Does CarMax take trade ins? (Answered!)

In this article, I am going to answer whether or not does Carmax takes trade-ins, without wasting any more time, and let’s jump straight to it.

The answer to the question of whether CarMax takes trade-ins is, a resounding yes. CarMax has built its business on selling used vehicles at fixed, non-negotiable written offers. And even if you still owe on the car, they are willing to handle the paperwork for you. The evaluation for your trade-in vehicle is done free of charge.

Selling and Trading-in to CarMax

When you sell or trade in your vehicle to CarMax the process is, you bring it in for an inspection, which can take to thirty to forty minutes, while you supposed to walk around their lot fishing for your next purchase. The appraisal team will then present you with an offer for your car, which you can accept and walk away with a check or drive off in the new one.

If you decide to shop around for a better offer or want to wait until you have secured a replacement vehicle for yourself. CarMax will put up the offer for seven days. This means if everything is in order, the period for selling or trading in for a new one, can range from about two hours to seven days.

The dealership owns all the cars it sells and depending on where you sell your car, there could be a tax charge of about $100 to $400. Only about 50% of CarMax dealerships have a tax charge. And, since the value is comparable for sell and trade-ins, it does seem advisable to trade-in, half the time.

What can affect your car price?

CarMax will eventually resale your vehicle and as such will run through a thorough assessment of your vehicle. Certain aspects of the car’s aesthetic appeal will rank your vehicle immediately as this can drive up the appeal, so going through a carwash before an appraisal would be advisable.

The following issues drastically affect the car’s value:

  • Flood or Frame damage
  • Engine damage
  • Transmission issues

CarMax says it accepts vehicles that have damage, with salvaged titles, old cars, with a bad transmission, and those with a check engine light. As long as you have the vehicle’s title and registration, a valid photo ID, all the keys, and /or remotes a deal with CarMax can be finalized.


Trade-ins with a mileage of over 100k miles or that have been driven for more than 9 years are not sold by CarMax and are usually flagged for auction. Vehicles tend to start experiencing numerous issues when their mileage gets up to those figures, sometimes needing complete overhauls of their engines.

As CarMax is a business, it would not work to their advantage to have to spend way more money in repairing the vehicle than purchasing it or having it traded in. These vehicles are therefore put up for auction instead, even though they do not fetch a very high price.

Auction lanes

CarMax does also purchase vehicles from auction houses but this is an acquisition avenue they would prefer to avoid, as the value of the cars tends to be higher than if they were paying cash to a private seller or had they gotten a trade-in.

Having to compete with other dealerships will drive the price of any car up than when they come to you privately.

It is important to note the CarMax model works to source as many vehicles as they can from various sources, including trade-ins, auctions, and private car sales. Their valuations are based on the margins that the vehicle can make upon resale.


CarMax needs around 58000 cars per month to replenish its inventory; one of the ways it gets these cars is from trade-ins. Even though most of these do not pass the standard to be for them to be sold to the public, they do end up being sold at auctions at a relative profit.

The dealership prefers private sellers and trade-ins to auctions, as they tend to demand a higher price for the vehicles due to the competition for other dealerships. Generally, cars with high mileages can be traded in to CarMax but they are not sold to the public.