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Shift vs CarMax Comparison: Where Should You Sell Your Car?

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Best Shift vs CarMax Alternatives


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


CarBrain logo

Get an offer within 2 minutes and sell your damaged car within 48 hours

Free vehicle towing and no fees to getting rid of your damaged car

The tow truck driver will arrive with your check (nationwide service)

Which is Better for Selling the Car?

shift vs carmax which is better for selling the car

Selling your car with Shift and CarMax is a similar experience in many ways. Both companies offer you a free online quote and give you 7 days to consider your offer. With both companies, you can sell your car and receive your payment within 24 hours.

However, there are some differences that set these two companies apart. 

Overall, Shift is the better car-buying company to sell your car to. Shift offers free pick-up for your car and offers to pay you by a direct bank transfer while CarMax pays you with a bank draft that can take 1-4 days to show up in your bank account. Shift also has much higher customer ratings and reviews in comparison to CarMax.

Shift Summary

  • Quick 24 hour payment processing time
  • Extra $200 bonus for selling your car
  • 2 options for evaluating your car
  • Up to 7 days to consider Shift’s offer

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

Shift vs. CarMax Comparison

Cars acceptedUsed and new carsUsed and new cars
FeesNo feesNo fees
Requesting quotesIn-person and online applicationIn-person and online application
Offer validity7 days7 days
Payments offeredSecured Automated Clearing House (ACH), or a direct bank transferBank draft
Payout24 hours after saleSame day payment
Car pick-upFree pick-upNo car pick-up
Physical locations183 store locations235 store locations
Turnaround time24 hours24 hours
Customer serviceEmail, phoneOnline chat, phone, email

Cars Accepted

shift vs carmax cars accepted

Shift and CarMax both buy used cars that are in drivable condition, as well as cars that are leased. With Shift, you can sell your leased car in nearly the same way as any other financed car. Shift will evaluate your car and require a copy of your lease buyout packet.

Carmax will appraise the car, contact the leasing company for a payoff quote and process any equity you have. CarMax does have a list of vehicle companies that it cannot purchase leased cars from.


Neither Shift, nor CarMax charge any fees for selling your car. Both companies offer a free evaluation and quote for your car.

They both make money by reselling the cars they buy from users for profit.

Requesting Quotes

shift vs carmax requesting quotes

Both Shift and CarMax offer free instant quotes after you submit an online application form. 

Information you will need to include in a Shift or CarMax application:

  • Make and model of your car
  • Year of manufacturing
  • License plate or Vehicle Identification Number

Offer Validity

Once you receive your offer from Shift and CarMax, your offer is valid for 7 days. You can consider the offer within this timeframe and either accept or decline it.

Payments Offered

After your car passes the final inspection with Shift, you will be notified by email, and Shift will request your bank account information to make an ACH transfer. 

When you sell your car with CarMax, you can leave with your payment in hand on the same day of making your sale. CarMax pays with a bank draft which must be deposited at a bank and can take 1-4 days to show up in your bank account.

Shift and CarMax both offer a trade-in option and require you to drop off your car at an in-person store location.


With Shift, once the payment has been initiated the processing time can take up to 3-7 business days, depending on your bank. 

With CarMax, you will leave with payment in hand the same day you sell your car. Once you receive your bank draft, you can head to your local bank to make your withdrawal. Make sure to check with your bank to see if they have a specific holy policy on deposits.

Car Pick-up

Shift offers car pick-up services, as well as the option to drop your car off at one of their store locations. You can also receive an evaluation of your car done at your home by a Shift associate.

With CarMax, you are required to drop off your car at one of their store locations for evaluation, and to complete a sale.

Physical Locations

You can deliver your car to one of Shift’s 183 store locations. 

With CarMax, you can deliver your car to one of their 235 physical locations across the United States.

Turnaround Time

Both Shift and CarMax offer a very quick turnaround time to sell your car. It usually takes up to 24 hours to sell your car with both companies.

Customer Service

If you have any questions or concerns, you can contact Shift customer service by:

  • Phone: +1 (855) 744-1445
  • Email:

You can contact CarMax customer service by:

  • Online chat
  • Phone: (716) 243-4850
  • Email (each store location has an individual email address)


Shift has a 4.4-star rating on Trustpilot, while the overall CarMax rating is 1.7 stars on Trustpilot. Shift has a 3.3-star rating on BBB, while CarMax has a 1.1-star rating on BBB.

Customers have praised Shift for providing excellent customer service, providing fair prices for those selling cars, and having a quick turnaround time. Some customers have raised complaints about not being able to contact customer support, sales being delayed, and not receiving payments on time.

CarMax customers have praised the dealership for providing a quick turnaround time, friendly customer service, and offering good prices for cars. Customers have complained about CarMax changing their price offers, not disclosing damages to cars, and providing poor customer service.

Trustpilot Rating4.41.7
BBB Rating3.31.1

Shift & CarMax Alternatives


Peddle Summary

  • Sell 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

Similar to Shift and CarMax, Peddle offers you an instant quote after you submit an online application form through their website. After receiving an offer, you will have 7 days to accept the offer, just like with Shift and CarMax. Peddle offers to send a Peddle representative to pick up or tow your car for free.

Like with CarMax, Peddle will hand you a check on the same day of the sale. In comparison to Shift and CarMax, Peddle is a more trusted car-buying company with a 4.7-star rating on Trustpilot and a 4.7-star rating on BBB.

Recent Peddle Offers

Toyota (Camry)2011150,000$2,225
Volvo (S40)200137000$430
Mercedes-Benz (560)199192000$1,930
BMW (528)2008126,000$1,140
Kia (Forte)2010145,000$635
Honda (CR-V)201167000$2,930
Ford (Explorer Sport Trac)2004145,000$1,170
Oldsmobile (Alero)2004162,000$400
Audi (A6)2006106,000$530


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

Like Shift, which uses a proprietary algorithm, Wheelzy uses AI to provide an estimated value of your car using the information you submit using the online application form. 

Wheelzy accepts cars that are damaged or considered to be junk, while CarMax and Shift accept cars that are used and in drivable condition. Once you accept an offer, a Wheelzy representative will pick up or tow your car for free.

Wheelzy has a 4.8-star rating on Trustpilot and a 3-star rating on BBB.

Recent Wheelzy Offers

Hyundai (Tucson)2006200,000Doesn’t start$400
Mercury (Sable Sedan)2003150,000Doesn’t start$225
Mercedes-Benz (C)2001150,000Starts$222
Ford (Edge)2010200,000Doesn’t start$1,200
Ford (Flex)2009150,000Starts$1,000
Lexus (RX)2002300,000Doesn’t start$750
Chevrolet (Cobalt Sedan)2007200,000Doesn’t start$200
Toyota (Corolla)2003250,000Drives$555
BMW (528)2008250,000Drives$1,487


CarBrain Summary

  • Get an online offer within 2 minutes
  • Get cash for your car in under 48 hours
  • CarBrain buys cars in over 7 conditions
  • Up to 7 days to accept CarBrain’s offer

Like Shift and CarMax, CarBrain also offers an instant quote for your car. However, unlike CarMax, which only buys cars in good condition, CarBrain purchases any cars, even damaged ones. Unlike CarMax, CarBrain also offers free pick-up. This way, you don’t have to leave your home because the company representative will visit your driveway to pick up your car. They will also pay you on the spot. CarBrain usually has the capacity to schedule pick-ups within 24 to 48 hours after you accept the deal.


Carvana Summary

  • Get an online quote within 2 minutes
  • Free pickup wtihin 100 miles of a hub
  • Offer valid for 7 days or 250 more miles
  • Haggle-free process to sell your car

Similar to Shift and CarMax, Carvana is one of the most reliable used car dealerships in the USA. It offers a simple, quick and free way to sell your used car online.

To find how much Carvana is willing to pay for your vehicle, simply fill out an online form where you need to add your car’s VIN or license plate number and state.

Carvana’s offer is valid for seven days or an additional 250 miles, so you will have plenty of time to make up your mind.

Carvana also provides free pickup if your car is located within 100 miles of their hub, but beyond this range, you’ll have to shoulder the pickup cost.

To sell a car to Carvana, it must:

  • Be in running condition (safe to drive)
  • Have working odometer
  • No major exterior or interior damage
  • Be no older than 1992


CarGurus Summary

  • Receive payment within 3 working days
  • Find out the market value of your car
  • List your car for sale in under 5 minutes
  • Up to $75,000 in protection for your sale

Another great alternative to Shift and CarMax is CarGurus. This is a well-trusted car buying and selling company offering a simple and hassle-free way to sell your used car.

CarGurus allows you to choose between two ways to sell a car. You can either get an instant cash offer and sell 100% online in a few minutes or list the car on their website and sell privately.

To get an instant cash offer:

  1. Enter your VIN or license plate number
  2. Get a cash offer in just two minutes
  3. Schedule pickup time
  4. Get paid within two business days by cash or direct deposit

If you want to sell your vehicle to a private buyer, you can list a car for $4.95 on the CarGurus website.

To list a car on CarGurus:

  1. Add your zip code
  2. Provide the car details (make, model, year, mileage)
  3. List special features
  4. Describe the condition and history
  5. Add images
  6. Provide your contact information
  7. Pay listing fee
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Kate Starr


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