Things to Consider Before Using Sam’s Club Auto Buying Program

Car buying has become stressful in today’s market, primarily due to dealer markups and inventory shortages. If you have a Sam’s Club membership, buying a new car could be easier. Sam’s Club Auto Buying Program users can browse thousands of vehicles offered by TrueCar-certified dealerships. The program also offers several incentives that otherwise wouldn’t be provided if you went to the dealership directly.

Still, are there any cons to using the Sam’s Club Auto Buying Program?

How the Sam’s Club Auto Buying Program helps you save

Sam's Club Auto Buying Program
Sam’s Club logo displayed on a smartphone | Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

With Sam’s Club Auto Buying Program, you don’t have to research multiple websites to find deals on the new or used car you want. The site gives you detailed pricing comparing the vehicle’s market value to its actual MSRP. 

According to Nexstar Media Wire, the company claims you can save an average of $3,463 on new car purchases. Sam’s Club doesn’t disclose how much you’ll save if you buy a used car through the program. 

That’s likely because more variables are involved with used car pricing, such as overall condition and mileage. If you’re unsure about signing up for the program, you’re still allowed to browse all the available deals without a membership.

Anyone who buys a car through the Sam’s Club Auto Buying Program can receive two $500 reimbursements for insurance deductibles. You can also get up to $1,000 a year (split into two $500 discounts) on auto repair reimbursements. 

Additionally, you’ll be allowed to visit a Sam’s Club auto mechanic to have most routine issues addressed free of charge. That means zero-cost battery testing, flat tire repairs, and more. You’ll also get discounts on vehicle accessories and tire replacement services.

You simply need to provide proof of your vehicle’s purchase within 45 days to get those benefits. Like other bulk stores, Sam’s Club also allows its members to buy gas at a discounted rate. Members don’t have to participate in the auto buying program to fill up at these stations.

The Sam’s Club Auto Buying Program can’t do everything

On TrueCar’s website, you can calculate trade-in values in just a few minutes. From there, you can take your car to a certified dealership and get another vehicle in exchange. However, you can’t use this feature through the Sam’s Club Auto Buying Program.

The program also doesn’t provide financing, so you’ll have to use cash or obtain a loan on your own. Most traditional dealerships will do that work for you, and many in-house financing programs offer lower interest rates. If you apply for a loan through a credit union or bank, you might also need a higher credit score.

Most car dealerships will help you purchase insurance or point you in the right direction. Insurance isn’t included with a Sam’s Club Auto Buying Program purchase, and the company also doesn’t have its own insurance marketplace.

Other drawbacks to the program

The vehicle listings on Sam’s Club Auto Buying Program include only cars from dealerships approved by TrueCar. In some cases, that can help protect you from shady dealerships or private sellers. 

However, that makes for a limited inventory, so you’ll have to act fast when the car you want becomes available. Also, you might be able to find a deal elsewhere from a reputable seller that isn’t affiliated with TrueCar. The Sam’s Club Auto Buying Program doesn’t allow you to negotiate for a better price.

Even with those inconveniences, the Sam’s Club Auto Buying Program is an excellent tool for finding good vehicles at fair prices. Even if you pay a little extra on your purchase, you’ll still save money elsewhere thanks to the discounts. All you need is a Sam’s Club membership, which starts at $45 per year.

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