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Tips and advice

The best and worst times to sell your car

Knowing the optimal time of year to sell your car could save you time and money

Selling a car

When it comes time to sell a car, most people want it off their driveway quickly and for a fair price. While ticking both boxes can be difficult, you can improve your chances by listing your car for sale at the right time of year.

Demand for used cars varies throughout the year. During certain months when much of the population is likely to be busy, used car sales tend to slow down. However, sales can rebound at other times of the year when people typically have more money to spend or when the weather improves. There are other factors at play, too, depending on the type of vehicle you’re selling.

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Of course, the following advice is to be used as a general rule of thumb. The value of your car and how quickly it will sell is affected by more than just the time of year – factors such as mileage, age, and optional extras – plus where you sell your car – can have a greater impact. That being said, if you’re able to sell your car at a time of year when demand is high, you could save yourself both time and money.

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For a complete guide to selling your car, covering everything from where to sell and what paperwork you need, read our best way to sell a car advice article. If you’re planning to sell your car online, you can read our guide to selling a car on eBay, too.

What’s the best time to sell my car?

The best time to sell your car can vary depending on the type of vehicle it is, but there are some general rules that can help you to secure a quick sale for a fair price.

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Spring is generally regarded as the best time to sell a used car. With summer just around the corner, many buyers are looking to hop into a different set of wheels in time for the warmer months and holidays. This is particularly true if you’re selling a convertible, classic or sports car. As demand increases for these types of cars, you’re more likely to quickly find a buyer who is willing to pay a fair price. You can expect demand to remain high for these types of cars throughout summer as well.

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Following the same logic, demand for 4x4s tends to spike during autumn and winter, as people are looking for something capable of tackling the worst of the British weather.

When not to sell your car

If your circumstances allow it, try to avoid putting your car up for sale at these times of year. Demand is generally lower and you may find yourself waiting longer for an interested buyer.

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It’s a good idea to avoid selling your car during a holiday period, such as the school summer holiday and Christmas time. Many people will be preoccupied with other plans and won’t have the time to search for a car during this period, so it’s best to wait until these holidays have passed. People will also be budgeting for presents and trips away, so may not feel comfortable making a big purchase like a used car at the same time.

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Early March and September are also best avoided. This is the time of year that new car number plates change in the UK, prompting a spike in new car sales and, consequently, a flood of used cars on the market. With lots of used cars up for sale, we recommend waiting until the following month to list yours to give it a better chance to stand out.

If you own a convertible, classic or sports car, the inverse applies to the previous section. Don’t list it for sale during late autumn and winter as demand for these vehicle types is at its lowest.

Other factors that affect the value of your car

It’s worth remembering that there are more factors to consider than just the time of year when selling your car. You’ll need to price your car appropriately, accounting for its age, mileage and whether it has any desirable options if you want to attract buyers. You should consider where and how you sell your car, too, with private sales usually netting the best price but requiring the most effort. Guaranteed car buying websites or part-exchanging can offer a quicker solution year-round, but you may not see as much cash in return. 

If you own a particularly unusual or niche car, perhaps with a cult following, the time of year that you sell your car probably won’t affect its value or how quickly it will sell. It’s more important to list it for sale in the correct place in order to increase the likelihood of an enthusiast spotting the ad.

It’s important to consider how and where you sell your car – read our full guide to selling your car for our top tips…

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