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CarMax Reviews

Our review team rated CarMax 4.3 out of 5.0 stars for its simple car selling process and great offers for used vehicles.
01/04/2024 09:52 AM

CarMax buys used cars from 243 locations across the country, and its online instant offer form makes it easy to know what you’d get for your car. But is it a good idea to sell your car to CarMax? We’ve reviewed the best places to sell a car and ranked CarMax among our top five picks. 

In this article, we’ll explain CarMax’s process and go over some example offers we received. One of our review team members sold a vehicle through CarMax and offers their perspective on the customer experience here.

Our CarMax Review: 4.3 Stars

We rate CarMax 4.3 out of 5.0 stars overall and rank it among our top five picks for selling your car. CarMax provides good offers compared to Kelley Blue Book (KBB) trade-in valuations and has a fast experience once you’re at the appointment. CarMax can buy your car if you own the title or have a loan. It can also buy out some leased vehicles. The downside is that you need to visit CarMax in person to sell your car.

CarMax Quick Facts

Founded: 1993

Locations: 243

Headquarters: Richmond, Virginia

Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating: A+

Selling process: Get an instant offer online, finalize sale at CarMax location

Private sale option: No

Trade-in option: Yes

CarMax Pros And Cons

Pros Offers above trade-in value for vehicles on average Instant online offer calculator 243 locations nationwide Hassle-free, haggle-free appraisal offer
Cons Requires a trip to a CarMax location Some negative reviews of selling process 1.2-star rating from customer reviews on the BBB

How To Sell Your Car To CarMax

Selling your car to CarMax is easy. To start, you can get an instant offer from to see if your car is worth taking in. You’ll then visit a CarMax store to have it inspected and finalize the deal. Let’s go over how to sell your car with CarMax.

Get An Offer

The CarMax experience starts with getting an offer. You can do this in person or online with its instant offer calculator. Most cars are eligible for instant offers online, but CarMax may ask to see your car in person if it doesn’t have enough comparable sales data in your area to set a price.

You can start the online offer form with your car’s VIN or license plate number. From there, you’ll give more details, including the trim level, drive type, transmission type, features, and mileage.

Here is a breakdown of the factors that go into determining the value of your vehicle.

Image of a car that shows the standard factors that go into a car's value.

CarMax will also ask you to answer a few questions about its condition:

  • Has the vehicle ever been in an accident?
  • Does the vehicle have any frame damage?
  • Does the vehicle have any flood damage?
  • Has this vehicle been smoked in?
  • Are there any mechanical issues or warning lights displayed on the dashboard?
  • Has the odometer ever been broken or replaced?
  • Are there any panels in need of paint or body work?
  • Any major rust and/or hail damage?
  • Are any interior parts broken or inoperable?
  • Are there any rips, tears, or stains in the interior?
  • Do any tires need to be replaced?
  • How many keys do you have?
  • Does the vehicle have any aftermarket modifications?
  • Are there any other issues with the vehicle?

Once you’ve answered these questions and provided an email address, you’ll be able to view your offer.

Make An Appointment

If you like the offer, you have the opportunity to make an appointment for an inspection and to finalize the sale. The company has 243 car dealership locations across the country, but there are areas without a CarMax around. There aren’t any locations in Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming, for example. A handful of states only have one CarMax dealer, as well.

During the appointment selection process, CarMax will ask if you have a loan or lease. It will tell you what to bring on the final screen once you set your appointment. Below are a few scenarios.

You Own The Car Outright

You must bring:

  • The car title (all titleholders must be present)
  • Valid registration
  • Valid state identification for each person on the title
  • All keys and fobs

You Have A Loan

You’ll need to bring everything above except the title since your lending company holds it. In this case, bring the phone number of your lender and your account number. If you can bring payoff information that is valid through your appointment time, that’s even better.

You Have A Lease

You should contact your leasing company to see if they allow CarMax to make buyouts. Not all leasing companies work with CarMax. Bring your leasing company’s contact information and your account number to the car dealer.

Also, make sure the company is available for buyouts during your appointment time. Someone from the CarMax car dealership will call the company during your appointment to process the buyout. This might not be possible if you made your appointment for 5 p.m., for example.

Finalize The Sale

Lastly, you’ll visit a CarMax location to finalize the sale. This consists of two main parts: inspection and paperwork.


A CarMax employee will do a quick inspection and test drive of your vehicle at the start of your appointment. Our team member who sold their car to CarMax was surprised at how quickly this took–it was about five minutes in total.

Now, there’s a slight chance CarMax can change its online car offer depending on your car’s condition after the inspection. We’ve seen this in a few negative reviews. CarMax reserves the right to change your offer if the condition is different from what you noted online. And if you get your car inspected after the seven-day offer period, CarMax may reappraise your car and give you a different number at that time.


Finally, you’ll sign some paperwork to accept the CarMax offer (if you like it) and sell the car. CarMax pays with a bank draft, which is a type of guaranteed check that has to be deposited into an account and not just cashed.

At this point, CarMax will call your lender or leasing company to send a payoff amount directly to them if you don’t own the vehicle in full. You’ll get a check for the difference if you have positive equity. But with negative equity, you’ll need to pay CarMax the difference or trade your car in and get a bigger loan to cover the difference for the new car purchase.

Step-by-step guide that summarizes the most important points/facts of selling a car

Is CarMax A Good Place To Sell A Car?

Compared to other companies, CarMax provides great offers for used vehicles. Our team got a CarMax offer of $11,400 for a 2017 Kia Sportage with 95,000 miles. This was a few hundred dollars higher than the Kelley Blue Book trade-in value of $11,135, which made it a decent offer. However, some offers we found from other providers were at or below the Kelley Blue Book trade-in value.

Of course, you can still make a bit more money if you sell your car privately. The Kelley Blue Book private-party value was $12,913 for the Kia Sportage, for example. You can sell your car to CarMax in as little as an hour, though, which isn’t possible if you want to list your car for sale privately.

CarMax Sell My Car Customer Reviews

CarMax has an A+ rating on the BBB because it responds to all of its complaints in a timely way. However, it has a 1.2-star rating from customers on the site. Low customer ratings on the BBB are common in the industry, though. CarMax has thousands of customers and just over 350 people have reviewed it on the BBB.

What CarMax Reviews Say

Most reviews are about purchasing a car from CarMax, not selling a car. There are a few accounts of selling experiences, though. In one review, the customer’s original offer wasn’t honored when a CarMax employee found their car didn’t have adaptive cruise control. CarMax lowered the offer at that point. It took a little while for the customer to get a straight answer as to why the offer was lowered, too.

In another case, CarMax mailed the payoff amount to the wrong lienholder by accident. The customer had stopped paying their loan expecting it to be paid off but began to accrue late charges instead. These few negative reviews represent a small fraction of CarMax customers.

Our CarMax Selling Experience

One of our review team members also has personal experience with CarMax. They sold their 2013 Hyundai Sonata to CarMax in 2020. The offer they got at that time was above Kelley Blue Book’s trade-in value for the vehicle. And when they went into the CarMax retailer, they got the full offer value for the Sonata.

Our team member said the process took about an hour at CarMax, including waiting for a previous customer to finish up. CarMax handled all the paperwork after our team member came in with their loan’s payoff amount and account information. In the end, they walked away with a check for their vehicle.

Sell Your Car To CarMax Review: Conclusion

Overall, CarMax is a good value for selling your car. Our team found it tends to offer better-than-average valuations for vehicles and that the vast majority of customers are satisfied. However, it does require you to visit a CarMax location to finalize the deal, which may be a deal-breaker for some.

If your car is older, we recommend checking out Copart to sell your car entirely online.

Best Car Buying Companies

What other car buying companies should be on your list? Our top picks include Copart,, Peddle, and Carvana.

  • Copart: Copart buys older used vehicles and junk cars across the country. You can get an instant offer online in just a few minutes starting with your car’s make and model or its VIN. Copart can pick up your car in as little as a day depending on tow truck availability.
  • is our top pick for car buying sites. You can sell your car directly to from the comfort of your home or you can use its private sale platform to find a buyer.
  • Peddle: Peddle is another company that buys old cars and junk cars from across the country. The company has a 4.6-star rating from reviews on Trustpilot.
  • Carvana: Carvana is also known to give good values for used vehicles according to our research. The company offers online and in-person experiences, so you can have your car picked up at home.
Table that goes over three ways to sell your car, highlighting the benefits and potential issues

CarMax Sell My Car: FAQ

Is CarMax the best place to sell a car?

Based on our team’s research, the best place to sell a car is However, CarMax is also a reputable option to sell your car and is known for providing great value in its used car offers.

Does CarMax pay you right away for your car?

Yes. As soon as you sign the purchase agreement, your CarMax rep will hand you a bank draft check. You can deposit it in your bank as soon as you leave.

If I sell my car to CarMax do I pay taxes?

As with most private sales and transactions, you will have to pay taxes when selling your car to Carmax. You will have to pay a tax on your gains from the sale and report this to your local tax agency and the IRS.

Can I sell my car to CarMax if I still owe money on it?

Yes, you can sell your car if you still owe a balance on it. However, be aware that the offer you receive may not pay for the entirety of your agreement, and you’ll need to cover the difference.

Does CarMax buy damaged vehicles?

Yes, Carmax buys damaged or junk cars. CarMax accepts most types of cars regardless of condition, with the exception of salvage vehicles or cars with flood damage.

What do I need to sell my car to CarMax?

You will need your car’s title or payoff information to begin applying for a quote online from CarMax. After this point, you will be asked for specific information about your vehicle’s condition.

Where can I sell my car for the most money?

Selling your car privately will get you the best price on average. This is because you can ask for the market value of the car. If you sell to a dealer or car buying company, the company will pay you less than market value because it will resell your car for a profit.

Does CarMax negotiate when selling your car?

CarMax provides a no-haggle experience, so you can’t negotiate when selling your car. However, you may find the final offer is lower than the online offer if the CarMax inspection reveals additional issues with your car.

Is Carvana better than CarMax to sell your car?

The main difference between Carvana and CarMax is that Carvana comes to pick your car up. This makes it the more convenient option. CarMax is a better option if you want to trade your car in and test-drive other models in person.

How We Rate Car Selling Platforms

Our review process aims to deliver consistent and unbiased assessments of online platforms to sell your car. While there are multiple qualities that make a car-selling site successful, our review team focuses on those we’ve determined are the most important for consumers:

  • Industry Reputation: We evaluate each platform’s reputation to ensure it’s a reliable place to sell your car. Companies that have been in business for several years and have a strong rating from the BBB score well in this category.
  • Platform: Our team rates each online platform based on how easy it is to use and its available features. Those that provide instant offers and several sales options are more likely to meet customers’ needs.
  • Cost: We performed a secret shopper analysis to see how each provider’s offering prices compared to competitors. Any additional fees companies charge to sell your car also factor into this rating.
  • Transaction Support: The level of support offered by a car-selling platform can make the process much smoother for customers. From free pickup services to sending an in-person inspector to you, companies that offer greater transaction support receive higher scores in this category.
  • Customer Experience: Our team takes a comprehensive look at customer reviews on sites like the BBB and Trustpilot to get a sense of each provider’s customer experience.