Want to know when the best time to shop for a used vehicle is? According to a recent study from used car research site iSeeCars.com, the best times to find a good deal on a used car fall between September and February.

iSeeCars.com Study

best time to shop for a used vehicle

While consumers tend to find some pretty great deals on new cars during the summer months, it appears that those looking at used cars are better off waiting until the fall or winter.

iSeeCars.com analyzed over 40 million used car sales from 2013 and 2015 and found that consumers were able to find the best deals between September and February. To identify a "deal," iSeeCars.com based on it on whether a vehicle was listed at five percent or more below market value. They calculate market value based on real-time data of what similar cars are going for in the same local area.

Speculating on why the fall and winter months were the least expensive time of the year for used car shoppers, iSeeCars.com analysts believe it has do with the automotive industry's model year. The current model year ends in the fall of each year and this leads many consumers to trade-in their vehicles for newer ones. Therefore, more used cars become available and dealers are driven to offer better deals.

The Best Time to Shop for a Used Vehicle

According to iSeeCars.com data, these are the best months to buy a used car:

  1. November - 26.9% more deals than on average
  2. December - 23.5%
  3. January - 16.4%
  4. October - 12.8%
  5. February - 6.0%
  6. September - 3.8%

According to iSeeCars.com CEO Phong Ly, "Between year-end promotions and dealers scrambling to take advantage of the last few months of the year to meet their sales quotas…the conventional wisdom of shopping for a car at the end of the year holds true."

Taking it a step further, it appears that the holidays around the September-February time frame offer even more potential savings.

Here are the top 10 holidays used car shoppers have the best chance of getting a good deal on:

  1. Black Friday - 33.1% more deals than on average
  2. Veterans Day - 32.5%
  3. Thanksgiving Day - 30.6%
  4. Columbus Day - 30.5%
  5. Martin Luther King Day - 29.4%
  6. Christmas Eve - 28.7%
  7. Christmas - 21.4%
  8. New Year's Eve - 21.3%
  9. Halloween - 18.8%
  10. New Year's Day - 15.8%

Every single one of these holidays falls between October and January. While Black Friday is a major shopping holiday, the others in the top five don't exactly scream of good retail deals.

"While these holidays aren't typically thought of as major retail days, dealers tend to make a big push to boost sales in the late fall and early winter by offering bigger deals and these holidays are a great reason for them to pump up their promotions - especially as two of them are always observed on a Monday, which means shoppers have a long weekend to find the car they want to purchase," said Ly.

The Worst Times to Buy a Used Car

Conversely, the study found that March through August is the most expensive time of the year for used car shoppers. According to their research, these are the top 10 worst times to buy a used car:

  1. Fourth of July - 28.0% fewer deals than average
  2. Mother's Day - 27.5%
  3. The month of April - 27.0%
  4. The month of May - 26.0%
  5. The month of June - 23.6%
  6. Easter - 22.2%
  7. Good Friday - 21.6%
  8. Memorial Day - 18.3%
  9. Father's Day - 18.3%
  10. The month of July - 11.5%

The holidays listed all take place in the late spring and summer months. "This is the typical time of year when dealers see higher demand, and therefore less of a need to drive sales through lower pricing," Ly stated.

Final Insights

Those in the market for a used vehicle may want to pay attention to findings such as this. If you can make it out to a dealership during one of the more favorable months or holidays, you may end up saving some money, and who doesn't like doing that?

For those who are looking to buy a used car but think their credit is too damaged to get approved for auto financing, Auto Credit Express is here to help. We connect consumers to a dealership in their area that specializes in handling unique credit situations.

Our service is completely free, and our dealer connections have plenty of late model used vehicles that you may be able to score a deal on if you shop at the right time. Get the process started by completing our secure auto loan application today.