See what’s included with an extended service plan from this popular used car dealership.
CarMax is well known for its used car dealerships throughout the United States. Consumers purchasing used vehicles are usually searching for a good deal, and they can often find it at a CarMax. CarMax sells high and low-mileage vehicles of all shapes and sizes, and they take the headache out of negotiating, because the price you see is the price you’ll get.
Especially in the case of used vehicles, an extended car warranty can protect drivers from the cost of expensive repairs as the car continues to age and accrue miles. Extended warranties can be purchased from a number of providers, and CarMax offers its own extended car warranty program with two plans that can be purchased with any CarMax vehicle. The program is called MaxCare®. But what does it cover? Is it worth the investment? How long does coverage last?
Below, we review CarMax MaxCare and explain why we think you’d be better off choosing an extended warranty from a different provider.
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In This Article:
- Summary: What We Think About MaxCare
- CarMax Limited Warranty
- MaxCare Extended Warranty
- CarMax Customer Service
- What Are My Extended Warranty Options Outside of CarMax?
- So, Which Extended Warranty Company Is Best?
Summary: What We Think About MaxCare
If you’re going to purchase an extended warranty for your CarMax vehicle, it may seem easiest to buy MaxCare on the spot. The coverage is pretty standard, but details are difficult to find online. We recommend asking a lot of questions and getting a sample contract before making a decision. There are plenty of other third-party warranty extended warranty companies out there who provide more coverage options and better benefits.
Coverage for the most important systems
RepairPal® certified repair facilities
Only available at the time of your CarMax vehicle purchase
No $0 deductible option
Fewer reimbursement benefits than most extended warranty contracts
CarMax Limited Warranty
CarMax tends to sell used cars that range from one to six years old, meaning roughly half of the vehicles will no longer be covered by the manufacturer's warranty. All vehicles sold by CarMax come with a Limited Warranty at no extra cost. According to CarMax, its Limited Warranty lasts for 90 days or 4,000 miles and covers “all of your vehicle’s important systems and hundreds of parts inside and out.” Extensive details on the CarMax warranty aren’t available on the company’s website, so you’ll need to contact a local CarMax to fully understand what it does and does not cover.
Regardless of how well the CarMax warranty does protect your vehicle, the term length is only 90 days, which is a mere fraction of the time you’re likely to own your vehicle. That’s why CarMax offers MaxCare, an extended car warranty program.
CarMax Extended Warranty: MaxCare
Relatively early in the car buying process at CarMax, you’ll likely be presented with the option to purchase a MaxCare extended service plan.
Added protection is an appealing option, especially since CarMax shoppers leave the lot with a used vehicle, and some may have chosen less reliable, more affordable models in an effort to save money.
Before a CarMax representative offers a MaxCare warranty to you, it’s important to know the facts. Understanding MaxCare plans can keep you from being swayed one way or the other by a CarMax representative who’s simply trying to make the sale. Here’s what you should know:
- Covered Systems: The parts MaxCare covers includes the engine, transmission, drivetrain, electronics, electrical systems, steering, suspension, cooling system, and climate control.
- MaxCare Cost: Your CarMax warranty cost can be added to the amount you’re financing, so you pay for it over time (with interest), or it can be paid for in full up front.
- Deductible: Each time you bring your car in for a repair, you’ll pay an agreed upon deductible per visit. The lowest possible deductible is $50.
- When to Buy: You can only purchase MaxCare at the time of your CarMax vehicle purchase. The vehicle can still be under its factory warranty.
- Transferability: MaxCare coverage is transferable if you sell your car, but restrictions apply.
- Roadside Assistance: CarMax’s extended warranty includes 24/7 emergency roadside assistance up to $100 per occurrence. However, replacement items aren’t included. For example, if you have a flat tire or run out of gas, you pay for the tire replacement or the fuel.
- Rental Reimbursement: CarMax will cover your rental car up to $40 a day for 7 days while it’s in the repair shop.
- Repair Facilities: MaxCare uses the nationwide network of certified RepairPal facilities.
- Direct Payment: CarMax will pay the repair facility directly.
We recommend asking for a sample contract before you purchase a MaxCare extended warranty. That way, you can read about the coverage yourself and ask questions as needed.
Unlike CarMax’s straightforward car pricing system, MaxCare plan costs and term lengths are difficult aren’t disclosed online.
It’s important to note that MaxCare is administered by independent third-party administrators, which means that CarMax dealerships aren’t responsible for any issues or problems you have throughout the course of your warranty’s term.
Here’s a sample of what the CarMax extended warranty won’t cover:
- Regular maintenance services like oil changes and tune-ups
- Aftermarket accessories, like GPS, radar detectors and radios
- Maintenance parts such as batteries, air conditioning refrigerant, engine coolant, drive belts, brake pads and shoes
- Modifications outside of those made by the manufacturer or its representative
- Repairs made to meet government emission standards
- Damage from collision
- Damage from negligence or misuse
- Suspension work, tires, wheels, catalytic converter, manual transmission work
- Painting, bumpers, alignment of body parts
CarMax Customer Service
CarMax is a key player in the auto industry. The company has upward of 200 stores nationwide, making it the largest used car seller in the country, and it’s known for a hassle-free, no-haggle buying process.
While car buying blogs often encourage shoppers to negotiate the price of a used car, all CarMax prices are non-negotiable. The price you see listed on the vehicle is exactly the price you’ll pay. Not to mention, all CarMax salespeople are paid on a flat-commission basis, so they have no incentive to sway you one way or another with regard to the make or model of the car you’re considering. This straightforward approach tends to earn CarMax positive reviews among consumers when it comes to the purchase process.
One woman said of her experience, “It was so easy. There was no stress, no pressure to try to beat the offer. I know that hasn’t been everyone’s experience, but I would definitely do it again.”
CarMax itself has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau, but keep in mind that all its services are wrapped into that grade. Extended warranties are just a small part of the CarMax business. It’s likely you’ll work with a different customer service group when using your MaxCare extended warranty, as CarMax doesn’t administer the contract.
What Are My Extended Warranty Options Outside of CarMax?
Buying a used car can be a stressful experience on its own, whether you choose to buy from CarMax or another dealer, but protecting it with an extended warranty doesn’t have to be. Before deciding on a CarMax MaxCare warranty, consider other third-party car warranty companies to make sure you’re getting the best deal.
During our research of leading third-party extended warranty providers, we found that there’s a lot to like about these vehicle service contracts. For example:
- Third-party providers normally have at least three coverage levels and several contract options. For example, CARCHEX and CarShield have at least 15 plans. CarMax seems to just offer one.
- Many third-party providers are brokers, meaning they’re getting contracts from at least one administrator. This can lower the cost of your contract, as there’s more competition between brands.
- You can pay for your extended warranty over a few years or a few months. Some companies like CarShield offer month-to-month contracts.
- Pretty much all third-warranty providers include roadside assistance, towing reimbursement, rental car reimbursement, and other benefits. The trick is to compare how much they reimburse you and over how many days.
- Most third-party companies allow you to use any ASE-certified repair facilities. This can include national chains, independent shops, and dealership service centers.
It goes without saying that companies that focus on one service or offering tend to excel in said product. These third-party warranty companies are focused solely on providing high-quality warranties to its customers, whereas, for CarMax, extended warranties are an afterthought to the primary focus of selling used cars.
So, Which Extended Warranty Company Is Best?
In our research, it came down to these four best car warranty providers. When shopping, we recommend comparing quotes from each company.
We ranked CARCHEX as Best Overall because they scored well across all our categories: coverage options, trustworthiness, cost, customer service, convenience, and additional perks.
CARCHEX is a reputable third-party car warranty company that’s been in the industry for over 20 years. The company offers five levels of coverage that are further broken down into a total of 16 warranty contracts. Coverage ranges from comprehensive protection that’s similar to your manufacturer’s warranty to basic powertrain protection for your engine, transmission, and related parts. This customization alone makes it more flexible than a CarMax extended warranty.
What really sets CARCHEX apart from other third-party warranty companies is its reputation for providing a positive experience throughout the shopping process. We like how the CARCHEX sales teams take a customer-centric, consultative approach. The representatives will gladly answer all your questions along with providing a quote customized to your vehicle.
CARCHEX’s reputation has also earned the company a long list of endorsements and partnerships from trusted companies in the industry, including SiriusXM, RepairPal, Kelley Blue Book, Edmunds, CARFAX, and more.
Here’s a closer look at some of the finer details and differences between CARCHEX and MaxCare.
|Coverage Options||As low as one plan option||Customizable coverage from multiple providers, levels of coverage, and specific plans|
|Deductible costs||As low as $50||As low as $0|
|When to Purchase||When you buy your CarMax vehicle||Anytime, including if the car has high mileage|
|Repair Facility||RepairPal certified facilities||ASE-certified facilities|