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What are the Best Months to Buy a Used Car

Published September 25, 2018

It’s advice that you’ve heard probably hundreds of times in your life: Timing is Everything. There’s a song about it and there’s even a book about it. No one is sure who first spoke those exact words but the concept goes back to a Greek poet in 800 BC. Well, as in most endeavors, timing is everything as you search for the best value when purchasing a used car. Here are a few insider tips on the best timing for your next used car purchase:
The Month Before You Need One
The best time to get a great deal on a used car is before you actually need one. At the very least, you’ll want to start researching your options early. If your current car is about to expire or is already no longer operable, the need to purchase a replacement will override your ability to take time and shop around for the best deal. And in addition, if your car is not drivable, its resale value will take a huge hit when you try to sell it or trade it in.

Any Month When the Sun is Shining
When buying a used car you’ve already recognized that it will inevitably have some signs of wear. There will be a parking lot scratch or two and maybe some wear in the interior – that’s all normal. But there’s no need to purchase a car with more wear and tear than which you’re comfortable. Overcast and rainy days can obscure your view of dents, scratches, and other appearance defects on the used cars you’re considering. Instead, inspect the used cars you’re considering on a clear, sunny day so you’re able to conduct a full visual inspection of the exterior and interior of the vehicle, plus its tires, wheels, and glass. If you so desire, you can even get down on your knees to take a look underneath. Plus everyone is in a better mood when it’s a pleasant sunny day and that salesperson may make you a deal he or she might not have on a different day.

On the Opposite Month From When You Want It
While the price of a typical used car is pretty stable year-round, there are some exceptions, especially when looking at specialty vehicles. Demand for convertibles is low during the winter, making it an excellent time to purchase one, while four-wheel-drive vehicle sales tend to be strongest in the late autumn and early winter months. Buying an AWD or 4x4 vehicle in the spring will likely get you a better value.

Shop During Months When Inventories are Highest
It’s a chain reaction. New Car Dealers often clear out their used car inventory in July and early August to make room for next year’s models coming in. The best of those cars are snapped up by used car dealers, meaning that the used car dealer may now be in the position where they have more inventory than they’d like. To make some room, there’s a greater chance they’ll deal in the months of September and October.

The Month When You Are Ready to Buy
The very best way to save money when purchasing a used car is to be fully prepared before your car shopping. Start with researching the used car you want to purchase by using resources available online that provide pricing and reliability ratings for used cars. Research your credit score and make certain that it’s accurate as an incorrect entry can drop your score and result in you paying a higher interest rate. Finally, start shopping for pre-approved financing, so you’re clear on what you can afford. The dealer will also be more willing to haggle knowing you already have your financing in place. You can always finance through a different bank, credit union, or other sources if they offer a better deal, but it’s best to walk in knowing you have your financing in place.

Follow this simple advice and you’ll end up with the car that you really wanted at a price you can afford, rather than having to settle for a different model with less attractive financing.
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