When Is The Best Time To Buy A Used Car? Our Guide

So, when is the best time to buy a used car? Like everything else being sold in shopping centres and high streets across the country, the car market is subject to seasonal swings in demand that often change the price of what’s for sale. 

Savvy car owners will often wait until conditions are just right to buy their next car, and for good reason. 

If you have time on your side, you might be surprised by how much you can save simply by buying at the right time.

With cars, market trends can be less obvious to detect than in other areas. It’s relatively self-evident that you shouldn’t buy a barbeque during a heatwave for example, or a winter coat the week before Christmas.

But with cars, it can be harder to discern an obvious period when the market peaks. That’s especially different with used cars, a market that on the surface appears unlikely to change over the course of the year. 

So, when is the best time to buy a used car? This article will hopefully shed some light on the best time to buy a used car and offer some tips as to how you can take advantage of the changing trends that take place throughout the year.

Tips On When To Buy Used Cars

If you’re buying from a dealership, there is often less seasonal pressure on vendors to sell certain used makes and models to hit their targets. 

However, supply and demand still change throughout the year. So if you’re interested in saving some money, it is certainly worthwhile having a look at the trends and seeing what time would be best for you to buy.

As a general rule, the used car market mirrors what happens with new vehicles. This is because drivers will trade in their old cars for new ones. Leaving dealers with a glut of second-hand cars that they want to get rid of.

March and September are the busiest times for the sale of new cars and this trickles down to be true for used cars as well, albeit with a slight delay as dealers process the vehicles. The interim period before the start of summer is usually the best time of the year to buy a used car. 

Registration Plates

Another factor to take into account are new registration plates. This will likely impact you if you are planning to buy from popular approved-used cars like BMW, Audi, and Vauxhall. 

The period right before the introduction of new plates (usually February and August) is your best chance at finding the best warranty and finance options

With a lot of cars to sell, dealers will be more willing to give you a favourable deal as they look to shift the new stock in readiness for the new models that drop in the latter half of summer. This puts you in a strong negotiating position and gives the vendor a good reason to sell the used car, even at a lower price.

Weather

Weather is also an important factor in directing the market for certain used cars. Convertibles will appreciate in value during a warm summer, and the price of 4x4s and SUVs will rise over the course of a long, cold winter. 

It also plays a significant factor in footfall at the dealership. Rainy days are unlikely to entice people to splash around in a forecourt. Whilst few people would choose to waste a glorious sunny day picking out their next car.

As a result, the busiest times tend to be in the spells of mild yet uninspiring weather in autumn and early spring. Busy periods will cause the price of used cars to spike. So if you can muster the strength, going to the dealership on a rainy or sunny day will stand you in good stead.

Look Beyond The Month

For those looking for the biggest savings, there are a few things to be aware of other than simply choosing the right time of year. 

Even the day of the week can have an impact on the price and selection of cars on offer. Most expert websites advise you to visit the dealership on either a Monday or a Friday. The main reason for this is that the showroom will often be quiet, and representatives will be able to take more time walking you through different options. 

Additionally, given the slow pace of sales at these times, vendors will be much more likely to offer an improved deal.

Currently, coronavirus is wreaking havoc on the used car industry. During the national lockdown earlier in the year, dealerships were forced to close to comply with government restrictions, closing their doors to all in-person visits. 

Demand for used cars fell by a whopping 22.1% in November, according to data provided by INDICITA UK. Combined with a surplus in stock, the situation made many used car dealerships reduce their prices in order to avoid finishing the year with cars sitting empty on the forecourt. 

Whilst these changes may cause an uptick in the sale of used cars, it is still likely to represent an excellent time to buy a used car. Dealers will be anxious to clear their old stock in anticipation of a far stronger 2021, leaving you in a position to get a great deal. 

Add to this an overall drop in dealership traffic due to lingering fears over coronavirus, and the current used car market appears unusually advantageous for buyers.

Act At The Right Time

As this article has shown, there is a myriad of different factors that can make a difference in the price of used cars. The best way to beat these fluctuations is by buying at the right time. 

As we have stated above, the best time to buy a new car is the interim period before the start of summer either on a Monday or a Friday. This is because showrooms are proven to be quieter, and so the dealerships are more eager to sell you a good deal.

Take advantage of the gap between new models being released to cash in on dealerships willing to clear their stock. If you can stand it, visit the dealership on quiet days or even days with poor weather. Lastly, the current period seems to represent an exceptional circumstance where buyers hold all the cards, so the climate for buying a used car may never be better. 

If you are in a position to take advantage of these changes, you could find yourself driving away with a great deal in the used car that’s right for you.

How FairSquare Can Help

If you want a large selection of everyday cars, then FairSquare is your go-to.

FairSquare has over 5,000 cars listed on their website, purchasable both via finance or upfront. It’s not difficult to find the car for you though, despite all your options Since FairSquare allows you to filter via all these criteria:

  • Finance option
  • New or used
  • Make
  • Model
  • Model variant
  • Body style
  • Fuel
  • Transmission
  • Doors
  • Colour
  • Age
  • Mileage

With FairSquare, finance options are also easier and more transparent. 

They offer quotes for hire purchase, balloon hire purchase, conditional purchase, and fixed sum loan. Therefore, it’s easy to find a repayment plan that works for you. 

Plus, FairSquare will provide a free credit check (with no reflection on your credit score). And, match you with lenders that suit your preferences.

Ready For A New Car?

Check out new cars and used cars here to set the wheels in motion! Find your perfect car today…

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We act as a credit broker not a lender. Fairsquare shall act independently in sourcing credit from our panel of funders.

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