Best times of the year to buy a used car

[This article has been updated for 2014. Click here to read.]

As the Business Intelligence Manager at Mojo Motors, I spend a lot of my day looking through data attempting to find valuable pieces of buried information. The primary feature of Mojo Motors is alerting car shoppers when dealers drop prices on their used cars and trucks. Dealerships only want vehicles to stay on their lot for about 60 to 90 days. If they can’t sell the vehicle in that time, they send it to auction instead. Before this, however, they will continually drop prices. Mojo Motors alerts members by email every time a price drops on a vehicle. Rather than browsing the web all day, shoppers can track the prices of vehicles they’re interested in and receive an email when a car drops into their price range. The real question at this point is how often do vehicles drop in price and what are the best months for finding great deals on used vehicles? Here is where I can help.

how many times a used car will drop in price

This graph shows the average number of price drops per vehicle on Mojo Motors in 2012. Dealers drop the price of a car an average of 1.32 times per month, but some months it happens more, and others less. Between July and October dealers drop the price of their cars most frequently, whereas January through March dealers drop their prices least frequently. This pattern matches the sales pattern of used cars.

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As the volume of sales increases in the summer months, dealers seem more willing to drop the prices of their used cars. If you see a car that suits your fancy, but is out of your price range, now would be a good time to ‘Follow’ that vehicle. Simply watch the price of that car drop as we get closer to the summer months. This trend is not as strong in the winter, but year-end (December) produces a lot of price drops as well. That being said, you’re probably wondering how much the price actually drops each month because even if the price drops 5 times in a month at only a couple bucks, it may not have be low enough for you to buy. If you’re still thinking about that, you have no need to be worried, I’ve got you covered.

how much a car will drop in price

The average price drop on a used vehicle is actually 5.42%. The average percentage of a price drop trends similarly to the actual number of price drops from the first graph. This suggests that the price drop amount is just as limited in February and March as the number of price drops. However, January is much stronger in the amount of price drop, not number of price drops. Based on this data, the best time to shop for a used vehicle is July through December when dealers drop prices most frequently and the amount of price drops is high as well. This data shows why Mojo Motors is the best way to shop for a used car, no matter what month you’re looking in. We do all the work for you, showing the price drops as they happen and delivering them directly to your email. If you’ve find your right car, chances are one will fall into your price range eventually and we will let you know when that happens!

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Written by Max Katsarelas & Michael Milstein