CarMax Love Your Car Guarantee: What You Need to Know

January 18, 2021
Written by: Zach Shefska
Categories: Car Buying

CarMax just announced a new program that is the first of its kind: The CarMax Love Your Car Guarantee. We scoured the Internet for every piece of information we could find on this new guarantee to put this post together for you.

In this CarMax Love Your Car Guarantee review, we’re going to break down exactly what’s in the program. Next, we’ll take it a bit further and compare this new program to their competitors. Lastly, we’ll discuss how you can negotiate with CarMax to get the best price for your car.

Get in…let’s go!

What is the CarMax Love Your Car Guarantee Program?

CarMax is the country’s largest retailer of used cars. They changed the game by being one of the first companies to introduce a “no haggle” experience when buying and selling used cars.

Now, the CarMax Love Your Car Guarantee program is set to bring about another change in the world of used cars. This recently announced program has two distinct features that consumers are going to love:

  • 24-hour test drives
  • 30-day money-back guarantee (under 1,500 miles)

Both of these features are game-changers. Nobody else is offering anything close to these right now. It make buying a car from CarMax more tempting than ever before (someone at CarMax did their consumer research well).

Love Your Car Guarantee

The 24-hour test drive allows prospective car buyers to take a vehicle home, see if it fits into their garage, see how their child’s car seat fits, and get a general feel for the car before deciding if it’s right for them.

The 30-day money-back guarantee, offered as long as the car has 1,500 miles or less driven, provides peace of mind for weary car buyers. If you notice something that you didn’t catch during the 24-hour test drive or you simply change your mind, you can return it within 30 days to the same CarMax location. As far as this CarMax Love Your Car Guarantee review is concerned, this is revolutionary.

CarMax has had a money-back guarantee for years, but it’s only been for a period of seven days. Increasing the number to 30 days is a confidence inspiring move. It shows that they believe you’ll love the car you choose, and even if you don’t it’s not the end of the world.

These features come together to create an entirely different used car buying experience. We’re excited to see how the rest of the used car companies react to the CarMax Love Your Car Guarantee. We’re looking at you Carvana, Vroom, and Shift.

CarMax Love Your Car Guarantee Program vs. Their Competitors

This CarMax Love Your Car Guarantee review wouldn’t be complete without comparing the program to their competitors.

Some automakers, including Cadillac and Buick, have 24-hour test drives available for their new vehicles. However, nobody else in the used car world is offering a 24-hour test drive. CarMax stands alone in letting customers take the vehicle home and try it on for size.

However, CarMax isn’t the only one in town offering a money-back guarantee. Here’s a snapshot of key competitor’s offerings:

  • Carvana:  7 days, up to 400 miles driven, with a $1 fee per mile after that
  • Vroom:  7 days and up to 250 miles driven
  • Shift:  7 days and up to 200 miles driven
  • AutoNation:  5 days and up to 250 miles driven

As you can see, seven days has been the standard for years. As these app-based used car companies have popped up, they’ve mimicked CarMax’s offering. Now, CarMax has pulled ahead substantially.

We’re excited to see how these newer competitors react to the new CarMax Love Your Car Guarantee program. Will they copy it? Or maybe even surpass it? Only time will tell.

How Do I Negotiate with CarMax?

CarMax and all of their competitors promise a “no haggle” car buying process. While this might seem like a relaxing way to buy a vehicle, it can often work against you. We’ve previously talked in-depth about how you can still negotiate with “negotiation-free” car dealers, but it’s worth covering the main points in this CarMax Love Your Car Guarantee review.

There are three things that you can still negotiate with every “no haggle” used car dealer:

Interest Rate

The dealership might approve you for a lower interest rate than what they actually offer you, and then pocket the difference if you agree. Negotiate with them to lower your interest rate; they don’t want to lose a car sale over the interest rate.

Extended Warranty and Other Add-Ons

Did you know that you don’t have to buy an extended warranty when you purchase your car? This is also true for GAP insurance, tire and wheel protection, and anything else they offer you. You can buy them all from a third-party down the road and potentially save money. It might be better to decline their offers and just shop around later, but if you want to buy these extras from the dealership, make sure that you negotiate. The cost of all of these warranties is inflated to provide the dealership with a profit.

The Sale of Your Vehicle

If you’re trading a vehicle in, negotiate how much they’ll give you for it. CarMax and other used car giants are always in need of fresh inventory…they want your car. They’d rather buy a car from you than a dealer auction where they don’t really know what they’re going to get. Let them know how much you can get from a private party and use that to drive up your trade-in value.

Keep these three areas in mind if you decide to do business with any of these used car giants that promise a “no haggle” process. You should never simply accept a number they give you…negotiate!

Love Your Car Guarantee: What Else Should I Know?

While we’re excited about the new CarMax Love Your Car Guarantee program, you should do your due diligence and read through the fine print for both the 24-hour test drive and the 30-day money-back guarantee. CarMax has not made sample contracts or agreements available online for their new program.

If everything is as good as it seems, this new CarMax program could shake up the world of used cars. We wouldn’t be surprised if Carvana and other competitors start coming out with new policies to try to keep up.

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4 Comments

  1. Robert Lacks

    I recently purchased a luxury sedan from Carmax in Florida. Overall, it was an excellent experience but there are a few things to be aware of when buying from Carmax. At the time of my purchase, you had to test drive the car without a sales person so you could not get much help in knowing how to use all the fancy features that a regular dealer could help with. They also do not provide you with a CarFax report. As a result, the car I bought, while in great condition, being a 3.5 year old car, had a weak battery, which I did not know about because no maintenance history was provided. Cost at my local mechanic after the purchase was $600 in total. Finally, the interest rate on the car loan that they offered was way too high. I got a loan from Bank of America that was more than 3 percentage points lower than the rate quoted at Carmax.

    Reply
  2. george braue

    Will Carmax refund/return the sales tax and other required fees that I paid for the car, if I return the car within 30 days?

    If so, will I have to wait for Carmax to successfully navigate California’s sales tax refund bureaucracy to get my money, or will they just return the tax money that I paid and that they have held and not yet paid to the State?

    If my money is tied up for an additional month or two to get the refund, that will be big.

    Reply
  3. Jeau Bleau

    @george – you will get the full refund, including sales tax you paid, by check, in the mail, in a week or two.

    Reply
  4. John C

    If you had a trade-in and decided you didn’t like the car you bought and return it with in the 30 days can you get your trade in back?
    Do you get the DMV fees back?
    Does Carmax charge a drop off fee?

    Reply

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  1. 2021 Chip Shortage, Car Prices Increase - YAA - […] vehicle that you are looking to sell we strongly recommend you get a quote from Carvana, Vroom, and CarMax.…

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