Best time to buy a used car: The months and surprising holidays to score a deal

Deals favor the start and end of the year, but read on for the best day to take home a used car because it's honestly surprising.

Sean Szymkowski
It all started with Gran Turismo. From those early PlayStation days, Sean was drawn to anything with four wheels. Prior to joining the Roadshow team, he was a freelance contributor for Motor Authority, The Car Connection and Green Car Reports. As for what's in the garage, Sean owns a 2016 Chevrolet SS, and yes, it has Holden badges.
Sean Szymkowski
2 min read
Used car

Go forth and purchase wisely.

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Happy Days and a cheerful Toyotathon to all. It's easy to think the holiday season is the perfect time to buy a car, but for those shopping the used car market, surprising new data shows it may pay to wait it out for just awhile longer. A new study with loads of data from iSeeCars indicates not only the best months to sign on the dotted line for a used car, but also the best holidays ripe with deals.

Let's start with the most interesting part of the data: holidays. While Black Friday deals existed this year, it's actually not the best "holiday" to buy a used car. That day is Martin Luther King Jr. Day. For some reason, dealerships slap a lot of savings on used cars for the day we honor the work of MLK Jr. The study looked at 32 million used car sales from 2018 and 2019, specifically focused on deals where buyers saved at least $1,100 on the average $22,000 price of a used car, and MLK Jr. Day provided 39% more deals than average.

Right behind MLK Jr. Day is New Year's Eve or New Year's Day. Dealers are often itching to move a vehicle for the end of the year, and data showed the end of the year turned over 21% more deals than average. Christmas Eve came third with 18% more deals than average, followed by Veteran's Day with 12% more deals than average. Back to Black Friday, it makes the top five, but comes last with only 3% more deals than on average.

The months ripe for used car deals largely track with the these holidays, too. December, January and February are the best months to pull the trigger on a used car, according to the data, with 29%, 22% and 13% more deals on average, respectively. The least fruitful time for deals is the summer and early fall. June and July, specifically, top the list with 17% and 16% fewer deals than average. And don't think about buying a car for the 4th of July; there are 19% fewer deals on average, according to the data.

So, there you have it. Go forth with this purchasing power and buy wisely, used car shoppers.

Top 10 Best Times to Buy a Used Car

RankTime of Year% More Deals than Average
1 Martin Luther King Jr. Day39%
2 January29%
3 February22%
4 New Year's Eve/Day20%
5 Christmas Eve18%
6 December13%
7 March13%
8 Veteran's Day12%
9 November6%
10 Black Friday3%

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