When is the best time to buy or sell a car?

Car remote in car dealership
Buying a car isn’t always easy – not only do you have to raise the funds, you need to make sure you pick the right one.

Selling a car can be a hassle too, with the advertising, haggling over price and the time it takes to sell the thing being enough to put anyone off.

However, one factor can make all the difference when buying or selling a car – turning it from a painful to a rewarding process. And that’s when you do it.

In this article, we look at the best times to buy and sell a car. If you’re about to enter the market, follow these tips for a streamlined process (and perhaps walk away with a better deal than you bargained for).

Best times to buy a car:

Monday to Friday

Car dealerships tend to be crowded over the weekend, so make things easier on yourself and shop early in the week. You’ll have more chance of getting the salesperson’s full attention and paying a better price. 

End of month or year

October, November and December generally make up the final quarter for sales quotas. If you shop for a car during this time, dealerships may give you a good deal so they can meet their end-of-year targets.

As a new model is launched

When dealerships get new car models in, they work hard to get the older versions out so there’s space for a showcase. You’ll be more likely to score a good deal on outgoing versions if you shop at these strategic times.

When it’s the right season

Certain kinds of cars will cost less during certain seasons. For example, convertible prices tend to drop during the winter months as everyone is rushing to buy a 4×4. If you time it right, you could get an ‘off-season’ car for a great price.

Best times to sell a car:

When it’s the right season

Again, the season is a reason to sell a car. If you sell an in-demand model at the right time of the year, you should get more bang for your buck. 

Before new number plates are launched

As new number plates are launched only twice a year, car sales tend to go up during these times. It would be wise to sell your car before 1 March or 1 September to benefit from the higher demand.

When your car finance is paid off

Important to remember – you need to make sure any outstanding car payments are made before selling your car. It’s illegal to sell a car with undisclosed bills, and you don’t want to put off the buyer.

When it no longer serves a purpose

It’s always a good time to sell your car if it no longer serves a purpose – especially if you have the time and means to do so. For example, if you have a family minivan and your kids have grown up and moved out, it makes sense to sell it. Planning when to sell your car will save you from a frantic last-minute sale, and help you get the best deal possible.

Buying a new car soon? Discover the Sunday Times Cars of the Year 2022.

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