When is the Best Time to Buy a Used Car?

Best Time to Buy a Used Car From a Car Dealership Cover photo

Believe it or not, there is a best time to buy a used car from a dealership.

You would think that any time is a good time to buy a used car since it’s used and will therefore save you a significant amount of money. However, if you have the luxury of time on your side, you could end up getting an even better deal on a used car that’s practically brand new.

So what’s the deal with buying a used car at the right time?

The Holiday Season

When we say holiday season, we mean Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas, Boxing Day, Easter, and all the bank holidays. Used car shopping during holidays is arguably one of the best times to strike a deal as dealers may have discounted sales events.

Part of the reason for this is not just because holidays turn into major shopping events but because new cars may also be discounted for the occasion.

the holiday season

This means there will be a high level of trade-ins and dealers trying to make room for their newer inventory.

The above holidays also fall during the most opportune months, which we’ll talk about next.

When the New Models Come Out

new vehicle models in a dealership showroom

While new models can debut at any time of the year, they most often debut in the fall — making the winter months from late October to February the best times to buy a used car.

More specifically, December, January, and February are the best months to buy a used car as there’s typically more used car inventory that dealers are trying to get rid of. Plus, there’s less foot traffic during the colder months which means less competition from other potential buyers.

At the End of the Month, Quarter, and Year

Most car dealers have sales quotas they aim to meet. However, these quotas aren’t just yearly but also monthly and quarterly. Shopping for a used car right before a sales quota deadline is about to close is one of your best bets since it almost guarantees greater discounts.

Bonus points if you’re buying a used car on the Friday before these sales terms end as many dealers have end-of-the-week goals set up for their salespeople as well.

During Inventory Shortages, If You Have A Trade In

We’ve been witnessing an ongoing inventory shortage that seems to have gotten worse over the past two years. New car production has been delayed in part by a lack of M2 chips used in modern cars, which has also caused an uptick in used inventory prices.

However, if you have a car to trade in, an inventory shortage is your time to shine. This is because dealerships tend to offer better deals on trade-in vehicles simply because they need to raise their inventory levels.

During the “Opposite” Season

During the winter, dealers tend to push 4×4’s and compact SUVs and sports cars, and convertibles in the summer. It all has to do with what’s seasonally in demand, which means you’re more likely to get a better deal on that convertible during the winter and an SUV in the summer.
an outdoor winter picture on the left and an outdoors summer picture on the right
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