When is the best time of year to buy a used car?

Like the new car market, the used car market operates in cycles, so by taking advantage of these, you can give yourself a better chance of bagging a bargain.

Words by: First published: 8th July 2015
Following the law of Supply and Demand, it’s worth shopping when dealers have a glut of used cars. This tends to be in September and March, just after the plate change, when lots of new-car buyers part-exchange their old cars.

Likewise, it can also make sense in the month before the plate change, as dealers look to clear their forecourts ahead of an expected flood of cars in September and March.

It can also pay to shop when dealers are quiet, as they’ll be keen to take some money. For example, Christmas tends to draw people’s attention away from car-buying, so trying to do a deal in December or January can be a smart move.

With most dealers trying meet or beat targets, try to go in when they’re near the end of a period. Try a Friday (when they’re likely to be quiet, anyway), towards the end of a month, or near the end of a quarter.

Certain times of year favour certain types of car. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the first signs of spring will add hundreds to the asking price of convertibles, so look to buy one in the winter. Likewise, by a similar process of reasoning, trying to buy a 4x4 in summer makes sense, as demand (and, perhaps more importantly, price) is at its highest in the winter.