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When is the best time to buy a used car?

It's wise to start looking for your next car before your current one completely gives out, leaving you stranded and making the car buying process harder than it needs to be. The best time to buy a used car is going to vary by region and may depend not only on your budget but the make, model, and year of the car as well. 

There are promotions available throughout the calendar year, so you should rarely have to wait too long before you find a good bargain. On the other hand, so many options can make it hard to zero in on the best option, or the one that can save you the most money. So, is now a good time to buy a used car?

The best time of year to buy a car is when you feel you need one. There's not much point in waiting half a year for a potential deal, since dealerships offer promotions all year round. That being said, there are certain times when promotions may be more ubiquitous, meaning you may not have to shop for long before finding an offer that suits you. Certain holidays, like Memorial Day and Independence Day tend to have more promotions than your average day. This pattern is common on holidays like Christmas Eve and Black Friday, as well.

The best day to buy a used car

As mentioned above, car shoppers can often find promotions on cars during certain holidays, but the day of the week you choose to buy your car could have an impact on your shopping experience as well. Dealerships generally don't favor one weekday over another when it comes to running promotions. However, keep in mind that most people buy cars on the weekend. Shopping earlier in the week can have you in-and-out of the dealership in a timelier manner. You won't have to compete with as many shoppers for the attention of this or that salesperson and being one of the only customers means they can direct their focus on finding you a suitable vehicle. You can even start your search online to save even more time. 

Discontinued vehicles and redesigns

You may be able to find deals on discontinued or redesigned vehicles. Car styles change over time, and when this happens, buyers tend to favor the newer design. Dealerships may offer promotions on the older designs that could save you money if you're willing to forgo the flashy redesign. This can be the case, as well, for vehicles that have been discontinued altogether. Car manufacturers can discontinue cars for a lot of reasons, but usually, it has to do with poor sales or a change in the company's strategy. Every year, you can find a list of car models that have been discontinued (sometimes temporarily). However, keep in mind not all discontinued vehicles come with a guaranteed price reduction. 

Should you consider buying a car during a particular month?

The best month to buy a used car varies greatly by region. Shopping for a car in the "off-season," when demand is low, may yield more promotions. Depending on where you live, the weather may also be a factor driving down car prices. Foul weather, especially in the north, can keep people from venturing out to dealerships. This may lead to the dealership cutting prices to increase demand. Inspecting cars under poor weather conditions is not ideal, but the savings may be enough to convince you otherwise. Be sure to keep a keen eye open for any scratches or dents that may be obscured by the weather.

Some dealerships may offer promotions towards the end of the year to make room for upcoming new-year vehicles. After all, there are only so many spots available on a dealership's lot. From the perspective of the dealership, it can make more sense to offer you a bargain on an older model, allowing it to free up space that it can use to display newer, more expensive models. If all goes accordingly, this can be a win-win for both dealership and buyer.

In the summer, enthusiasm for the latest-model vehicles is high. Some dealerships may rely on this enthusiasm to bring in shoppers, but deals can still be found throughout the warmer months. For instance, many of the holidays discussed above, those that dealers are likely to run promotions on, occur in the summer. 

The bottom line

There is not one day of the year guaranteed to consistently offer you the best deals on a car. The price of your vehicle may vary by location, dealership, and even salesperson. There are, however, guidelines you can follow to ensure the best offer possible.

Look at these as certain patterns that remain more or less consistent throughout the year. You may come across more promotions by shopping in the winter months or whatever time of year is considered the "off-season" for your region. Holidays tend to favor promotions, as well. Businesses are often keen to capitalize on the holiday spirit by extending offers likely to pull in new customers. This is the case across many industries, including automotive.

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