by Christopher Boyle
LONG ISLAND, NY – In today’s difficult economic climate, people looking for a good deal on a new – or, at least, “new to them” – vehicle, are turning more and more to the preowned industry due to a number of factors, including lower cost and improved quality and reliability of both import and domestic models. But simply going used doesn’t guarantee you the very best prices; a savvy consumer needs to consider not just what to buy, but when as well in order to get the very best bang for their buck.
So, when exactly is the best time to start looking for a used car?
Well, if pressing need isn’t a major consideration – after all, many start looking for a new car when their old one just isn’t running anymore but it might be better to wait until specific times of year before perusing used car ads – and guess what? Turns out that right now – the fall season – is indeed one of the very best times to start your hunt for a new set of wheels, especially when it comes to how much you stand to pay.
The holiday season – typically starting in the vicinity of Veterans Day and running throughout the winter, usually well into the New Year – is often considered by many experts to be the time you’ll get the best deals on pre-owned vehicles of all sorts. Why is that? Well, with the current year coming to a close, many dealers and salespeople are trying to not only hit their annual quotas and sales goals in anticipation of bonuses, but also clear out stock so that newer models and acquisitions can be brought in. With that in mind, it’s likely that a shopper in the market for a used car will be able to get a better deal than if they went looking at other times of the year.
With the vast array of holidays in the fall/winter season providing opportunities for a dealership to offer enticing sales for their customers, it’s worth looking into which of the many festive occasions occurring this time of year is the best to go out and kick the tires. Surprisingly, Veterans Day is the day most dealers are likely to offer a nice discount on their current inventory, with approximately 43.2 percent more deals usually presented to the public on that holiday alone; this is closely followed up by Black Friday, with 37.5 percent more deals, Christmas Eve (35.6 percent) and Thanksgiving (33 percent). Christmas – despite many dealerships being closed in observance of the holiday – actually comes in at a respectable fifth place, with an average of 31.4 percent in deals offered by the businesses that nonetheless chose to remain open.
However, just because a dealership is offering a great deal on their pre-owned inventory doesn’t mean that the actual car-buying process itself will be any easier.
In fact, due to the higher volume of customers their holiday discounts will be attracting, you can expect the process of acquiring a used car to actually be curtailed in many cases. Therefore, it’s vital to start your research well in advance of the holiday season so that you can hit the ground running when the sales start; experts recommend getting things like test drives and in-depth questioning out of the way weeks or even months ahead of time in order to streamline the actual buying process as much as possible, provided that you aren’t in urgent need of a new vehicle right away. Car-buying – just like job-hunting – can be a far less stressful process if you already have one, allowing you to be pickier otherwise.
Likewise, engaging in as much of the process over the phone or online is a great idea in order to minimize your time in the dealership. Making sure all of your needed paperwork is in order and even inquiring about the possibility of the delivery of your vehicle, warranties, service processes, etc, can help make things easier as well.
The online used car market is thriving in recent years, becoming the first place the average shopper will train their attention whenever they need a new vehicle, and just like any other form of consumerism, there are better and worse times of the year to partake of its wares when it comes to getting the best possible deal. A savvy buyer has numerous opportunities throughout the year to close on a great deal on a quality pre-owned car, but knowing when the best sales are isn’t enough; doing your homework before ever setting foot in a dealership for a seasonal discount will assure you of a smooth experience and a great deal. Good luck out there.