Choosing the best time to buy a car means you’ll get a better price and therefore more choice for your hard-earned cash. Don’t expect to get a deal on a car with a waiting list, but if you’re not so choosy, you can make your money on the day you buy so that when you sell you’ve suffered minimal depreciation.
At the end of the day
The only time you don’t have much choice with when to buy is if you are desperate, but there are still some tricks you can use such as buying at the end of the day. Bear in mind that a dealer will probably be wise to this trick, so don’t force it. Everyone wants to get home in time for dinner, and you can string out the negotiations until they’re prepared to drop a few quid just to get you out of the door.
When dealers have discounts and special offers
Dealers rely on constantly turning over their stock. They order vehicles sometimes months in advance and they don’t want to be stuck with a load of older vehicles languishing on the yard. Dealers will cut sharp deals on vehicles they want to move on, especially at certain times of the year.
When the other party is desperate to sell
Know a person who is moving overseas? They won’t want the hassle of disposing of their car when they’re trying to organise a huge number of other things.
Sometimes people buy a car they really love, then they fall out of love with it. Or, they have a life-changing event like having a baby and then need to get rid of the small, impractical car and buy a bigger one.
Sometimes they buy a pink Jeep and then come to their senses.
When a vehicle has already had major repairs and servicing done
If an owner has just spent a grand on the cambelt and some new tyres, it’s not going to be reflected in the price – it’s perhaps only worth a few hundred pounds on the value of the car, so you get the benefit of their spending. Try to avoid buying a car that needs some major servicing unless you can negotiate the cost of the servicing off the price, or you can do it yourself.
When a psychological barrier is broken
People try to sell when their car has done 99,000 miles, but there’s not much difference between 99,000 miles and 105,000 miles, except psychology. See if you can pick up a deal. Some vehicles are renowned for going forever (as long as you do the servicing regularly).
When dealers need to meet targets
Dealers often have monthly and/or quarterly targets. Purchasing near the end of the month can make them more keep to do a deal so that they secure their bonus.
When you don’t need to
It’s always best to buy when you can comfortably walk away. If you don’t desperately need a car then you can take your time and find the good deal.
When you have the money
You’ll lose the money you save by paying expensive finance charges and interest. Purchase within your means, and preferably pay cash.