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The best time to sell your car

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FREE instant online car valuation

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When it comes to selling your car, keeping a close eye on the market value of your specific make and model is a wise move. Not only will this allow you to know roughly how much it will be worth, but also identify the best time to sell your car, and get a better price at resale. Here, we’ll explore the several aspects of car price fluctuations, including why value can see so much movement throughout the year, how you can use this to your advantage, and how to effectively track the value of your car.

Why does a car’s value fluctuate?

While there are many factors that can affect the overall value of a car, such as, a manufacturer reputation (a noteworthy example of this would be the 2015 vehicle emissions incident). More short-term, predictable fluctuations occur throughout the year based on demand and seasonality. Let’s take a look at why prices fluctuate and what can cause them over the seasons.


Car Value Fluctuations during Spring

As winter subsides and the clouds part to allow warmer weather and more outdoor activities, buyers’ attentions turn to cars that provide a more enjoyable driving experience during the warmer months. Sportier cars, particularly convertibles, are much more desirable on the approach to summer, so if you’re looking to sell this could be the perfect time. Everything from budget convertibles, such as Mini Cooper soft top models and VW Beetles to higher-end sports models, will see a rise in interest from buyers at this time of year, and ultimately a rise in the market value. Oppositely, more winter-ready models, such as 4x4s lose a lot of interest at this time of year, which will likely have a knock-on effect on the resale value of these models during this time of year.


Car Value Fluctuations during Summer

Similarly to spring, summer months still bear fruit for those looking to sell their sports cars, convertibles and even supercars. As Mother Nature turns up the heat, even more attention turns towards the prospect of owning a high-end luxury car, especially one that accommodates the bright weather. Unfortunately for 4x4 sellers, interest in these models will hit its lowest point for the year. In fact, it’s common for car dealers to move the majority of their 4x4 stock to the back of the showroom during this time of year, to put their more summer-suited stock on show for potential buyers (this should speak volumes about what category of vehicle is ‘hot’ during each season).


Car Value Fluctuations during Autumn

In autumn, a large percentage of the UK return to work following the school summer holidays, often with a hefty holiday or credit card bill to pay off which means there is generally less interest in the retail market overall. As temperatures slowly drop and rain clouds become commonplace once again, consumer interest, and ultimately value, will begin to turn to more winter-ready models. While the effects of winter are not yet in full swing, meaning the higher running and fuel-consumption costs of a 4x4 are not yet justified for many buyers, there is a definite rise in purchases for those looking to prepare in advance.


Car Value Fluctuations during Winter

During winter, consumer interest for winter-ready vehicles reaches an annual high. Many areas of the UK suffer from harsh winters, especially in regions which see heavy snowfall, spiking interest in vehicles with extra traction and driving power suited to these conditions. Over the past years, manufacturers have noticed a huge spike in internet interest in 4x4s on the approach to, and throughout winter, as well as a rise in sales of new and used 4x4 models during the same period. As you can imagine, the sporty summer cars see a considerable decrease in interest and value during winter months.

How to take advantage of car value fluctuations

Now that we have a better understanding of seasonal demand and car value fluctuations, you can use this information to help get a better price for your car during resale by working out when the best time of year to sell a car is.


Before you make any arrangements to sell, think about what category of car you drive. When would this be more desirable? Sportier cars attain more value on the approach to summer, as 4x4s do during winter months. Smaller economy cars can be more appealing around periods where people are looking to save money, around Christmas, after the summer holiday period and before students leave for their first year of university.


Also, consider other factors that play into car valuation movement, such as plate changes. Selling a car after the plate change will reduce the amount you are able to get for the vehicle, so be sure to sell before the changeover while your car is still a ‘newer’ model.


You can also use this rule to save money on your next car, in fact it’s not unheard of for prices to be slashed by thousands on a used car overnight following the plate change, so if you’re looking to buy approaching March, it pays to wait a little while longer!

How to Track your Car’s Value

There’s so much to consider when looking to get the best price for your car, from the aspects of general demand and seasonality covered above, to the condition and status of your car specifically. However, it’s always a good idea to monitor the value of your vehicle over the weeks and months to find the best time to sell. 

You can check in on your car’s value anytime by entering your registration number on our car valuation page. Click to find out how much your car is worth today, and then simply re-value at your convenience for regular value updates. From there, you can book an appointment at one of our 280+ UK branches and sell your car at a time and location convenient for you.

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