AAA Car Buying Program Review: Is It Worth the Membership?
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AAA is most known for its roadside assistance, but being an AAA member also gives you access to their Car Buying Program.
Our expert car guys are here to find out if the AAA Car Buying Service really saves you money and if the perks are worth it.
Here’s our full review of the AAA Car Buying Program and if it’s worth using.
Table of Contents
- What is the AAA Auto Buying Program?
- Is AAA Auto Buying Program Legit?
- Does AAA Offer Financing on a Car?
- AAA Auto Loans
- How Does AAA Car Buying Service Work?
- Can You Negotiate with AAA on the Vehicle Price?
- AAA Car Buying Steps
- AAA Trade-In & Selling Steps
- AAA Auto Buying Program Policies
- AAA Membership Benefits
- AAA Insurance
- AAA Protection Packages
- TrueCar Buyers Bonus
- Does AAA Do Delivery on Vehicles?
- Does AAA Offer Specials or Incentives?
- How Much of a Discount Can You Get Through AAA Auto Buying Program?
- AAA Auto Buying Program Review – The Good & Bad
- Is It Possible to Beat AAA Auto Program Prices?
- Alternatives to AAA Auto Buying Program
- Best Car Deals by Category
- Frequently Asked Questions
What is the AAA Auto Buying Program?
The AAA Auto Buying Program is for members of the American Automobile Association. It connects AAA members with no-haggle deals with certified dealers. To participate, you must have an AAA membership.
The AAA membership has three potential levels. Each includes a one-time $15 enrollment fee. Those with a higher level of membership can receive more services, like car rental reimbursement, roadside assistance, travel accident insurance, etc. The memberships are:
- $37.50 per year for the Classic level
- $86 per year for the Plus level
- $125 per year for the Premier level
Is AAA Auto Buying Program Legit?
The AAA Auto Buying Program is legitimate and works very similar to the Sam’s Club and Costco auto programs. Through the program, you receive pre-arranged member pricing from certified dealerships.
Does AAA Offer Financing on a Car?
AAA offers financing through its program. They provide auto loans for vehicles under 10 model years old via their Auto Club Trust program. You can also use the AAA to find loans through partner lenders. Of course, you can still opt to finance your purchase through a third party like a bank or credit union.
AAA Auto Loans
The AAA provides loans with rates as low as 3.39% APR, including a .25% discount for choosing automatic payments. You can select loan terms between 48 and 72 months. The loan minimums are $5,000, whereas the maximum amount is $100,000.
You do not need a certain credit score to get an AAA loan. However, they do provide three credit score options (fair, average, and great). Your credit score will influence your loan APR.
How Does AAA Car Buying Service Work?
The AAA car buying service, powered by TrueCar, allows members to search for new or used cars online, with the added benefit of exclusive savings.
Members first specify the make, model, and other preferences of the car they wish to buy. They're then presented with a list of local participating dealerships and the price range for their chosen car. The service generates a certificate with the locked-in price, which the member can take to the dealership. The price is pre-negotiated, saving members time and stress.
The service can also help members with trade-ins, providing estimates for their current car's value. The AAA car buying service is meant to ensure a smoother, more affordable car buying experience.
Can You Negotiate with AAA on the Vehicle Price?
Vehicles in the AAA program are haggle-free. The price is already set at a discount for AAA members, so you can not negotiate the vehicle price. This is both a pro and con (as we’ll discuss later).
AAA Car Buying Steps
Here’s the process for buying a car through the AAA program:
1. Search for Vehicle
Search for vehicles on the AAA Auto Buying Website. You can search based on make, model, and more.
2. Select a Car
Once you choose a vehicle you are interested in, you can set up a test drive at a local dealership. In some cases, you may be able to opt for the car to be delivered to you for a test drive.
3. Purchase the Vehicle
If you choose to purchase the vehicle after the test drive, then you will complete the purchase. Some dealerships offer express purchase, which takes under an hour. Otherwise, you can also have the car and purchase paperwork delivered to you.
AAA Trade-In & Selling Steps
You can also sell or trade-in a vehicle with the AAA car program. Here’s what you need to do:
1. Enter Information
Head to the AAA trade page powered by Truecar. Enter the details of your car, like the license plate/ VIN or the make and model. Enter your location as well. You’ll get an initial value estimate.
2. Add Details
Fine-tune the value estimate by adding the necessary details. For example, enter the mileage, color, and additional features. You’ll see how all of these factors influence the value.
3. Get Your Offer
Once you are ready to sell or trade, you can get your offer from a local dealer. The True Cash Offer remains good for three days, so you can take some time to decide if you’re not ready.
AAA Auto Buying Program Policies
The AAA program is only available to AAA members. The program includes buying, selling, or trading in a vehicle. However, you are buying through a certified dealer, not through AAA. Therefore, the dealership will set the policies for warranties, returns, etc.
AAA Membership Benefits
Some additional benefits you get as an AAA member include reimbursement of up to $175 for rental vehicles, free one-time battery replacement, and a $0 deductible when using an AAA-Owned Auto Repair facility.
In addition to cars, AAA offers special savings on RVs, boats, motorcycles, scooters, ATVs, side-by-sides, snowmobiles, jet skis, and golf carts. The AAA Powersports, RV and Boat Buying program is powered by Rollick.
AAA offers auto insurance coverage. Since the AAA is a collection of independently run organizations, insurance coverage varies significantly by location. Compared to other providers, AAA auto insurance tends to be more affordable. Those with AAA Auto Club members can enjoy additional discounts.
AAA Protection Packages
AAA offers three levels of protection plans; Silver, Gold, and Platinum. Plans are available for vehicles up to 15 model years old and with up to 150,000 miles at the time of purchase. Plan terms are in increments of 1 month and 1,000 miles, for up to 84 months and 186,000 miles.
- AAA Silver: Covers 14 major systems like engine, transmission, cooling and fuel systems, brakes, and steering.
- AAA Gold: Covers 15 major systems, which includes audio repairs.
- AAA Platinum: The best coverage, which adds on coverage for hybrid vehicles and entertainment/navigation systems.
TrueCar Buyers Bonus
The AAA Car Buying Program is powered by TrueCar. TrueCar offers a buyer's bonus. The bonus includes:
- Reimbursement for auto repairs
- Deductible reimbursement for purchases from the car-buying program. Covers up to $500 twice a year.
- Auto expert option, you to speak directly with a certified mechanic to evaluate your vehicle and discuss suggested repairs. Unlimited access.
To claim the TrueCar Buyers Bonus, you must report the purchase within 45 days.
Does AAA Do Delivery on Vehicles?
You can select vehicles for delivery through the AAA Car Buying Program. The dealer handles delivery, so you should check with the dealer before confirming the purchase. Look out for the TrueCar "Buy From Home" badge on car listings.
Does AAA Offer Specials or Incentives?
The Car Buying Program is just one special perk of being an AAA member. The exact discounts and bonuses will vary based on location. In addition to the benefits of your membership, you can enjoy:
- Rewards for shopping
- Repairs covered by warranty
- Priority service
- Roadside assistance and local towing
- Free inspection and report
How Much of a Discount Can You Get Through AAA Auto Buying Program?
Car buyers who used the AAA Auto Buying Program in 2020 saved an average of $3,197 off the MSRP price. The actual savings of each purchase may vary significantly based on the dealer incentives, specific vehicles, location, and more.
AAA Auto Buying Program Review – The Good & Bad
Pros: Here’s What I Like About the AAA Auto Program
Here are some of the best features of the AAA Auto Program:
- Concierge Service: Save time on car shopping by telling AAA what you want. With the concierge service, they will find the vehicle for you. However, this service may not be available everywhere.
- Haggle-Free Pricing: Since AAA negotiates the price, you don’t need to. The price will be lower than the MSRP for used cars and below the KBB value for used vehicles. This saves you the time and hassle of negotiating.
- Variety: You can use AAA to find a wide array of vehicles, including new, used, and leased ones.
- Delivery: You can opt for vehicle delivery.
Cons: Here’s What I Don’t Like About AAA Auto Program
- Must Be a Member: The program is only available to AAA members, which means you must pay a membership fee. However, compared to other programs with a monthly membership fee, the AAA fee isn’t bad.
- Processing Fee: In addition to the membership fee, you must pay a service fee of $225. Keep in mind that this fee is in addition to dealership fees, destination charges, the title, tax, etc.
- Cannot Guarantee Vehicle Match: You may not be able to get the exact vehicle you’re looking for. AAA draws from a variety of sources, so the exact vehicle you want may not be available in your area.
Is It Possible to Beat AAA Auto Program Prices?
While the AAA Auto Program ensures that you can buy a vehicle for less than the MSRP/KBB price, it does not guarantee that you get the best deal.
Haggle-free car buying is appealing for those short on time or without much experience negotiating.
However, you may be able to beat AAA Auto Program prices by negotiating on your own.
Alternatives to AAA Auto Buying Program
We provide you with access to the most exhaustive network of dealerships in the U.S. Powered by Rydeshopper, we can help you find the most affordable new vehicle. We also have several helpful resources for helping you get the best price on your new or used car.
Rental Car Companies
Looking for a used car in great condition? Then consider buying from a trusted rental car company. In this helpful article, we compare the top rental car companies Enterprise, Hertz, and Avis.
Costco Auto Program
If you have a Costco membership, then it’s certainly worth looking into the inventory and pricing of the Costco Auto Program. Read our full Costco Auto Program review for more information.
Sam’s Club Auto Buying Program
Sam’s Club member instead? Then consider using their Auto Buying program. Learn everything you need to know in our Sam’s Club Auto Program Review.
Digital Car Buying Programs
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it worth buying a car through the AAA Auto Buying Program?
For those with an AAA membership. It’s definitely worth looking into the Auto Program. Considering the affordability of an annual membership and the other benefits it includes, it may even be worth getting a membership to use the program. However, keep in mind that you may get better deals by negotiating with dealers yourself.
Does AAA sell used cars?
Yes, the AAA Car Buying program sells used cars.
Does AAA sell new cars?
Yes, you can purchase a new car through the AAA Car Buying program.
Does AAA lease cars?
Right now, the AAA car buying program does not appear to include vehicle leases.
Why should I buy a car through the AAA Auto Buying Program?
When buying through the AAA Auto Buying Program, you can enjoy haggle-free car shopping. The prices you see have been pre-negotiated to give AAA members a deal. Additionally, there are many other benefits of an AAA membership that car buyers may enjoy.
Should I get AAA auto insurance?
Overall, AAA insurance is fairly inexpensive, but the details of your plan may vary by location. To determine if AAA auto insurance is right for you, you should contact your local representative to discuss the coverage and benefits.
Can you trade in your vehicle through AAA Auto Buying Program?
You can trade in a vehicle through the AAA Auto Buying Program. Provide the vehicle information and see your real-time estimate.
Can you sell a car through AAA?
Yes, you can sell your vehicle through the AAA program. Simply enter the vehicle details, receive your quote, and move forward with a certified dealer.