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How to Sell?

CarFax vs CarMax Offer in 2024

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Written by: Michael Becker
Last Updated:

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Which is Better for Selling the Car?

Upon looking at how CARFAX and CarMax work when it comes to car-selling, CarMax turns out as a better option. The company buys vehicles in most conditions, with few exceptions. 

CarMax’s offer is also longer—you have 7 days to consider it, while CARFAX offers are only valid for 3 days. In addition, CarMax’s payout and turnaround times are shorter, letting you get cash for your car within 48 hours of submitting your online application. 

While CARFAX works with partner dealerships across the US, CarMax guarantees you’ll only be dealing with them. For that, you can trust them to honor instant cash offers more. 

Finally, CarMax provides more ways to contact their support team if you have questions about their services. Depending on the urgency of your concern, you can reach them through social media, chat, an online form, or a hotline. 

CARFAX Summary

  • Dealerships compete for your car
  • Free tool to accurate price your car
  • Receive accurate offers within 3 days
  • Carfax connects you directly with dealerships

CarMax Summary

  • Instant online offer in under 2 minutes
  • Online offer is valid for up to 7 days
  • 2 options for selling – online or in-store
  • Get paid within 30 minutes on the spot

CARFAX vs. CarMax Comparison

Logo carfax logo carmax logo
Cars acceptedIn good conditionCars in most conditions, with exceptions
Requesting quotesOnline applicationOnline application
Offer validity3 days7 days
Payments offeredCash through check or direct depositBank draft
PayoutUp to 72 hoursUp to 48 hours
Car pick-upDrop offDrop-off and free-up in selected locations
Physical locationsPartner dealerships in the US240 CarMax locations nationwide
Turnaround timeUp to 72 hoursUp to 48 hours
Customer serviceContact form and social mediaSocial media, contact form, chat, or hotline

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Cars Accepted

CARFAX will buy your car if it falls under any of these conditions:

  1. Fair: has cosmetic flaws or mechanical issues that are repairable or replaceable
  2. Good: has only minor cosmetic flaws and no major mechanical issues
  3. Excellent: has no cosmetic flaw or mechanical issue and is good as new

CarMax, on the other hand, accepts cars in most conditions. The only exceptions are those with frame or flood damage and salvage history.

When you sell your car to CarMax, you’ll need to prepare the following:

  • Valid and current registration
  • Valid IDs of titleholders
  • Payoff information or title, with all the titleholders, present during the sale
  • All remotes and keys


CARFAX and CarMax are free to use for the most part. Their free services include online application and appraisal.

Requesting Quotes

To request quotes, you can complete an online application to CARFAX. On the CARFAX homepage, click the Get Cash Offers button and enter your car’s VIN or plate number. 

Succeeding pages will ask for your car’s trim, options, and condition, and enter your contact details. From there, their partner dealerships will contact you with offers, allowing you to sell for the best price. 

Once you select a dealership, you can set up an appointment to bring your car. They will inspect it to confirm its condition and finalize the sale.

CarMax has a similar online application process as CARFAX since they also require either the VIN or license plate number. You’ll also have to provide accurate details about your car’s condition and history. 

If you still owe money on your vehicle, you’ll also need to provide leasing information. Unlike CARFAX, CarMax’s website can generate an instant quote when you complete the online form. 

Then, you can choose from one of the 240 stores to claim the offer and schedule an appointment there. This process lets you skip dealing with local dealerships since you’ll sell directly to CarMax.

Offer Validity

CARFAX offers are only good for 3 days, while CarMax allows you to claim your instant cash offer for up to 7 days.

Payments Offered

When selling to CARFAX, you have two payment methods to consider: check or direct deposit. 

On the other hand, CarMax only offers payment through bank drafts. You’ll need to deposit this to your bank account, subject to your bank’s holding period. 


It can take up to 72 hours or 3 days to get paid when you sell your car through CARFAX, while payout times can take up to 48 hours with CarMax.

Car Pick-up

CARFAX doesn’t offer a pick-up option. You’ll need to bring your car to one of their stores or choose a local dealership to finalize the sale.

On the other hand, CarMax offers pick-up services in select locations. For CarMax to pick up your car from your driveway, you’ll need to be within 30 miles of the nearest store that offers pick-ups. You can also drop off your car at any of the 240 CarMax locations nationwide.

Physical Locations

CARFAX works with numerous dealerships nationwide, and you can use the locator on their website to find one near you. Meanwhile, CarMax has 240 stores across the country, and its website also has a store locator.

Turnaround Time

Selling your car to CARFAX can take up to 72 hours since you’ll need to wait for offers from local dealerships. You can also factor in the time it takes for these dealerships to pay, which is also 3 days. 

Compared to that, CarMax takes up to 48 hours to finalize a sale. This timeframe already includes receiving the bank draft and if your vehicle is leased, communicating with your leasing company. 

Customer Service

CARFAX offers the following ways to reach their customer service team:

To contact CarMax’s customer service, you can try any of the following:

  • Chat icon on their website, available Mon-Sun 10 AM to 8:45 PM EST
  • Call 1-913-384-6697, available Mon- Fri 8 AM to 10 PM; Sat. 9 AM to 6 PM EST
  • Complete an online form
  • Send a DM to its Twitter or Facebook account. 


Logo carfax logo carmax logo
Better Business Bureau1.031.15
Consumer Affairs4.03.2

Most of the issues customers have with CARFAX are about their vehicle reports, which they claim were inaccurate and pricey. Also, few customers claim they received low offers from their partner dealerships.

In contrast, customers on Consumer Affairs complimented CARFAX for an easy car-buying experience. Others also liked their responsive and professional salesperson. Many of the complaints on Trustpilot are from customers about their car buying experience and the quality of their purchases. 

Looking over at BBB, CarMax was able to address these concerns and provide answers when necessary. As for car-selling, customers liked that selling to CarMax was easy and hassle-free. Others also pointed out that CarMax made the highest offer out of all places they checked.

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Michael Becker


About the author:

Michael Becker is a car enthusiast and expert who has been working in the automotive industry for over 15 years. He started his career as a salesperson at a local dealership, where he learned the ins and outs of the car market. Then he moved on to flipping cars for a profit.

Michael has also helped many of his relatives and friends to sell their cars, using his knowledge and skills to get them the best deals. He will guide you through the process and help you avoid the common pitfalls.

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