Car Buying

Selling a Car to CarMax

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Great Choice for Older Vehicles

Our Rating: 4.4 out of 5.0

Excellent customer reviews, free vehicle removal nationwide, and fast cash. Peddle is a good choice if you’re in a time crunch or have a car with lots of miles and in less than stellar shape.

  • CarMax regularly gives sellers competitive prices when it buys older vehicles.
  • Drivers must travel to a dealership for an inspection before CarMax buys the car.
  • Strong alternatives to CarMax sell my car include options from Vroom and Carvana.

Since it’s the nation’s largest used vehicle dealership, many drivers take advantage of the various CarMax sell my car services. However, with so many online and in-person options to sell a used car, it’s helpful to know how the company compares to other options.

Our team conducted an in-depth CarMax review, studying the prices it offers for used cars, the company’s customer experience, and its reputation across the auto industry. Below, we’ll explain whether the CarMax sell my car online option is the best way to get rid of an older vehicle.

CarMax: Sell My Car Review

CarMax earned 8.6 out of 10.0 stars in our in-depth review. The company also picked up our award for the industry’s Top Value, as it frequently offered some of the best prices for used cars. 

CarMax Sell My Car Rating8.6
Cost9.1
Platform9.0
Transaction Support8.3
Customer Experience6.8
Industry Reputation9.9

CarMax Sell My Car: Pros & Cons

CarMax has plenty of upsides for people looking to sell used vehicles, but there are a few drawbacks to the company as well.

CarMax Sell My Car Pros

  • Trusted industry reputation
  • Large network of dealerships nationwide
  • Usually among the highest offers for used cars

CarMax Sell My Car Cons

  • Requires an in-person visit
  • Complaints of offers being reduced at the dealership
  • Low ratings on the Better Business Bureau (BBB) website

Should I Sell My Car to CarMax?

While selling your vehicle to CarMax is pretty straightforward, you’ll want to understand how the process works and whether the company ranks as your best option. The more you know about CarMax sell my car procedures, the better-equipped you’ll be to make the best decision on how to sell your used vehicle.

How Does Selling a Car to CarMax Work?

As the nation’s largest used car dealership, making the selling process easy is part of the CarMax business model. There multiple other ways to begin the process:

  • Show up to a CarMax dealership: You can take your car to one of the 238 CarMax locations across the U.S., where you can get an offer after speaking to a salesperson.
  • Make an appointment online: You can book an in-person appointment on the CarMax website. While you don’t need an appointment to get an offer on your car, making one means you won’t have to wait unnecessarily at the dealership.
  • Get a CarMax instant quote online: You can always get an offer on your vehicle before even heading to the dealership. While your final car price may vary from the instant quote you get online, this quote can be helpful as you compare multiple offers.

The last step of the sales process requires a visit to a CarMax location. CarMax takes almost any type of working vehicle, from basic Honda and Toyota sedans to luxury models from Tesla. Look elsewhere if you were hoping to find CarMax car recycling services, though, as the company doesn’t offer any.

How Much Will CarMax Pay For My Used Car?

To determine the value of your vehicle, CarMax uses a formula that considers several factors.

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What Do I Need to Sell My Car to CarMax?

In order to sell your vehicle to CarMax, you’ll need to bring a few things to the dealership lot. Make sure to have the following on hand:

  • Valid, up-to-date registration
  • Title if you own the car outright
  • All fobs, remotes, and keys in your possession
  • Leaseholder information if you are leasing the car
  • Valid, state-issued identification for every titleholder
  • Payoff information if you have a loan on your vehicle

All titleholders should come to the dealership if at all possible. If any titleholder can’t come to a CarMax location in person, you’ll need to bring extra documentation that varies based on why they’re absent. You can learn about necessary documents by calling your local CarMax dealer.

CarMax vs. Traditional Dealerships

While CarMax is an auto dealership, it differs from traditional dealerships in some significant ways. These areas include the following:

  • No-haggle model: Many traditional dealerships negotiate on the sale price of a vehicle. That’s not the case at CarMax, which has firm prices for both car buying and selling. While this makes both processes more efficient, it also means you’ll have to either accept the offer you receive or walk away.
  • National inventory: With CarMax stores located all around the country, the company buys and sells used cars based on a large inventory. Traditional dealerships may operate individually or be part of a smaller regional network and generally have a much smaller inventory and a lower capacity for car sales.

It’s often smart to look up your vehicle’s stated value on the Kelley Blue Book (KBB) before you head to either CarMax or to a traditional dealership. That way, you’ll have an understanding of whether you’re being quoted a fair rate for your used car.

CarMax vs. Local Online Marketplaces

You can use localized online classifieds like Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist to post your car for private party sale. Drivers typically get more money for their used cars as private sellers than if they had turned to CarMax or another dealership, but they could face these drawbacks:

  • Extra paperwork: When you sell a car to CarMax, the company does much of the administrative work around the sale for you. However, in a private sale much of that work becomes your own responsibility.
  • Scam potential: Online marketplaces represent ideal opportunities for a variety of scams that could seriously affect your finances. That’s not a concern if you sell a car to CarMax or another reputable dealership instead of through a local marketplace.
  • Additional legwork: Selling your old car privately requires listing it, communicating with potential buyers, and dealing with the payment process. You may also have to put up with test drive requests and buyers wanting to have the car inspected.

While some people believe that the best place to sell your car is through an online marketplace, it can be somewhat risky and comes with additional work on the seller’s part.

How Do I Sell My Car to CarMax?

Selling your car to CarMax online is a relatively straightforward process. There are just a few steps you’ll need to follow:

  1. Gather required items and documents: To sell your car to CarMax, you’ll need to collect all of your keys and fobs. You’ll also want a photo ID along with a few documents related to the car title or current auto loan. These requirements vary by state, but CarMax offers a tool on its website that tells you exactly what to bring.
  2. Collect information about your vehicle: If you want to start the sales process online, you’ll need to know either your vehicle identification number (VIN) or your license plate number along with the state and ZIP code where the car is registered. You may also want a copy of your vehicle history report, which can easily be found from CARFAX.
  3. Fill out the form on the CarMax website: On the “Sell/Trade” page at CarMax.com, you can use the quote tool to enter your vehicle information and kick-start the process. After the first page, you’ll answer some more detailed questions about your vehicle, such as what optional equipment you have and the car’s overall condition.
  4. Receive your offer: After filling out all vehicle information, you’ll receive an offer on your car. This offer is dependent on an in-person inspection, but as long as you’ve answered the questions accurately, your final offer should match the initial offer or come very close. Your initial offer is good for seven days from the time of the request.
  5. Schedule an in-store visit: A CarMax representative will need to inspect your vehicle to make sure it matches the information you provided. To do this, you must head to a CarMax location in person and will typically have the option to sell your car on the spot. If this is your intention, bring all required items and documents to the appointment.
  6. Accept your offer: If you’re happy with the final offer, you can choose to accept it and sell your car directly to CarMax. You can also take a few days to think about it if you need to. In either case, you’ll be paid immediately once the deal is done.

Can I Sell My Car to CarMax? Requirements Checklist

While CarMax can choose not to buy a car for any reason, the company has minimal restrictions on the vehicles it buys. In general, you can sell your car to CarMax as long as it doesn’t fall under any of the following classifications:

  • Salvaged title
  • Flood damage
  • Frame damage

Can I Sell My Leased Car to CarMax?

In many cases, CarMax can buy out your lease when you sell your car. After the company appraises your vehicle, it will contact the leaseholder with the payoff details and then pay you for the remaining equity in the car.

Be aware that CarMax doesn’t work with all leasing companies. Depending on which company you lease your vehicle from, you may not be able to sell it to CarMax. In addition, leased vehicles may not be eligible for trade-in value tax credit.

CarMax Sell My Car: Reviews and Ratings

If there’s one area where the CarMax sell my car options tend to fall short, it’s in the company’s reputation. Review scores on websites like the BBB and Trustpilot skew on the low side. Even though customers generally leave more negative comments than positive ones on sites like these, CarMax customer ratings still fall on the lower end compared to industry competition.

CarMax Sell My Car Customer Reviews

We did find some positive customer reviews for the company, but a majority of the comments reported negative experiences.

Positive CarMax Reviews

Most of the positive experiences reported by CarMax sell my car customers centered around a smooth process. These quotes reflect positive reviews we found:

“Vehicle was on time and as promised. Financed through CarMax with no issues. Second time I have purchased a car this way. Very satisfied.” – Tom C. via BBB

“Even when I bought a vehicle that turned out to be a lemon, they gave me another vehicle to drive and eventually bought the vehicle back. No hassles [and] no headaches.” – Michael via BBB

Negative CarMax Reviews

Customers who reported negative CarMax experiences had a variety of complaints about the company. One complaint we often saw was of people getting an appraisal offer at the dealership that was lower than their online offer.

These quotes are representative of the CarMax complaints we saw from sellers:

“My nephew … received a valuation of $17,000, which was supposed to be good [until] October 25. We took the car in for that valuation on the 25th and they then said after a week that they would only give … $14,500.”  – Patrick D. via BBB

“Took my online estimate to a CarMax office as told to be honored. Once there they claimed we sent in a different application than we did, therefore our offer went from $1,900 guaranteed online to $500.” – Brian C. via BBB

CarMax Sell My Car: Conclusion

CarMax is a very good option to sell your car, as long as you don’t mind making a trip to the dealership. The company tended to give the highest written offers for used vehicles in our secret shopper study and the process of selling a car is very efficient.

The need to visit a dealership does make CarMax somewhat less convenient than certain competitors. However, if you live within a reasonable distance of one of its locations, you may find getting the most money for your used car to be well worth the drive.

CarMax Sell My Car: Top Competitors

While our research team believes that CarMax is a great choice, car sellers have several other places to look. Getting free offers from multiple car dealers allows you to see which option is best for you. We recommend getting quotes from a few other companies in addition to CarMax.

Vroom: Easy Process

When we reviewed the online car retailer Vroom, we found that it offered a hassle-free selling process from start to finish. The company’s user-friendly interface seamlessly guides you through how to list your vehicle. With inspections and pickups that come to your door, there’s no need to leave home throughout the entire sale of your vehicle.

Carvana: Most Convenient

Carvana is one of the first names in the online car dealership industry and it took home our award for “Most Convenient.” Selling a vehicle to Carvana is simple, efficient, and comes with numerous options. In addition to home pickup, you can take your car to one of various locations around the country if you don’t want to work around the company’s schedule.

Read more: Carvana sell my car review

CarMax Sell My Car: FAQ

Below are a few frequently asked questions about the CarMax sell my car process.

Should I sell my car to CarMax or Carvana?

CarMax tends to give better offers for used cars, yet it also requires an in-person visit to a dealership. Carvana typically offers a little less, but will come to you to inspect and pick up your vehicle, meaning most drivers won’t need to leave home to sell their cars.

Should I fix my car before selling it to CarMax?

You don’t need to fix your car before selling it to CarMax. In most cases, you aren’t likely to get top dollar for a repaired vehicle even if you spend the money to fix it.

Can I sell my car to CarMax without the title?

You need a valid title to sell your car to CarMax. If you’re paying off a loan on the vehicle, the lien holder should have the car title. If you’re leasing your car, the leaseholder should have it.

Can I sell my financed car to CarMax?

You can sell a financed car to CarMax in most cases. CarMax will handle paying off the loan on your car and should pay you the difference. If you have negative equity on your car, you’ll have to make up the difference in a cash sale or apply it as negative trade-in value toward a new car.

Will CarMax buy my car?

CarMax will typically purchase most working cars, SUVs, minivans, trucks, and crossovers. Note that you won’t be able to sell a scrap car to CarMax.

In order to help people make informed decisions about where and how to sell their cars, our expert review team is committed to providing precise, accurate, and objective information. For our research, we evaluated each company on the same criteria across the following categories:

  • Cost: Our team conducted a secret shopper study to assess the offering prices of each provider. We also considered any fees or additional costs charged by companies during transactions.
  • Platform: We evaluated each provider’s online platform, rating them based on ease of use, speed, and available options. 
  • Transaction support: Because there are many other steps involved in selling a car online beyond simply listing it and accepting an offer, our team evaluated companies based on their support for transactions, such as whether they require a seller to travel for an in-person evaluation, if they manage loan payoffs, and more.
  • Customer experience: We scoured online reviews on websites such as the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and Trustpilot in order to gauge the opinions and experiences of real customers. Our team used proprietary metrics to normalize ratings across the industry in order to assess customer sentiment in context.
  • Industry reputation: To assess their standing within the auto sales industry, we considered each company’s rating with the BBB along with its years of service. We evaluated these factors using proprietary metrics to get a more accurate representation of specific company reputations compared to industry norms.