CarMax’s MaxCare Extended Service Plan Dissected and Other First-Hand Account CarMax Car-Buying Experiences

About a month or so ago, I went along with my girlfriend to help her purchase a car at our local CarMax.

While I could probably spend an entire post talking about the reasons for and against choosing CarMax to purchase a used car, overall, I have to say that the buying experience at CarMax was a rather positive one.

In particular, my girlfriend liked the ‘no-haggle’ pricing structure they have going on there and the fact that their cars are high-quality/not going to be ‘lemons.’ Perhaps the only drawback to buying a car from CarMax is that it is very difficult to find cars below $10,000 there. This is due in part to the fact that their cars are high quality, but in my opinion, also to the fact that because of their dependable reputation, CarMax knows people are going to be willing to pay a slight premium for cars purchased there.

Apart from the CarMax buying experience being overall very positive, there were two things that were mildly “pushed” on us to buy that I thought would be interesting to share with you all (described below):

  • A 9.0% APR interest rate car loan.
  • CarMax’s MaxCare Extended Service Plan for only $1,000.

CarMax’s Attempt to Push Car Loan Financing On Us

Because of some prior research I had done on the subject of car buying, I knew that while NEW car dealers were offering very low-interest rate loans in order to sell NEW cars, USED car dealers made a significant amount of money off of selling loans/financing options for used cars.

And, it turned out that the situation with CarMax was no different. My girlfriend was able to secure a loan from Bank of America for a pretty good rate of ~3.8% APR, while CarMax was willing to give her the same loan but at a 9% APR interest rate. Talk about some good mark up here! As you can imagine (since my girlfriend and I are still going out and have not broken up – haha), she ultimately chose the lower interest rate loan from Bank of America.

However, the strategy that the car salesman tried to entice us in to going with the CarMax in-house financing was rather interesting. What had happened was that the letter guaranteeing the loan from Bank of America needed to be confirmed over the phone by CarMax, but they were unable to make the call since the bank was closed for the weekend (and we needed to wait until Monday). When CarMax heard about this, they gave us an OFFER. They wanted us to walk out of the dealership with the car that night by simply using CarMax’s financing. Since CarMax is apparently nothing but our friend, they even were going to give us the option of coming back within 1 week and canceling the loan (if we decided to go with the Bank of America loan) with no fees or interest involved.

To us, this sounded like a whole lot of complication in exchange for simply getting the car 1.5 days earlier. So, we ultimately decided to simply stick with the Bank of America financing and wait until the bank opened on Monday to go back to finish the car purchase.

However, I was quite fascinated with CarMax’s willingness to swap us in and out of their financing with no fees or interest. It made me wonder if 1) are they just being nice? or 2) do they know from experience that X% of people that walk out with their financing won’t take the trouble to come back and change back to financing that they had secured from the bank?


CarMax’s Attempt to Push the MaxCare Extended Service Plan On Us

So, even though it took me a couple hundred words to explain what transpired with our refusal to take the CarMax in-house financing option for my girlfriend’s used car purchase, it really wasn’t too big of an issue at all. We simply said, “no,” to the nice salesman, and moved on with the paper(/electronic)work.

However, the CarMax MaxCare Extended Service Plan was pressured on us slightly more aggressively.

As a general rule of thumb, I operate on the belief that insurance and extended service add-ons to purchases (large or small) are generally NOT worth the money and are a better deal for the people selling the plan to you than for you the buyer. So, my girlfriend and I had done our homework on this MaxCare Extended Service Plan pumped by CarMax, and we were convinced that it was unnecessary.

Because we had done our homework about the extended service plan, we figured that when we sat down with the salesman at CarMax, it would be fairly simple to ‘just say no.’ Alas, this was not the case. During my girlfriend’s various initial talks with the salesman and subsequent discussions while we were finalizing the paperwork, I would say that the CarMax Extended Service Plan was mentioned no less than 5 times. By the end of it, I felt like we were almost made to seem like we would be IDIOTS for not taking the plan and that ALMOST EVERYONE who buys a car from CarMax gets the service plan. The salesman even threw in a story about one of his friends that is happily using the extended service plan when his car broke down! It was a nice touch! Was it true? Maybe.

When we finally got to the last screen where he could sign us up for the extended service plan and we still said ‘no,’ he actually asked us WHY we didn’t want to take advantage of such a great deal. In reply, I simply said, “NAME OF SALESMAN, let’s just proceed with the sale of the car,” because I didn’t want to give him the chance to bring up some doubts, regardless of how good his intentions were. And, he respectfully followed our wishes. So, overall, despite knowing that the MaxCare Extended Service Plan was not necessary for us, my girlfriend and I still felt very pressured in to buying it, and she felt rather guilty for not doing so at the end of the episode.

Now, this is not to say that CarMax is evil by any means. As I mentioned above, the overall result was quite positive, and I know it’s just part of the game of buying a car. But, it was interesting since I had never gone through the used car-buying process before.


Details of the MaxCare Extended Service Plan from CarMax

During the car buying process at CarMax, the Extended Service plan emerges as a very appealing option. On one hand, the initial cost of the plan is tacked on to the amount you are financing, making it so that you don’t necessarily consider the full cost since you will be paying it off over time. Second, many people coming to CarMax are looking for relief from an unreliable car that they had to make a lot of costly repairs on, so the Extended Service Plan very much catches their eye.

Especially in these slightly elevated pressure buying situations, it’s particularly good to know the facts about what you’re buying in to. So, I wanted to spend a little bit of time in this post discussing what exactly the CarMax MaxCare Extended Service Plan entails, and what it does not!

How Much Does the MaxCare Extended Service Plan Cost? 

At a high level, the CarMax Extended Service Plan is a smaller, specialized insurance policy in a car service plan wrapper. The costs of the service plan are summarized below:

  • You pay $1,000 at the time of purchase of the plan/your new car.
  • Then, each time you need to bring in your car for a repair, you pay a pre-selected deductible, ranging from $100-$500 per visit.
However, the thing that surprised me was that the specific details about the price of the plan and what is and is not covered is somewhat difficult to discern, especially during the car buying process where decisions are being made very quickly.

How the MaxCare Extended Service Plan is Presented and What is and is Not Covered by the Plan

Essentially, what happens is that you are handed over this wonderfully crafted brochure “describing” all of the details of the plan. But, instead of this brochure listing the specific details that I expected such as price of the plan and different deductible levels, etc, it basically seems to be designed to overwhelm the car buyer in to thinking that it covers EVERY POSSIBLE REPAIR THAT COULD EVER HAPPEN WITH THE CAR. This is done by listing out about a thousand or more parts of a car that are covered by the plan, as shown in the picture below:

The catch is that if you read through the listing of parts covered by the plan and then compare it to the back side of the brochure where the plan exclusions are shown, it quickly becomes clear that 90% of the repairs that you will most likely incur on a reliable used car are NOT covered by the service plan (i.e. – they are all listed in the exclusions section).

I’ve highlighted several things not covered by the service plan below:

  • Regular maintenance services described in your car’s manufacturer manual. This includes major 30k and 60k mile services and other major component replacements described in your owner’s manual.
  • Engine spark plugs and ignition wires.
  • Batteries, air conditioner refrigerant, engine coolant, drive belts.
  • Brake pads and shoes.
  • Suspension work, tires, wheels, catalytic converter, manual transmission work.
  • Painting, bumpers, alignment of body parts.
  • Repairs made to meet government emission standards.

I don’t know about you all, but looking at the list above on what is EXCLUDED from the plan pretty much encompasses every single costly repair I’ve ever had on my 2004 Honda Accord in the 8 years I have driven the vehicle.

You can view complete details about what is covered by the plan by clicking here and what is NOT covered in the plan by clicking here.


Because of the large amount of exclusions from the MaxCare Extended Warranty Plan, we ultimately decided that it was not the best move for us. And, by sticking to our guns, we were able to resist the pressure from CarMax to buy the service plan and their higher-interest rate in-house financing. And in the end, my girlfriend walked out of CarMax an altogether satisfied customer and is happy in her new, dependable car.

How about you all? Have you ever purchased a used car? If so, did you ever consider CarMax? 

Did CarMax or the other used car dealer try to pressure you in to obtaining their financing options or their extended warranty/service plans? Do you think these extended service plans are a good deal?

Share your experiences by commenting below!

***Photo courtesy of

About the Author Jacob A Irwin

Hi folks! My name is Jacob. I am the owner and operator of My Personal Finance Journey. I started this blog in January of 2010 and have enjoyed the journey ever since. Since finishing up graduate school in Virginia in 2014, I have been working in biopharmaceutical development in Colorado. You can read more about me and this site here​. Please contact me if you have any questions!

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Leave a Comment:

Lance@MoneyLife&More says May 22, 2012

As far as the financing a lot of people probably have intentions of cancelling the loan but get busy and forget or are just plain lazy and never end up cancelling it so CarMax makes bank. I also agree that the extended warranty offered with products normally aren't worth it and you can bet if they are pushing it that they make some serious money on it. Good job for sticking to your guns!
My recent post Business Mileage Reimbursement – Do You Really Make Money?

    MyPerFinJourney says June 4, 2012

    Thanks Lance! I hear ya on the loan! I bet that a lot of people are just like, “meh, I got the car, who cares about several % difference on the loan interest?”
    My recent post Saving Money on Your Health Insurance

    Sparky says December 24, 2013

    I agree with the above article. I am one who always refused extended warranties. However there are certain situations where the warranty would be a good move. For example, I purchased a 2010 diesel VW with intentions of driver it into the ground 200,00 plus miles. I was under the impression diesel engines last longer especially with excellent maintenance. At 70,000 the care showed signs of imminent problems. There is a well documented problem with the high pressure fuel pump. Long story short….10,000.00 dollar repair! When you are in this situation, an extended warranty on a used car is mighty appealing. Of course any insurance is not necessary if you dont have any MAJOR problems.

      Chris says February 2, 2014

      $10,000 repair – I’m calling bullshit. An even if some dirty mechanic or dealer did quote you this price he was lying.

      1. Did you get a second quote for the repair?
      2. Did you talk to someone you know with mechanical experience?
      3. Did you tell the person who told you $10,000 he should stop smoking crack?

        dustinwheeler says February 15, 2017

        Those initially did cost up to that amount. Trust me, I was an advisor who sold the job. It was later reduced in price since parts were determined to not be needed in the repair. I think it was even covered under Goodwill for most cars. It was a faulty high pressure fuel pump that came apart.

Brilliant Finances says May 23, 2012

I don't like extended warranty plans at all because they usually exclude everything unless it's a result of a defective part, which you should be covered by a implied warranty of merchantability anyway. That's why I never buy a warranty!
My recent post Where to Put Money

    MyPerFinJourney says June 4, 2012

    Good call Brilliant Finances. That was definitely the case when I checked in to the MaxCare ext. service plan!
    My recent post Saving Money on Your Health Insurance

Nunzio Bruno says May 23, 2012

I think my favorite part of this post was that you did your homework. Nice work! You were able to save yourself from a product that didn't fit your needs and you were able to save on having to pay more interest. It's important that we all remember that we are the customers sometimes – we make the decisions to buy, not the sales people.
My recent post Small Business Week!

    MyPerFinJourney says June 4, 2012

    Thanks for reading Nunzio!
    My recent post Saving Money on Your Health Insurance

Car Coach says May 23, 2012

CarMax is definitely one of the better used car dealerships and has some good things going for it….and a few to look out for like the warranty and high interest rates (as you mention).

I really like their written guaranteed appraisals on trade-ins (regardless of whether you buy there). I'll actually take that with me to use as leverage to negotiate my trade-in at other dealerships. The only thing to watch out for is that it's only valid for one week….and as I found out the hard way, the second appraisal may not be nearly as generous (it went down a grand for me on my second appraisal, just 2 weeks later when I was ready to sell).
My recent post Memorial Day 2012 Car Deals

    MyPerFinJourney says June 4, 2012

    Thanks for sharing Geoff! I agree. CarMax is definitely got some good things going for them. They seem to be a little more “trustworthy” than a lot of slippery used care dealers out there.

    But yeah, I plan to sell my current car this summer, and I'll probably take it to CarMax as the first step in getting an appraisal price.
    My recent post Saving Money on Your Health Insurance

pandabird says June 4, 2012

Great post. I'm going to share this with my boyfriend. We're going into Carmax today to test drive a car that I've requested and will possibly buy if I like. I've done my research and already decided that I don't want Maxcare. There's just way too many negative reviews and like you've said, it doesn't cover the repairs that you'll probably need. Anyways, I'll make sure to keep my ears plugged when they try to sell it to me.

    MyPerFinJourney says June 4, 2012

    Glad you like the post Pandabird! Good luck today at Carmax. I'm glad you did your homework about the Maxcare. It'll take a lot of the pressure away that you'll most likely get to buying it.
    My recent post Long Term Life Insurance

chandler says August 22, 2012

I am going into Carmax today to buy a car, and yesterday when I met with a salesperson she did make the maxcar option seem very reasonable. I had her run the monthly payment calculations without the maxcare option as well, and she was visibly annoyed about me doing that, assuming I would of course take the maxcare option. It seemed fishy to me, and I'm glad I read this before going back. I'm certainly going to decline the maxcare now. Thanks for the great detailed post!

    MyPerFinJourney says October 22, 2012

    Glad you liked the post Chandler! How'd the buying process go after you went back in? Did you end up refusing the MaxCare in the end?
    My recent post The Pros and Cons of a Down Payment Assistance Program

@askjudihays says September 14, 2012

great post and glad I read it before picking up my “new” used car tomorrow. I was impressed that Carmax offered me $2k more than the dealer for trading my car. And since i purchased a car from them, I saved an additional $850 in sales tax. I was undecided about the extended warranty and after reading this, I too will opt out but I will wait until the end of the process so I don't get sideswiped with the sales pitch.

    MyPerFinJourney says October 22, 2012

    Glad the post helped out askjudihays!
    My recent post The Pros and Cons of a Down Payment Assistance Program

Bryan C. says November 5, 2012

I'm buying a car now through CarMax. I also happen to be an ex-employee of CarMax. I ordered a car over the phone from the Internet department as a result of now living a little over 2 hours away from the nearest store. These “fine” folks included the MaxCare in the loan and excitedly told me about it once the loan was approved. I managed an 8% interest rate to boot. I'm keeping the financing, but I am not taking the MaxCare. Why?

Because I'm an ex-employee and I know what it is like to sell a worthless piece of paper to a customer. MaxCare is indeed useless, primarily due to the Exclusions. Most responsible buyers will purchase a low mileage used vehicle that still has a factory warranty attached, like the Kia I am picking up on 11/5/2012. I have 29k miles of the warranty left, which covers the car for two years. Since that warranty already covers the major components of the car, why would I elect to have an additional warranty that does the same thing?

You hit the nail on the head in this blog post. I found it difficult to sell a customer on MaxCare. In truth, I told customers about it and then I proceeded to tell them that they don't need it. I had better luck selling key-less entry, stereos, DVD systems, etc. to customers than trying to push a silly $1000 piece of paper on them. Did it hurt my income? Probably, but I felt better knowing the customers weren't totally throwing money away. Before I was an employee of CarMax, I was a customer. I know what it is like to be on both sides of the “table”. Every car I bought from CarMax, 10 of them to be exact, has been great. I've had my fair share of new cars too, but the CarMax process is always pleasant. For used cars, they are my number one recommendation — just don't buy anything else, trust me.

    MyPerFinJourney says February 4, 2013

    Wow! Thanks so much for sharing Bryan. It's great to hear your experiences from the perspective of an ex employee.

    I'm curious – how much of a commission did you get for each MaxCare program you sold?
    My recent post You Don't Know What You Don't Know – A First-Hand Account of the State of Personal Finance Education

      Bryan C. says February 4, 2013

      When I was working for CarMax, it was $150 per car sold and an extra $100 for each MaxCare sold. Anything additional, like the add-ons I mentioned, had no incentive. When I bought the Kia back in October, I asked my salesperson what they were paying out now for car sales and it had gone up to $160. I worked for CarMax in 2004, and in 8 years, the payout only went up $10! I did not inquire as to what the incentive payout was for the MaxCare.

      Please don't take anything I've said the wrong way. CarMax is a great company with great vehicles. Honesty goes a very long way in my book, and you'll always find honesty with the cars at CarMax. But like everything else in this world, it is the “extras” that will hurt you. In two years or so, when my manufacturer's warranty runs out, I might be kicking myself. But in two years, I can always get another vehicle and I won't be kicking myself for being upside down in my loan because of a $1200 add-on.

        Bryan L says September 20, 2015

        yeah but what if you want to keep that vehicle and the tranny goes out? Im a fan of extended warranty as long as they cover tranny, AC .. major mechanical things.. I know if you don’t buy a warranty they will break.. if you do then the things don’t break.. luck of life

    dewbs says February 19, 2013

    Great info. But, what about a scenario where you want to buy a 2005-6 vehicle with a good overall reliability rating with about 50k miles on it? Since the vehicle is no longer under factory warranty do you think an extended warranty to 100k miles would be worth it at Car Max? Thanks.

    Carin says July 18, 2013

    I bought a 2007 VW Passat from CarMax in Henderson, Nevada. Their 5 day return policy is complete BS. This car had problems from Day 1. I tried to return it after they put it in the shop for 4 days and then on the 6th day when they finally got it back to me the 5 day return was over. Nice. They wouldn’t even afford me the opportunities they give customers who don’t put 5k down on a car. They refused to bring in another car from even across town, said I had to choose something THAT DAY ON THAT LOT. There was nothing in my price range or with equal to lower miles. Ridiculous. The warranty has worked well, but this car is a freaking LEMON that has been in and out of service at least 9 times with major recalls and engine trouble. I am so scared when this warranty expires. NEVER GO TO CARMAX. They will sell you a bunch of BS and a lemon to boot.

      Jacob A Irwin says July 28, 2013

      Sorry to hear about that experience you had Carin. I think that might be a bit of an anomaly though. Most of the other Carmax experiences I’ve heard about have been pretty up-front for the most part.

      Trevor says October 12, 2013

      Duh…Five days means 5 days. And Extended W.s I found that if you get the Maxcare with a low deductible it could easily be worth it. They want you to buy the $300 deductible plan. So let us say your window motor goes out and cost $275 to replace. With the $300 deductible you won’t recoup your investment in a warranty. But if youre on the $100 warranty deductible plan then your are winning!

        Jess says December 12, 2013

        I agree, I am going to get the warranty at the 50 or 100 dollar deductible. the factory warranty will expire in 6k miles. I am want the peace of mind that if my trans goes out I only pay $50.

        Bobbi says March 28, 2016

        Well actually, she could have “stopped the clock” like I did., the repair time wasn’t included and she still had time to decide. But, I’m sure that information wasn’t volunteered. I got it in writing. Or they could have taken the car back that day and lost a sale. And I had them take the car to Acura. I wanted absolute certainly from an objective party.

      eric says December 18, 2013

      You should have reached out to Carmax corporate with your issue. I would suggest giving them a call. The 5 day policy is a hard policy that says 5 days, regardless, not unless you get it in writing. I purchased my vehicle, took it to the BMW dealer for a complete inspection, they found $3k in work needed…they played the back and forth game up until the last minute on the 5th day. It came down to give me my money back, or do the repairs, they signed off on the repairs. It’s a game, and you must have a plan going into the game. Make note of the exact time when of your purchase, when I say last minute, I mean last minute!!

        Bobbi says March 28, 2016

        Exactly! Same thing I did. ..with my Acura.

    eric says December 18, 2013

    I just recently had over $7000 in warranty work done on my car, which included a new turbo (’08 BMW 335XI). Paid my $200 deductible (MaxCare), and I’m good to go. I always have my work done at Perillo BMW. This is my 3rd BMW, 2nd from Carmax, and 2nd with MaxCare…flawless!!!

    I sold my last BMW, and transferred the warranty with the vehicle. Huge bonus when it comes time to sell.

      Lani says November 3, 2014

      Great response. Thanks for sharing. I have purchased two BMW from CarMax plus the MaxCare. Never had any problems, but thanks for sharing your experience.

Jonathan says January 11, 2013

I am a CM customer. I am paying on a 03 Honda Odyssey. I have the MaxCare coverage also.
My Transmission is failing, and I am about to take it up to Car-Max to see about getting it repaired.

The AT with labor exceeds the cost of the warranty, so that's good. I will have to pay a deductible..

You can never expect a warranty to pay for regular maintenance items like oil changes, tune up items, belts, etc.. that is up to the the owner… but what if you have a engine problem, transmission problem.. or anything drive-train related.. I believe this is when the Max Care warranty benefits.

    MyPerFinJourney says February 4, 2013

    Thanks for sharing Jonathan! Sorry to hear your transmission is failing. When something big like that breaks, sure, it is definitely worth it to have the coverage.

    However, how often does it happen probably on CarMax cars since they are in very good shape? By the numbers, most people will likely never use their CarMax MaxCare coverage in my opinion.
    My recent post You Don't Know What You Don't Know – A First-Hand Account of the State of Personal Finance Education

      Will Stanley says July 12, 2014

      To be fair. Insurance is not purchased so you can use it. It is a gamble or a wager between you and the coverage company saying you are betting you will need it and they are betting you will not. Same as health coverage, do we dicline that, those of us that want to be finacial secure don’t. If I buy a $25.00 fan at walmart and they offer an extended warranty on it, I buy it. I buy all that are offered if they are with a reputible company. Over the years, I would have to say, they have paid off. Idea…. you can do like I did once, I bought a 4 year old car from a used car lot with 70k on it and went to the new car dealer and purchased my extended warranty. They were all to happy to do it, and it was negotiable.

        JasonB says July 13, 2014

        Well said, Will.

      okstfan75 says June 16, 2017

      with all due respect myperfinjourney, i would rather take that chance and get the warranty. yes they probably are in good shape, but… just never know. i just purchased a car from carmax and yes i took the warranty….with a $50 deductible. it is a gamble—-hell, buying any car is a gamble period—but i’ll take my chances with it

    dewbs says February 19, 2013

    Thanks for the info. Im wondering about the legitimacy of Max Care since Im looking into buying a late model (2006) with about 50k miles. If the AT was repaired could you share how the experience was with getting Max Care to take care of the problem.

    mark says July 14, 2013

    i agree , I bought a used BMW from Carmax and got the Maxcare. In the five years I have had it ,Maxcare has taken care of well over +4K worth of repairs on the car. It has payed for itself numerous times.

      Juan in ChiTown says October 2, 2013


      Did you have problems getting MaxCare to pay for repairs on the BMW? Did you have the repairs done at CarMax or the Dealer?

      I’m looking at buying a X5 later this year.

    heather says September 19, 2014

    ^^^^Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!
    If a consumer can find and “all inclusive” warranty on a car, new or used, GET IT! I have heard of new leases (Buick?) that does this, but not used…
    My “deductible” with MaxCare is Zero @ Carmax or $50 if I wanted to take it to Honda. So you know that A/C issue in my Honda? Fixed, no charge to me.

    As for higher end cars that maybe more difficult to fix? BMW? Carmax service department takes it over to your local BMW shop and has it repaired, AT NO EXTRA CHARGE TO THE CUSTOMER!!!!!

    Did we mention the Rental Car part of MaxCare? A car in a shop for a day or two, most people can manage that. Replacing a turbo? Replacing a full motor in a Mazda CX-7? Ha! good luck!
    MaxCare will either reimburse you for your rental car, up to a certain amount, or most Car Max service centers have an vendors account set up with your local rental place, no out of pocket cost to you (as long as it is an approved covered repair) And in those RARE cases the car is being a pain, Car Max may even offer a loaner car to make your life a little simpler (depends on the situation).

    If you have great credit your interest rate on a car 4 years or newer, with around 30k miles will be in the 3-6% range.
    The less “great” credit score, more years and miles on a car, you will get a higher interest rate. Period. (unless using your own financial institution or better yet a Credit Union)

    The best way to buy a used car? From your parents that took great care of their car, with all the service records. But guess what, with each year and miles added and ignoring the “funny noise” in the front right, the more the car will nickle and dime you.

Joe kondrath says January 22, 2013

I think CarMax was a great buying experience. I never was pressured at all. As far as MaxCare, it fixes the really, really high cost repairs such as transmissions, engines, air conditioners etc. Oil changes, spark plugs, brake linings, 30K, 60K maintenance are part of the owner's responsibliity. No one will warranty normal ware and tare, and I don't have a problem with that. It's sort of the cost of driving a car that everyone has.

    MyPerFinJourney says February 4, 2013

    Thanks for sharing Joe!
    My recent post You Don't Know What You Don't Know – A First-Hand Account of the State of Personal Finance Education

Tim says February 10, 2013

I'm normally not a big fan of extended warranty's either. I purchased a an SUV from Carmax that was 6 years old with 65,000 miles on it. The factory warranty is about to expire and I plan on keeping this vehicle well past 125k miles. In this instance, I did, and I'm glad I did. I am now covered, as long as I maintain it, for 6 years or until it reaches 125k miles. This cost me $1,300, which I spread over the loan. I just feel better knowing that will all the expensive systems including the all-wheel drive system, the engine and the dual heating and a/c systems, that the most I have to shell out is $250.

jinishans says March 27, 2013

I've bought a Acura 2008 MDX just yesterday, 3/26/2013 for $29k with 100k MaxCare for 6yrs costing another $1700, cos. I'm spending around $32k for the vehicle (incl. tax, interest, etc.) and it's already 5yr old model. Today, on 3/27 itself, battery went down, but they replaced with a new one, as I'm within the 30 day full warranty. I took it to Firestone immediately to get it complete inspection, they told it doesn't have any issues, it's a nice one. After reading all these posts, battery got replaced next day, I'm not sure whether to keep the vehicle,cos. I can return and cancel the sale in 5 days to get my money back (3k down payment as well) or just cancel MaxCare alone (after reading all those out of warranty) or to keep the car and MaxCare as Jonathan mentioned, end of my 10th year, I might get issues, as this is a premium model, you never know what breaks down after 10yrs.

BTW, I just did KBB value, it's actually $2k less than dealer value, has no accidents from CarMax report.

pls advice, I still have 3 more days to decide to return the vehicle / just cancel MaxCare to save me $1700 or keep both.

    MyPerFinJourney says March 27, 2013

    Thanks for your comment jinishans!

    Since most of CarMax's cars are very dependable/high quality/not lemons, I think the battery going out was just a fluke. Plus, batteries aren't that costly to get replaced anyhow.

    I would just cancel the maxcare and keep the car.
    My recent post LendingClub vs. Prosper – Which is the Better Option for P2P Lending and Investing?

Alon says April 22, 2013

Extended warranty sold by CarMax is no different than most factory warranty from the manufacturer. Ford or Nissan or whomever usually won't cover oil changes and brake services, unless you bought a car with upgraded maintenance program. I think it's unreasonable to expect a warranty to cover every expense associated with the ownership of a vehicle.

I purchased a Nissan Quest from CarMax in 2011 that was out of factory warranty and added a warranty package to the purchase because I wanted to know that any major engine, transmission, or all the stupid power door / window / liftgate repair that comes along will be covered. Indeed, the exclusion is long, but the exclusion are mostly wear and tear items. Like buying some types of insurance, it's not for everyone, and you might feel ripped off if you car never breaks down, but that's the point of insurance: in case you need it.

I felt our experience at CarMax was also positive, and the finance presentation is similar to the OP's experience. The warranty, on the other hand, was something that I already understood and was happy to purchase. My perspective.

    MyPerFinJourney says April 22, 2013

    Thanks so much for sharing your experience Alon! Glad to hear you had a positive buying experience at CarMax as well. I think that overall (minus the MaxCare), my girlfriend and I's buying experience couldn't have been smoother.

    I think that there is a place for the extended warranty for folks that really feel that they need the protection. However, I think the problem is that the MaxCare warranties are sold to people who do not understand what they do and DO NOT include, and that's where it becomes problematic.
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    Pete says April 24, 2013

    No, you are wrong. MaxCare is nothing like a factory warranty.

    MaxCare is administered by a shady third party whose business is to maximize profit by denying claims, making it as hard as possible to execute a legitimate claim, and covering as little as possible.

    CarMax has no ties MaxCare, other than a kickback for selling an almost completely worthless warranty. They do not back the warranty like a manufacturer does with a factory warranty. The name “MaxCare,” in this regard, is totally misleading.

    Juan in ChiTown says October 2, 2013


    Have you used the MaxCare warranty? Did you have problems with repairs being rejected?

    I’m looking at buying a car later this year and have read different things about the Warranty.

mark says May 15, 2013

Sorry..but I have to disagree on not buying warranties or extended service plans on used cars when available at a reasonable price (and you're getting a good deal on the car) They usually cover the electrical, transmission, engine, and air conditioning up to 5 years or 100K miles (whichever comes first. I can tell you right now that if your transmission goes out, you're looking an 3k…and if the a/c goes out on 100 degree day…good luck. I bought a 2007 Infiniti G35 sedan from Carmax in Dec 2010 and I was against the service plan at first, but bought it anyways because I got a great deal on the car. I never had to use it yet, but, I've never had to worry about some unexpected costly repair. I'm considering buying another extended plan up to 125K because I'm at 95,500 right now and I don't want to get stuck with a 3k transmission bill or other unexpected costly repair down the road.

    MyPerFinJourney says May 15, 2013

    Thanks so much for sharing your experiences Mark!

    As I mentioned above, if someone absolutely needs to the assurance of an extended warranty plan to sleep well at night, then it's probably OK to buy it.

    However, I still don't think that most people need the MaxCare plan, for the very reason you mention. Sure, the MaxCare coverage is a nice thing to have, but most people that buy them will never have to use them (as you mentioned above). Thus, the $1k they paid for the plan was wasted.

    For example, I've had issues with my manual transmission with the clutch needing replacement or with my A/C going out on a hot summer day due to the refrigerant needing replacement. However, neither of these things would have been covered by the MaxCare anyway since they are not “major” enough.

    In my opinion, the better option to protect yourself against these rare breakdowns that would cost $3k would be to have an adequate emergency fund on hand.
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      James says July 25, 2013

      See, the reason those things aren’t actually covered is simply because a clutch is considered maintenance. Something that needs to be maintained. And air conditioning is covered. My question to you would be do you have health insurance? And if you do and don’t use it why do you have it? Simply for the peace of mind.

        Jacob A Irwin says July 28, 2013

        Thanks for your comment James. As far as I understand, replacing the entire A/C unit would be covered (which I have never heard of happening for anyone I know that purchases a car in good condition), but things that are more likely to occur (like needing to replace the coolant for several hundred dollars, etc) not are covered.

        In my opinion, health insurance is an entirely different ball game since people do use it very often.

ouch says May 17, 2013

2 years ago I bought a 2009 Saab 9-7x with 44,000 miles. Saabs are covered for 50,000 miles. I, too, fell for the extended warranty in which I'm looking at right now. The price is $1,350 for 72 months or 75,000 miles registered on the odometer-whichever occurs first. I gather I bought a $1,350 piece of paper for “the peace of mind” for only 25,000 miles!!!!! How bad did I screw myself??

    MyPerFinJourney says May 20, 2013

    Thanks for reading Ouch. So sorry to hear that that happened!

    Did the CarMax representative give any indication about the mileage when you bought the car/plan?
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      Bob says May 26, 2013

      Are you sure its not 75,000 additional miles which would be 111,500 on the odometer (44,000 + 75,000)

Al Mathewson says June 11, 2013

CarMax has bought me a total of 3 transmissions and about 5 other $600 plus repairs over the 5 cars I have bought from them. I am thinking about $10,000 in repairs for $6,000 in Warranties. You do have to be careful. I too bought a warranty on a JAG which had about 1/2 of the Manufactures warranty left on it. . However today I bought a Nissan with 5,000 of it's warranty left, making the additional $2,000 for 120,000 miles look pretty much like a good thing. I am a high mileage driver and will likely run the odometer up to 150,000 over the next 6 years. Each situation is different, do your homework! If I bring the car to Carmax for repairs I pay NOTHING for the repair.. $50 if I go to my choice of there selected service partners (which I have done without any problems in the past). Carmax is looking for repeat business, they are much more up front then any other dealer I have found.

    Jacob A Irwin says June 20, 2013

    Hi Al! Sounds like you definitely are a higher mileage driver. I haven’t looked in to how good of a deal the MaxCare plan would be for someone that would likely wear out a car fairly quickly – was mainly considering normal drivers who do around $1k of driving per month.

Xine Dow says July 5, 2013

We bought the extended warranty and are very happy we did. We did not roll it into the loan but rather paid it out of pocket. There were no costs for repairs (that I can recall) however we had several repairs done on our vehicle that ultimately took us way over the costs of the extended warranty. We believe it was the best purchase we’ve made for buying a used car because the repairs took time, we were also given a rental vehicle. So the only inconvenience was the car needing the repairs.
I would go with the same extended warranty because it gave us serious peace of mind in buying the used car.

    Jacob A Irwin says July 8, 2013

    Thanks so much for sharing your experiences Xine. What specific part of the car broke that you had to use the warranty for?

Jim says July 21, 2013

Thanks for this post and for all the comments. I found this thread because I bought a car from CarMax two days ago, along with a MaxCare plan, and have been wondering about whether the MaxCare plan is worth it. I think I will keep the MaxCare plan, but I think whether it makes sense depends on each specific situation. If anyone wants the whole story on my purchase, you can read to the end. But in summary, but my general points about MaxCare are:

1. It starts at the time you buy the car so, if the odometer reads 20,000 miles and you buy a 100,000 extended warranty, you’re covered to 120,000 miles (or the expiration of the number of months if sooner). (An earlier commenter was concerned abut that.)

2. It “runs concurrent with, and is secondary to, any applicable manufacturer’s warranty.” So if you buy a car that still has, e.g., one year and 10,000 miles left on the manufacturer’s warranty, for the first year or 10,000 miles, the MaxCare warranty is being used up but it will only cover anything not covered by the manufacturer’s warranty. That would definitely affect the value of the MaxCare warranty and would probably be a good reason not to get it.

3. You have to follow the manufacturer’s maintenance requirements and prove that you did. So unless you’re really good at keeping records, it’s probably best to bring it to a dealer for scheduled maintenance and to a dealer (or Firestone or someplace that will keep records in its computer) for oil changes and other repairs.

4. I agree with the people who say that they wouldn’t expect a warranty to cover regular maintenance items. It’s really insurance against big problems.

5. If you get something fixed under MaxCare, you can’t insist on original manufacturer parts. At their option, they can use “new, remanufactured, used or non-original equipment manufacturer parts.” I’m not crazy about that.

6. MaxCare covers “Breakdowns,” which are defined as the failure of a covered part “to perform the function for which it was designed due to defects in materials or workmanship.” Without doing some research, I’m not sure exactly what that excludes but I wonder whether, for example, if a transmission goes after 80,000 miles they would argue that there was no defect in materials or workmanship, it just wore out. That worries me because it’s exactly the type of thing I would want MaxCare to cover.

The longer story: I am an attorney (which I mention only because I know how to read a contract) and have purchased several cars from CarMax over the years. I know going in that (a) I will get less for the car I’m trading in than I would if I sold it myself on craigslist or whatever, and (b) I could probably get a lower price on the car I’m buying if I bought it from a private person or bargained hard with a dealer. I’m willing to do it anyway because I hate negotiating with car dealers, I don’t have the time or expertise to really know whether I’d be getting a good car if I bought it privately, and buying from CarMax is just easier and less aggravating. Also, I usually buy cars that are relatively new, low mileage, used cars and drive them for a long time so by the time I trade them back in, they’re not worth much anyway.

That was the case this time. I traded in a 2005 Toyota Camry that had 155,000+ miles on it. I’ve had Camrys go longer than that but this one had some problems that I didn’t want to pay to fix. The best estimate of its value I could find (given its condition) was around $3,500. CarMax gave me $2,500.

I bought a 2008 Hyundai Sonata with 14,332 miles on it. (That’s not a typo – 14,332!). The CarFax reports showed that it was a single owner car and, since the owner apparently brought it to the dealership for everything including oil changes, I could see that it had been well maintained and had no accidents etc. Consumer Reports rates the 2008 Sonata highly as a used car and says it’s a best buy for under $10,000. I think that’s an underestimate since other sources show a value of $11,000-12,000. I paid $13,998 which, again, reflects that you pay a bit of a premium at CarMax, plus I was willing to pay a premium because of the low mileage and its condition – it looks brand new. But in spite of its low miles, Hyundai’s 5-year or 100,000 mile warranty has expired (except for a few specific components that have longer warranties).

Although it gets generally good reviews, the detailed Consumer Reports review did show only average reliability on some items, including the brake system and, in other model years, the electrical system. So, since I plan to keep the car for a while, I did get MaxCare for 72 months or 100,000 miles, at a cost of $1,299 which was added to the amount financed. (BTW, I got a 2.45% APR 60-month loan from CarMax, which is probably about the same as what I would get anywhere else.) Since I’m not driving long distances these days, I will probably be covered for 6 years, i.e., until the car is 11 years old.

I almost never buy extended warranties but the bottom line with MaxCare is, I think, that it depends on the car you’re buying and how much you value the peace of mind. It’s always possible that you will end up fighting with them over coverage, which happens with all insurance companies, but if you follow the manufacturer’s maintenance requirements and document that, it might make sense to have it in some situations.

    Jacob A Irwin says July 28, 2013

    Thanks for sharing so much detail and adding some robust, life-experiences to this post/thread. Very helpful. I too agree that it depends on the state of the car being purchased

    Juan in ChiTown says October 2, 2013

    Thanks for the info. I’m not a fan of the concurrent warranties.

Michael says July 26, 2013

I dont agree with Brian C. I used to work for Carmax as well and believed in the system through and through long before I was ever employed there. To clear something up, the intention of using Carmax financing even if you have already secured your own is to make sure the vehicle doesn’t get sold while you’re trying to tie loose ends, Carmax doesn’t hold vehicles. We were never encouraged to push financing for carmaxs advantage, it was for the benefit of the cust so to not lose the car. Secondly, many of my customers came back in to swap out to their own financing. I don’t work there any longer so I couldn’t care less about defending the company other than I’m still a customer about to buy my 5th car from them. I’ve purchased Maxcare with every vehicle I’ve bought from them before, during and following my employment. Most of the vehicles were traded in prematurely and I received a prorated refund for the unused portion even after filing several claims. Actually the first Carmax car I ever purchased had a defective sunroof panel, special order part from Japan, took 30 days to get. They had me in a loaner the whole time while my car sat indoors so as to not get wet and i snuck a glimpse of the internal the parts/labor bill, $3500, double what the Maxcare cost me. Two other good Maxcare stories; My assoc sold a land rover to a cust and she insisted on not buying the Maxcare that was her second mistake, her first being buying a land rover to begin with. Within 3 months the entire air suspension system failed, $16k repair. Secondly, I sold a customer a car, she was Maxcare gungho up until signing, she opted not to purchase the plan at the last min, 6 months later the tranny failed. Yes these were both Carmax cars but these future failures could’ve never been discovered even during the 125pt inspection. Thats why Maxcare exists to begin with, that’s why new cars come with warranties, anythings possible from a human creation, new or used, including and especially failure. Maxcare doesn’t cover normal wear and tear/maintenance items, neither do new car warranties after the first 12mo/12k mi. As far as appraisals go, try getting a dealer to honor an appraisal the very next day if you walk on a deal, Carmax gives you 7, no one does that. As far as appraisal value dropping, sometimes this happens from week to week, sometimes it doesn’t. A lot of variables; seasonality, tax time, rolling over a 10k mile threshold, supply/demand for a particular vehicle. I had them appraise my odyssey early this year, didn’t sell, had it appraised again 2 months later, appraised for the same amount. Overall, Carmax is a great place to buy a car, don’t forget you have 5 days to return it too!

    Jacob A Irwin says July 28, 2013

    Thanks so much for sharing Mike! It’s good to hear perspectives from the opposite side of the coin.

Pat says August 10, 2013

Very interesting reading all these posts. I am very confused! Last week I purchased a 2012 Nissan Sentra with 7.056 miles on it. It has not had any accidents and had one owner. It looks brand new. This is my first experience using Carmax. I chose them since they work with bad credit. I am just realizing I purchased Maxcare for $1,149.00. The sales woman never mentioned Maxcare to me during the entire transaction. She spoke about GAP insurance but not Maxcare. It wasn’t until another employee was assigned to me to sign all the papers that she handed me the Maxcare card and said this is your maintenance plan. I asked what it entailed. She said you have to have all your services done at Carmax and things like oil changes are included for 6 years. I noticed the card stated a $50.00 deductable. I asked her what it was for. She stated I would have to pay only $50 of any repairs if I took it somewhere else other than Carmax. I then asked if I took it to a Nissan dealership for service I would only pay the first $50 of the bill and she said yes if I register my card with Nissan. I then asked would that $50 be paid on my first visit or each visit and she said she wasn’t sure. I live 1 mile from a Nissan dealership and 70 miles from Carmax. From what I am reading I think I should cancel Carmax. My contract states I can cancel within 20 days for a full refund and another paper states if I cancel within 90 days I would be refunded everything but $30. However it is added into my loan so I guess if I cancel they would have to do all the paperwork again. Any advice. I am clueless when it comes to these things. The last time I bought a car my situation was entirely different and I was able to pay cash for my 2005 Nissan Sentra so the dealership didn’t push anything on me. Please advise. Thanks for your time and effort.

    Jacob A Irwin says August 11, 2013

    Thanks so much for reading Pat!

    If it were me purchasing an almost brand new car that seems very dependable, I would cancel the MaxCare plan. I’m sorry to hear they tacked it on without telling you.

    As I understand the way the MaxCare plan works, you can ONLY use the plan AT CARMAX. What this means is that you have to pay a deductible in order for you to use your maxcare plan at carmax.

    You cannot use it at other repair shops/the Nissan dealership. You would pay full price for repairs at these other locations, and since they don’t take MaxCare, paying a deductible would not apply.

    The above statement was found to be incorrect. MaxCare can be redeemed at “any authorized repair” location, not just Carmax’s.

    However, if it were me, I would still cancel the Maxcare plan since the car is so new and likely won’t be used.

      Pat says August 11, 2013

      Thank you for your quick response Jacob. The Nissan Sentra is a very dependable car. I sold my 2005 Sentra to Carmax when purchasing the 2012 Sentra. I commuted between upstate NY and Maryland each weekend for 5 years. It had 257,000 miles and I had no major repairs until the last few months. It needed tie rods. It did not pass inspection this month and it would cost $1500 of work to pass. With that many miles on it I figured it would need more repairs and how many more miles did it really have left. I will call today to make an appointment to go in and cancel the Maxcare. Since I live so close to the Nissan dealership, where the service dept. is open on Saturdays, it makes no sense for me to drive so far to Carmax and with the many disappointing stories I read I don’t want to be involved with it.

      Thanks again for your opinion. It is hard to make decisions when you are older and on your own and not familiar with situations. I will let you know how the cancellation goes. I will keep reading your blog to gain more insight into the financial aspects of life.

      Michael says August 11, 2013

      Jacob, I apologize for having to correct you but Maxcare can be used at almost any certified repair facility in the country. I’ve never taken any of my Carmax cars back to a Carmax for a Maxcare repair claim, I’ve always gone to the dealer.

        Jacob A Irwin says August 12, 2013

        Thanks so much for correcting me Michael. My mistake. I’ve placed strikethoughs in my previous comment to show the change. Thanks!

        Juan in ChiTown says October 2, 2013


        Have you had trouble with Maxcare honoring there warranty? I’m looking at it and wondered if they tried to avoid paying and pushed the blame on the driver?


    eric says September 17, 2013

    See my comment below…keep the warranty! If you sell your car, it can be transferred to the new owner, and the deductible is per visit to the repair shop of your choice outside of Carmax.

Michael says August 11, 2013

I agree, the sales rep should have clearly advised you she put maxcare in the deal, it is against company policy to do so without advising the customer, she can be fired for that. Just to clarify, Maxcare only covers mechanical failure and not maintenance or wear and tear items of any kind. Maintenance is the responsibility of the owner, even new car warranties don’t cover maintenance or wear/tear items. When it comes to a newer vehicle bought at carmax and covered by Maxcare, Maxcare won’t kick in until the manufacturers warranty expires from inception date/mileage. For example: the mfgr will cover your car for 3 years or 36k miles from the time it was sold new to the first owner, so when the factory warranty expires the Maxcare the will take over and cap out at the date/mileage listed on your maxcare contract. You are only paying for the time/mileage above and beyond the factory warranty expiration otherwise the Maxcare would’ve been double the cost. As far as Maxcare at the dealer, it can be used at almost any certified repair facility, the only difference is your out of pocket deductible is a little higher per visit if not taken to a Carmax. Take it to Nissan if you prefer, if you keep the Maxcare of course. Word of advice: always follow the manufacturers suggested maintenance schedule either in your owners manual or go to nissans website and go to the owners section to find it. Preventative maintenance may cost hundreds but it will most surely save you thousands later down the road.

eric says September 17, 2013

I’m living proof that you should never drive a car without some type of warranty. There are some models where this does not apply. I’ve purchased 2 vehicles from Carmax, 2003 BMW 335xi, and 2008 BMW 335xi (current vehicle), and the best money I”ve ever spent was on the warranty. I understand the normal maintenance is not cheap, but remember, I’m required to get an oil change every 15,000 miles, and the on board computer clearly tells you when any type of service is required. On the 2003, I kept the car during the 3 year warranty, and sold it 3 months before it expired, as was able to transfer the balance of the warranty to the new buyer (added value). I took the vehicle to my local BMW dealership for all repairs with a deductible of $75 each visit. I can honestly say I took the car in for about 5 warranty visits with total expense paid by the warranty company of at least $6000.

Now on to my current vehicle, which I just dropped off at Perillo BMW for warranty work. This is the 1st visit since I purchased the car back in August 2011. Current deductible is $200 per visit, and the current total cost that will be covered by the warranty is……….over $6000

I decided long ago, I will never drive a car without some type of warranty…you’re asking for a major headache if you chose otherwise.

    Jacob A Irwin says October 1, 2013

    Thanks for sharing Eric. My fiance (girlfriend at the time) used to have an older BMW, and I can attest to how much of a fortune it costs to get maintenance done on those cars.

    Juan in ChiTown says October 6, 2013


    You can answer my specific questions. I was at Perillo BMW last week looking at X5s. I’m also looking at a few at CarMax. Have you had trouble with MaxCare approving work being done at Perillo? I’ve read of things not getting approved with expensive approval being required. I’m also considering buying a extended warranty from the manufacturer.

    Trying to avoid being stuck with a major repair bill.

PB says October 1, 2013

Hi, about to buy a 2012 Jaguar XF Portfolio from CarMax with 27,000 miles. It’s very clean but know Jaguars can be unreliable and expensive for repairs. Toying with the service warranty but it’s $2,300 for up to 75,000 miles. I am a low mileage driver, approx 6,000 a year. I think the standard Jaguar warranty covers 50,000 miles or 4 years so in theory I shouldn’t need the CarMax service warranty right? Great advice and insight in the prior posts, any recommendations appreciated.

    Jacob A Irwin says October 1, 2013

    Thanks for reading PB! As Eric mentioned above, for cars like Jaguars and BMW’s that tend to have very expensive maintenance, the answer is not so simple.

    If I were you, I would possibly reconsider purchasing another type of cheaper car that has less maintenance needs if you’re not able to pay the repair cost out of pocket for a Jaguar.

Colleen Crews says October 2, 2013

GREAT info-went to CarMax today and am on track to get 2010 Honda Civic (30,000 miles)-thanks to your blog realized this could still be under manufacturer’s warranty? (MaxCare was pushed- no mention of an existing warranty) heading into the blogosphere to see how I can get this info-or if anyone here would know?

Michael says October 10, 2013

I bought my car (2006 Infiniti G35 coupe) from Carmax 3 years ago. I still have about 25,000 miles left on my warranty. The warranty added about $1750 to the price of my car, but for the life my car, I’ve gotten over $5000 of warranty work done on the car. For me, this was an excellent deal and I have no regrets. Also, I can use the warranty at the Infiniti dealership as well without any extra fee. Depending on the reliability of said vehicle you want to purchase, or if you are purchasing a high mileage vehicle, this can be an excellent deal. One significant part to fix on a car now days can easily cost the price of the warranty.

Rob says October 11, 2013

I think the opinion split on maxcare is based on what type of vehicle youre interested in. Buying a late model, reliable Japanese sedan? you can probably skip it. Buying something British or German (especially higher end stuff), and it will almost certainly be a godsend. I’ve been kicking around the idea of buying a 2007 Porsche Cayman. They’re fairly notorious for grenading their engines so having the option of a low cost extended warranty is the only way to go. Same thing goes for a BMW M3 i’m considering (not for engine grenading but for stuff that could go wrong with the DSG trans). There’s plenty that breaks on these type of cars in under 100k that would be covered. Its actually pretty cool to me that you can buy BMW M cars and Porsches from them with a warranty that sounds like it has a longer term than those manufacturers CPO warranties. Plus the prices seem more reasonable. I’ve even seen V10 M5s listed that are pretty much guaranteed to cost you 10k in repairs if you own them for any lenght of time.

Also want to point out that the author might have a basic misunderstanding of warranties and this one in particular. No warranty (even a new car one) covers maintenance items like oil changes, belts, coolant, clutches, etc. Some car companies like BMW do include service for the first 4 years however – but that is different than the warranty. Also, the maxcare warranty is a named exclusion warranty and the exclusions all seem quite normal and reasonable. I’d be surprised if any warranty covered the stuff they exclude. The ones to be scared of are the named inclusion – where you do have to parse the long lists of covered items to figure out if the small part that failed on the transmission is actually covered for example.

The only thing that gives me pause is the stipulation that another commenter pointed out about how they don’t need to use OEM parts. But anecdotally i’ve heard of people buying cars like BMWs, having them repaired by dealers and getting reimbursed fully by the Carmax warranty.

    James says October 19, 2013

    I agree totally that the MaxCare warranty is a God send when it comes to European automobiles. Audi repairs average nearly $3000 per incident when it comes to engine, A/C, and transmissions.
    I’m speaking from experience, when it came to my 2005 Audi S4 (R.I.P.). 3 Series BMW are less problematic, but repairs can still be costly. The late model Mercedes and Volvo vehicles are not designed to be kept for the long haul. Basically, any European car over 50K miles is very risky financially without an extended warranty. If you have deep pockets, then take the gamble. Keep in mind that the Europeans themselves do not buy the gasoline versions of the vehicles that are so popular here in the states. Diesel engines are far less problematic as a whole. There is a V10 Audi sedan (Audi S6) that requires “engine removal” ($3000 labor) to replace a $300 O2 sensor. This sensor is notorious for going out every 30K miles. The $2500 MaxCare would pay itself several times over during the warranty period. Generally if the vehicle is Japanese or American with a good reliability history, the MaxCare warranty is probably a waste of money.

    Jacob A Irwin says November 5, 2013

    Thanks so much for reading Rob and James!

Erick says October 24, 2013

I have purchased 3 cars from carmax and I wouldnt ever leave the shop without a extended warranty after what I went through. I didnt have a warranty on my 1st vehicle and I didnt have any problems. My second vehicle, which was a Nissan Armada, I decided to get the warranty. After about a year, it started overheating on me. When I took it into the shop for repair they diagnosed at couple of things then after keeping it for 2 weeks they decided it was best to change out the engine. The only thing I had to pay was my deductible. My 3rd car purchased was a 645 Bmw and I had some issues with a water leak. If i didnt have the carmax warranty I would have been DEEP into my own pockets for sure.

    Jacob A Irwin says November 5, 2013

    Thanks so much for reading Erick! I’m curious – what year was the Nissan Armada / how old was it when you bought it?

Rachel says November 4, 2013

SO I am looking at purchasing a Chevy Captiva 2012 LT from CarMax and I dont know what to do!!! Its my first time buying a car on my own. The warranty will basically $3,000 ($50 deductible) and cover up to 150,000 miles. It comes with 34,000 miles on it. I drive roughly 20,000 miles a year so the 150,000 mile package should last me all 6 years. I can go with a smaller millage package or one with a larger deductible but after reading many reviews I’m not sure what to do. I am concerned about getting a lemon as my last vehicle was just that and I invested A LOT of money in repairs……. I feel that it shouldnt have problems since it only has 34,000 miles and is a 2012 model. How do I find out if it still has a manufacture warranty on it. It was a rental car before CarMax bought it at auction.

    Jacob A Irwin says November 5, 2013

    Thanks so much for stopping by Rachel! I just looked, and there are now 71 comments on this post, and quite a few of the commenters have very good 1st hand experience with these plans, so I encourage them to chime in to answer your questions as well.

    Since the car is a 2012 Chevy Captiva (and not an expensive-to-repair foreign high end automobile) , it has pretty low mileage, and Carmax’s cars are generally in very good shape, I would recommend not getting the Maxcare coverage.

    To check if the manufacturer’s warranty is still valid, while I’ve never done that personally, you probably could find the car serial number (often located on a plate on the driver’s side door latching area) and then call up Chevy to see if the warranty is still valid on that car

ray says November 6, 2013

Depends on the car. I buy Mercedes from Carmax and always get the extended warranty. This is my third car from them. This car has had over $10K in repairs made which cost me a total of $600 out of pocket excluding the original price of the warranty. Chevy? Ford? I would pass. Mercedes? BWM? I would buy the warranty.

cloe says November 11, 2013

well, we just encountered a problem and will be dealing with the warranty plan this week. I will let you know if we are satisfied with the outcome.

    cloe says November 22, 2013

    Ok, so now we know. DO NOT, EVER, buy the warranty from Car Max!!! In fact, don’t even go to Car Max. Found out some of the sales people left because of the low handedness of the place. They were so good about getting us to buy the warranty and they are not covering anything! Will be getting in touch with our lawyer, that is how bad it is. Disgusting!

      Victor Wang says December 10, 2013

      Cloe, Can you share what happened next? What was the issue? Was it on the exclusion list explicitly? I am thinking of buying a car from Carmax and am wondering if MaxCare is worth it. Your experience will help me make my decision. Thanks.

John Anderson says November 25, 2013

I am writing to add my two cents to the discussion. I have now purchased 4 cars from Carmax. 2 of them were 2 Cadillacs, 1 Volvo, and 1 Mercury. We purchased the Car Max Extended Warranty for all the vehicles and have been completely satisfied. The first Cadillac I purchased the extended warranty for 2500 but that Cadillac had over 12,000 dollars in repairs over 6 years so it was well worth it. My latest Cadillac I have had for 4 years and it has not been in the shop except one time for a 130 dollar repair which the warranty covered. The warranty covers everything except for wear and tear items. We haven’t had a problem with getting repairs paid at all. I think it was a wise investment as we like to keep our cars for a long time. The warranty covers the cars up to 150,000 or 6 years which ever comes first. Also, I have used financing through my credit union every time. I did use the Car max financing first and then came back later to exchange but it was not a big deal and it took less than 10 minutes to switch everything. We even bought a car and had it for 2 days and decided to return it and it was easy as can be with no questions asked. I find the experience a breeze compared to a dealer. Maybe different car max locations act differently but the locations in Laurel, Maryland and Rockville, Maryland were great!

Suz says December 8, 2013

Cloe, I Am Sorry, I Respectfully Disagree. I Work At A Carmax And Have Never Encountered Anything “Low Handed.” Our Service Department Has Made Repairs Under Maxcare In A Vehicle That Was Shoddily Repaired By Some Shade Tree Mechanic Who Mucked Up Countless Parts In This Poor Vehicle. Jacob, You Seem To Be Looking For The Catch Whenever Someone Has Written In With A Positive Account About Maxcare. There Really Isn’t One. We Are Trained To NOT Compare Maxcare To Health Insurance, But There Are Comparisons That Can Be Made(Outside Of Work). Are There Going To Be Times Where You Don’t Wind Up having repairs Done In The Amount You Paid? Sometimes. What I Have Not Read Yet, And Need To Explain To Everyone, Is That This Is A Six Year Plan(Unless You Chops A Mileage Limit That Won’t Cover You That Long). What Is The Likelihood On Any Car That You Won’t Have One Major Repair In Six Years? Slim. I Have Had Two Accords Need A New Transmission (Bought Elsewhere Prior To My Carmax Employment) And Each Cost.Over $3500. The Cost Of Maxcare On An Accord For Six Years? About $1700. Plus, You Factor In The Convenience Of Rental Reimbursement(If Repairs Are Not Same-day Repairs Like Cruise Control Or Window Motor Replacement) And Towing?
I Can Tell You That I Never Worry When My Phone Rings That It IS An Upset Customer, Because Of Our Culture Of Integrity. Only Time I Get Those Calls? When They Were Too Penny Pinching To Purchase The Plan And Bought A More Stripped-Down Plan Elsewhere Or Went Without One, And Now Regret It. Sure, I Make Money On Selling It, But This Is A Car, Not A Pack Of Cigarettes. Repairs Can Be Costly, And You Have 90 Days To Cancel For A Full Refund, But If You Go Without It, Do You Really Want To Go Five Or Six Years With No Protection? Maybe You’ll Trade It In If It Needs A $4000 Transmission? How Much Do You Think You Will Get As Trade In With A $4000 Needed Repair? We Are Selling The Maxcare To Help Customers Have Long-term Peace Of Mind With Our Product. I Have Peace Of Mind Because I Know How Costly Repairs Are And I See My Former Customers In Our Service Department All The Time & Know Most Of Them Bought The Maxcare.

Bill C. says December 29, 2013

In general, I think the advice of some here on when to and not to get the warranty is spot on. Japanese or American, skip it…German or other, seriously consider. Although, I will say for a turbo BMW check first as BMW knows about the issues with the turbo/HPFP/injectors/wastegate and have extended the manufacture warranty for some of these parts. That said, companies would not be in the warranty business if they were paying out a lot for warranty work and I almost never buy them…”house” will win most of the time. Most cars are reliable these days and yes Suz, many cars will go 5-6 years without “major” repairs, whatever that means. I too have had a couple Honda’s with bad trans…first one was fixed for $1800 and second for $2200. Both were over 5-6 years old and depending on the warranty purchased I potentially would be recouping none of the warranty and would be better off self insuring and putting the initial warranty money in a savings account from car purchase begining. I will also say that a 9% interest rate in this economy is robbery unless that person happened to have serious credit issues. Overall, some good advice here and I’ll just reiterate you are almost always better to skip a warranty, self insure, and especially do your homework on car reliability to weigh your options. Oh, and I have no beef or comment on Carmax specifically, as never been there or used them…but may go check them out as they just opened a store in my area. Good luck with your car purchases.

Leah says January 2, 2014

Another thing they seemed to exclude (at least during my sale) was that the extended warranty is actually through a third party company. So in order to actually use it you have to have the CarMax service center diagnose the problem (starting at about $115) and then they send it off to the company to see if it is covered. If it is, then it will be covered, but if not, then you are stuck with paying to price to get it fixed, if you can, and no matter what you are stuck with the diagnoses fee of $115+. So you’re right. The extended warranty is very appealing to people who are looking for a low cost, and hassle free option. Has it been that? Not at all. I am paying around $1850 for the total warranty, and currently looking for a more cost effective and reliable place to fix my car other than Carmax. Huge waste of money.

Oliver says January 5, 2014

WOW! I read every word of every post. I am glad I did. I am about to buy my first car from CarMax. I was not sure if I wanted the MaxCare so I googled it and found this discussion. I, hopefully, will buy a 2010 Prius IV that has 41K miles, single owner. I know Japanese cars are very reliable, but being a hybrid and 3-4 years old, warranty most likely expired. So, I am going to spend about $2K on the MaxCare. I hope I don’t have to use it. But if I do, I hope I don’t run into problems like Cloe did, even though she did not post back what her issues were.

John says January 8, 2014

Thank you for your very informative and interesting article.
I am considering selling my Audi to CarMax. My Audi has a valid 5 year Audi Care Maintenance plan which Audi says will follow the car. Car Max said it doesn’t follow the car.

If the plan follows the car, then how will Car Max maintain this car for the next owner/buyer.

Will Car Max be double-dipping if they are able to sell their own plan?

    Jacob A Irwin says February 22, 2014

    Hi John, thanks for your comment.

    As far as I understand it, Car Max would be able to sell their warranty plan for the Audi you sold to them.

    If they did and the customer who purchased your car also purchased the MaxCare, I believe that the Audi plan would first cover any repairs, before the MaxCare would kick in .

Donny says January 10, 2014

Hello fellow enthusiasts,

Im am currently (and eagerly) awaiting a 2011 Buick Enclave CXL-1 (Carmax price $32,000) that I had transferred from Tampa, Fl to San Antonio, Tx. As of now, its mileage is almost 18,000 and the condition of the vehicle is superb. Buick has a measly 5 year/50,000 mile factory warranty on this vehicle meaning I only have about 2 years (give or take a few months) of warranty remaining. These vehicles are quite pricey ($50,000+ new) and come fully loaded with several luxuries of which could malfunction at any given time, not to mention the power train.

Being that Buick is an American auto maker and that they are known for reliability and what not; also taking into account the young age and low mileage of the Enclave, would it be wise for me to purchase the Max Care extended warranty?

Also, I live in Corpus Christi, Texas, a city about 140 miles southeast of San Antonio (my nearest Carmax), would I have to make this 140 mile drive every time I experience an issue with the vehicle and needed to utilize my Max Care plan, or could I just take it to the local Buick dealer and pay the deductible?

Just wanted some respectful opinions and/or advice. Thank you in advance!!!

    Jess says January 13, 2014

    I went with the buick enclave 2010 CXL 2. I was unsure of the reliability of a GM/buick vehicle so i opted for the extended warranty. I researched max care, GM factory and a 3rd party warranty through my credit union. Overall i ranked them like this 1. credit union 2. GM 3. max care. They were all identical coverage upto 100k miles, however max care covers up to 150k miles, the others did not. something to consider. i went with the credit union and it was $1200 cheaper then max care. I bought the car and as we drove it more (1000k miles) i noticed a knocking in the suspension when going through dips and the steering wheel had a very quite squeal when turning. I took the car back to car max for service within the 30 day warranty. It still fell under the GM warranty so they took it to GM and had a bushing replaced and a steering box replaced and the car was good to go. Car max gave me a loaner car and did a great job and it was an easy and free fix for me.

    Jess says January 13, 2014

    I believe you can take it to any licensed mechanic (any major dealer, your local mechanic or a friend. as long as they are licensed. check the small print or ask them, but i believe that is the case

      Jacob A Irwin says February 22, 2014

      I agree. Michael, in a comment on August 30th 2013, corrected me that the MaxCare can be used at any licensed mechanic

Elaine says January 10, 2014

I am considering purchasing a 2010 Chevy Traverse from Carmax. The mileage is 39K. It’s more expensive than other cars that I have considered, but it has all the “bells and whistles” and is a very clean car. Would anyone recommend the Maxcare for this type of vehicle? I know that Chevy is average with reliability, but I’m not sure about the 2010 Traverse specifically. I appreciate anyone’s input.

    Jess says January 13, 2014

    I went with the buick enclave 2010, it has the same engine and trans. I was unsure of the reliability of a GM/buick vehicle so i opted for the extended warranty. I researched max care, GM factory and a 3rd party warranty through my credit union. Overall i ranked them like this 1. credit union 2. GM 3. max care. They were all identical coverage upto 100k miles, however max care covers up to 150k miles, the others did not. something to consider. i went with the credit union and it was $1200 cheaper then max care.

Nancy says January 11, 2014

I’m buying a 2008 mini cooper convertible from Carmax tomorrow. should I purchase Maxcare? Also, is it possible to negotiate a better price?

Jess says January 13, 2014

I would not, it is expensive. You can contact the mini dealership for an extended warranty if your under 3 yrs/36k miles. Or try a credit union for extended warranty/3rd party warranty. They problem I found was they cover unto 100k miles and no more, max care goes to 150k I believe, but you pay more if you were to compare the 100k mile warrantys. Maxcare for me was $3200, GM offered same coverage for $2500. I went with a 3rd party through my credit union, which matched max care but was cheaper by $1200. I really researched pros and cons to all kinds of warranties and my credit union offered the best at the best price. just my 2 cents, i hope this helps

Roland says January 17, 2014

I bought a BMW m3 with only a couple of months left on factory warranty. I decided to get maxcare for 1500 and 300 deductible just to protect myself from the downside just in case I need a $10k tranny. 🙂

Cheryl says January 30, 2014

I am getting ready to buy my 2nd mercedes SUV from Carmax. We bought the extended warranty for 2,000 and had at least 10,000 worth of work done over the 5 years we’ve had it!! I had no problem having anything covered besides wear and tear items. Plus, Carmax services my Mercedes for 1/3 of the price of the Benz dealership down the road. I will definitely buy an extended warranty for this 2011 GL550 with 22,000 miles! But, I will definitely check with my credit union first to see if there plan is cheaper!

Matt says February 14, 2014

I am thinking of buying a car at carmax and actually believe from the warrenty brochure that it is a good deal. That is if the deductible is $100, the cost is 2k or less, and I can get 5/100k or close on the car. The exclusion list minus the suspension is wear and tear, I would never think those items would be included in a warrenty. My next car will be around 20k. If I go the used car route, I will have warrenty because the cars I’m interested in have high to very high repair costs with no warrenty. The cars inckude a bmw 335i, audi tt, or a 2005+ corvette. I’ve never owned a European car but know their reliability is not good when it comes to electronics and in this case, the turbos on the bmw. I’ve had a corvette before and the tranny went when I did not have any warrenty. That set me back $2.5k. It took me a long time to find a place that would rebuild the tranny for that much, most places wanted between $3-4.5k. I am not happy about the brochure not showing prices and how long the warrenty is good for.

Sheila says February 19, 2014

I have purchased two vehicles from CarMax and have not had any issues with MaxCare covering repairs at all. Actually, I purchased a 2008 Mercedes Benz C300 in 2011 that needed a new transmission in 2012. I was able to get a NEW transmission from Mercedes Benz that costs around $5,000 with a deductible of $50 because I returned the car to CarMax. The next time I needed a repair, I took the car to the Mercedes Benz dealership and had no problems whatsoever. I actually didn’t have to pay anything and had the great luxury of a Mercedes Benz 2014 C300 loaner Sweet! I also have a 2004 Jaguar S-Type that needed repairs, but since I bought the car in 2012 it fell under the new deductible guidelines of $0 deductible if returned to CarMax. So for me, I’m pretty happy with the service and coverage I have on both vehicles and would recommend MaxCare for any used car purchase.

Jay says March 24, 2014

I just purchased a nice car from Car Max and had similar experience with being pressured to buy teh warrenty. I decided to go for it (I had extra cash on the side) but have full intention to cancel it in the first 90 days to get my full refund. the plan cost me $2000 with a $200 deductible each time. If the A/C and two windows motors go bad in the next 6 years, I’d still be better off NOT having the coverage.
Extended warranties are like going to the casino. The Dealer always has the advantage!

JasonB says March 29, 2014

Of the two used cars I’ve purchased in my lifetime (neither from Carmax, I should note), both experienced catastrophic transmission problems within 1-1.5yrs and one needed expensive engine work some time after that (had to junk it). Needless to say… I’m emotionally scarred when it comes to buying used cars 🙂

True, the exclusion list does you no favors in the wear and tear department but its the chance of experiencing those backbreakers I mentioned above that will have you kicking yourself. Maybe some of us have the resources to cushion the blow and help us quickly recuperate after losing transport – wether that be money to purchase another, a second car, or easily accessible public transportation. But others without such resources are the vulnerable.

All I know is that, had I had a warrantee like this when I purchased those two cars, my life likely wouldn’t have been turned upside down like it was at the time. I have no problem paying extra for a little peace of mind.

As far as just laying my trust in Carmax and their “Quality Certification”, I say a used-car dealership is a used-car dealership and we’re still at the mercy of our machines regardless of who inspected and signed off on it before you bought it.

I told you I’m emotionally scarred 🙂

Melanie says April 7, 2014

My son bought the MaxCare warranty with his 2008 Mini Cooper at Car Max. I would have told him not to, but wasn’t with him. Thank goodness I wasn’t. He has had a new clutch plate, flywheel, cylinder head, headlight level sensor, timing chain, hood latch, engine long block assembly, serp belt gear assembly, and today a new starter. These were in three different repair dates. Two were $100 deductibles and one CarMax waived because of how long we had to wait for the new motor. Moral of the story…don’t buy a Mini.

Steve says April 22, 2014

Purchased the Max Care when I bought my Dodge van at a CarMax lot in Lexington KY. While returning from vacation on a Saturday, the alternator failed. Had my own road side service and had to tow the van to a repair shop. The van had just passed the 36,000 mile Manufacturing warranty, so I used the Max Care. The repair shop called multiple part stores, no part. Dodge Dealership was closed. Was 500 miles from home had to rent another van. I had to find the part and purchase it myself because garage was unable to find one in a 120 mile radius. After all said and done, I was out $ 878.00. Sent the bills and receipts into Max Care with the contact number, they sent it back stating I wasn’t on their plan. Had to re-send information, plus a copy of my contact. A few week later I get a check for $140.91. The $300.00 deductible is applied after they adjusted all the charges. Why have it if you have to pay 84% of the cost.

Santiago says April 26, 2014

I see the point on the interest rate, you could easily get something in the lower rates (3 or less) through your credit union or smilar, had they offered something similar on my purchase I would’ve signed the loan with them. Bottom line, get the lowest interest rate even if you had to wait until Monday. Chances are the car won’t get sold anyways.

On the Max Care though, mine was an 2007 German car with 17k miles when I bought it and around 60k miles I had an issue with the steering arm and an oil gasket totalling about 5k in repairs at the dealer. The dealer called Max Care, and they approved the repairs, they even changed a cup holder that was defective and the sun visor on the driver’s side whose light had stopped working. So overall the warranty worked fine by me. Also on the exclusions I think it lists items of wear and tear which most is us will have to repair/replace anyways unless you get one of those fully comprehensive factory extended warranties (i.e, BMW, Mercedes, etc) which are generally more expensive. I think that for the price the warranty coverage in the Max Care plan is quite reasonable.

Jeff says April 28, 2014

I am a shop owner and have a customer with 2009 Ford Flex with a fan module problem, they have drug this repair out for days, an want to use after market or Questionable quality Parts. The owner of the vehicle said that the transmission failed some time ago, and, that it was over 6 weeks to get it back that time and they only paid for 1 week of car rental. “He was very disappointed” and that was returning the vehicle to CAR MAX. He was trying me because he hoped to be kept in the loop as far as what was going on with the repair. ( I service his parents cars) My personal experience with after market warranty companies have been better, If I charge a flat rate labor time from a industry standard source and charge MSRP for the part I have never been questioned or told that’s not acceptable or they were going to find a rebuilt part “Not So With This Company ” So Buy Beware

brenda says May 1, 2014

thank god i purchased the extended warranty for my car… if you ever buy a bmw make sure you get the 100,000 mile warranty. car started having issues right ABOUT 60,000 MILES. expensive problems… carmax extended warranty covered everything.. they lost money on my car for sure!

lexus@carmax says May 11, 2014

This is a great post and based on what I am reading here I think we might be OK without the Maxcare but am seeking the opinion of the larger audience

We are considering a 2011 Lexus ES 350 with 36k miles on it from Carmax. It seems to be in great condition and has had 1 owner. The Maxcare for 6 years / 150k on odometer is $1500-$1800 depending on the deductible being $300 – $50. We will probably average 12-15k a year so the 6yr /125k coverage could work too and that is lower by $100-$200 depending on deductible. To the best of my knowledge, we should not have such issues with a Lexus. Any thoughts on if we should get the Maxcare? Anyone know of such major issues with Lexus ES models like transmission, electricals etc.

This will be our first ever Carmax purchase.

DMiller says May 28, 2014

I bought a 2008 Mercedes from Carmax and I bought the MaxCare extended warranty for about $3k. I was worried about the coverage a little but it’s turned out to have been a great purchase. I’ve had a headlight assembly and a voice control module replaced for a total of $2900. MaxCare covered it without any hassle. I had the work done at the dealer. I only had to call MaxCare in advance. MaxCare did send an adjuster to the dealership to make sure the repairs weren’t caused by an accident or neglect. The whole process took a week and was very easy. I’d definitely recommend MaxCare. It was obvious to me what was covered and therefore easy to determine what wouldn’t be covered.

nervousaboutcarmax says June 8, 2014

Interesting read. Glad to know CarMax is overall a good thing. My old man and his buddies have started buying cars there. They like the no-haggle price. Seems like inventory is solid. I don’t mind haggling if I can save 1-2k, and I normally can. But, finding what you want in a used car can be challenging. Of course, I’m always skeptical of dealership financing, but there are times when it’s good. However, I am a huge fan of extended warranties. I bought a 2007 Toyota Tacoma and paid 1600 for the ext. warranty. After the original warranty would have expired, I ended up having o replace the clutch pedal solenoid and the wheel bearing. Come to find out, small truck have become notorious for wheel bearing issues. That being said, there wasn’t a deductible associated with it. I was surprised..$500 deductible? is calculated as a percentage of the total cost? I find that to be excessive. What’s not included is fairly standard, although my warranty did cover the manual transmission, I don’t know how because it’s the first I’ve heard of it. But, the deal breaker for me, unless I was going to buy a high end European luxury care, is the deductible. any thoughts out there? looking at taking the CarMax plunge soon, if I can get my nerve up for it.

Andrea says July 16, 2014

Great article but I would have to disagree. Buying a used car you are essentially purchasing another person’s problems. Why not pay an additional $1000 for assurance and piece of mind. I’ve purchased 3 used cards in the last two years. The first two times I did not purchase an extended warranty and had to pay between 1k-1500 in repairs within the first year that would have otherwise been covered. Third times a charm. I purchased my most recent vehicle from Carmax with only 28k miles on the odometer. It still had factory warranty for another 2 years so I went ahead and purchased the extended warranty good for 5 years after the purchase date. Well im a little over 4 years into my 5 year warranty and guess what…my transmission went out. Estimated repairs total over $4k. All I had to pay was $75. In fact, I’ve had a total of $5k in covered repairs so my warranty has paid for itself at least 5 times. It was however a close call. The owner of the vehicle does have to keep up with routine maintenance in order for the part to be covered. Thank God for routine transmission flushes every 30k miles or would have been out of luck. I would highly recommend the warranty.

Cindy says July 17, 2014

I have to disagree about the plan. In September 2012 I purchased a 2003 ford thunderbird and the service plan at 5 years or 125k miles. My car stopped working this past Tuesday. While they paid for towing and fixing the 8 coils that needed to be replaced, they are refusing to pay the 4 catalytic converters that need to be replaced as a result of the bad coils. So, the savings on the coils came out on now having to pay for my catalytic converters to the tune of roughly 1k and I can only hope that my mufflers don’t have to be replaced due to the failed catalytic converters or it will cost that much more. They only authorized 2 days on my rental when I needed 3 days, since they didn’t respond with authorization for the coils within the first 24 hours and by the time they realized I needed the catalytic converters I was already into my 3rd day of the rental.

CarMaxLeary says August 19, 2014

Wow, I wish I had been able to read this blog before purchasing the MaxCare along with my 2007 F150. I thought like others out here that with the year of the truck being more than 6 years, it would be best to have the warranty. I just took the truck in for repairs on friday to be told that tire axles are not included. On top of that, the CarMax Service department advised that it would be $52 1/2 hr just to diagnose the issue. WHAT???? I’ve never had to pay to have my cars checked when taking the cars back to the dealers. Have anyone heard of this? Can this warranty be cancelled?

Chad R says August 21, 2014

I purchased a 2009 Chevy HHR SS at Carmax in Jan of this year. Since it was a turbocharged model I opted to go with the MaxCare Warranty. I went with the $300 ded as well to save a little on the cost. Purchased with 52K Miles and I am currently at 59K. I have not had had any major issues so far. I like tinkering with cars so I replaced a few parts here and there on my own dime and fixed the SS up. I mainly got it with the intention that is something major happened, (Blown motor,tranny etc) Then I would just pay that ded and be on my way. Smaller items and diagnostics I would just pay out of pocket and if the repair is something I can do myself and or inexpensive I would just pay as well. CarMax has been the best car buying experience I have ever had to be honest. If I do ever have to use that warranty hopefully it will be good as well. 🙂

Barbara V says August 27, 2014

Hi, I have the carmax care plan, we got the $300 deductible, is it per year? or per visit? We are being told it will be $250 a visit, but when we bought it i’m pretty sure it said per year. thanks

Corey W. says August 27, 2014

As a former Carmax sales consultant, I can help break down this article a little better and help those who have questions or are in the market for a vehicle.

The finance option to take Carmax’s financing and then bring your own and swap it is called “3 for free”. Essentially, you have 3 business days to bring Carmax your own financing from a different financial institution and they will swap it out and shred theirs (No fees, no interest charged). A lot of my former customers did choose this option because it was convenient and so they could finish the process in one day instead of stretching it out. The goal was to make it easier and 95% of the time they DID bring back their own financing if they got a lower rate.


First, you have to understand that every Carmax sales consultant works on 100% commission. No base salary, no hourly rate. They get paid the same flat rate per car no matter how much the car costs. They also get paid a flat rate on selling Maxcare, GAP insurance, and any accessories. The flat rate of the car sale and Maxcare are based on the sales consultants status i.e. Regular, Director’s Club, or President’s Club ($150-200 a car) ($100-175 maxcare) ($25 GAP). Not only does a sales consultant get paid to sell maxcare, if they are in Director’s Club or President’s Club, they have to maintain a 55% close rate on it to keep their status. Along with their avg of monthly units (13 for Director’s, 15+ for President’s).

That is one reason why the sales consultant puts a major focus on it. My opinion is that you only need maxcare in certain situations. Here they are:

1. You have poor to bad credit and can’t afford if anything major goes wrong with your car. (By the way, the deductibles range from $50-300 and they take $50 off if you bring it to Carmax for the repair. So essentially, you can have a $0 deductible)

2. You buy a car with poor reliability history and a lot of gadgets i.e. Chrysler Town and Country fully loaded, PT Cruiser, Saturn Vue etc. (do your homework)

3. You plan on keeping the car 5 or 6 years

4. You buy a car with over 60k miles


You don’t need maxcare if:

1. You trade cars frequently

2. You buy a car with low mileage and a factory warranty left

3. You buy a very reliable brand (Honda, Nissan, Toyota)

4. You have extra money or savings built up.

5. If you just don’t believe in it.

Me personally, I would only purchase it in certain situations and I’m willing to take the gamble in others. I will say that the service department was always busy with maxcare claims so customers definitely took advantage of it. I don’t think it’s a bad product but it has to fit YOUR needs and make sense in YOUR situation to get it. Don’t buy it from a consultant that pushes it or gives you attitude because they want to fatten their own pocket.

I hope this reply helps someone in their future car buying experience.

Corey W. says August 28, 2014

@ Barbara V.

It will be $250 a visit if you take it to a Carmax. It will be $300 if you take to any other liscensed facility. That is per visit, not per repair. If in one visit you have multiple things repaired, you still just pay the $250 unless your bill is less than $250; you’ll pay whatever that is.

RandomName says September 2, 2014

Never say never, it’s all relative. In general I don’t buy warranties. Today there’s a 2013 Honda Accord V6 with 11K (basically zero) miles and a 2011 Jaguar XF V8 with 57K miles on it for sale on Carmax. Both for sale for 26k and fulfill the same function. I’d never bother with the warranty on the Honda and absolutely would on the Jaguar.

It’s been a while since you wrote this, but I spent 10 minutes reading the warranty online and understood completely what it covers and does not cover and still think it is worth it for a European luxury car but not worth it on a honda/acura or toyota/lexus. Everything in between is just a maintenance crap shoot anyhow so its up to you if you want to buy the insurance.

Stacie says September 8, 2014

I’m looking at a 2008 BMW 328i with 18k miles on it, one owner, at CarMax and from the sound of it, the Maxcare would be recommended, right? I don’t have a lot of cash to outlay on repairs (debating if I should get the car at all). I’m a little unclear on how the deductible works.

Tamera says September 9, 2014

I’m looking into buying a car with Car Max and I totally plan on getting the warranty. I wish to God I would have had an option with my 2006 New Beetle that I got from another dealer. It’s as much of a lemon as it looks like a lemon… One of my employees bought the warranty from Car Max when he got his vehicle and I can’t remember what the repair was worth but it was way more than his deductible and Car Max made the repairs without hesitation, got them done quickly and even washed the car for him before he picked it up . Just based on the bug, I would get the warranty just for the peace of mind in case the car I’m looking at has even one of the several issues my bug does, which would all be covered under the Max Care policy. Even if I never use it. I’ve paid way more on car insurance and health care over my life than I’ve had to use, but it is so worth it sometime. Just my opinion.

Michael says October 7, 2014

Maxcare is a gamble, just like any other kind of insurance or extended warranty plan. Take into consideration the reputation of the vehicle. They sell used cars, and there are always reviews on line about cars by the time you buy a year or two year old vehicle. Take in to consideration how you drive. If you are rough on cars, then maybe you get the plan. People get upset and complain when something happens as if they have nothing to do with it, but in many cases their terrible habits and terrible driving skills that cause problems with the car. As a current employee, I have seen Carmax fix problems in cars several months after a car has been bought, when it had no Maxcare coverage and they have no responsibility to do so. Carmax is always trying to do the right thing by the customer.

Enzo says October 7, 2014

If you are buying a luxury vehicle like a BMW or Mercedes with 50k+ miles, you better get an extended warranty because, trust me, you will definitely use it by the time you get to 100k miles.

Matt says November 28, 2014

I have purchased 2 cars from CarMax (both of which I still own) – a 2006 Toyota Highlander Hybrid and a 2005 Mustang GT convertible. The Highlander had about 44K miles on it when we bought it in 2009 and I seriously considered buying the MaxCare warranty because of how expensive it would have been if something went wrong with the hybrid system. Fast forward 5 years – we have 190K miles on the car now and have not had any major problems (other than my wife’s habit of backing into things, including my 2003 Honda Accord – guess who’s car got fixed?). Anyway, the extended warranty would have been a waste of money. I have had the Mustang for about 3 years now. It is not a daily driver so I don’t put very may miles on it. It also only had 23K miles on it when I bought it and therefore didn’t even consider the extended warranty. In the first month of ownership (during the free warranty period) I had CarMax replace the gauge cluster (fuel indicator stopped working), the windshield (small crack that was there when I purchased the car), the gas tank (wouldn’t fill without the pump shutting off – there was a service bulletin on this but no recall) and bang out a couple of very small dings in the rear quarter panel. I have only put on 7K miles in the three years I have owed it and thankfully have not needed any other repairs since the included warranty ran out. I am going to look at a BMW X3 this week and think I am going to go ahead and get the extended warranty this time. Reason being, the car I am seriously considering is already 5 years old, has almost 60K miles on it and would be very expensive to repair given it’s German heritage. I called a BMW dealership to ask about a post-inspection evaluation of the car and the service manager strongly recommended getting the extended warranty (“You will need it! she said). She also said that the dealership has not had any problems getting work done through this warranty as I have read elsewhere. I am estimating it will add another $2-3 thousand dollars to a $22K vehicle. The difference between this time and my prior CarMax purchases is the age/mileage, predicted reliability and repair cost this time around.

smenon says December 6, 2014

This is an excellent thread for potential Carmax customers (as me!). I am on the verge of buying a 2012 VW Golf TDI diesel with 52500 miles and debating on adding on the maxcare package which estimates to about 3800. Guessing the higher cost of maxcare is because of german make and correspondingly higher repair costs and higher mileage. From everything I’ve learnt on here, I should get maxcare (german make/average reliability of this car as per consumer reports/wanting to keep the car for a long time/relatively high mileage although single owner) . Guessing I will get it, get a mechanic’s opinion and decide on canceling it after. Any comments would be appreciated!
Wondering if as in this case if the car is a model that is in demand and sells easily, carmax wouldn’t mind losing a customer if they couldn’t convince them to buy maxcare. I pretty much walked out after almost having bought the car because I wasn’t sure on buying maxcare and they kept insisting it was the best move i could make and i wanted to think more about it. They never suggested that maybe i shouldn’t necessarily need maxcare even at the risk of losing my business.

    James says December 13, 2014

    I will always recommend MaxCare for European vehicles that are no longer under factory warranty. Especially for Volkswagen, Audi, or Porsche. They are notorious for having defects that the manufacturer will not own up to. Transmission syncros, timing chains, seals, O2 sensors, starters, alternators, AC compressors, and bearings are just a few. These are all expensive and all far too repetitive fixes for these vehicles. I met a person a few months ago with a 2011 Volkswagen GTI that had to replace a clutch at 28,000 miles. The dealership blamed the owner and refused to cover it under warranty, thus charging them $3500 for the repair! Like others have said before, MaxCare is a waste if you buy the vehicle and trade it before the factory warranty runs out, or if you buy a uber reliable model from the Toyota, Honda, Nissan, or American domestic families. My mechanic said he likes Mercedes and BMW only because they are easier to diagnose which equates to less troubleshooting costs. I hope this helps.

Myrtle Goodman says December 15, 2014

Just letting whom it may concern: The process of receiving my refund due to another mechanic shop working on my vehicle. This process has been going on since October 31st. You all have made me jump through hoops to get the info that was needed. On the last time all the info was given and tje lady, Penny I spoke with she stated the check was cut and I would be receiving it within a week, this was 3 weeks ago. I was supposed to have gotten it by November 20th, 2014.
I’ve reported this to consumers affair and I have started the process with my attorney to settle this.
If you need to contact me, please contact me through my email.

Eddie says December 21, 2014

Buying a 2012 Honda Pilot with 15k miles. Because of reliable manufacturer and low miles I think I will pass on warranty.

bobeast says December 26, 2014

The exclusions mentioned are not at all out of line with other extended warranties of which I am familiar.

Rare is the service plan that covers belts and plugs and fluids, etc. Also the author mentions that manual transmissions are not covered. I believe the actual exclusion is the clutch and pressure plate, not the entire transmission.

Basically if I’m buying a relatively high mileage used car, I’m happy to get coverage for engine and transmission repairs. Those are the REAL high dollar repair items.

Ryan says December 31, 2014

EXTENDED WARRANTY EXPERIENCE: I bought a 2005 Honda Accord Hybrid with Navigation from Carmax in 2009. I was sold on the extended warranty, but in the end it made a huge difference, but now I’m hurting without it. After a few years the Navigation went bad and they ended up having to replace the whole unit since it also tied in with the stereo, clock, voice commands, etc. ($1000+ covered by the warranty). Later little things popped up later saving me a couple more thousands. My warranty coverage ended November 28, 2014. My Hybrid Battery went bad December 27, 2014. If only it had failed during the warranty period. Now I have a potential $2600 repair upcoming. For my car, with overly complicated systems: navigation, hybrid batteries, hybrid motors, just more electronics with the possibility of malfunction, THE WARRANTY WAS NECESSARY. If the car you buy doesn’t have all the complicated bells and whistles, maybe it’s not that necessary, but when there is a ton or hardware and software, and a motor in the front AND essentially in the back, get the warranty.

Mike says January 12, 2015

Thanks for this post and for everyones input. I’m about to buy a used car as well and will definitely be passing on both financing through Carmax as well as their Maxcare plans. Reason being is that I’ll be buying a 2013-14 Honda Accord EX-L with low miles. IF I was buying a BMW, Mercedes or Audi however I’d seriously consider Maxcare. From many posts above (and a few friends of mine) it’s safe to say I will never buy a BMW.

Ken says January 27, 2015

Don’t know about anyone else but my experience with CarMax and MaxCare’s Extended Service Warranty was excellent.

When I experienced a problem with my Corvette (awful squeal from under the hood), I immediately did 3 things. Called CarMax, made an appointment at the Chevy Dealership and then contacted MaxCare to give them a head’s up. With each call I described the symptoms and let MaxCare know that the dealership would be calling.

At the dealership, I gave the service dept the MaxCare contact info and my Contract #. I let them know that I called ahead to MaxCare and not to perform any repairs before contacting them.

1 day later, I paid my deductible and had the car back working in tip-top shape. No fuss, no complications, no problems.

Keeping everyone in the loop ahead of the game always will get you the best results.

rcirillo says March 10, 2015

This website has been MOST helpful. I just got a car from Carmax and it had been years since I purchased a vehicle of any kind. I was shopping for a nice used Kia Sorento and stumbled upon the most beautiful 2005 BMW X5 with only 40,000 mile on it. I have never had a high end, luxury anything and so we took it for a test drive. We both fell in love so we drove it home. And yes we did purchase the extended service plan but I did not feel pressured to do so. Our sales rep did talk to us very honestly about some of the additional costs associated with higher end cars. In fact I really liked him. He was just a very nice man and did not at all fit the ‘car salesman’ profile at all from past experience.

We were in and out of there in 4 hours, start to finish. I loved the way they do business. It was nice to just do the deal and no haggling. We got a decent rate on the loan. I did not shop around as I had no idea what to expect on the interest rate. We had already decided beforehand if the rate was above 6% we would look for financing elsewhere and put down the money to hold the car. They were well under that rate for us.

The next two days I really dug into the BMW looking for as much information as I could find. I found nothing in the whole country to compare it to. This X5 has more options than I dreamed existed in 2005 and it’s absolutely stunning for it’s age. I got cold feet on day 3 and called my guy to talk it over with him. We were seriously thinking of taking it back. Even though we both love the X5 we were thinking perhaps we should get something newer under factory warranty and more practical. I could live without power rear seats and heated steering wheels and so forth. No matter how we figured it between the Sorento and this BMW with our down payment the amount financed would be about the same and the extended service plan is about the same as the factory warranty based on our driving habits etc. After weighing all the pros and cons we are keeping the BMW.

Insurance will be a little higher but the increase is not substantial.
Premium gas is required and the tank on the X5 is 24 gallons. Something to consider if you commute every day as it could end up costing thousands more for gas each year when the oil prices go back up as we all know they will.

I do not think buying a new car is buying someone else’s problems at all. I used to trade and buy new cars every few years simply because I love getting a brand new car and not because there was something wrong with the old one. It’s a horrible investment and I spent way too much money in my younger years doing that. I found out is is much nicer not having any car payments at all. Like everyone else above I would not buy any kind of really expensive car without the extended plan. For newer cars I would try to purchase something with at least 10-15k left on the factory warranty. I should think if there were something wrong you would know it during that window at which point you could either trade it off again or shop for an extended service plan after you buy the car. Beyond that it’s somewhat of a gamble. Seems to me they have lemon laws out there or perhaps I am way behind the times. If Carmax is a straight shooting business I would think they would take care of a customer that ends up getting a true lemon. Ask them about it-all they can say is ‘no’.

Isaac says March 11, 2015

Thank you very much. I just came from the CarMax’s lot about two hours ago and I went through everything you said. You are 100% right. I’m yet to buy the car I love. Prior going to CarMax, I went to my bank for a Check Ready Loan (max $15K) which was approved by my bank and will be getting the check tomorrow at the local branch office. When I got to CarMax, I saw another car 2012 Honda Accord SE 4D Sedan with 28K miles with a No-haggle price $16,599. I told the salesman that I like this car but above my approved loan. He then ask me go through their financing …fast forward I asked to test drive it – which we did. everything sounds good and I must admit that I love the car. Back to the office. He tried everything to convenience me to go with their financing even though I said…finally I said ok let me see what your options will be. He start the process of running my credit score – during the process – the Salesman attempted to push the MaxCare Extended Service Plan ($1,300) on me. I simply told him that I’m not interested in the CarMax MaxCare Extended Service Plan but he literary pushed to the extend that I was getting mad about it. He asked why I did not want it and I simply said i just don’t need it. He then proceed with the credit process and I finally got approved for the total out of the door price ($17,961) but their interest rate is higher than what my bank offered me. My bank interest rate is 2.9% APR while CarMax is 5.4% APR.
Again, I told them that I will get back to my bank and see if they can increase my loan amount – but to my surprise the salesman gave me an OFFER that does not sounds good at all- after told him that i’m not in a hurry to buy a car. He wanted me to walk out of the dealership with the car tonight by simply using CarMax’s financing and agree to give me the option of coming back within one week and canceling the loan if I decided to go with my bank or having my bank pay them directly but if my bank does not agree to increase my loan then I can just stick with their financing. As stated by the author above, to me too, this sounded like a whole lot of complication in exchange for simply getting the car for few days. So, I decided to leave the lot without buying the vehicle and hope to return this weekend after I hear back from bank. I will update you people in about a week or so depending if I end up buying from CarMax. Again, thank you for sharing your honest opinion.

PS – the Salesman asked me to go to a specific website (Jolopnik Carmax MaxCare) to view what customers are saying about CarMax MaxCare Extended Service Plan. This made me laugh. I simply said I will go to and not your own website.

clearingtheair says March 23, 2015

I want to better explain how financing, and MaxCare work, as I have dealt with both on multiple occasions. First to address the financing, yes the financing can be high depending on the individual. The beauty is that you can switch financing within three days for free with no penalty to you’re own private financing and rate if it’s better. There may be a sales person trying to “push” financing on people, but in reality it’s because it’s their job to make the sale, and getting you immediate financing on a vehicle gets them a sale and gets you the car. I personally took advantage of this offer while waiting on financing from my bank out of state, I was able to switch with no issue and it was quick. Yes at that point it was my responsibility to take care of it in a timely manner but I did. I was also thrilled because I didn’t have to wait longer to pick up my car.

As for MaxCare, It does not cost a flat $1000 dollars as mentioned in the article. The cost varies per deductible, vehicle and mileage barrier you chose. I spent 3000.00 on my TDI to care till 125,000 miles with a $250.00 deductible. That was for my particular car, some are more and some are less. The beauty is that the deductible is per visit not per issue. With that being said, it does not cover wear and tear items. Aside from some high ticket manufacture warranties, there are not too many that cover everything and it would be too expensive if they did. The reason why I purchased MaxCare was so if my rather expensive DSG transmission, high pressure fuel filter, turbo, or engine had a problem it would be as simple as a $250 deductible, not a repair bill of $1000-$10,000. The other beauty in MaxCare is that you get a loaner car while repairs are being made. NO RENTAL fees! I have fortunately and unfortunately gotten to take advantage of these features and though my car was laid up for repairs my life went on as normal, just in a loaner car. You don’t buy a used car and not expect regular cost of upkeep. If you buy a Honda or Toyota you probably don’t need to bother with MaxCare at all so skip it, but don’t be mad or offended that someone is trying to offer you a benefit and piece of mind. If you dealt with other used car dealers out there you would see that having MaxCare and financing “pushed” on you is a cake walk. One more thing. Maxcare is refundable for time left on the plan, and if you chose to sell your car privately in the future, you can transfer it to the new owner, giving your used car more value in the resale market.

One last thing, Carmax sells hundreds of thousands of cars per year according to their banners. Their brand breeds loyalty because they are doing it right. They won our family for life!

JonD says March 31, 2015

My experience from the last three cars I bought from a dealership and purchasing the extended warranty is that they are worth the money. While one of my previous warranty companies ended up being a royal pain in the ass, I definitely recuperated my money from each policy. With my 2003 GMC Envoy purchased in 2005 with 50K miles, I had at least $2k worth of repairs on it’s extended warranty purchased for $1k. With my 2006 GMC Envoy XL Denali purchased in 2010 with 50k miles, I had at least $4k in repairs done in the first few months after buying the car. All on a $1k policy. The truck was just out of warranty when we bought when the 4×4 went out then soon after the transmission went out. I was very thankful I made that decision. The dealership felt so bad about all the issues that came up just a few months after buying it that they put 4 brand new tires on as an apology. On this truck, these tires are big and average $250/tire so that was a nice gesture. Now with my latest car, a 2012 Chevy Malibu LTZ, it had only 12k miles on it with a manufactures 36k mile bumper to bumper still in effect. Knowing that we put 25-30k miles/yr on our primary car, I opted for the 150k mile extended warranty with CarMax. With barely over a year of driving the car we are now out of manufacturers warranty. I’ve got an issue right now so I’ll be testing the promises made by CarMax with their MaxCare warranty. I do like the rental car option, not something the manufacturer does for you under their standard warranty. I’m fairly convinced it will be a good experience based on how nicely the entire transaction went when we originally bought it. I didn’t feel pressured because I knew going in that these extended warranties have paid off in the past for me. With a used car you really never know how the car was driven or maintained prior to you. Even with the check they make, they can’t predict everything that will go wrong. It’s nice feeling like you have some protection if/when it does.

Roberto says April 7, 2015

I recently bought a 2012 mercedes Benz glk 350 from these guys. The car was a little under market value at 38k miles. In fantastic condition of course. But I simply agree and regret to say I did purchase an extended service plan. 2 months after purchase a lightbulb started flickering and I kept getting warnings on my dashboard for it. I feel careless for not reading that I had a 250 deductible on my service plan. In carmaxs defense they fixed the bulb problem by replacing it. (I know it’s cheap to do that but mercedes is a little more complicated as far as electronics go, it’s not just twits pull replace, the lightbulb holder looks like a giant microchip)

Point being is they didn’t charge me the deductible to fix it. I got an 18% rate!! I know I know. But mind you that I have terrible credit and I’m 23, the fact that they handed over a 32k car surprised me. Anyway, I’m refinancing it with my credit union this month and I’ll get that considerably down.

I should have read the fine print behind the fine print to see how many things weren’t covered. But what I love about making a mistake is that it’s the best way to learn from it. Thanks for the article


Josh says April 18, 2015

I don’t really see the problem with the MaxCare.

Can I afford an extra $25 a month on my car payment? Yes. Can I afford a $3,000 repair bill to fix a broken transmission? No. I’m in a new city, I don’t have a backup vehicle, I don’t have a way to get to work should that happen. In that situation, I would be up a creek. Yes, CarMax will PROBABLY make money on my plan over the long run. But they are also providing me a service in preventing me from being royally f***ed for not having $3,000 cash sitting around, and generally, people get paid to provide a service. Also, I can cancel at any time and they will give me a pro-rated refund for the remaining time on my MaxCare plan. To me, there’s a LOT more risk in not buying the MaxCare.

Tom Soraoka says May 14, 2015

Nice posting. Good homework. All car buyers should do homework before making a major purchase like this. I’m an old guy and have purchased many cars in my lifetime, and I agree whole heartedly with what you did. However, there are exceptions. I got pre-approved from various banks and credit unions prior to going to a Honda dealer. My best interest rate was 2.99%. The dealer offered 1.99%. And there are exceptions to warrantees. We bought a Toyota Sienna with all the bells and whistles, and paid $2000+ for the warranty. A year later, one of the power doors stopped working. Toyota replaced all the electronics for the door (approx. $2000 worth of repairs), all covered by the warranty. The next year, the other power door went out. Again, covered by warranty. Got a letter offering to purchase another warranty. Decided to accept and paid another $2000+. About 4 years later, still under warranty, both power doors went out. All repairs covered under warranty. The car is now 12 years old and both power doors still working, but now out of warranty. Moral to this story… don’t buy a 2001 Sienna with power doors. Also bought a used 2005 Acura MDX with all the bells and whistles, and purchased the warranty. A few months later, the navigation system stopped working. The whole navigation system (approx. $5000) was replaced under warranty. I think if you are buying a high end car or a car with a lot of electronics, a warranty is a good option. We car currently shopping for a car at CarMax and have been very impressed with the custom search engine on their website, and like their business model of shipping 4×4 to the local store for free. And based on previous reviews shown in this blog, we will probably end up purchasing from them.

Enzo says June 29, 2015

If you purchase any luxury brand from Carmax like BMW, Mercedes, Porsche or Land Rover, the the Carmax Maxcare will pay for itself easily. The things that aren’t covered are mostly the usual wear and tear items. Had an Land Rover LR3 and got a new $6,000 transmission for $50 deductible. Nice.

cher says July 6, 2015

I have stayed up half the night reading this. Super thread – thanks for starting this! I am looking at buying my car from Carmax for the 1st time. I am super nervous b/c of so many mixed reviews in the Georgia area. My biggest concern is being able to use Maxcare, not being anywhere near a “center”, and about the return policy b/c I want to get the car checked out within the 1st 5 days.

Bernie says July 15, 2015

Great thread about CarMax. We have purchased two cars from CarMax so let me share our experiences with you. In 2005 my wife and I purchased a 1997 Buick Park Avenue Ultra with low mileage in mint condition for $10,000, a beautiful car with all the options. We still have the car. It now has 275,000 miles. CarMax had a great selection of low mileage cars in very good condition. I don’t remember the interest rates involved but we accepted their financing package to drive the car home and then a few days later financed the car through our credit union. The process was simple and CarMax gave us no grief about switching over. I actually had more trouble with my own credit union because they didn’t like the price of the Buick but they finally agreed to finance it at a slightly better interest rate than CarMax. We did buy the MaxCare warranty. Within the first month the electric switches to adjust the driver’s seat failed. After the sale at CarMax you will never deal with or see your salesperson again. They hand you off to their Service Dept. The Service Dept. agreed to replace the switches at no cost under the initial 30 day 100% bumper to bumper warranty. It then took five trips, endless phone calls and one month to finally get the seat fixed. Once they told us that the car was done, the part was in and to come get the car. When we arrived the seat was not fixed and all they had done was move the car from one spot to another in their lot. Whenever they had the car we were without a car, no loaners were available back then. We obviously decided to never, ever have the car serviced at CarMax again and we didn’t. Two years later the entire electronic instrument panel failed. A Buick dealer replaced it for $1,200. To their credit MaxCare paid for it without argument. So the policy turned out to be a smart purchase. Now let me flash forward 10 years to this year. In May of 2015 we were looking for a small used commuter car with low miles and good gas mileage to drive back and forth to work. We shopped on-line, visited used car dealers, new car dealers, etc. Our previous initial buying experience at CarMax had been pleasant and they still have a huge selection of nice cars. So we decided that maybe we could buy the car there, just never have them service it afterwards. We found a fully optioned 2009 Chevy Aveo with only 11,500 miles on it. It was cute, roomy, drove very nice for a small car and in mint condition. The five year Chevy warranty had already expired. But the car was practically brand new with only one prior owner per the CarFax report. That model Chevy is built by Daewoo in Korea, GM bought them few years ago, and it does not have a great reputation for reliability. We did some research. GM/Daewoo’s quality control is spotty. Some car owners reported lots of problems while others went 200,000 miles with no trouble. So it was a no brainer to purchase the $1,300 5 year/100,000 mile MaxCare warranty. My only regret it that we chose the $250 deductible. I wish we had chosen the no deductible option. Still, the $1,300 warranty is only $22 a month when you average it out over five years. That is nothing for the peace of mind provided. We always keep our cars, well maintained, I might add, and drive them until the wheels fall off. I am absolutely positive that the car will need an expensive repair in the next five years. After the sale we had a pleasant surprise. This CarMax dealer has greatly improved their service. During our first month of ownership the air-conditioning failed. The Service Dept. gave us a fully loaded Chevy Cruze to use for the week while they sent the Aveo to the local Chevy dealer to have the compressor and several other parts replaced at no charge to us. The chrome plating on the inside door handles started to peel off (crappy GM quality control) and they replaced the door handles at no charge. They assigned us a personal service advisor who has been great. We have decided to let them service the car this time. So, overall I can highly recommend CarMax. They charge a $1,500 to $2,000 premium for their cars but in the long run it is probably worth it. I would definitely recommend the extended warranty on any car but I like the extra security blanket in case something big breaks and I don’t want to be blind sided by a big repair bill. Notice I said any car, even a Japanese car with a good reputation for reliability. Why? The electronics. Two short examples, I had a friend who bought a loaded four door Nissan Titan pickup for about $40,000. He had nothing but trouble with it. $2,000 for this, $4,000 for that. $12,000 of “fixes” under warranty. They could never get all the electronic gremlins worked out. He finally got rear ended at a red light. He was never happier. He used the insurance to buy an F250 and lived happily ever after. Another friend bought a Toyota Prius. In her first year of ownership she had to replace both headlight assemblies $500 each. Second year, the navigation screen died, $1,500 all under warranty. Finally, I learned too late the truth of the saying, “Never buy a German car without a warranty.” My wife fell in love with a 1999 Mercedes ML320, the same SUV shown in the movie Jurassic Park. It had “only” 50,000 miles, so why buy a warranty. Mercedes are well designed and well built right? It would have been cheaper to have a cocaine habit that to own a Mercedes without a warranty. Even simple repairs are horrendously expensive. The car bled us white with small repairs. Every switch in the car went, some twice. Ultimately the transmission failed at 100,000 miles. We were quoted $5,400 to repair it. We donated the car to charity. Maybe insurance companies always win because they don’t have to pay out on most policies. But I’ve personally never owned a car or truck that didn’t require a covered repair big enough to justify the cost of the policy.

Mike says July 20, 2015

Short and sweet.. Had two Toyotas from CarMax bought the warranty. One car had a transmission replaced under max care $3,500 total cost I paid $50 the warranty cost $1,300. Other Toyota had complete AC system replaced and power seat motor under max care $4300 total cost warranty was $1,350 I paid $50. I received a free rental car both times. Also both cars I traded in after two years and got $700 back on the first warranty $956 on the second warranty even though I used them. Both cars had about 100,000 on them when I bought them. Love everything about CarMax and will buy every car I ever get in the future from them.

Sandra says October 14, 2015

I am sooooo glad to have found this thread. I know at some point in the not too distant future, my 05 Pilot with 255,000 miles I put on there myself, will have to be replaced. I have and still love it but I would love to get a Mercedes SUV. I was worried about maintenance costs but a woman said she gets the service done there at Carmax bc it’s a third less than the dealer. Plus the extended warranty is a no brainer. I’ve had no problems with my Pilot. Even if I decide to get another Pilot, I’d get the Maxcare. The vehicles today are so much more complex today as far as electronics. It’s the same unfortunately with appliances like a washer lets say. My sister kept having to get hers fixed…all electronics. The old ones lasted forever. Another woman said her nav system died. $5000.00 to replace…covered under Maxcare. I was looking online for extended warranty companies and came across Carmax and here. I’ve heard good things about Carmax before finding this thread. I definitely will make my next purchase there. I will come back next year and let you know how it went. Thanks to everyone for sharing their experiences!!!!

Brad Spiers says January 8, 2016

Got the MaxCare warranty with a used 07 Audi A4 purchased at CarMax in 2010. Worked out to about $25 per month payment for the warranty over a 72 month term. We have gotten more than double in benefits over what we paid for the warranty. In this case, the warranty was a good buy, even covered the parts that had to be shipped from Germany to repair the under-seat airbag sensor. By the way, would not purchase another Audi….never ever. Had so many problems with that vehicle.

susanne says February 18, 2016

I am about to buy my second car from CarMax…last one had dealer warranties on so we did not buy the extended coverage. Today I am signing on a 2012 mini cooper Countryman with 58 K miles. Our interest rate is super low. We are debating if we should buy the extra warranty and after reading every comment I still have not concluded. Any input? Thanks

    J says February 19, 2016

    Minis are well known to have lots of issues in and out of warranty. They are fun cars and offer a lot, but I would avoid it all together if you don’t want to make frequent trips to a mechanic. I have seen my fair share regardless of miles. If you are solely into the Mini I highly recommend an extended warranty and spring for the low deductible it may cost more up front but will definitely save you on the long run. The cost of Maxcare varies for the type of vehicle and the potential for issues so a Mini would likely rate higher cost than a Honda.

Kevin says March 7, 2016

I’ve purchased about 15 vehicles in my life, and have to say that I’ll buy all of my vehicles from CarMax in the future. It’s apparent that this article (granted it’s 4 years old) was written by someone who hadn’t purchased many vehicles.
Even brand new vehicles “bumper-to-bumper” warranties exclude the items listed in the article. Those are considered “fair wear and tear” type parts that are going to wear out. The warranties are meant to cover items that are not supposed to break. The CarMax warranty is an option that many people can do without. What you should be asking is, “Am I going to keep this vehicle as long as my purchased warranty?” If you’re someone who trades every 2-3 years and the vehicle only has 10,000 miles on it and is a recent model year, don’t do the warranty. If you’re someone who drives a vehicle until the wheels fall off, or the vehicle you’re purchasing is out of factory warranty, buy the extended warranty.
As for the financing, they were being 100% legitimate. I drove off in my purchased vehicle without even closing on the loan. My wife was on the title for my trade-in and wasn’t there to sign on Monday when I went in. I got a 2.45% APR (this is based on your credit AND other factors). My wife didn’t go in to sign the paperwork until Saturday. They are legitimately willing to help in an effort to make sure they’re selling cars.

They gave me more than other dealerships would on my truck and are asking fair prices for their cars. I would recommend everyone to go to CarMax and purchase a vehicle, especially noobs.

Seth Krauss says April 22, 2016

Luckily I have had extended service contracts on all of the used vehicles I’ve purchased in the past thirty years. The last new car I purchased was a Plymouth Horizon in 1977. Every one since has been a showroom “User model” or a “Pre certified used” vehicle. I have never had cause to regret the extra cost of the warranty because I keep my cars until 125 – 160,000 miles. I literally run them to death.

Just a few of my X warranty experiences:

1996 Ford Explorer ate a timing belt with 100K on the clock. Warranty paid for a Factory new short block. The warranty cost, $ 800.00. The short block, around $ 3,000.00 not including S&H from Dearborne KI.

2003 Chevy Corvette C-5. Car started running hot and intermittently rough. They had to replace some sensors that were located deep within the engine block. time to repair two days. Cost of warranty $ 1,700.00. Repair cost would have been $ 2,800.

So far my family has purchased five cars or trucks from Carmax and only twice has the Maxcare not been used; But since I usually get the 125,000 mile/ $100.00 deductible options I think there’s still time on my Ford Ranger, (63,000) and Volvo V-70, (82,000). Even if I don’t use them, the piece of mind is worth it to me and my overall payback on the other three contracts have covered the “Break even” on all five.

I think its worth it.

Tanner says November 12, 2016

Bought a 2013 ram 2500 Cummins with 18k miles from carmax and it was a rather pleasurable experience. Had my own loan from USAA and didn’t bother with their financing. I did get the MaxCare because it was only 1000 dollars, the way I see it, especially with my truck, 1 fuel injector costs 400 bucks so even that would save me 100 dollars. If all of them failed I would have made my money back and then some. There are plenary of covered components that alone would cost more than the warranty, not to mention labor. Haven’t had to use it but if I do I will be happy I have it!

Glenn Gipson says November 14, 2016

We bought a 2011 Smart from the Memphis Carmax in July of 2014. Almost immediately it started making a noise from the front of the car with the AC on at stoplights. I determined there was a fan that kicked on in these situations. Of course through the next winter we had no problems. Then in the spring this noise was worse, so since we bought the Maxcare warranty we took it back and received a loaner car. Was told originally by our salesman that their shop could fix most problems with our car. They couldn’t do anything to this car so they sent it to a local German car shop. They heard the noise but determined these cars just make noises like this and gave it back after about a week. We drove it like this for a few more months until the noise went away. Only now at stoplights the AC would quit working and after a few moments the overtemperature symbol would appear on the dash and a CEL would trigger. So back to Carmax. This time they determined the car would have to be shipped to the Nashville Smart dealership for repairs. We didn’t care as we again had a loaner. After 2 MONTHS the car came back. This time, although even the Nashville dealer saw (and cleared) the CEL, they couldn’t determine what was causing this. Just said “these cars run hot like this.” I found on a forum that a lot of Smarts had fan trouble like this and the dealership couldn’t figure that out. It is very costly to fix this! So we drove like this for about another year and a half. Summer of 2016 now and it dies on the side of a busy Memphis interstate loop and won’t restart. We tow it like this to the Carmax dealership. Only this time I find out that I won’t get a loaner car. They only give that in the 1st 30 days. Mind you it was at least 7 months since our purchase that we brought it in the 1st time. They still can’t work on this car so I’m told now we have to pay $650 to ship it to Nashville to determine if Maxcare will even honor the warranty.

To make a longer story short, after 11 weeks we still don’t have our car, it is in a shop I found in West Memphis, AR and after the warranty company sent out a faulty engine (their insistence) I might have my car by the end of this week. DO NOT BUY A CAR AT CARMAX, BUT IF YOU HAVE TO, DON’T BUY THE WARRANTY. Simply put aside any money that may cost and use it when something breaks.

loyd H says December 7, 2016

Man listen; I bout a 2013 Nissan Maxima fully loaded. I have put y car in the shop twice over the past two years. In total the maxplan covered over 5000.00 in repairs. In the event I declined the coverage I would have been screwed. For that alone I feel it was worth it. The peace of mind is far better than not having a car in the event something goes wrong.

Larry Francisco says December 31, 2016

I purchased an extended warranty and put it like this, I have a 2010 hyundai genesis 4.6 and with 60000 miles the service department at the hyundai dealer that the Carmax service department referred me to told me I needed a new engine. I’m still in the process, the estimate is $15,000+, they extended my rental by 5 days total 12 days, standard policy has 7 days. It wasn’t an easy road, with service record request, wanting to teardown valve covers to get pictures for confirmation of regular oil changes, but in the end approval including $100 back for the $140 towing expense. I went about 6 days that I was responsible for rental cost, which when the service department went over the date they promised my car back, I’m in a loaner til they finish up.

saber1 says July 2, 2017

Can someone post a breakdown of the warranty cost with applicable deductibles? Or, does the cost depend on the vehicle purchased or purchase price? For example, $1300 with a $250 deductible, etc. Thank you.

B says August 4, 2017

Regarding the financing and APR… APR is based upon your credit score, income and financial history. So 9% is not a reflection of CarMax but of the buyer’s financial history, etc. Also, CarMax has a policy that if you find APR financing lower than what CarMax offers you, they will match it.
I just bought my car at CarMax. There was no pressure to purchase the MaxCare warranty. Everyone was friendly, courteous and respectful. I had a very positive experience buying my car at CarMax.

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