See what’s included with an extended service plan from this popular used car dealership.

 
 

 

CarMax sells high and low-mileage vehicles of all shapes and sizes. Because all of these vehicles are used, you should consider an extended service plan, also known as an extended car warranty, which 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, including CarMax. MaxCare®, the name of the official CarMax warranty, offers an extended service plan program with multiple options that can be purchased with any CarMax vehicle. But what does it cover? Is it worth the investment? How long does coverage last?

Below, we review MaxCare and explain why we think you’d be better off choosing an extended service plan from a different provider.

 

 

In This Article:

 


 

What We Think About MaxCare

If you’re going to purchase an extended service plan 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. 

 


 

CarMax Limited Warranty

CarMax tends to sell used cars that range from one to eleven 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 service plan program. 

 


 

CarMax Extended Service Plan: 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 service plan 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:

Coverage Details

Covered Systems

The parts MaxCare covers includes the engine, transmission, drivetrain, electronics, electrical systems, steering, suspension, cooling system, and climate control

MaxCare Cost

Your MaxCare service plan 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. In most states, this deductible is reduced to $0 if you have your vehicle serviced at CarMax or a certified RepairPal facility.

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

MaxCare 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

You can use MaxCare at any ASE-certified facility.

Direct Payment

MaxCare will pay the repair facility directly.

 

We recommend asking for a sample contract before you purchase a MaxCare extended service plan. 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 aren’t disclosed online.

It’s important to note that MaxCare is sold by CarMax, but is a contract with independent third-party service plan administrators. This means CarMax dealerships aren’t responsible for any issues or problems you have throughout the course of your service plan's term.

 


 

MaxCare Exclusions

Here’s a sample of what the MaxCare extended service plan 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 commented about her experience with CarMax on ThePennyHoarder.com, saying, “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. Selling extended service plans is just a small part of the CarMax business. Because the MaxCare service plan is a contract with a third-party service plan provider, you will be working with a different customer service group when using MaxCare.

 


 

What Are My Service Plan Options Outside of MaxCare? 

Pros Cons

Coverage for the most important systems

Only available at the time of your CarMax vehicle purchase

Transferable

$50 deductible reduced to $0 in many states

Many service center options, including RepairPal® certified repair facilities

Fewer reimbursement benefits than most extended service plans

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 service plan doesn’t have to be. Before deciding on MaxCare, consider other third-party vehicle service contract 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, CarShield and CARCHEX have at least 15 plans.
  • 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-party 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 (and MaxCare) allow you to use any ASE-certified repair facilities. This can include national chains, independent shops, and dealership service centers.

 


 

So, Which Extended Service Plan Company Is Best?

In our research, it came down to these three best extended car warranty providers. When shopping for extended warranties, the best thing to do is call around and get quotes customized to your specific vehicle. That way, you can compare each company’s prices and get a feel for customer service. Get a free quote from our top three providers below:

 
 

We ranked Endurance as Best Overall because it scored well across all our categories: coverage options, trustworthiness, cost, customer service, convenience, and additional perks. 

CARCHEX is another reputable third-party extended 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 21 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 MaxCare extended service plan.

We chose CARCHEX for Best Service because of 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.

  MaxCare CARCHEX
Coverage Options Mimimum of four plan options for every prospective customer Customizable coverage from multiple providers, levels of coverage, and specific plans
Deductible costs As low as $50, or $0 for service at CarMax or a certified RepairPal facility in most states As low as $0
When to Purchase When you buy your CarMax vehicle Anytime, including if the car has high mileage
Repair Facility ASE-certified facilities ASE-certified facilities
 

 

Read our guides to other warranty providers: