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Carmax

Illustration for article titled Carmax
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You are probably familiar with CarMax as the nation’s largest used car dealership. When you buy one of its cars, the vehicle comes with a CarMax warranty. You then have the option to buy the CarMax extended service plan, which is called MaxCare®. However, you won’t have much time to decide at the dealership if you want to buy one or not. That’s why we created this comprehensive MaxCare warranty review.

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We’ll get into the details of and compare it to other options that you might have. As far as extended warranties go, there are many choices on the market. We’ve reviewed a number of the best extended car warranty companies to help you in your search. It pays to get quotes from multiple providers to find the best deal.

You can get a free quote from our top choice Endurance by getting started with the tool below.

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In This Review:

  • About CarMax
  • CarMax Extended Car Warranty Coverage
  • How Much Does MaxCare Cost?
  • How CarMax Extended Warranties Work
  • CarMax Reviews
  • Bottom Line On CarMax: 3.0 Stars
  • Top Recommendations For Extended Car Warranties

About CarMax

If you’ve ever bought a car from CarMax, you’ve probably been asked about MaxCare. The MaxCare program is actually an extended service plan administered by other companies. Once you purchase a CarMax warranty, the CarMax dealership doesn’t have anything to do with your service plan.

CarMax has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB), and it gets good reviews online for its used car buying process. However, CarMax MaxCare is only a small part of what the organization does. It’s difficult to get a read on customer experience with the vehicle service contract since the company is much more focused on selling used cars.

MaxCare Pros:

  • Accepted at any licensed repair shop
  • Wide range of term lengths
  • Direct payments to repair shops

MaxCare Cons:

  • Only available at time of used car purchase
  • No sample contracts online
  • No trip interruption reimbursement

CarMax has been around since 1993. The company operates 225 dealerships in 41 states, and you can buy a MaxCare warranty from any dealership.

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If you move to a state without a CarMax location, you don’t have to worry. MaxCare is accepted at any repair shop in the U.S. or Canada. The shop just has to be licensed by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE).

CarMax Extended Car Warranty Coverage

We’re talking about the CarMax MaxCare extended service plan, but let’s back up for a second. All CarMax vehicles come with a limited warranty that lasts for 90 days or 4,000 miles.

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What does the CarMax warranty cover? This warranty guarantees coverage for the vehicle’s major systems, but you’ll have to go to a CarMax dealership to get the details. In the past, this 90-day warranty was a 30-day warranty in some states.

Now, let’s talk about the MaxCare vehicle service contract. Here’s an overview of the program:

  • Covered systems: MaxCare covers parts in the engine, transmission, drivetrain, suspension, cooling system, climate control, electronics, electrical systems, and steering.
  • Nationwide repairs: The plan is accepted at any ASE-Certified® service center.
  • Direct payment: MaxCare makes payments directly to the repair shop, so you don’t have to pay upfront and wait for reimbursement.
  • Roadside assistance: All plans come with 24/7 roadside assistance, which covers things like towing, battery jump-starts, flat tire service, and fuel delivery.
  • Rental car reimbursement: CarMax MaxCare will reimburse you up to $40 per day for seven days in the case of a covered repair.
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MaxCare Coverage Details

Unlike many other vehicle service contracts, CarMax only offers one main coverage option. CarMax describes the MaxCare warranty as covering any part unless it is listed under exclusions.

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At first glance, it might seem like the CarMax warranty is an exclusionary contract, which usually covers over 1,000 parts and is what factory warranties use. However, this might be a fancy way of saying that a listed part might not be covered under certain circumstances.

Unfortunately, there aren’t any sample contracts online. You’ll definitely get to read a contract if you decide to buy the plan, but we suggest you take your time and go through it carefully.

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Even though you can’t choose different levels of coverage, you can choose between a wide range of mileage and year limits. These also depend on the vehicle you choose.

Compared to a manufacturer’s certified pre-owned warranty, the MaxCare plan covers less and offers fewer perks. Of course, you’ll have to shop from a mainstream dealer to get one of those.

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What The MaxCare Warranty Doesn’t Cover

Like all protection plans, MaxCare won’t cover everything. Here are a few examples:

  • Maintenance services and wear items
  • Aftermarket parts
  • Damage from lack of maintenance or misuse
  • Damage from environmental events or accidents
  • Unauthorized repairs
  • Replacement parts that increase the value or performance of a vehicle

Make sure you take good care of the vehicle. The repair shop can request copies of your service history to make sure the damage isn’t your fault.

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What voids a CarMax warranty? If you tamper with the odometer, stop paying your bill, or if your car is declared a total loss, the warranty isn’t any good.

How Much Does MaxCare Cost?

Since you can only buy a MaxCare plan along with a used car from CarMax, prices aren’t listed online. You’ll have to go to a dealership to find out what a CarMax warranty costs on the vehicle you’re considering.

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Deductibles are also variable, but you can receive $50 off your deductible if you visit a CarMax or RepairPal service center. That can make it go as low as $0.

Since we can’t give you an exact CarMax extended warranty cost here, we’ll let you know what you should look for. According to our research, a full-coverage plan similar to the one you might get from CarMax is about $484 per year.

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So, if you are presented with a CarMax warranty cost of $1,000 for two years of coverage, that price is about average. On the other hand, if the CarMax warranty costs $3,000 for three years, that’s pretty expensive ($1,000 per year). You better be buying a Range Rover to have coverage that expensive.

The cost is usually affected by the year, mileage, make, and model of the car, as well. A five-year plan for a car with 20,000 miles would cost less than the same coverage for a car with 80,000 miles, since the likelihood of repairs increases with mileage.

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How CarMax Extended Warranties Work

The only way to purchase a MaxCare plan is to get one at the same time you buy a used car from CarMax. Since you’re at the dealership, you’ll be able to roll the cost of the service contract in with your car payment, if you want.

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After that, you’ll deal with a third-party company for claims and car repairs. If you’ve never had a vehicle service contract before, the main thing to keep in mind is you can’t just give your car to the mechanic and tell them to get started on the work.

They have to call your contract administrator and get an authorization for the repair before doing anything. You also might have to authorize a teardown diagnosis, which MaxCare won’t cover unless the repair is covered.

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You can transfer the CarMax warranty if you sell your car. Usually there’s a small fee of about $50. CarMax doesn’t list a cancellation policy online, but most companies allow you to cancel within 30 days for a full refund if you haven’t used the contract. You should also be able to cancel after that point and get a prorated refund.

CarMax Reviews

Like we mentioned at the beginning, it’s a little tricky to get a feel for the customer experience with the MaxCare plan since most of CarMax’s business is selling used cars. Many people do appreciate CarMax’s no-haggle business model, and the company gets positive reviews for customer service. Below are a few examples.

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Positive Reviews

“CarMax was the only company that didn’t lie to me or misrepresent their vehicles. They were upfront about everything and gave me time to make my decision instead of calling, texting, and emailing me constantly.” – Helen A., BBB

“The fuss over MaxCare is also not deserved. Try finding an extended warranty that allows you to cancel at any time and get a prorated amount back.” – Benjamin R., BBB

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Negative Reviews

“I’m not sure if they no longer service vehicles or if they’re just busy? I paid for the warranty and need to set an appointment to make some major repairs covered under the warranty but can’t get through!” – Lyh, BBB

“This company has failed at every level. They sold us a lemon, did not offer help (even with the extended warranty they sold us) and failed at every turn from the local to the corporate level.” – Devon H., BBB

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Bottom Line On CarMax: 3.0 Stars

The CarMax MaxCare vehicle service plan might work for some people, but there are too many unknowns without being able to compare quotes and plans ahead of time. On the other hand, there are many reputable third-party extended warranty companies that let you shop online, so you don’t have to feel pressure to buy something on the day you buy a used car.

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  • Reputation: 4.0
  • Coverage: 3.0
  • Price: 3.5
  • Customer Experience: 3.0

Top Recommendations For Extended Car Warranties

Two companies we think you should check out are Endurance and CARCHEX. Both of these focus only on extended auto warranties. That means you can work with people who know the ins and outs of the contracts and who can help you find the best option.

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Endurance: 5.0 Stars

We chose Endurance as the Best Coverage overall because it’s a direct provider and offers a large number of perks. As a direct provider, Endurance administers claims and handles every part of the process. Endurance has been around for 14 years and offers five levels of coverage.

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CARCHEX: 5.0 Stars

In our research, we found that CARCHEX was the best provider for cars with many miles. CarMax sells cars up to 11 years old. At that point, you should have no problem finding a good warranty plan from CARCHEX. The company has been around for 21 years, and it holds an A+ rating with accreditation from the BBB.

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