By on November 16, 2016

Used Car Dealership NYC

If you fancy yourself an automotive bargain hunter, the best time to score a deal on a used car is right around the corner. So, stop clicking around on Autotrader for five minutes and equip yourself with some useful knowledge to better your odds of snagging some savings.

iSeeCars analyzed more than 40 million used vehicle sales between 2013 and 2015, comparing specific times of the year and days of the month to determine when consumers would be able to find more or fewer deals (defined as savings of five percent or more) compared to an average day.

Explaining the five percent metric threshold, iSeeCars CEO Phong Ly said, “The average used car costs $19,040, so even just a five percent discount on that means $952 for consumers to spend on something else.”

Purchasing a used car at the end of the year is an easy way to save money with minimal effort. As the current model year draws to a close around August, consumers begin trading in their used cars at higher quantities. This is also the time of year that leases typically end. All of a sudden, piles of pre-owned cars hits dealer lots, and retailers become desperate to get rid of them.

This makes November, with an average 26.9 percent more deals than average, the best month to buy a used car. December is only slightly less ideal at 23.5 percent.

Although, if you want the increase your probability of getting the very best deal, shopping on a specific holiday could save you even more. As unsettling as shopping on certain major holidays probably feels, those dates tended to be real real winners for thrift-minded consumers. Among the best were Veteran’s Day, Thanksgiving, and Columbus Day — all of which offer an estimated average savings above 30 percent.

Black Friday, the ultimate retail holiday, remains the bargain hunter’s dream. At 33.1 percent, it offered more deals than any other single day of the year. Like the television sets that induce annual tramplings at Walmart, used cars are also deeply discounted the day after Thanksgiving.

iseecars.com best times to buy a car

This is also the best day to snatch up a popular model. Dealers on Black Friday have more vehicles in their inventory and more deals on them overall. The top model on iSeeCars’ list, the Hyundai Elantra, offered 230.6 percent more deals compared to an average day. Other popular models (2011 or newer) like the Honda CR-V, Ford F-150, Honda Accord, Chrysler Town & Country, and Volkswagen Jetta are also incredibly good cars to purchase on Black Friday.

However, there are two sides to every coin and purchasing a used vehicle in April means you are probably getting hosed. In fact, that month averaged 27 percent fewer deals overall. The other spring months weren’t much better. Summer was slightly better, with August having deal offers only 10 percent below an average average month.

iseecars.com worst times to buy a car

That doesn’t mean there aren’t good deals to be had during the warmer months — it just means they might not be easy to find. If you’re absolutely in desperate need of a replacement vehicle and are reading this in March, there are a couple of things you can do to maximize your chances of saving some dough.

Try to shop on the first day of the month or near the very end. Most dealerships’ sales months actually end a few days into the next calendar month. You might find a dealer trying to make last-minute sales to meet their monthly goals.

Go shopping on a weekday. Monday through Thursday offered a very slight, but consistent, advantage over weekend sales.

[Source: iSeeCars.com]

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22 Comments on “When is the Best Time to Buy a Used Car? Right Now...”


  • avatar
    ThirdOwner

    “If you fancy yourself an automotive bargain hunter, the best time to score a deal on a used car is right around the corner.”

    True, but not for the reasons you stated.

    Here is a recent Edmunds market report. Check out the page with the chart showing the negative equity in trade-ins:

    http://static.ed.edmunds-media.com/unversioned/img/car-news/data-center/2016/nov/used-car-report/used-car-report-q3.pdf

    The market is nearing saturation, which usually precedes the crash in prices.

    • 0 avatar
      kwong

      Maybe it’s a little anecdotal, but I made a nice profit by shorting Carmax stock on this premise. Used car sales were slowing, financing rates were favoring new car purchases, inventory was building, and analysts projected that used car values would drop as a result. I made a nice 12%, which I plan to apply towards the purchase of my next used car…see, it comes full-circle.

  • avatar
    Old Man Pants

    So, when’s a good time to shop for used shoes?

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    My last car purchase was on Memorial Day 2016 (used car for son). We got the deal we wanted.

    Interesting information, but how does this work for NEW car purchases?

  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

    So your telling me I shouldn’t put my PU for sale in a couple of weeks? I suspect due to its age and few other factors it probably doesn’t fit into the criteria outlined above.

    Generally a good time to sell a 4X4 truck in Minnesota is just before the snow flies.

  • avatar
    Mathias

    As I understand it, the biggest price difference between now and spring is for cars is at the low end of the market. Call it $6k and below; the kind of cars bought by people whose only “savings account” is their income tax return in February or March. Any cash these folks have is earmarked for Christmas.

    I’m currently pretty much car-less, having canceled my parking pass at work, pawned off my Chevy on the HS senior, and switched myself to bicycle-only. It’s probably good for me. But I do watch craigslist for a few things, and it seems to me that nothing’s moving. Of course, I’m not sure a clean-looking ’07 Mercury Milan 4cyl with 170k for $4,000 should move. Good grief — craigs has simplified access to classifieds, but it has done nothing to educate people on what cars are worth.

    And while I’m whining, used Chrysler minivans 10 years old and younger are overpriced. Those tend to move when a clean one comes along. Too bad, I could really use one.
    Steve Lang of blessed memory used to tout minivans as cheap transportation, but up here in MI, demand appears strong… it also doesn’t help that they rust badly after 10/12 years.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Definitely don’t try to buy a cheap car between mid-March and May, refund time.

    Like Mathias, I don’t think this applies as much when you go higher in the market.

  • avatar

    how low can my monthly payment be. 84 months ? fine.

  • avatar
    Mathias

    >> If the vans are moving at those asking prices then they’re not overpriced.

    Fair enough. Still so expensive that the news one offer better value.

    >> how low can my monthly payment be. 84 months `? fine.

    There’s not much good about 84 months, but better 84 months on a new car that’s a proven performer than 36 months on a 5-year-old car with 100k miles and an unknown history.

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