Why I Love Carmax….

No, this is not an advertisement per se and certainly not any sort of compensated endorsement. It is merely something for me to relate to anyone (male or female) who hates the ritual of car buying. I do know people who revel in that process and I once took a friend with me after I expressed reluctance to buy a new car. He genuinely enjoyed the back-and-forth, “Well, let me check with the manager” crap that I detest. I was grateful for his help and annoyed that there wasn’t an easier way to do it.

A number of years ago, a friend told me about their experience with Carmax and when we were in Puerto Rico and our son was in Northern VA, I was concerned with the age of his car. I gave him the dollar limit he had to work with and suggested he try Carmax. They couldn’t have treated him better and so when it was time for me to get another car upon our return from PR, I had already been searching their web site. One of the many good things about them is their inventory changes daily and you can go in and specify the type of car you are looking for. If they don’t have the one you want in a particular location, they will bring it in using zones for shipping price. Nearby zones have zero cost and then they expand all the way across the country. As with everything else about Carmax though the price is clearly shown and that is the price. No surprises, no haggling. When you are on line, you can narrow the seach by price, and number of miles on the car as well as make, model, or type. Carmax does sell some new cars (mostly Toyotas) at some locations, but they primarily have previously owned cars.

If you have a car to trade, they will give you as good a price as you are likely to get anywhere – again, they tell you the price they will pay and that’s it. The trade-in value doesn’t change the longer you talk. Since I didn’t have a trade-in, I basically bought the car on-line (a make and model I was familiar with). We flew into Atlanta where my sister-in-law and her husband picked us up. The Carmax was close by. We arrived, the car was ready. Did we want the extended warranty? No? Did we want Lo-Jack? Yes. Okay, they took my husband’s mother’s address so they could have a technician come to her house to do the installation. Sign paperwork, give them a check, take car. That was it. The extended warranty and Lo-Jack are the only options they offer. Their dealer price of $149 (I think it’s $199 now, maybe a little higher) is clearly shown as the only addition to the price of the car. No endless list of services to be pitched, no trying to wear you down with why you ought to have something else added. We weren’t doing financing, but their financing process seemed fairly quick from what I saw going on around us.

Between us and our son, we have purchased five vehicles through Carmax. While you can go on-line as I usually do, you can also go to a location and wander as you wish with no pressure. Again, one of the primary differences in Carmax is that when you look at a sticker price, it is what you get, although tax and title are not shown. If a car price is shown for let’s say $21,099, the $199 Carmax addition is shown for a purchase price of $21,298 and then tax and title costs that vary by state/municipality. They will even tell you the percentage of that before hand if you ask so you can do the calculation yourself if you wish.

When we left the Carmax in Atlanta, my brother-in-law was impressed. My sister-in-law was too, but she said that no, she enjoyed the traditional haggling. And yes, if you want a brand new car they are probably not a good option. On the other hand, if you are in the market for a previously owned one and you are near a Carmax, at least check out their web site.

9 thoughts on “Why I Love Carmax….

  1. I detest the haggling as well. Fortunately for me, my dad enjoys it. I can’t believe I’m 40 and go to my dad to negotiate, but he gets such great deals! He’s negotiated the last 2 cars I’ve bought. The first time, I needed a used car that would last me at least 3 years. I had a dollar amount ($6000), and it couldn’t be a penny more. He got me in to a car that still had some manufacturer warranty left! Last time, I knew exactly the car I wanted. I had cash, and wouldn’t go over a certain number. He did his magic, and I got my car.

    I think I will look at Carmax in the future, especially for selling used cars. I like the transparency with them. You never wonder if you could have bought the car cheaper.

    • A well-maintained Acura will go at least 150k miles, my 90 Integra’s pushing 200k. You’ll be hard prseesd to find a van or SUV with a better reputation for longevity than an Acura maybe the Four-runner. It is almost always less expensive to maintain a car (brakes, tires, fluids and filter changes) than to buy a different one. I’d probably skip the extended warranty, you can replace either the engine or the transmission for that much money, I don’t expect either to go bad for another 100k miles, and anything else you fix is just maintenance. But then I do most of my work myself, I’d personally bank that 1500 and buy a parts car if I ever need one.Of course, if you just want a different car, that’s another issue entirely.

      • Holding onto a reliable vehicle is one of those things that I personally do, and it sounds like yours have been good as well. As you say though, sometimes people do just want a change.


      • The History of : information htroisy An automobile powered by a Otto gasoline engine was built in Germany by in 1885 and granted a patent in the following year. Although several other engineers (including Gottlieb Daimler, Wilhelm Maybach and Siegfried Marcus) were working on the problem at about the same time, Benz is generally credited with the invention of the modern automobile.The large-scale, production-line manufacturing of affordable automobiles was debuted by Ransom Eli Olds at his Oldsmobile factory in 1902. This assembly line concept was then greatly expanded by Henry Ford in the 1910s. Development of automotive technology was rapid, due in part to the hundreds of small manufacturers competing to gain the world’s attention. Key developments included electric ignition and the electric self-starter (both by Charles Kettering, for the Cadillac Motor Company in 1910-1911), independent suspension, and four-wheel brakes.Although various pistonless rotary engine designs have attempted to compete with the conventional piston and crankshaft design, only Mazda’s version of the Wankel engine has had more than very limited success.Since the 1920s, nearly all cars have been mass-produced to meet market needs, so marketing plans have often heavily influenced automobile design. It was Alfred P. Sloan who established the idea of different makes of cars produced by one company, so that buyers could move up as their fortunes improved. The makes shared parts with one another so that the larger production volume resulted in lower costs for each price range. For example, in the 1950s, Chevrolet shared hood, doors, roof, and windows with Pontiac; the LaSalle of the 1930s, sold by Cadillac, used the cheaper mechanical parts made by the Oldsmobile divisionSource:

  2. I enjoy, lead to I found just what I used to be looking for. You’ve ended my 4 day long hunt! God Bless you man. Have a nice day. Bye

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