Should You Buy a Car Through Costco?

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  • One lesser-known perk of Costco is its car-buying program.
  • There are benefits to getting your car through Costco outside of potential savings.
  • Costco can help you negotiate a sale with dealerships in your area.

It may sound surprising, but it's an option worth considering.

Buying a car can be a stressful experience. After all, you have to research different models, come up with a budget that accounts for peripheral costs like auto insurance, and find a dealership that has the vehicle you want. From there, you may have to haggle out the price with a car salesperson who's banking on scoring as high a commission as possible.

These days, in fact, buying a car is even more harrowing due to a general shortage of vehicles. The supply chain issues that have plagued the economy since last year are still very much present in the auto industry, and that means that even once you narrow down your choices and find a car you love, you may still not be able to get it.

But there may be one step you can take to make buying a car less stressful and less expensive: shopping through Costco. If you have a membership and need a car, it pays to look at the Costco Auto Program.

Savings and more

Costco is known as a great source of low-cost household essentials. But when you buy a membership, you get to benefit from a host of lesser-known perks, including the option to purchase a vehicle through Costco.

This isn't to say you can walk into your local warehouse club store and drive away with a new car (you've probably noticed that while Costco is filled with various goods, its warehouses are devoid of actual automobiles).

Rather, with the Costco Auto Program, you get access to a database of vehicles you can search through based on your location and your desired model and features. Once you've narrowed down your choices, Costco will match you up with an authorized dealer that can complete your car purchase.

The upside of using this program? Costco is able to negotiate prices with the dealerships it partners with, and any savings that are eked out are passed along to members like you. As such, you might snag a lower price on a car by going through Costco.

Also, many people find the idea of going to a car dealership stressful. Vehicle salespeople are notorious for trying to upsell customers on more expensive models. If that's an experience you'd rather avoid, then it could pay to use the Costco Auto Program. That's because you'll be offered a specific price for your vehicle based on Costco's negotiations.

Is there a downside?

Costco doesn't partner with every dealership, and so the specific car you want may not be available through its auto program. Also, while it's possible to reap savings on a car purchase by going through the Costco Auto Program, if you're a great negotiator and know a lot about cars, you may want to try your luck and haggle at the dealership yourself.

But if you're looking to avoid that part of the process, then using Costco for your car purchase could be a smart bet. And to be clear, the Costco Auto Program gives you access to both new vehicles as well as those that are previously owned. And that means the program caters to buyers across a wide spectrum of price ranges.

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