“Timing is everything”. This age-old adage is true for every facet of life, and pre-owned vehicle acquisition is no different. Choosing the right time to buy a used car has the potential to result in a deal of a lifetime – and substantial savings; a win-win situation at its finest!

However, the implications of this situation open up an inevitable question: “What is the optimal time to purchase a vehicle?” Are there such things as the cheapest month to buy a car or a specific day when shopping for used rides is the most favorable?

The answer is “yes”, certain periods are known as times when dealerships create superb offers that benefit their customers and, today, we’ll give you all the information you need to pinpoint them. Let’s dive in!

When is the best time to buy a used car from a dealership?

cheapest month to buy a car

If you’re buying a pre-owned vehicle on a budget, choosing your timing wisely may just result in the tipping point you’ve been looking for. However, doing so entails understanding various factors that impact pricing, whose combination constitutes the best time to buy a used car.

  • Seller motivation: Most used car dealers work on the commission. When they’re hard-pressed to meet their monthly, quarterly, or annual quotas, they’ll typically be more open to negotiating.
  • Supply & demand: An oversupply of a specific make and model of the vehicle often leads to lower prices and more negotiating room for buyers.
  • Seasonal demand: Some vehicle types can be purchased much more cheaply depending on the seasonal and regional conditions. For example, convertible prices drop during fall and winter but skyrocket during spring and summer.
  • Market/Economic conditions: Market fluctuations and economic uncertainties can impact both the pricing and selection volume of second-hand vehicles.
  • Events sales: Holidays and sales-specific events (such as Black Friday, for instance) often result in special promotions advantageous to potential buyers.

While some of these factors are highly situational (e.g. market conditions), others are persistent (e.g. Christmas sales). Relying solely on the latter is totally feasible but, if you’re not in a rush to buy a new ride, monitoring both will result in a more favorable deal.

Which month is best to buy a second-hand car?

As a general rule, winter months are the best time to buy a used car and for several reasons:

  • The weather: Not many people are ready to leave the coziness of their homes to go on the prowl for a new vehicle. Fewer people mean lower demand and lower demand leads to price drop for used cars across the board.
  • Tax refund period: The promise of a certain money infusion leads many people to ditch their old wheels in preparation for buying new ones. While the window of opportunity is tight, acting swiftly can net you a sweet ride at an even sweeter price.
  • Winter holidays: Christmas and New Year are times of celebration – and dealerships celebrate them by offering great holiday discounts.
  • End-of-year clearance sales: As the year draws to a close, sellers will be highly motivated to meet their quotas and clear the room for new car models. This gives you an upper hand during negotiations, as they’re often willing to go significantly below the initial asking price just to make a sale that will net them that juicy year-end bonus.

With the above factors in mind, we can easily conclude that the cheapest month to buy a car is December. With holidays in full swing, tax refunds just around the corner, and dealers itching to make the sales, every piece on the chessboard is set in your favor.

What is the best day of the week to buy a car?

There is no universal consensus on what day is car shopping the cheapest. The second-hand vehicle market fluctuates based on supply and demand, making it virtually impossible to pinpoint a single day as “the best” with the utmost certainty. However, you can employ some rules of thumb to help guide your decision:

  • Holidays provide excellent shopping opportunities, as many dealerships drop used car prices in favor of increasing sales volume.
  • The end of the month or fiscal quarter is when sellers race to meet their quotas, turn a profit, and win their bonuses. This drives them to offer better deals and be more open to negotiations, which works in your favor.
  • Weekdays, specifically Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, are generally considered “slow days” when making sales. With people busy working and tending to their day-to-day needs, dealerships may encounter a lack of clientele, making them pay extra attention to any potential buyer.

What’s the worst time to buy a car?

The worst time to buy a used car is when you’re forced to act post-haste, typically due to an unfortunate set of circumstances. An excellent example would be a car accident when your old ride gets totaled, making repairing it the least feasible option.

In this situation, you may find yourself hard-pressed to get anything with four wheels that can get you from point A to point B. Desperation can drive you to make rash decisions, take deals that are anything but favorable, and even put yourself at the risk of being scammed.

Another good example of a bad time to buy a used car is if you’re already facing financial strife, such as job instability, major expenses, or similar challenges. While it may seem like a good option to secure at least something tangible while you still can, it still constitutes making a decision under duress, which often has a great chance of backfiring.

time to buy used car

Finally, we must mention the absolute worst times of year to buy a used car: the high-demand seasons. Certain periods, particularly spring and summer, typically see increased demand for pre-owned vehicles, leading to overall higher prices and a lack of favorable deals.

At B.Y.O.T., the best time to buy a used car is right now!

B.Y.O.T. is Beaumont’s go-to destination for reliable used rides of every make, model, and size. Whether you’re in the market for a spacious family SUV, a reliable first-timer for your teen, or a shiny piece that will make you the talk of the Downtown, chances are we’ll have exactly what you’re looking for.