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When is the Best Time to Buy a Used Car?

Can the time of year you buy a used car really affect the price?

Yes. In any scenario, knowing the right time of year to buy can affect the final price you pay. In this article, we explain how seasonal trends can impact the price of a used car. We explore the worst times of year to buy a used car; so you know which month is best to purchase a second-hand vehicle.

Content List:

3 Things to Consider Before You Choose the Best Time of Year to Buy a Used Car

Which Month is Best for Buying Used Cars?

When is the Best Time to Look for a Used Car on a Private Sale?

Tips for Knowing the Right Time to Buy a Used Car

Finding the Right Car at The Right Price

The Best Way to Pay for a Private Used Car Sale

Other Payment Methods

3 Things to Consider Before You Choose the Best Time of Year to Buy a Used Car

Before you start planning the right time of year to buy a used car, you need to understand all your options. Reading this post today is a great first step!

How Much Time Do You Have Before You Are Looking to Buy?

If you are struggling with an unreliable vehicle, then you might not have the luxury of time on your side. In this case, you’ll need to act fast. The resale value of a car that won’t start is going to be much less than a car which needs a few minor repairs.

Have you Got All the Money You Need Already Saved Up?

For many, planning will begin before they have the money to buy a used car. For others, they won't start looking until they have their finances in order. Buying a new family car is a big purchase. By taking the time to plan and establish the best time to buy a car, you should save a fair sum of money.

Do You Know What Type of Used Car You Want to Buy?

Knowing the type of car you want to buy is key. There are certain types of cars that cost less during certain times of the year. If you want to buy a soft-top, waiting until winter is a great way to get a good deal!

Another factor that always affects used car prices is directly linked to new car sales. When a car maker releases a newer model, this will put more used cars back into the used car market.

Which Month is Best for Buying Used Cars?

If you're planning to buy a used car online, there are many things which can affect the final price. In this section, we list key events that take place over the year. Each of which may impact the price of used cars for sale.

The best month to buy a used car depends on the type of car you want to buy. The age of the vehicle and your overall budget matters as well. Some cars are cheaper when there is a lower demand, or when there are newer models coming on the market.

The Best Holidays for Buying a Used Car

There are certain holiday weekends in the US that have been proven to offer great deals for buying used cars.

  • Martin Luther King's Day
  • Black Friday
  • Veterans Days
  • Columbus Day
  • New Years Eve

The whole months of November, December, and January came up as some of the best months to buy a used car. With discounted cars at dealerships, this means that more private sellers are trying to sell their cars during these holidays. Allowing them to take advantage of the lower prices.

The Worst Holidays for Buying a Used Car

Now we’ve covered the best times for used car buying; there are also certain times of year that are not so good in terms of getting good prices for used cars.

  • Fourth of July
  • Mother’s Day
  • Easter
  • Memorial Day
  • Father’s Day

These are all considered to be the worst time of year for buying a used car. The logic behind this is that these are the holidays which involve family gatherings. As such, private sellers are less likely to be focused on selling their cars.

If you are able to do so, wait until November, December or January. These are usually some of the best months to buy a used car. Avoid May, June, and July as there are fewer offers around this time.

When is the Best Time to Look for a Used Car on a Private Sale?

Buying a used car is often cheaper towards the end of the year. The majority of car dealers have their biggest offers during this time. For this reason, you can get some great deals in the used car market.

Buy a Car During the Off-Season

If you want to buy a convertible car, then you should avoid the summer months altogether. During the warmer weather, the price for a topless car will rise significantly. Planning in advance and buying it in the winter could save hundreds if not thousands of dollars.

Similarly, if you want to buy a 4-wheel drive or an SUV, the best time to buy will be during the summer months. Avoid trying to buy this type of vehicle in the winter and just before school starts around fall. If you are in the market for an SUV, wait until just after springtime. Because the cost of fuel tends to rise at this time of year, this can often result in lower prices as well.

During a Local Auto Show

Whenever there are lots of people buying new cars, the supply of used cars for sale will spike. People are also looking to shift their old cars fast. Anyone who knows about auto show season knows that dealers and car makers will pull out all the stops. Their goal is to promote and sell as many of their newest models as possible. During this period, there are lots of used cars available, often at great prices.

Tips for Knowing the Right Time to Buy a Used Car

In this final section, we share some tried and tested tips. These will help you find out the best time of year for buying the used car of your dreams.

  1. Make Sure You Go to View Any Cars During Daylight

On the day you go to view or inspect a used car, the weather is a key factor. It's something that people just don’t think about when they try to plan the best time to buy a used car.

The weather factor is more important if you are going to see the car in person. If it is dark or raining, then you might not be able to view the full condition of the car. Scratches and dents will not show at night, or if it has been raining. Wherever possible, you need to inspect any potential used cars for sale during the daylight, and without rain.

  1. Do Your Research

One of the earlier points we made in this post referred to knowing what type of car you are going to buy. This can help find the best time of year to buy a car as it gives you the chance to keep a close eye on the market.

For instance, let’s say you know the precise make and model you want. You then find out they are due to release a new model in three months’ time. Usually, within a 1-3-month window, you will see an influx of earlier models enter the used car market.

  1. Know the Market

The final tip in this section is to understand the market for the used car you want to buy. Do your research and track the prices for similar vehicles of a similar age. This way, you will be able to keep an eye on any price shifts. Do your research and stay close to the market. This will help when you go negotiate a price and arrange the terms of the sale.

Knowing your market and being aware of other cars that are for sale is key. When you inspect a car that has flaws; this information will help your negotiations.

TIP: Choose a Secure Payment Option for Buying Used Cars – never send any money before you go to see a car, and only ever use traceable payments for used car deposits.

Finding the Right Car at The Right Price

Finally, after all your preparations, you have found the perfect car at the right price. Next, you need to negotiate the terms of the sale and arrange for the payment. As we have already mentioned once in this post, using a secure and traceable payment system is key.

Handing over cash on the day is no longer the best way to pay for a used car.

Buying a used car is much cheaper than buying a car directly from a dealer. However, there are certain elements of risk involved too. Mostly, there is no company to return the car to should things go wrong.

The Best Way to Pay for a Private Used Car Sale

Secure Escrow Service

With a secure escrow service, you get a service that is built around payments for used cars. You can set terms of sale and an inspection period. You can include a clause that allows you to get a full inspection carried out. All of this takes place before you accept the car in full. If it doesn’t pass the inspection, you can return the car, and your money will be returned. provides several additional motor vehicle services to give you peace of mind. Lien Holder Payoff services guarantee there is no outstanding debt on the car, giving you confidence when you buy. If the car is clear of debt, a Title Collection Service means you get all the correct legal documents issued in full. This takes the hassle out of the legal ownership transfer process.

Other Payment Options


Carrying around such a large sum of money is a risk in itself. You are undertaking a major financial transaction with a complete stranger. So, you should never take cash with you or use it to pay for a car.


PayPal has the obvious advantages of being well-known and easy to use. It also provides free payment protection for fraud. But it will not cover you if the car does not arrive as described for automotive purposes.

Personal or Cashiers Check

Most private car sellers will not entertain a personal or cashier's check as payment. This is due to the amount of check fraud and a lack of ability to verify the funds exist. You can make an appointment at the bank and meet there to undertake the payment.

In Summary

Whatever stage of the process you’re at, you can use the information in this post to help you plan the best time to buy a used car more easily. Hopefully, you will save yourself time and money in the process.

We hope you found this post useful. If you have any questions or comments, we would love to hear from you.

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