The Breakdown on CarMax: Is It a Good Deal?

Jane Lu
Nov 29, 2021 · 3 min read
CarMax is a used car dealer that aims to be different from a traditional dealership. While dealerships are still the dominant force in car buying, new ways of purchasing cars, such as Carvana, are becoming more common. What sets CarMax apart from other methods of buying a car?
According to, CarMax offers a level of convenience not seen in other car retailers. However, along with the increased options from CarMax, there are drawbacks, particularly in terms of cost.
View of taillight on a white BMW parked in a showroom
CarMax makes it convenient to shop for cars online, but it does have some drawbacks.

Pros to CarMax

One of the most notable positives to the CarMax experience is that it offers a wider range of vehicles. At traditional dealerships, you can only test drive and buy vehicles that are on their lot, but this isn't true at CarMax. With CarMax, customers can browse cars online and have vehicles transported from other CarMax locations.
Some car buying platforms like Vroom, lack physical locations and test drive options. With CarMax, customers can get the convenience of online shopping with the benefits that come from a physical location. According to ConsumerGuide, CarMax customers can test drive a vehicle for a full 24 hours to truly get a feel for it.
CarMax's inspection policy is another appeal to their service. All vehicles sold by CarMax go through a thorough inspection and are guaranteed to not be flood-damaged or designated for salvage. Used cars purchased through CarMax are expected to look, feel, and smell new.

Cons to CarMax

While the flexibility and convenience of CarMax stand out as positives, there are also downsides to the retailer. Most of the cons to CarMax are related to the costs that come with the service. For example, if you want to have a car transported in from another location, you might have to pay a non-refundable fee.
Unlike with other dealerships, customers at CarMax cannot haggle for lower prices. You’ll have a lot of vehicles to pick from, but the price tags are firm.
CarMax makes it easy to sell your old vehicle, but they won’t pay market value for a trade-in car. This speaks to the overall theme with CarMax, which is that you will pay a bit more for the convenience that they offer.

Is CarMax a good service?

In an age with online dealerships, traditional dealers, and other car buying options, CarMax stands out with its online convenience and physical locations. If you are shopping for a used car, CarMax can be the right service for you. CarMax promises that vehicles pass quality inspections and allows customers to test drive.
Even downsides to CarMax could be seen as positives for the right customer. While the inability to haggle for lower prices for a car could be a negative, it could also make buying a car less stressful. It all depends on what you want when shopping for a car. 
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