Car price is rarely fixed and so there’s nearly always wriggle room to negotiate a better deal. Often, dealerships will provide their own discounts too, to sell old stock and make space for incoming new arrivals. Naturally, there are specific times where you’re more likely to find these deals and find dealers open to negotiations. So, when is the best time to buy a car?

We’ll answer that question and we’ll give you specific times to find the best deals on both used and new vehicles. We’ll explain why that’s the case and we’ll give you some handy tips too.

The Best time to buy a used or new car

When is the best time to buy a new or used car? It’s a good question that many buyers ask in search of the best deal possible. However, there isn’t just a best time to buy a car. As you’ll soon see, there are lots of different times throughout the year. These coincide with the launch of new registration plates, the release of new models, manufacturer discounts, quarterly sales targets, and quieter periods for dealerships. We’ll go through each one in more detail and give you those all-important dates that are the best time of year to buy a car.

New registration discounts

The latest number plates in the UK are launched in March and September, every year. Unsurprisingly, these are busy months with an increase of car sales for dealerships.

Leading up to these two months, many dealerships will run offers for the new plates to help build on strong sales. These are typically available a month or two in advance, and usually consist of things like free insurance, 0% finance deals, or additional equipment.

Right before new number plates are introduced

For used car buyers, right before new number plates are introduced is a great time to find deals. During these months, dealerships will try to shift older stock for the new arrivals. That means in the months of February and August, you’ll likely find discounts, as well as dealers who are more open to negotiations.

After new number plates are introduced

Following the release of new number plates in March and September, lots of car buyers trade in their old vehicle to help cover the cost of a new one. This means dealerships will get a lot of second-hand cars that they’ll want to shift. And that’s a good thing for anyone looking to buy a used vehicle, as there’ll likely be good offers available for pre-owned cars towards the end of March and September.

New model launch discounts

Manufacturers are obviously aware of the increased car sales in March and September, following the introduction of new number plates. This means you’ll often see new model releases around then too.

And as new car models come in, dealers have to make room on the forecourt. That means older, outgoing models are often heavily discounted and incentivised to create space for the new car releases. If you don’t mind driving a vehicle that’s not the latest, do some research into the specific car you want to buy and see if it has an updated or facelifted model that’s soon to be on sale. If there is, you should be able to find a discount for that specific make and model.

Manufacturer car discounts

Manufacturers offer discounts on their new stock too, with some providing 0% finance deals and fairly hefty deposit contributions. If a manufacturer produces more cars than it can sell, they may also provide a discount for a limited time to help increase sales.

To take advantage of such car deals, you’ll need to do some research into the vehicle you’re looking to buy. Whether that’s an Audi A6, a BMW 5 Series, or a Mercedes-Benz E-Class, it’s a good plan to look at a selection of cars to find the best deals going.

End of quarter target discounts

Lots of dealerships have sales targets to meet every quarter. That means a higher chance of discounts in the final weeks of March, June, September, and December in order to increase sales to meet those targets. At the very least, if they’ve not hit their targets, they’ll be more favourable to Negotiate a Better Car Deal.

Shop during quiet periods

When dealerships have extended quiet periods, they often provide discounts to maintain sales. They can be more open to Negotiating a Car Deal too. Naturally, such periods can be the best time to buy a new or used car. But when are these quiet times? Look to the months of:

  • December and January, in particular the weeks of Christmas and New Year. During this time, most consumers focus their money on the festivities, not buying a car.
  • February and August are good times too. Why? Because lots of car buyers wait these months out, choosing to buy a new vehicle with new registration plates, which are released in March and September.

Another top tip: if you can visit a dealership midweek when they’re quieter, you’ll likely have the salesperson’s undivided attention. And that means they’ll be more attentive to you and more likely to negotiate a better car deal.

Photo by Anthony Shkraba from Pexels

Other tips on the best time to buy a car

For more info on all the ins and outs of purchasing a vehicle, check out our Car Buying Checklist and our How to Buy a Used Car guide. If you’re looking to sell or part-exchange a vehicle, we have an expert guide for you too: How to Sell Your Car. Now, here’s some additional tips on the best time to buy a car that apply to both new and used vehicles.

1. Buying a car in winter and summer

Certain car types have the best deals in winter and summer. Convertibles are best bought in the winter, as they’ll be more expensive come spring and summer. Similarly, 4x4s are at their cheapest in summer, before the harsh winter weather drives up demand and prices.

2. End of quarter discounts on cars

As we’ve mentioned – but it’s worth mentioning again, as – the end of a quarter really is one of the best times to buy a car. If you can wait to the last weeks of March, June, September, and December, you should find various dealership discounts.

3. Buying a car in December or January

In December and January, dealerships tend to be a bit quieter, what with people spending for – and then recovering from – the Christmas period. To improve sales, you’ll often find car deals during these months.

4. Buying a car during the holidays

Holiday seasons bring sales events from car dealerships and manufacturers. Naturally, these are great times to buy a car. Boxing day and New Year sales are particularly noteworthy for excellent deals. It’s worth checking for deals on Easter Monday too.

5. Black Friday and bank holiday sales

Similar to the above, dealerships might also run bank holiday sales too. And Black Friday events are becoming increasingly popular as well.

6. Sign up to newsletters

If you want to keep on top of when dealerships are offering sales, consider signing up to the dealer’s newsletter. Whilst you’ll certainly get an influx of emails from them, you’ll also be up-to-date on their latest offers.

Also, keep on top of the market in general to see what’s available at what price. If you register with us at, you can create a shortlist of vehicles and receive email alerts for any newly listed cars that meet your criteria – keeping you in the know to help you find the best deals going.

Photo by Gustavo Fring from Pexels

Whilst there’s no single “best time to buy a car,” there are various dates where you’re more likely to find better discounts and dealers that are more open to negotiations. These include the final week at the end of a quarter, the months before and after new registration plates are launched, and when new models are released.

Bank holidays, the holiday seasons, and Black Friday are also excellent times to find deals on new and used cars. Dealerships tend to offer discounts when sales are quiet as well, so look to December and January for further price reductions.

No matter the time of year, buy and sell your vehicle with We make finding the right car simple.