CarMax Extended Warranty Review

CarMax is best known for selling used cars. It has over 200 retail locations in 41 states with its first store opening in 1993 in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to selling used cars, the company offers extended car warranties through MaxCare.

MaxCare picks up where the CarMax Limited warranty ends. Included with every CarMax vehicle purchase, the Limited warranty offers coverage for the first 90 days or 4,000 miles, whichever comes first.

While many extended car warranties are available for purchase after the sale is complete, that’s not the case with CarMax. You can decline the extended warranty, but if you do so, then you cannot opt in later. The MaxCare extended warranty is only available at the time of vehicle purchase.

Pros and Cons

  • Cost can be bundled in with your monthly car loan payment
  • Warranty is transferable if you sell your car
  • Repairs can be made at any licensed facility in the US or Canada
  • Only available on vehicles purchased through CarMax
  • Only available at the time of vehicle purchase

What is Covered by CarMax Plans?

A MaxCare extended car warranty through CarMax offers “named exclusion” coverage. That means instead of seeing a long list of every last part that is covered, there’s a much smaller list of items that are not covered. If you’re looking at a repair and the part is not on the named exclusion list, then you should be good. Keyword there is “should.”

It’s important to read the exact contract being offered for the exact car you’re buying from CarMax. Read the contract and then read it again. Heck, have a friend read it to make sure you aren’t missing anything. Be sure that you fully understand any exclusions or exceptions so you aren’t unpleasantly surprised when you make a claim.

Which CarMax Plan is Right for Me?

Unlike many other extended warranty companies, CarMax doesn’t have a list of available plans for its MaxCare products. You will be offered an extended warranty at the time you buy your car and that offer may be rather aggressive.

Rather than simply listening to what the representative tells you and scribbling frantic notes, ask them to send you the contract for review. That way, you can make a cup of your favorite coffee and take a minute to review what the contract includes.

Take note of the terms of the warranty including the number of miles and/or months it covers. If it doesn’t feel like a good fit, then ask for something different. There’s lots of room to negotiate, you just have to know what you want first.

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How Much Does a CarMax Extended Warranty Cost?

Since CarMax only offers warranties for cars that it sells and only at the time of purchase, you can’t simply call and get a quote for the car sitting in your driveway. That makes it exceptionally tricky to say how much the warranty will cost.

We searched the internet to see what real people said about how much they paid and it’s quite a range. CarMax sells vehicles that are up to 11 years old from a wide range of automakers and has many different policies available. Customers stated anywhere from $1,000 to $8,500 for their warranties. Deductibles ranged from $50 to $300 with a $50 savings anytime you use a CarMax repair center. A higher deductible lowers your overall cost, but means you have to be prepared to pay it every time your car needs repairs.

There are also a range of mileage limitations from 75,000 up to 150,000. The higher the mileage, the higher the cost, so choose carefully. If you’re not planning on keeping your car for another 100,000 miles, then don’t pay for that level of coverage.

The overall cost is also based on the reliability of the car you buy. If you buy a vehicle with a known history of problems, expect to pay more. This is also the case for older vehicles, which are more prone to issues than those that are only a year or two old and still covered by the original manufacturer’s warranty.

Vehicle*Plan NameTermTotal CostDeductible

(*) Quotes vary widely depending on your car, your mileage and your location. Please call for exact quotes.

How to File a CarMax Claim?

Similar to other extended warranty companies, CarMax requires you to reach out before you have any work done on your car. This can be done online or over the phone and it’s essential that you do this if you want the work covered. Failing to contact the company before work is done can result in a denied claim. Payment for the work will be made directly to whoever is doing the repairs. All you have to pay is the deductible.

Is My Car Eligible for a CarMax Warranty?

First, you have to be purchasing your car from CarMax since those are the only vehicles they cover. All vehicles sold by CarMax are eligible, it’s more how you plan to use it that could be a problem. If your vehicle will be used for business purposes, including ride hailing, then it’s not eligible.

If you’re not eligible for a CarMax Warranty, there are a number of good providers out there to choose from. We highly recommend looking into CARCHEX, autopom!, Toco or Endurance. To learn more about the best warranty providers in the industry, you can check out our 2021 Golden Wrench winners here.

Most Common Reasons Why CarMax Claims Are Rejected?

  • Not Keeping Maintenance Records. You must keep up with regular maintenance on your vehicle and you must save the receipts. If you ignore things like oil changes or you can’t prove you got one, then you may void your extended warranty. Keep up on regular maintenance and keep receipts!

  • Business Use. Even if you buy the car and only plan for personal use, the minute you start using it for any kind of business, then you risk a claim rejection. Whether it’s a truck hauling a trailer to a job site or using your SUV for ride hailing, it’s not allowed.

  • Unauthorized repair damage. Non-warranty repairs or maintenance, like an oil change, can be performed by whoever you choose. If, however, they do something wrong that causes a failure down the road, then your claim may be rejected. Be cautious in who you choose to work on your car.

Customer Reviews of CarMax

If you do research on CarMax, note that CarMax sells cars while the extended warranties are provided through MaxCare. Look at reviews carefully to see that you’re getting thoughts on the warranty process and not just the sales process.

Positive Reviews

“...my ATS it needed a $3700.00 rear differential replacement … Then my Jetta needed $4500.00 front end repair work … I could not be happier with my investment in these warranties and will never buy a used car without one again.” - Michael, ConsumerAffairs

“CarMax is the best coverage out there for car warranties. When we had our service, they covered bumper to bumper on all issues. And the price was reasonable for this. That alleviates the fact the car was a few years old, giving up peace of mind should anything break down.” - Eddie, BestCompany

“Good service! Excellent coverage. Coverage for all the essential failures that can occur. Reliable car care for those unanticipated breakdowns. I strongly recommend” - Raymond, ConsumerAffairs

Negative Reviews

“... elected to purchase the top tier MaxCare warranty plan (a $50 deductible) because of the scope of the coverage. We used it to easily change an alternator about 9 months later without any issue. However, our van had a flashing check engine light come on about 6 weeks ago. The MaxCare warranty department decided that the work that needed to be done would not be covered due to "lack of routine maintenance" even though we have all the records proving otherwise.” - Diane, ConsumerAffairs

“...Their customer service in the warranty center is awful don’t bother calling them. They refused to help and refused to transfer me to someone else to help solve my problem. Will never buy from CarMax again.” - Gregory, BestCompany

Should You Get a CarMax Extended Warranty?

The decision to get an extended warranty or not is one that depends on you and your car. If you’re a worrywart and break into a cold sweat at the thought of a pricey repair bill, then an extended warranty may be worth the price. Instead of having to find the money for surprise repairs when they happen, you can simply budget the cost of the extended warranty right into your monthly loan payment. Done deal.

An extended warranty can be a good choice if your car’s reliability rating isn’t so great. If the make or model has a bad reputation for breaking down and needing constant repairs, then there’s a decent probability you will save money by purchasing an extended warranty.

The flipside is that you may be paying for something you never end up needing to use. Especially if the car you purchase is only a year or two old, has very low mileage, or you don’t plan to keep it long term, the cost of the warranty may not be worthwhile. Use caution if you choose any warranty company that cold calls trying to sell you a warranty for any car. These are often fraudulent. Do your research and make sure that if you choose to purchase an extended warranty it’s from a reputable company.

Top Rated Warranty Companies

4.9 of 5

CARCHEX is one of the largest, most highly-rated providers of vehicle extended warranties in the market. They have been a trusted name in the business for 20 years.

4.9 of 5

autopom! is well known in the industry for customer service and responsiveness. The company works directly with 2600 certified repair facilities and has a dedicated customer advocacy program.

4.9 of 5

Liberty Bell has one of the best reputations and covers more vehicle makes than other warranty companies. This provider has a solid reputation with excellent customer service ratings and has been around for over a decade.

4.3 of 5

Toco Warranty Corporation is a relative newcomer in the industry, but they are making a splash. They maintain a solid reputation with an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau. Toco is known for offering affordable plans with no down payment and the ability to pay in monthly installments.

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FAQ

Is CarMax a legitimate company?

Yes. CarMax is a well-known used car seller and its MaxCare extended warranty has been purchased and used by many of its customers.

How much is a CarMax warranty?

The policy amounts vary depending on the coverage and the car. Expect to pay at least $1000 for a basic policy.

How do CarMax warranties work?

All you need to do is reach out to CarMax online or by phone to get the claims process started when you need repairs. All claims need preapproval, so don’t forget to call first!

Can I cancel a CarMax extended warranty?

Yes, you can cancel the warranty and will receive a prorated refund for any unused time left on the coverage, but there may be a cancellation fee.

Is a CarMax warranty worth it?

An extended car warranty can save money on repairs. How much? That’s the gamble. You may end up paying more in the end for the warranty than you would the repairs, but it provides peace of mind that may be worth the cost for you.

If I sell my car, can I get a refund from CarMax?

Yes. You will get a prorated refund for the unused time still left on your warranty, but it can also be transferred to the buyer.

Editor's note and disclaimer: Car Talk is supported by our fans, readers and listeners. When you click on some of the links on our website, we may receive referral compensation. However, you should know that the recommendations we make are based on our independent editorial review and analyses.
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