all the dealerships are closed.

While it's not the case for dealerships in every state, most are not open on Sunday.

Why is this the case?

Why Are Car Dealerships Closed on Sundays Video

Car dealerships are closed on Sundays due to the influence of blue laws. These laws, rooted in religious traditions, restrict certain commercial activities on Sundays. But blue laws are not the only reason for dealerships closing on Sundays.

It allows employees to have a designated day off and promotes work-life balance. Additionally, it aligns with the traditional notion of Sunday as a day of rest and family time and it provides an opportunity for dealerships to perform maintenance and prepare for the upcoming week.

What are Blue Laws?

What Are Blue LawsBlue Laws were established in the 18th century by lawmakers, and they were meant to keep businesses closed on Sundays. Blue Law's origin is connected to the Bible, which labels Sunday as a day of worship and rest.

At the time Blue Laws were established, nearly all businesses were forced to close on Sunday. While some businesses are still closed or operating limited hours on Sunday, many of these Blue Laws have been repealed since the separation of church and state. But many dealerships remain closed on Sundays regardless.

Giving Employees a Day Off

The purpose of Sunday car sales bans is to give workers a day off.  Additionally, car sales employees tend to work very long hours, and having Sundays off was a way to ensure a break.

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States That Ban Dealership Car Sales on Sunday

Without a rule about closing on Sundays, the dealerships that do close would lag behind sales, making it likely that nobody would close. Statewide bans on dealerships allow them to close without the risk of losing customers or business.

States That Ban Car SalesThe 13 states that forbid car dealerships to sell vehicles on Sunday are:

  • Oklahoma
  • Minnesota
  • Wisconsin
  • Illinois
  • Missouri
  • Indiana
  • Louisiana
  • Colorado
  • Pennsylvania
  • Mississippi
  • New Jersey
  • Maine

The Penalty for Operating on Sunday

Car dealerships in a state with a ban that make sales on a Sunday risk losing their license. Should they be caught, they can face serious legal problems.

Restricted States

Seven other states are "mixed" because they allow car sales on Sundays in certain counties or during specific hours. These states include:

Restricted States

  • Rhode Island
  • Maryland
  • Utah
  • Texas
  • North Dakota
  • Nevada
  • Michigan

Reasons Dealerships Don't Want to Operate on Sundays

Many dealers actually want the Sunday ban. Texas, New Jersey, and Illinois lawmakers attempted to remove the ban, and dealers fought back. The reasons they wanted the ban to remain to include:

Reasons Dealerships Aren't Open

  • Consistent with Banks. Financial institutions are closed Sundays, which makes operating on Sundays more challenging.
  • Make Employees Happy. Making Sunday a workday increased employee turnover rates. Even though salespeople earn money from car sales, they still need a day of rest.
  • Operational Costs. Closing for Sunday reduces operational costs for the dealership.
  • Sales Over Time. Dealers believe the ban spreads the same volume of sales over a greater period of time.
  • Online Use. Customers can still gather information and purchase online.

Reasons to Remove the Car Sales Ban

While many dealers advocate for the ban, many also do not want it enforced. Some reasons to lift the ban on Sunday car sales include:

Reasons to Remove Sales Ban

  • Government Control. Some dealers perceive the ban as unnecessary government control over their business.
  • Lose Out on Sales. Dealerships make money from selling cars, and they could lose buyers to neighboring states that are open on Sundays.
  • Doesn't Have to Apply to Everyone. Removing the ban does not force all dealerships to open seven days a week.
  • Beneficial to Customers. According to the Federal Trade Commission, " removing the restriction would benefit customers and improve competition."

Buying a Car on Sunday

If you live in a restricted or mixed state, the laws against car sales on Sunday can be challenging. Here are some ways you can plan for car-buying despite the Sunday dealership closures:

Buying a Car on Sunday

  • Research Your State Laws. If you're in a "mixed state", certain dealerships may still have special hours. If you are not in a restricted or mixed state, then there's a good chance some dealerships will be open.
  • Start the Process Online. Walking into a dealership without prior preparation sets you up to be there for a long time, which can be extremely difficult on a busy Saturday or weekday. Start your search online, including the type of vehicle (and what's available at the dealership), market value, preapprovals, etc. Check out the important questions to ask when buying a new car.
  • Be an Early Bird. If the dealership is closed Sunday, many will need to go Saturday, which makes that day very crowded. To cut down on wait time, get there as soon as the dealership opens.
  • Shop Neighboring States. If you live next to a state with open dealerships (whether they have mixed restrictions or none at all), it may be worth the drive for Sunday car shopping. Just make sure to consider your travel cost and make sure you know the hours for the dealership you're going to.
  • Take a Day Off. While it's not always possible to do this, try to schedule a weekday to visit the dealership. You'll avoid the Saturday rush and have more time to look. Here are the best times to buy a car.

Dealerships were originally closed on Sundays as part of Blue Laws, but many still follow that pattern today. Some states require it, and many dealers cite key benefits for staying closed on Sundays. Regardless, there are still ways to get your car shopping done.

What Time Do Car Dealerships Close?

The operating hours of car dealerships can vary depending on several factors, such as the dealership's location, size, and policies, as well as regional or national customs. The majority, however, typically open around 9 am and close by 9 pm on weekdays.

On weekends, many dealerships adjust their hours to close around 5 pm. During holidays or special occasions, these hours might be reduced further or the dealership may be closed altogether. The availability of staff can also impact the operating hours of a dealership.

>While it might seem convenient to visit a dealership later in the day or after work, there are some drawbacks to consider. For instance, visibility is reduced at night, making it challenging to thoroughly inspect the condition and color of the vehicle.

Additionally, after a long day, both you and the dealership's employees may be fatigued, which could affect the negotiation process. Ideally, car shopping should be done when you are alert and the dealership’s staff is readily available to assist you.

This is often during the morning or early afternoon hours. Remember that the dealership staff works long hours and, towards the end of the day, their ability to provide comprehensive service might be diminished. Therefore, it is generally more advantageous to shop for a car during daylight hours, when you can thoroughly examine the vehicle and effectively engage in negotiations.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are car dealerships open on Sunday?

Whether car dealerships are open on Sundays varies significantly across the United States, largely due to local laws and regulations. Thirteen states currently prohibit car dealerships from conducting business on Sundays, reflecting "Blue Law" traditions designed to promote a day of rest. However, restrictions vary even within states. Furthermore, even in states where Sunday operations are legal, individual dealerships may choose to close for business considerations or to provide their employees with a consistent day off. 

In today's digital age, many dealerships also offer online shopping tools that allow customers to browse inventory, apply for financing, and even purchase vehicles directly from their website, providing flexibility beyond traditional showroom hours.

What states allow for car sales on Sunday?

States like New York, Florida, Georgia, Arizona, Washington, and California do not enforce Blue Laws and allow for car sales on a Sunday. It’s still worth checking your local dealership hours to make sure they are open on Sundays.

What states ban car sales on Sunday?

States like Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Colorado, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey still enforce Blue Laws and prohibit dealerships from being open on Sundays. There are some mixed states, which include Rhode Island, Texas, and Michigan, that may allow car sales in certain counties or during specific hours.

What are Blue Laws?

Blue Laws were established in the 18th century and were meant to keep businesses closed on Sundays. It is related to Sundays being treated as a day of worship and rest. Many of these Blue Laws have been repealed since the separation of church and state.

Why are dealerships closed on Sunday?

Car dealerships are not open on Sundays because of Blue Laws and for a few other reasons. Some of these include giving the employees a day off, reducing operational costs, and being consistent with banks (which are also closed on Sundays).

Is Sunday a good day to buy a car?

Weekends are generally more crowded, which can lead to less personal attention from a dealer. Also, some states ban car dealerships from being open on Sundays. It’s a better idea to buy a car at a dealership during the week, specifically on a Monday.