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How to Sell?

CarMax vs KBB Offer in 2024

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Written by: Michael Becker
Last Updated:

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Which is Better for Selling the Car?

Looking over what CarMax and KBB can offer, the verdict goes to CarMax being the better option for selling your car. First, the company has fewer limitations to the vehicles they buy, meaning you have better chances of selling your car to them. 

Also, their offer is valid for 7 days, and there’s no additional mile limit. You can also guarantee that you sell to CarMax through one of their stores. In comparison, KBB only directs you to local dealers that may not honor the instant offers.

Despite the average scores being abysmal, customers still have something good to say about their car-selling experience with CarMax. Conversely, KBB customers complained about their privacy and received spam offers from local dealers.

KBB Summary

  • Provides an Instant Cash Offer
  • Helps to determine your car’s value
  • It’s free to use the KBB valuation tool
  • Check your car for any recalls

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 vs. KBB Comparison

Logo carmax logo kbb logo
Cars acceptedCars in most conditions, with exceptionsIn good condition, subject to specific requirements
Requesting quotesOnline applicationOnline application
Offer validity7 days7 days, or additional 50 miles
Payments offeredBank draftCash via check, trade-in
PayoutUp to 48 hoursUp to 48 hours
Car pick-upDrop-off and free-up in selected locationsDrop off
Physical locations240 CarMax locations nationwideParticipating dealerships in the US
Turnaround timeUp to 48 hoursUp to 48 hours
Customer serviceSocial media, online form, chat, or hotlineEmail, phone, online form, and social media

Consider Best Alternatives

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Cars Accepted

CarMax accepts cars that have no flood or frame damage or salvage history. If none of these is the case for your vehicle, you can sell it to them. You can even sell your vehicle to CarMax even if you still owe money to it. 

To sell your vehicle to CarMax, you’ll need to provide the payoff information or title. It’s also important to have all the titleholders present during the sale and that they all have valid IDs. You’ll also need to present valid and current registrations, as well as all keys and remotes. 

Meanwhile, KBB buys cars that are in good condition and not any of the following:

  • Has 300,000 miles or more on the odometer
  • For commercial use
  • Over 24 years old
  • Auctioned within the last 45 days
  • Subject to unresolved recall

Additionally, KBB considers car modifications, market volatility, and lack of market data in excluding vehicles from instant offers. 


CarMax and KBB charge no fees if you want to complete their online forms for instant cash offers. You can also schedule an appointment at their store or dealership for free.

Requesting Quotes

To request an offer with CarMax, you can start by going to their website and providing your VIN. You can also enter your license plate number and state registration and click on the Get Started button. Then, provide more details such as the following:

  • Condition
  • Mileage
  • Accident history
  • Mechanical and past odometer issues

If your vehicle is leased, you’ll also need to provide leasing details. From there, CarMax will generate the offer for your vehicle. Just click the Continue button to accept it.

In case CarMax is unable to generate an instant offer on its website, you can schedule an in-store appraisal instead. 

Requesting a quote at KBB works similarly to CarMax. On their Instant Cash Offer page, you can enter either the VIN or license plate number and state registration, then click on Go. The website takes you to another page where you can enter the following details:

  • Features and equipment
  • Modifications if any
  • Interior and exterior
  • Mechanical condition

What’s great about KBB’s online form is that you can also upload photos of your car. This allows KBB to provide you with a more accurate offer. If you’d rather not upload an image, you can also provide details about your car through an interactive guide.

The final step to get an instant offer is to provide your contact details and create a KBB account. After that, you can view how much the offer is and how long it’s good for. Then, it will generate a list of local dealers where you can redeem the instant offer. 

As a bonus, KBB provides a free Vehicle History Report, where you can see whether your car had multiple owners, was a non-rental or had accidents. 

Offer Validity

Instant offers from CarMax are good for 7 days. Meanwhile, KBB offers are valid for 7 days or additional 50 miles.

Payments Offered

CarMax offers only one payment option: a bank draft. Depending on your bank, bank drafts have a holding period, which can delay the posting date. 

KBB, on the other hand, has two payment options: cash through check payments and trade-in value. Check payments are straightforward since you’ll receive them before leaving the dealership. 

If you’re buying a new car, you can use your sale proceeds to purchase your next one at the dealership. You’ll leave the dealership with a new ride instead of a check. 


Selling to either company can take up to 48 hours. Since both only offer drop-off options, you can take your vehicle to their locations as soon as you can. 

Car Pick-up

Only CarMax offers free pick-up in selected locations. After completing the online application, you can find out if this option is available in your area. You can also contact their support team via chat and provide your zip code so they can check it for you. 

Note that the free pick-up is only available to locations within 30 miles of their selected stores. 

On the other hand, KBB has no pick-up option. You need to bring your car to one of their stores or partner dealerships to finalize the sale.

Physical Locations

CarMax has 240 stores across the country where you can claim an instant offer. You can use their store locator page to find one near you. 

KBB, meanwhile, works with local dealerships. Once you accept the instant offer, you’ll need to choose the dealership where you’ll bring your car.

Turnaround Time

Overall, selling to KBB or CarMax can take up to 48 hours. This already includes completing the online application, accepting the instant offer, and bringing your vehicle to one of their stores. 

Customer Service

CarMax’s customer service team is open through the following:

  • Phone: 1-913-384-6697, Mon- Fri 8 AM to 10 PM; Sat. 9 AM to 6 PM EST
  • Chat: Mon-Sun 10 AM to 8:45 PM EST
  • Online form
  • Social media: Facebook and Twitter

Meanwhile, you can reach KBB’s customer support through these:


Logo carmax logo kbb logo
Better Business Bureau1.151.0

On BBB and Trustpilot, most of the negative reviews on CarMax came from car buyers. Specifically, they complained about the quality of vehicles they purchased and delivery times. Noticeably, CarMax resolved these complaints and answered most of the customer concerns. 

Some customers on Trustpilot also complimented CarMax’s stores since they could honor the instant offers. 

KBB also received low ratings from their customers at Trustpilot and BBB. The reviews pointed out that local dealers didn’t match customers’ instant offers. 

Although, this can happen if some issues were found during the inspection that weren’t disclosed in the online application. 

Other customers also claim that KBB sold their personal details, and since filling out the online application, they received calls and texts from car dealerships. KBB was able to address these concerns, citing their terms and conditions.

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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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