These Are the Best and Worst Times to Buy a Used Car
Timing is everything.
In the market for a used car? According to a new study from iSeeCars.com, the winter and holiday season can be an excellent time to buy. Meanwhile, if it’s spring or summer, you may want to see if you can hold off for a few months and wait for better deals.
The website analyzed over 40 million used car sales from 2013 to 2015, looking for days where dealers were selling cars at at least five percent less than market value. “When you are buying something as expensive as a car, saving even five percent of your purchase, or $952 off the average price of $19,040, can really add up,” said Phong Ly, iSeeCars.com CEO.
Looking strictly at holidays, there were some surprises as well.
“Dealers tend to make a big push to boost sales in the late fall and early winter by offering bigger deals and these holidays are a great reason for them to pump up their promotions especially as two of the three are always observed on a Monday, which means shoppers have a long weekend to find the car they want to purchase,” said Ly. Meanwhile, during summer and spring dealers see a higher demand for cars, and therefore have little reason to offer discounts.
The same pattern holds true for the best and worth months to buy a used car.
Still, even if you’re shopping in a non-optimal month, there are still ways to slightly improve your chances at saving a few bucks. Namely: shop during a weekday.
Foot traffic is slower during weekdays, meaning dealers will usually offer slight discounts. You can also find discounts towards the first of any month, which sees 8.5 percent more deals on average, and the last day of month is still good as well, offering 5.6 more deals on average. “The dealership’s sales month usually ends a few days into the beginning of the next calendar month,” said Ly, “so sales made on the first of the month, for example, get tallied into the previous month’s sales. Much like with the end of the year, dealers are probably trying to make some last-minute sales to meet their monthly goals.”
Want more advice? Read our article “Confessions of a Car Salesman” for info from the inside track on just how cars are moved off the lot.