Did you know that aside from their retail warehouse business, Sam’s Club also offers great discounts on new and used cars through their auto-buying program?
That’s right. If you pay to become a Sam’s Club Auto Buying Program member, you could potentially save up to $4,000 and access a host of additional perks. Sounds pretty good, right?
Well, I’m going to take a closer look into exactly how their program works and if becoming a member of Sam’s Club is a worthwhile investment for those looking to buy a car. Is it as good as it sounds? Let’s find out.
- How Does Sam’s Club Auto Buying Program Work?
- Can You Finance a Car Through Sam’s Club?
- Are the Prices Offered Negotiable?
- The Steps to Buy a Car Through Sam’s Club
- Average Discount on a New Car with Sam’s Club Membership
- The Pros and Cons of Buying a Car with the Auto Buying Program at Sam’s Club
- Is the Auto Buying Program the Cheapest Option?
- Ever Thought of working for Sam’s Club?
- Final Thoughts
How Does Sam’s Club Auto Buying Program Work?
Think of the Auto Buying Program at Sam’s Club as an intermediary online service that connects those looking to buy a vehicle with the dealers selling them in one convenient place.
Simply enter your search criteria, and your search will return the cars available from the dealers in your local area. This includes the dealership offering the best deal.
Sam’s Club Auto Program is partnered with and uses the technology of TrueCar when retrieving its search results. TrueCar is a long-trusted platform that brings car buyers and dealers together.
When you become a member of Sam’s Club Auto Buying Program, you will get fixed-price offers on new cars that are below the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP). Also, the price offers you will get for used cars will usually be below the average for that model in your area.
Read more: Does Sam’s Club Allow Dogs?
Can You Finance a Car Through Sam’s Club?
No, this isn’t currently a service that Sam’s Club offers its members. If you want car finance, you should be able to arrange it through the dealership just like normal.
There are a load of other financing options out there. Many Credit Unions and banks offer loans for car purchases. Websites like LendingTree may also help you find a local lender if your credit score is up to scratch.
Are the Prices Offered Negotiable?
Every quote you receive from Sam’s Club has already been pre-negotiated down to the lowest price the dealership will go to. No further negotiation is allowed. The price you receive is final.
One of the main benefits of belonging to Sam’s Club Auto Buyers Program is not having to negotiate in the first place. Most people don’t really enjoy asking for discounts, and as a club member, you don’t have to whilst still reaping the financial rewards.
The Steps to Buy a Car Through Sam’s Club
1 Become a Member
To gain access to these cheaper prices, you have to become a Sam’s Club member. Regular membership costs $45 per year, or you can pay $100 for a premium Plus membership.
Obviously, this also entitles you to all the other benefits that come with being a Sam’s Club member, more details of which can be found on Samsclub.com. For larger families, substantial savings can be made when taking advantage of all the extra perks on offer as a member.
You can also find out more about the benefits of premium membership with our in-depth look at Sams Club Plus Membership.
2 Search for your car
Once you have logged in to the site with your membership details, you’ll be able to configure your search to narrow down the hunt.
When looking for a new car, you can search for the specific make and model, including any special editions or preferences that might be available. You can also search based on color (exterior and interior), and choose from any available styles or trim designs.
Searching for a used car, you can refine your search by make and model, adding filters for things like mileage and age.
3 Receive Discounted Price Offers
Once you have found the car you like and completed your search, Sam’s Club will send you a pricing summary that shows you the difference between the MSRP and the TrueCar average price for that vehicle.
At this point, you have to give TrueCar your personal details, which include your name, address, and phone number. Once this simple step is complete, you will receive individual offers from one of the certified TrueCar dealers in your area.
16,500 car dealerships are certified by TrueCar, so unless you live in a seriously remote area, there are likely to be quite a few nearby.
4 Arrange a Test Drive
Once you’ve found a car you’re interested in, you should contact the dealership to arrange a test drive. I wouldn’t personally advise it, but if you don’t want to take it for a spin, you can go right ahead and complete the whole purchasing process online.
TrueCar also have what’s called a buy from home program that some dealerships are a part of. In this case, you can have the car delivered direct to your door, and all that pesky paperwork will be handled by them.
5 Report the Purchase to Sam’s Club
Once you’ve bought your car, let Sam’s club know within 45 days to access the extra benefits you are entitled to. As long as you bought from a certified dealer, it doesn’t matter whether you bought a new or used car to access these benefits.
These benefits include:
- Reimbursement of 20% of any auto repairs with an upper limit of $500. You can claim this twice per year.
- Insurance reimbursements up to $500 twice per year.
- Free consultations with a certified mechanic.
So the buying process appears to be very straightforward, but how much money can you expect to save when buying through Sam’s Club’s Auto Buying Program?
Average Discount on a New Car with Sam’s Club Membership
There are a range of different factors that will dictate how much of a discount you will receive on a new car. These include the make and model, among other things. However, the average saving last year on the MSRP price for Sam’s Club members was $3,400.
Members also paid, on average, $200 less than if they had bought the car direct from TrueCar instead. They also saved a lot more thanks to insurance reimbursements and potential auto repair cover.
A Sam’s Club membership also entitles you to free flat tire repair, battery testing, and wiper installation. You also get cash back on gas purchases, 5% on the first $6,000 of the year, and 1% after.
The Pros and Cons of Buying a Car with the Auto Buying Program at Sam’s Club
There’s not too much to dislike about the service the Auto Buying Program provides, but I will attempt to give as honest a breakdown as possible next…
- Potential for large discounts – An average saving of $3,400 on a new car says it all.
- Streamlined buying process – The whole experience is a lot quicker than time-consuming visits to multiple dealers.
- Price comparisons – You get to see the average price paid for that car by other buyers in your area, thus helping you know whether you are getting a similar or better deal.
- Additional member benefits – Car repair and insurance reimbursements, free battery check and flat tire repair, plus significant gas discounts.
- No negotiation option – Just because you have received a discounted price doesn’t mean that you couldn’t have negotiated an even lower price by yourself.
- TrueCar is free – You don’t have to pay to use TrueCars service, which is effectively the same service Sam’s Club Auto Buying Program offers. You won’t, however, receive all the additional benefits, both auto and retail-related, that membership entitles you to.
- Inventory limitations – Although TrueCars inventory is impressively large, it is by no means comprehensive. Any cars not registered with a certified dealer will not appear in your search results.
Is the Auto Buying Program the Cheapest Option?
While members can make substantial savings when buying a car through Sam’s Club, that doesn’t mean that they offer prices that can’t be beaten elsewhere.
There are a number of other car-buying programs that offer a similar service to Sam’s Club and TrueCar. Make sure you have checked out their lowest prices before you commit to a purchase.
Local dealerships are also worth a visit, especially if you are good a driving a hard bargain. You may have the ability to save even more than through an online program.
Alternative Car Buying Options to Sam’s Club
There are other car-buying programs and websites that should be looked at before you know if you’re getting the best price. Here are a few of Sam’s Club’s main competitors.
All of these offer a similar car buying program as Sam’s Club, connecting buyers with a network of dealerships offering pre-negotiated discounts. I won’t go into details about which is the best here; suffice to say, you should definitely shop around.
There are also national dealerships with a strong online presence that offer competitive prices. These include:
Ever Thought of working for Sam’s Club?
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Or, if Costco is also an employment option, it’s well worth taking a look at our in-depth guide to the Costco Application as well as the most frequently asked Costco Interview Questions, or if you’re still studying, How Old Do You Have To Be To Work At Costco, or if you happen to have a criminal record, find out Does Costco Hire Felons before applying.
There’s no doubt about it. Buying a car through a service like Sam’s Club Auto Buying Program is perfect for those who don’t have the time or inclination to visit multiple dealerships in person.
They cut through the red tape and streamline a process that could otherwise take you days. Sam’s Club members also make substantial savings, especially when purchasing a new car. You also get a load of extra benefits that add up to save you a lot of extra cash.
There really isn’t much in the way of negative things to say regarding their service. However, the bargain hunters out there should make sure to compare what the competition has to offer before agreeing to buy.
All the best with finding your next dream car.