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When is the Best Time of Year to Buy a Used Car or Truck? Blog Feature

By: America's Credit Union on October 11th, 2019

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When is the Best Time of Year to Buy a Used Car or Truck?

Seasonal | Car Buying | Personal Finance | Life | Budgeting

Consumers can almost tell what time of year and month it is by the seasonal sales advertisements. We live in an age where there are literally “shopping holidays” such as Black Friday. We all know that one occurs the day after Thanksgiving, and the savings can be huge. Other industries also promote certain times to buy. Real estate tends to be hot during the summer months because families often want their children to start fresh at the beginning of the school year.

The automobile industry has its big sales for new cars each year that sometimes coincide with President’s Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, or income tax rebates. Although there seems to be less promotional fanfare by pre-owned dealerships, consumers can save quite a bit of their hard-earned money if you know the right time to buy a used car or truck.

Year-End Sales Events Offer New Cars at Used Prices

One of the interesting things about the new car industry is that dealerships consider vehicles “new” only until the next year’s models are readily available. A 2019 automobile has a new-car sticker price on it until the 2020 models are officially on the calendar year. If you want to save money on a new/used vehicle, the best time of year to buy a truck, car, or SUV may be during the last quarter of the year when dealerships are making room for new models.

Buy a Used Car or Truck During Sale Weekends

Many car dealers have jumped on the consumer sale bandwagon and offer substantial discounts during traditional retail shopping holidays and events. If you are in the market for a particular make and model, or just need to get a more reliable set of wheels, consider the following times of the year.


  • Memorial Day: Car dealers have arrived at the conclusion that summer spending tends to be focused on vacations and leisure time. That’s why they offer used vehicle discounts before the dog days of summer are in full swing.
  • Columbus Day Weekend: By mid-October, used dealerships often feel confident that summer spending is over. Those credit card bills have been dealt with, and everyday people are now thinking about whether to buy a used vehicle before winter’s inclement weather arrives. Columbus Day weekend could prove to be the best time of year to buy a truck, car, or SUV before you have to turn your attention to holiday gift shopping.
  • Black Friday: Used car dealerships increasingly see themselves as part of a broader consumer industry. Retail shopping holidays such as Black Friday have captured the imagination of consumers. Many used car dealerships are trying to tap into the spending frenzy and highly focused bargain-hunters. Thanksgiving weekend could be the best time of year to buy a truck, car, or SUV.

Buy a Used Car or Truck at the End of the Month

People who do not work in the automobile industry may not realize that salespeople often feel pressure to meet quotas. Sales productivity is usually measured at the end of each quarter and the end of the month. While you may not see a big sign out front that says “20 percent off,” there may be a lot more wiggle room on the sticker price than you know.

A salesperson may be willing to reduce their commission to make the monthly or quarterly numbers. Sales team leaders may issue marching orders to “make deals” as the month closes. In the sales world, there is always pressure to sell. Don’t be shy about negotiating over the sticker price. Remember, time is on your side when you buy a used car or truck.

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