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The best time to buy a used car

19 July 2019

If your timing is even slightly off when buying a used car, you could lose out financially. Here's what you need to know to ensure you get the used car you want at the right price.

An older man buys a used car

Check the seasons

Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs) and 4x4s drop in value during the summer months, where the public has far less concern about foul weather, ice and storms. While everyone is concentrating on the here and now and making the most of our lovely summer weather, you can pick up these types of vehicles for less than when the chill creeps back.

For sports cars or convertibles, take the opposite approach. Who wants a set-of-wheels with a fabric roof and rear-wheel drive when it is negative Celsius outside? Prices will drop significantly because of this.

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Consider March and September

These are known to be the most frantic months for the automotive trade, with new car registrations introduced and customers flocking to get the latest plates.

While all the new cars deals are going through, plenty of people will be trading in their old vehicles. Therefore, dealerships will have a lot of stock when it comes to used motors, meaning prices will get very competitive.

Because there are so many cars around, you will also be standing on firmer ground when it comes to negotiating; so while these months are known for new vehicles, they are also good months to get a used one too.

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Keep an eye on the Christmas period

Nobody thinks about buying a car at this time of year, as most people will feel the pinch over the festive season.

With some forward-planning though, these months can be a great time to get a good deal on a used car - because dealers will be more inclined to get sales under their belts.

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Look out for ‘end of the month’ deals

Car dealerships selling used vehicles need to report their sales figures on a monthly or quarterly basis.

Like everyone, they want to get the best possible results. So you will probably find that come the late stages of a month or quarter, they will be doing everything they can to get business across the line.

This strengthens your negotiating position, and you may see good discounts available on specific models.

By following these tips, you should find yourself with some extra money in the bank after buying your used car. And by ensuring you have done your research, you should be all set up for a real bargain.

Tim Barnes-Clay, Motoring Journalist, on behalf of Euro Car Parts 


The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.