Why You Should Purchase a Used Vehicle in February or March

February 17th, 2017 by

No matter who you ask, everyone will give you a different suggestion regarding which time of the year is best to purchase a used vehicle. Some people may suggest December or January, since buyers generally aren’t checking out cars during the holiday seasons. Others may suggest September, which is usually the most popular time of year for new car purchases (which predictably impacts the prices of used cars).

Some may even suggest purchasing a vehicle on a specific holiday, and we certainly can’t blame them for that logic. Jake Swearingen of Popular Mechanics previously looked at the top-10 best holidays for purchasing a used car, and there were some obvious inclusions on the list:

  • Black Friday (33.1% more deals)
  • Veterans Day (32.5%)
  • Thanksgiving (30.6%)
  • Columbus Day (30.5%)
  • Martin Luther King Day (29.4%)

Swearingen also listed November, December, and January as the best months to buy a new car. On the flip side, he listed April, May, and June as the worst months.

Two months that are omitted from those lists? February and March, and it probably shouldn’t be that much of a surprise that they’re absent. After all, there aren’t any flashy holidays to build a sale around, and drivers may not be seeking to switch rides in the middle of the winter.

However, there are several advantages to purchasing a used car around this time of year. Take a look at the reasoning below, and you may be influenced to visit local used car dealers as soon as possible!

Inconsistent Weather

February and March is an odd time of year weather-wise. The heavy snow and ice storms have possibly ended, but the warm weather is still months away. As a result, potential car buyers could find a solid deal on any type of used vehicle.

For instance, dealers won’t be pushing their convertibles (or similar summer cars) for full value. If you’re going to be purchasing an open-top car in February, there’s a good chance that you won’t truly be able to appreciate the vehicle’s full capabilities for several months. As a result, buyers won’t be influenced to buy a full-price used vehicle since they still have to wait several months until they can actually use their new-to-them purchase. Dealerships certainly recognize this, so they’ll mark down their used summer vehicles to help convince buyers to make the purchase now.

The same logic applies to SUVs. While these mighty, rugged vehicles are especially useful during the winter, they’re not nearly as effective during the summer months. Dealerships may be looking to push some of their excess inventory, and a potential buyer may benefit by securing an excellent deal.

New Models/Plates

In the past, you may have noticed that new vehicles were generally released towards the beginning of the year. Nowadays, car brands are seemingly releasing new products every month! For instance, in February 2017, there are four new models set to hit the market, and that number will increase to eight in March!

What does this have to do with used car buying? Well, the release of these new vehicles may influence some drivers to trade in their current rides for an upgrade. As a result, dealerships will be flooded with recently acquired used cars. This is when you can jump in and secure a great deal. Dealers aren’t necessarily looking to turnaround these used vehicles for pennies on the dollar. However, they may be interested in letting go of another used vehicle that has been sitting on the lot for a while.

Similarly, new plates are generally installed in March. As a result, the older number plates will appear to make the vehicle an entire year older. Dealerships might be eager to sell these used vehicles in an attempt to stave off the incoming depreciation. Also, to a general buyer, January 1st marks the moment when a vehicle becomes another year older (whether that’s fair or not). While dealerships may not agree with this logic, there’s a good chance that you’ll get a better deal on a used 2015 car in, say, February of 2017, as opposed to November of 2016.

Prices Will Inevitably Rise

We see so many car commercials during the winter months, it’s easy to assume that the holidays represent the best time of the year for dealerships. That actually can’t be further from the truth, as multiple studies have shown that sales drop drastically towards the end of the year. Dealerships often use holiday sales to convince potential buyers to visit their businesses, but these events usually often only benefit those seeking new cars.

As a result, you’re going to find the best prices on used cars towards the end or beginning of a year. These prices tend to stay the same for several months before skyrocketing. Therefore, you could save at least a grand by purchasing a specific used vehicle in February or March, instead of April or May.

Surprisingly, you can save even more money by visiting a dealership on a specific day. Weekends tend to bring more business to these dealerships, so you’d be less likely to find a salesperson who will give in to your asking price. Weekdays are generally your better bet for securing a deal. If the weather is poor, you could have even more luck, as dealerships will presumably be less crowded. A salesperson may be looking to secure that final sale of the day, and you can capitalize on his or her desire to move that inventory.

Furthermore, experts are split on whether it’s better to visit a dealership at the beginning of the month or end of the month. These experts argue that dealerships often calculate their monthly sales through the first week of each month. If they’re below their “monthly” quota, you may be able to secure a great deal during these first few days. Other experts disagree, stating that dealership’s monthly sales are wrapped up at the end of each month.

Either way, it’s important not to dive into a purchase, regardless of the discounted price of a used vehicle. Make sure you’ve done your research before you commit to a vehicle. While a lack of research may not influence the price of a vehicle, it could certainly impact your enjoyment of the used car.

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