As with so much conventional wisdom, popular opinion on the best times of the year to buy a used car is mostly just that, opinion. Some, but not all, holidays are good times to buy a used car, as is the biggest retail shopping day of the year.
Analysts at iSeeCars looked at data from more than 40 million used car sales in the years 2013 through 2015 and compared specific times of the year to calculate whether consumers would be able to find more or fewer deals than average on a given holiday, or month, day of the month or day of the week. A deal was defined as a savings of 5% or more.
The best time of the year to buy a used car is Black Friday, when there are 33% more deals available than average. The next three in the rankings come in the fall, and only one of the top 10 comes later than the last three months of the year. Here are the 10 best times to buy a used car, along with the number of deals above average for the time:
- Black Friday, 33.1% more than average
- Veterans Day, 32.5%
- Thanksgiving, 30.6%
- Columbus Day, 30.5%
- Martin Luther King Jr. Day, 29.4%
- Christmas Eve, 28.7%
- Month of November, 26.9%
- Month of December, 23.5%
- Christmas Day, 21.4%
- New Year’s Eve, 21.3%
The worst times of the year to buy a used car as the number of deals are fewer than average are:
- Fourth of July, 28% fewer than average
- Mother’s Day, 27.5%
- Month of April, 27%
- Month of May, 26%
- Month of June, 23.6%
- Easter, 22.2%
- Good Friday, 21.6%
- Memorial Day, 18.3%
- Father’s Day, 18.3%
- Month of July, 11.5%
The best months of the year to buy a used car are November, December and January; the worst are April, May and June. The Fourth of July is the worst day of the year to buy a used car, and Memorial Day is not far behind. Phong Ly, CEO of iSeeCars, explains:
This is the typical time of year when dealers see higher demand, and therefore less of a need to drive sales through lower pricing. After the current new car model year comes to a close around August, consumers start trading in their used cars in higher quantities, thereby increasing the number of used cars available after the summer and driving dealers to make better deals.
Shoppers also have a better chance to get a good deal on the first day of the month than on the last day, and weekdays are slightly better than weekends. Ly also noted that more than 3 million cars are coming off lease this year, meaning that the inventory of used cars will grow, giving dealers an extra incentive to offer good deals to move the cars off their lots.