Purchasing a used car can be unsettling. Even if the car has a clean vehicle history report and a passing inspection from an independent mechanic, it’s hard to get a complete picture of how it was previously driven or if it will need expensive repairs in the immediate future. One way to gain peace of mind with your used car purchase is with a warranty. CarMax, the largest used car retailer in the country, offers two warranty options with each used car purchase. What are these Carmax warranty options and which is right for you? We’ll break them down to help you decide.
What is CarMax?If you’ve shopped for a used car, you’re likely familiar with CarMax from its website or its used car dealerships. The national used car retailer has over 225 retail locations across the United States, and it also allows shoppers to conduct the car buying process completely online. Along with car buying, consumers also have the option of selling a car to Carmax. The retailer has an inventory of over 50,000 vehicles that are mostly five-years-old or newer, with three-year-old off-lease vehicles comprising the largest share of its inventory. (If you’re considering buying a car from CarMax check out our article CarMax Vs. Carvana which compares the two major used car retailers.)
CarMax Warranty Options: Limited Warranty Vs. Extended WarrantyAll CarMax cars are backed by a CarMax Limited Warranty for 4,000 miles or 90 days. When purchasing a CarMax used car, consumers also have the option to purchase the MaxCare extended car warranty that offers added coverage and benefits. We’ll examine the differences between these two options to help you decide if the limited warranty is sufficient or if you should purchase the extended warranty option.
CarMax Limited Warranty
One benefit to being a Carmax customer instead of patronizing a local used car dealership is that each car comes with protection that is provided at no additional cost. The CarMax Limited Warranty lasts for 90 days or 4,000 miles and according to CarMax’s website, and covers a vehicle’s important systems and hundreds of parts. By definition, a limited warranty has exclusions, so be sure to read the warranty terms carefully to understand what exactly is covered. Limited warranties generally include the following covered repairs:
- Mechanical components including engine, transmission, and drivetrain
- Electrical systems including an alternator, lights, and starter
- Climate control
- Cooling systems
- Cosmetic damage
- Items that are subjected to wear and tear such as wiper blades, tires, and brake pads
- Aftermarket accessories such as custom lifts and stereos
If you are looking for extra protection, you should check out CarMax’s extended warranty, which is also known as a vehicle service contract. MaxCare, CarMax’s extended warranty program, covers what is included in the limited warranty and extends the coverage period to five years and up to 150,000 miles.
MaxCare must be purchased at the time of your vehicle purchase from CarMax. The cost of this warranty varies depending on the year, make, and model of the vehicle and how much you choose to pay for a deductible. Deductible options include $50, $100, $200, and $300. The higher your deductible, the lower your monthly cost will be. Whatever you choose for a deductible is how much you will owe for each repair that is covered by the warranty.
You can estimate the pricing for your extended warranty via a tool on the CarMax website. We selected a 5-year-old used Jeep Grand Cherokee SUV, estimated our annual mileage between 9,000 to 14,000 miles per year, and chose a $100 deductible. It gave us an estimated monthly payment of $38-41, which could be added to our vehicle’s financing plan. If we selected a $200 deductible, our plan cost would be an estimated $35-37 per month. The extended warranty lasts 60 months, but you can choose the mileage terms. For example, if you drive less than 10,000 miles per year, it would make sense for you to have a 75,000-mile warranty because you would not exceed that mileage over five years. If you are a high-mileage driver who drives over 19,000 miles per year, you should choose the 150,000-mile plan.
MaxCare is not administered through CarMax directly, but rather from a third-party warranty administrator. The warranty is transferable and can be cancelled at any time.
What Does MaxCare Include?
This CarMax MaxCare extended warranty goes beyond a typical powertrain warranty and covers the following:
- Cooling system
- Climate control
- Electrical systems
- Rental reimbursement for up to seven days
- Emergency roadside assistance
What’s Not Included in the CarMax Extended Warranty?Not all repairs fall under the CarMax extended warranty coverage. These include:
- Accident repairs
- Engine overheating
- Corrosion repairs
- Repairs caused by abuse or misuse
- General Maintenance services including tire rotations, coolant refills, and oil changes
- Aftermarket accessories
- Adding aftermarket accessories or equipment such as lift kits and shocks
- Towing a trailer or another vehicle with a car that is not properly equipped
- Using your car as a commercial vehicle, such as a livery or delivery service
- If you fail to make your payments on time
Other MaxCare ConditionsTo keep your MaxCare contract valid, you are required to follow the maintenance schedule recommended by your vehicle’s manufacturer. You must also make sure you read your contract carefully, as it instructs you to keep your receipts for all services your vehicle receives. These receipts must include your VIN, the date of service, and what was performed.
Where Do You Need to Get Your Car Serviced?Under the CarMax extended warranty, you can get your vehicle serviced at the repair shop of your choice. However, if you get your car serviced at a certified CarMax service center or RepairPal service center, you will have $50 removed from your deductible.
CarMax MaxCare Benefits and LimitationsWhen deciding if you should purchase an extended warranty, there are some important benefits and limitations to consider.
CarMax Extended Warranty Benefits:
The most appealing aspect of an extended warranty is peace of mind that you won’t be on the hook for expensive repairs on an older high-mileage car that isn't covered by its factory warranty. You also get to take advantage of perks like towing, rental car reimbursement, and roadside assistance.
CarMax Extended Warranty Limitations:
Most buyers of extended warranties end up spending more on the warranty than what they would spend on repair costs. Or, you could end up paying for the extended warranty, but may require expensive repairs that aren’t covered.
Should You Buy a CarMax Extended Warranty?Is the MaxCare cost worth it? There are many things to consider when deciding if the CarMax MaxCare extended warranty is a smart decision for you. You should take your car’s reliability and repair costs into account, as a reliable vehicle is less likely to require expensive repairs while your vehicle is under the extended warranty. If you are buying an older luxury car, it’s worth doing your research to see what typical ownership and maintenance costs are, and if you would save money by purchasing an extended warranty. You might be better off setting aside money each month to put toward major repairs should you need them instead of paying each month toward a warranty that is likely going to be more expensive than any required repairs.
There are more options for extended auto warranties through extended warranty companies outside of CarMax that might offer more coverage and be more cost-effective. Be sure to do your research before purchasing your vehicle to compare all available warranty costs. Check out our guide on Extended Used Car Warranties for more information.
If you’re interested in a new car or a used car, be sure to check out iSeeCars’ award-winning car search engine. It uses advanced algorithms to help shoppers find the best car deals across all used vehicle types and provides key insights and valuable resources, like the iSeeCars VIN check report. Filter by make, model, price, and special features to find the best deal on your next vehicle.