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CarMax vs AutoNation: Fees, Features, Reviews, and More

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CarMax vs. AutoNation

What is CarMax?

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

CarMax is a car dealership based in the United States. The chain has more than 200 stores throughout the country and specializes in buying, selling, and trading used cars. CarMax has been around for almost two decades. As such, the company has honed its processes for buying and selling used cars over time.

CarMax has one of the widest ranges of used cars for sale. In addition, the company also buys almost any vehicle. With over 25,000 employees in 41 states, CarMax is one of the largest car dealerships in the United States, making it an excellent choice for selling your car. 

Apart from buying, selling, and trading used cars, CarMax also offers used car financing for buyers. Thus, if you are in the market for a used car but do not want to pay for it upfront, CarMax is the used car dealership for you.

How Does CarMax Work?

To sell your car to CarMax, start by visiting their website and filling in the form they have. CarMax prides itself on its Usainly Fast Offers. You can get an offer for your car by providing either the license plate or the vehicle identification number. Once you have provided this information, the system will generate an offer for you in just two minutes. 

Alternatively, if you don’t want to use the online offer system, you can also schedule an in-person offer. You can do so using the appointment form on the website. Once you have scheduled an appointment, bring your used car to the designated CarMax store. A CarMax associate will assess your vehicle on the spot and make you an offer for it.

Regardless of whether you choose to get an online offer or an in-person offer, you can rest assured that CarMax is one of the fastest ways to sell your used car. When you have received an offer from CarMax, you can get paid for your used car on the same day. 

If you want to check out other dealers to see if you can get a better price, CarMax will give you up to seven days to consider their offer. Do note that if you wish to accept the offer CarMax has made you, you will need to provide the following documents before they pay you:

  • Your used car’s title or payoff information. All titleholders should be present.
  • Valid and current registrations
  • Valid state-issued photo ID for all titleholders.
  • All keys and remotes
  • Any other requirements for selling a car in your state

What is AutoNation?

AutoNation Summary

  • Over 300 locations in the US available
  • Get an online offer within 30 minutes
  • Online offer valid for up to 7 days
  • Get paid within 24 hours for your car

AutoNation is a car dealership based in Fort Lauderdale. The company was founded in 1996 by Wayne Huizenga and has since grown to become one of the largest car dealerships in the United States. Today, the company has more than 300 stores throughout the United States and employs over 26,000 associates. 

How Does AutoNation Work?

Like CarMax, AutoNation provides an online offer service. Individuals interested in selling a vehicle to AutoNation can get an offer by visiting the website and filling in some basic information about it. 

To get an online offer from AutoNation, you will need:

  • Either the license plate or Vehicle Identification Number
  • Information about the vehicle
  • The physical condition of the vehicle
  • Photos of the vehicle

All in all, it takes about 5 minutes to fill in all the fields on the form. Once you have filled in the form, the system will generate an offer for you within 30 minutes. Online offers made by AutoNation are valid for up to 7 days from the day of the offer, or up to 500 additional miles traveled with the vehicle. 

If you want to accept the offer that AutoNation has made you for your vehicle, all you need to do is to bring it to any AutoNation store, where an associate will verify the information and condition of the vehicle before paying you.

sell car to dealer

CarMax vs. AutoNation Fees

FeesNo fees typically. CarMax dealerships in some states may charge state fees and processing fees of between $100 to $400 per saleNo fees for selling. Some states may have additional fees or taxes that you may need to pay
What’s Included– Same day payment
– Online offer within 2 minutes
– Offer valid for up to 7 days
– Same day payment
– Online offer within 30 minutes
– Offer valid for up to 7 days or an additional 500 miles

CarMax vs. AutoNation Features

Instant Online Offer

Both CarMax and AutoNation provide instant online offers to sellers who want to sell their used cars. Thus, this means that used car sellers can get an offer online just by filling in some details about their vehicle. Plus, the offers provided by CarMax and AutoNation are actual offers and not just estimates.

As a result, this makes it easy for car sellers to get offers from both platforms for comparison. They can then decide which platform they want to sell their car to based on how much the offer is and the convenience. 

Same Day Payment

Both CarMax and AutoNation offer same-day payments. As such, you can get an instant online offer for your car and receive payment for it on the same day. This feature is especially helpful for people who are in a hurry to sell their used cars. 

sell car for cash


If you are in the market for a new car, you can also trade-in your used car at either CarMax or AutoNation. Both companies sell cars as well, so you can use the value of your used car to offset the price you pay on your new one. 

Doing so also has the added benefit of decreasing the amount of sales taxes you have to pay.

When you trade-in your car, you only pay sales taxes on the difference between the trade-in value of the used car and the price of the new one. 

CarMax vs. AutoNation Customer Service

CarMax and AutoNation both excel in terms of customer service. The associates at both dealerships have been praised for being helpful and knowledgeable. 

In addition, AutoNation also has a live chat function on its website. If you have any questions about buying, selling, or trading in your car, you can speak with a customer service associate at any time of day using the live chat function. You can also use the text message function on the AutoNation website to ask questions via text message. 

On the other hand, the operating hours for the CarMax customer service hotline are from (EST):

  • Sun: 11 am to 7 pm
  • Mon to Fri: 10 am to 9 pm
  • Sat: 9 am to 9 pm

Alternatively, you can also get in touch with CarMax customer service via email or social media.

CarMax vs. AutoNation Reviews

Ratings– 3.5 out of 5 stars on Consumer Affairs
– 1.8 out of 5 stars on Trustpilot
– 3.6 out of 5 stars on Consumer Affairs
– 1.6 out of 5 stars on Trustpilot
Average Rating2.65 out of 5 stars2.6 out of 5 stars

CarMax has received a mix of positive and negative reviews. The platform received an average rating of 3.5 out of 5 stars by reviewers on Consumer Affairs. It also received a poor rating of 1.8 out of 5 stars on Trust Pilot. Most of the negative reviews that CarMax received were from buyers who complained about issues with the cars sold to them by the company. 

On the other hand, AutoNation also received similar reviews. The platform received a rating of 3.6 out of 5 stars from reviewers on Consumer Affairs. Positive reviews praised the company for providing a seamless and easy transaction.

However, some sellers have complained that some AutoNation stores did not honor the online offer made by the system. Moreover, the company also received a poor rating of 1.6 out of 5 stars on Trust Pilot

CarMax vs. AutoNation Comparison Verdict

On the whole, CarMax and AutoNation are largely similar platforms. Both are car dealerships that specialize in buying, selling, and trading used cars. When selling a used car, both platforms offer a similar instant online offer system. In addition, online offers by both platforms are valid for seven days.

Both CarMax and AutoNation have also received similarly mixed reviews. There have been car buyers and sellers that have expressed both satisfaction and dissatisfaction with both platforms.

Therefore, when deciding on whether to sell your car to AutoNation or CarMax, your decision will likely boil down to two things. First, which dealership offers you a higher price for your used car. Second, which dealership has a more convenient location in your state.

best place to sell car online

CarMax vs. AutoNation Alternatives

Compare to Other Car Buying Websites


Peddle logo

Get your free offer instantly via online form or call on (855) 925 4302

$0 fees + you don’t have to pay for towing – Peddle will take care of it

Get paid in check during the pick up for any car (damaged, junk, wrecked)


Wheelzy logo

Quick car evaluation without the hassle – sell your car within 30 min

Choose a convenient date and time for free pick-up, as soon as next day

Get cash in hand the same day the Wheelzy agent picks up your car

eBay Motors

eBay Motors logo

7.4 million visitors a month looking for cars – 15k cars sold each month

$19 – $79 listings fee + 2.35% on the portion of the sale over $7,500

Payment terms and balance payoff are all set up when you list your vehicle


Peddle Summary

  • Buys used, damaged or junk car nationwide
  • Get instant quote on (855) 925 4302
  • Free towing within 48 hours after offer
  • Receive payment upon car collection

Like CarMax and AutoNation, Peddle is also a used car dealership that you can sell your used car to. However, one differentiating factor that sets Peddle apart from CarMax and AutoNation is its free towing service.

When you sell your car to Peddle, you will not need to go through the hassle of bringing your used car to a dealership or store. Instead, Peddle will arrange for an associate to travel to the location of your used car to assess its condition. Once they have done so, they will pay you on the spot for your used car.

Thus, if you want a more convenient alternative to CarMax and AutoNation, then Peddle is the platform you should choose to sell your car. 


Wheelzy Summary

  • Wheelzy stores are open 7 days a week
  • Get offer in minutes – (855) 510-1108
  • Free towing of your car from your location
  • Instant payment via cash or check

Wheelzy is also another car dealership that is similar to Peddle, CarMax, and AutoNation. Like Peddle, Wheelzy also offers a free towing service and same-day payments, giving you added convenience when selling your car to them.

In addition, Wheelzy also buys cars in all fifty states in the United States. Thus, this makes it a better platform to sell your used car than CarMax and AutoNation since CarMax and AutoNation do not have stores in all fifty states.

As such, Wheelzy is a viable alternative platform to sell your car, especially if the nearest CarMax or AutoNation is too far away from your location.

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