15 Things to Know Before Using the Costco Auto Program

Buying a car can be a stressful, anxiety-ridden process, especially if you have never done it before. So, before buying your next automobile, consider the Costco Auto Program, designed to make purchasing a car quick, easy and painless.

However, make sure to read this list of 15 things to know before using the Costco Auto Program so that you’re well-informed before making a purchase!

15 Things to Know Before Using the Costco Auto Program In [currentyear]

1. The Costco Auto Program Is for Members Only

Some of Costco’s services are available for non-members, but unfortunately, the Costco Auto Program is not one of them.

You must be a Costco member at a cost of $60 per year for the standard membership or $120 for the Executive, in order to take advantage of the retail chain’s auto deals.

2. First Time Buyers Can Shop Confidently With the Costco Auto Program

One of the main takeaways from the Costco Auto Program, which the retailer itself touts, is that it takes the pressure of buying a car off the customer. If you have ever visited a dealership, you know how pushy the car salespeople can be, as well as manipulative and aggressive.

The Costco Auto Program is a breath of fresh air, totally removed from the show room while you’re making your choices.

At some point, you do end up having to visit a dealership to work out the final details of your purchase, and at that time, the dealership rep may try to upsell you.

However, make sure to stick to your budget, and after your experience, mention them in your post-purchase review, because that is not what the Costco Auto Program is supposed to be about.

3. Dealerships Partner with the Costco Auto Program

How do you end up at a dealership after you have finished customizing your vehicle and are ready to make the purchase?

Costco is able to bring its members exclusive pricing because it actually partners with 3,000 participating car dealerships in the U.S. and Puerto Rico.

Costco and the individual dealerships set the prices for members, and they ensure there is a trained authorized dealer contact on staff to handle Costco customers’ purchases.

4. Costco Auto Program Prices Range From Budget to Luxury

A Business Insider review of the Costco Auto Program revealed the range of prices customers can expect to find. Costco partners with dealerships who sell vehicles from under $20,000 to upwards of $150,000.

Therefore, if you’re in the market for some budget wheels, you have options, and if you’re looking for something to really “wow” on the road, they also have that customer covered.

Overall, Costco provides a number of options for multiple styles and budgets.

5. Shoppers Can’t Access Discounted Prices Online From the Costco Auto Program…

One of the downsides to using the Costco Auto Program, however, is the lack of price transparency while you’re shopping.

Unfortunately, you don’t get an exact price until you have finished customizing your vehicle, submitted it and been brought in for a meeting at the dealership with the contact person.

So, you’ll know what the “starting” price is – what any person off the street would pay. However, you won’t find out your discount until you’re talking to someone at the dealership.

6. But the Costco Auto Program Will Likely Help You Save

Don’t be discouraged by the fact that you won’t find out the official total for your Costco Auto Program purchase until you’re at the dealership. A representative from the program estimated that most customers saved an average of “,000 on their purchase.

As well, customers save further with savings on different car services (this is discussed further below).

7. Choose From New and Pre-Owned Vehicles with the Costco Auto Program

If you feel a new car is out of your price range, you can still use the Costco Auto Program to shop previously owned or used cars as well.

Pre-owned vehicles are only eligible to be sold as part of the program if they have passed a “rigorous dealer inspection.” They must also be in excellent running condition and still have six months and 6,000 miles left on their original warranty.

8. Use the Costco Auto Program to Customize the Car of Your Dreams

8. Use the Costco Auto Program to Customize the Car of Your Dreams

With the Costco Auto Program, you can customize your vehicle to your heart’s content, choosing from trims, transmissions, add-ons and more!

The only downside is that if the dealership does not have an exact match, it may have to trade with another dealership to obtain the one you want, or will have to factory-order it, and in either case, that could cost extra.

You will be apprised of all changes to the price tag before you finalize the order.

9. Opt to Buy or Lease Using the Costco Auto Program

Further, the Costco Auto Program understands if you don’t want to be locked into a purchase; you can also lease. You will still go through the process of choosing a vehicle and visiting a dealership as usual.

When you meet with the dealer to go over financing, you can tell them it is your intent to lease, versus buy, and they can show you what those payments would look like.

10. The Costco Auto Program Can Net You More Than Just a Car

Costco’s Auto Program sells more than just cars and trucks. You can take advantage of its discounts to purchase the above-mentioned vehicles, as well as RVs and even snowmobiles.

11. You Can Also Call in to the Costco Auto Program

If you have made it this far, looked at the Costco Auto Program website and feel overwhelmed, you don’t have to shop alone.

You can call the Costco Auto Program at 1-800-755-2519 and speak to a representative who can help you go through the process on the website. They will also answer any questions you might have as you shop.

12. The Costco Auto Program Connects You to a Participating Dealership

Once you have selected the vehicle you wanted and made your customizations, your information will be forwarded to a participating dealership.

13. Make Sure When Using the Costco Auto Program You Speak to the Authorized Dealer Contact

When you head into the dealership to finalize your order, it’s important that you speak to the authorized dealer contact.

This person has been specially trained to handle Costco Auto Program purchases and is versed in the Costco concept of not upselling or haggling with the buyer.

If you arrive at the dealership and are introduced to someone who you don’t recognize as your authorized dealer contact, make sure you ask to speak to the person who is.

14. Don’t Forget to Ask About the Costco Auto Program Trade-ins

Costco not only sells new and used cars, but also facilitates trade-ins. While that is not addressed or handled on the website, you can speak to the authorized dealer contact about making a trade-in.

Your vehicle will be evaluated, and if you want to accept the offer, it will then be placed toward your purchase.

15. The Costco Auto Program Helps You Save 15 Percent on Car Services

Not only do Costco members receive a discount on their vehicular purchase with the Costco Auto Program, they receive further deals on future services.

This includes a 15 percent discount on parts, service and accessories, though unfortunately, oil changes, tires and air bag purchases are not covered.

You can save up to $500 on any of the above-listed, and you’ll need to check with your Costco auto service department to make sure the discount applies.

If you are looking to learn more, you can also check our posts on the things to know before using Costco car rental, if Costco leases cars, and if Costco balances tires.


The Costco Auto Program is a no-pressure, low-stakes way for Costco members to purchase a new or used vehicle, or begin a new lease.

Shoppers can customize online, and will then meet with a specially trained authorized dealer contact at the designated participating dealership, for savings averaging $1000.

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Marques Thomas

Marques Thomas graduated with a MBA in 2011. Since then, Marques has worked in the retail and consumer service industry as a manager, advisor, and marketer. Marques is also the head writer and founder of QuerySprout.com.

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