The Best, and Worst, Months to Buy a Car

The winter and holiday season are the ideal times to score a great deal

Man's at car using remote control key
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If you're in the market for a new or used car, unless you must get in a vehicle immediately, you might want to hold off on your purchase until the prices drop. When exactly that occurs is the topic for some debate by consumer price and industry experts, but as a general rule you should wait to make your purchase until late in the winter or during the holiday season—November, December, and January. Those times are the best times to secure a deal that could save you big bucks, according to Other sources push that timeframe back by a month or so, but almost everyone agrees that the holiday season is money-saving season.

Fall or Winter?

According to, the best time to buy a new or used car are the last four months of the year—September, October, November, and December. That's when manufacturers traditionally need to make room for the next year's models. They, therefore, provide both customers and used car dealers with the biggest factory incentives and rebates. The later in the year you wait, the better. Of course, wait too long, and your chances of getting the exact vehicle you want to become slimmer. The website also advises you visit your dealership on the last day or two of the month because that's when the sales staff scrambles to meet monthly goals. 

Avoid August

The website also believes that the best time to buy a used car is between Thanksgiving and the first week of January, explaining that, "Used car prices tend to go through a predictable cycle in which they peak during the summer months followed by a downward slope hitting rock bottom around January 10th." 

The site explains that car prices then begin to rise in February and peak in late August. In fact, the difference in prices between August and January can be as much as 5 percent. The website looked at statistics compiled by Kelly Blue Book and, which included figures on more than 12 million used cars sold over a two-year period. The price difference was pretty startling: A used car that sold for $18,750 in early January rose by about $1,000 in price by mid-August. 

Spend the Holidays Shopping

While there is some debate as to which specific months are best to buy a used car, most experts agree that the last month of the year and the first are when cars, trucks, and SUVs are likely to be on sale for their lowest price. "December and January are quiet months for the used car trade," says an article on Money Advice Service. "Cars aren’t on people’s minds around Christmas and the New Year so dealers and private sellers are keen to make a deal."

If you want to save yourself hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars, then reserve your summers for days spent on the beach and your winters for days spent on the lots.