If you’re looking to buy a used car from—or sell your car to— a trusted brand name, CarMax is certainly worth being one of the first options you try. The company’s first location opened in 1993 as an experiment suggested by executives at the Circuit City electronics corporation. The project, nicknamed “Honest Rick’s Used Cars”, was meant to expand Circuit City’s enterprise into other arenas. What became known as CarMax fulfilled that goal, growing rapidly across the United States through various acquisitions of car manufacturing real estate. Currently headquartered in Richmond, Virginia, the company currently operates 146 used car stores in 72 markets. CarMax.com strives to offer superior quality used vehicles and friendly service to its customers. The CarMax company has consistently been named as one of FORTUNE® 500’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” for 10 straight years. They have been serving customers for over 59 years, holding themselves to a high standard of integrity with their services and products.

 

Rank Chart
Cars Listed
Car Loan Service
Our Score
#1
3+ million
Yes
7.6
#2
3+ million
Yes
7.4
#3
2.5 million+
Yes
6.7
#5
carmax
527,000+
Yes
5.9

The Good

CarMax can transfer any used car you are considering to one of its locations nearest to where you live so you can test drive it at your convenience. Transfer fees may be applicable, but oftentimes this service is free. Consumers are encouraged to ask a CarMax sales representative about this nationwide transfer service and any possible fees ahead of time. There is no obligation to buy the car once it is transferred.

CarMax.com will also buy or trade-in your current vehicle no matter what condition it is in. You can get a free written offer that is good for 7 days at any CarMax store location. If you choose to sell your car to CarMax, you will receive a bank draft on the spot that may be deposited in your bank right away.

There are plenty resources at CarMax.com to help you find a vehicle. Read thousands of research, ratings and reviews on the website. Get information on obtaining a car loan. Use the free calculators provided by CarMax to calculate monthly payments, MPG savings, and the price range you can afford for a car. Calculate your fees for taxes, title, tags, and other fees. You can also get fuel economy information and car tips and advice on every make and model vehicle.

CarMax is the largest used car retailer on and off the internet, allowing customers to shop for vehicles the same way they shop for items at what they call “big-box” retailers—sort of like a Costco or Sam’s Club for used cars. This refers to promising car shoppers low, no-haggle prices, a broad selection of CarMax Quality Certified vehicles and superior customer service.

Car Buying Process

CarMax’s car buying process is based on the results of a notable consumer survey the company conducted back in 1991. The survey asked everyday consumers about their preferences when it comes to buying a car. The answers below are what define today’s CarMax’s shopping experience.

What this means for you the customer:

  • Customers said they don’t like playing games, so CarMax lets you know the price right away, not after hours of haggling and mind games.
  • Customers said they don’t like their time being wasted, so CarMax lets you have one sales person work with you from start to finish who won’t make you drive all over town to find the right car.
  • Customers said they want Security, so CarMax inspects and reconditions all cars and backs them with a limited warranty so you don’t have to worry what will happen when you drive off the lot.
  • Customers wanted more fun and less pressure from car salespeople, so CarMax employees are trained to offer assistance without being pushy.

For used car shoppers, Carmax has a nice array of payment calculators to calculate and compare monthly car payments and overall affordability. What’s unique, however, is their Tax, title, tags, and fees calculator and their MPG Savings Calculator.

The Tax, title, tags, and fees calculator helps you figure out your tax, title, and tags fees according to what state you reside in. All you have to do is select your state and vehicle price range and hit the Calculate button. If you’re unsure about what fee rules and regulations apply to your next car purchase, this is a perfect tool to find out.

The MPG (Miles Per Gallon) Savings calculator allows you to see how a vehicle’s MPG will affect your bottom line. It actually allows you to compare two cars at once to see how they stack up against each other. This is a great tool to determine long-term maintenance costs for car ownership. To find out how much you’ll save (or lose), locate the desired car’s gas mileage on the vehicle profiles you selected, then fill in the average MPG of two cars you’d like to compare and hit “Calculate Savings”.

CarMax has a sizeable listing of used cars (new cars as well) that support its promise to offer security to customers. Each used vehicle has to be CarMax Quality Certified, meaning every used car must pass a Certified Quality Inspection. Each used car also comes with a 5-Day Money-Back Guarantee, as well as a 30-Day Limited Warranty ( and a 60-Day Warranty in Connecticut, Minnesota and Rhode Island and 90 Days in Massachusetts and New York).

Another unique component for consumers is being able to sell their car to CarMax. Although CarMax is not the only auto buyer site doing this, it is the only one that offers a unique appraisal process.

The appraisal process looks like this:

  • Fast and free—your appraisal can take as little as 30 minutes and you’re welcome to watch while you wait.
  • No obligation—CarMax will buy your car even if you don’t buy theirs.
  • No appointment needed—bring your car in for an appraisal any time they’re open.
  • CarMax appraisers—specially trained to evaluate the cars they buy.
  • The written offer—it’s good for seven days at any CarMax location.
  • Fast payment—upon selling CarMax your car, you’ll receive a bank draft on the spot!

The appraisal process is Step two in a streamlined, no-hassle, three-step selling process—the result of the code of conduct based on consumer’s preferences previously mentioned.

Step One is to bring in your car to one of CarMax’s locations. Making an appointment is optional, but you’d probably be better off making one—especially if you have a busy schedule. Step Two is to get a written offer. This comes after the appraisal process and is good for seven days.. Step Three is the final step where you have the option to complete the sale, trade it, or think it over. CarMax will buy your car regardless of make, miles, or condition.

The Bad

CarMax has a lot to offer used car buyers and sellers with only a few inconveniences. For example, the MPG Savings calculator is a great tool—it would be even greater if you could just find out the miles per gallon savings on one car instead of having to compare two. When searching the site, if you’re only interested in one vehicle, you can’t use the tool.

Another inconvenience is that if you are not living near one of CarMax’s locations, taking advantage of the selling back of your car process may not be viable. Being that the locations are so spread out and possibly in a state other than your own, you may need to make travel arrangements or you may be unable to afford the trip either time-wise or money-wise. (This is where the Tax, title, tags, and fees calculator comes in handy).

Many of these complaints seem to be in regards to the condition of the cars sold at CarMax. Complaints included things such as cars breaking down soon after purchase and repairs not covered through CarMax’s extended care plan. All issues were resolved successfully and customers reported the customer service representatives at CarMax to be friendly and helpful.

The Bottom Line

What makes CarMax so massive is that, unlike many auto companies online, they are not just an internet business. The company has brick-and-mortar auto centers around the country—although very spread out. Getting to one of their locations may be an issue, but since CarMax will buy your car regardless of make, miles, or condition, if you’ve got a car you want to sell or are looking to buy one yourself, their website is one worth exploring.

Company Name: CarMax, Inc.

Website: http://www.carmax.com

Time in Business: CarMax, Inc. has been in business for over 59 years. Business started: 02/01/1956 in VA.

Online Features (10pt):

  1. New and used. Find cars by make/model, price, vehicle type, MPG.
  2. Available Accessories: Leather Interior Upgrades, Bluetooth, remote start, keyless entry, in-dash navigation and multimedia, satellite radio, mobile video, rear obstacle avoidance system, security systems, power door locks.
  3. Features: 3rd Rear Seat, 4WD/AWD, Automatic Transmission, Auxiliary Audio Input, Blu-Ray Video System, Cruise Control, DVD Video System, Front seat heaters, leather seats, manual transmission, navigation system, rear view camera, remote start, smart key, sun roof, tow hitch.
  4. Vehicle Recommendation Tool- finding the right car for you: year, brand, vehicle type, price range, specifications, importance ratings for price, brand and vehicle type
  5. Nationwide Transfers
  6. Free Full Vehicle History Report
  7. Clean Title Guarantee: We guarantee every car to have accurate mileage and not ever to have been designated salvaged or flood-damaged—or we’ll buy it back.
  8. 5-Day Money-Back Guarantee: If you change your mind for any reason, you can return a car hassle-free within 5 days. Repairs made under warranty cost you nothing—parts and labor are included.
  9. 125+ point Certified Quality inspection-CarMax does not guarantee a recall-free vehicle. No cars with flood or frame damage. Every used car undergoes around 12 hours of renewing and two inspections before being offered for resale.
  10. MaxCare extended service plan

Resources (5pt):

  1. Research, Ratings and Reviews
  2. Calculators: payment estimator, affordability calculator, tax, title, tags, and fees calculator, MPG savings calculator
  3. Car financing and loan information
  4. Fuel Economy information
  5. Car Tips and Advice

Used Car Liquidation:

Sell or trade your car regardless of make, miles, or condition. Get your written offer fast, free, and with no obligation. The offer is good for 7 days at any CarMax location. Appraisals can take as little as 30 minutes. No appointment needed. Fast payment—if you sell us your car, you’ll receive a bank draft on the spot. CarMax will issue a bank draft made payable to the name(s) listed on the title. The bank draft must be deposited and cannot be cashed.

Mobile Ability:

CarMax.com is a mobile-friendly site as tested on Google Developers’ Mobile Friendly Test: https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.carmax.com%2F

Nationwide: yes

Car Loan Education:

Additional Information: Car loan information articles provided on CarMax.com website.

Fees: transfer fees may apply

How Pricing Works: free

Customer Service

The cost of CarMax accessories can be included in most financing. They’ll install your accessories when it’s convenient for you. Accessories purchased when you buy your car are also covered by your MaxCare extended service plan.

They work with a variety of financial institutions to provide the best possible financing. If you find a better option, you have three business days to refinance, penalty- and interest-free.

Contact Info:

Phone Number: (804) 747-0422

Address: 12800 Tuckahoe Creek Pkwy, Richmond, VA 23238

Toll Free #: (866) 205-8584

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