Buying a car 1

When is the Best Time to Buy a Car

21st January 2021

In order to get a good deal when buying a brand new or used vehicle it’s important to know when the best time to buy a car is. Sometimes you may have no choice if you need one almost immediately, but if you’re prepared to wait for the best time to buy a used car or new model, then it should be worth it financially.

Whenever you believe is the best time to buy a car, the total cost is never final, as you have to factor in the price of fuel, repairs and maintenance, insurance and more. Still, to save on the total amount you’ll pay for a car, some periods are better for buying than others.

The Best Seasons for Buying a New Car

New number plates are released in March and September each year in the UK, which makes it the time when there’s the greatest choice of new cars available. However, as they’ve only just been put on sale it means they can usually only be found at their highest possible price. The best time to buy a car that’s new can be in the run-up to the release of the new plates, in February and August, as dealers need to clear their forecourts.

Quiet times can also be good for picking up a new car, which again can be August and February as many drivers delay purchasing until the new plates are here. Over Christmas when most people have other priorities often means dealers will be under more pressure to sell, so you might find it easier to negotiate.

When is the Best Time to Buy a Used Car?

Seasonal trends in the sale of new cars has a knock-on effect for the second-hand car market. March and September are the peak months for sales of new cars, with a lot of these done through part-exchange deals. This means that dealers end up with an influx of second-hand vehicles throughout these months, which makes it the best time to buy a used car in the following months as they’ll be more willing to negotiate on price to get rid of them.

December and January are always quiet for dealers and individuals selling second-hand cars too. Many private sellers especially will be keen to make a deal, which can also make it the best time to buy a used car if you’re looking to negotiate. Whether you’re looking to buy new or used, our car loans could help cover the costs too.

What About Specific Types of Car?

Like a lot of purchases, the best time to buy a car is generally out of season depending on its style. It’s the simple method of supply and demand. For example, there is little demand for buying convertibles in winter, which can knock down their prices both new and used, while in summer they will attract much higher prices.

In contrast, off-road vehicles such as 4x4s and SUVs are more popular over autumn and winter when the weather is worse. Therefore the best time to buy a car such as these is in summer, as off-roaders are usually cheapest when the weather is better . The same can be true for motorbikes, with their popularity increasing over spring and summer.

How to Negotiate the Best Price

Once you’ve decided on the best time to buy a used car, bike or new model, you can think about any negotiation strategies to lower the price. Depending on what you’re after and when, the following techniques may come in useful:

  • Buy on a Friday, as dealerships are usually quieter in the week and the salesperson may have a weekly target which ends that day. know exactly how good the deal is.
  • For the same reason, heading to a dealership on the last two days of the month, especially if it’s the end of the quarter, means they will do almost everything to complete a sale.
  • Research prices online and have them on hand if a seller is asking for more, to use as a bargaining point.
  • If buying a used car, look for any scratches, dents or other visible damage, check all the required documents are present and that it’s not due an MOT soon. Should any of these be the case use them as haggling points.
  • Be polite to the salesperson, make an offer lower than you’re prepared to pay, say you’re happy to close a deal there and then if a price is agreed and don’t be afraid to walk away if they’re asking too much.

With a good idea of when the best time to buy a car is you should be able to secure a price that fits into your budget, whether buying new or used.

Back to blog