(Closed) Carmax vs. Dealer….my car buying journey help thread!

posted 5 years ago in Money
Post # 2
963 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: January 2016

I can only give you advice on the buying part. I’ve had my first car for the past 11 years. So, I skew towards cars that have a reputation of lasting a very long time (Toyota, Honda). Mine is a Toyota, and while I did keep the mileage low for the first decade, it gets a lot of daily mileage now. I get 30/35 mpg, and I anticipate it might go strong for another 3-4 years. I’m pleasantly surprised. So far, the biggest repairs (other than 2 battery replacements) were the water pump and rewiring the electronic door locks. Engine, etc is great.

So, for a new car, I’m starting to look just to understand my budget, what it can purchase, and save appropriately. I’m definitely interested in crossover SUVs. My eye is on the Mazda CX-3, but I need to have a better understanding of how Mazdas last. Otherwise, it will probably be a Honda HR-V, CR-V, or Rav4 (which is a little too big for me). I will potentially go for used, not sure if it will be Carmax or certified used from a dealer.

As far as used cars go, Ford Escape is a great deal on resale. If you get a RAV 4, buy a more recent model that does not have a wheel on the back. They found over time that those who got rear ended had to have the whole back panel replaced. I think the Rav 4 and CR-V would both be large enough for your purposes.

Also look into the Hyundai and Kia SUVs. Hyundai has a pretty great warranty. Hope this helps!

Post # 4
11381 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: City, State

We love Carmax & will never be tortured by a new car store again.  Dh & I have both sold several cars to Carmax.  They appraise it & cut you a check, totally separate from your buy transaction.  The dealer just buries what they “give” you in trade someplace in your purchase transaction.

Yes, we are always pleasantly surprised by their offers.  It’s always been a little over book.  

I really appreciate that they separate the selling of your car from the buying of one of theirs.  We are totally hooked on Carmax.  We’ll be buying again in the next few months.  We considered buying new, but refuse to go to a dealer.  We’ll go to Carmax & find something with less than 10K on it.

Post # 5
257 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: November 2015

The thing with Carmax is that it depends on what their inventory is and the inventory in your area. So you might get a great price or you might not get a great price. I would check the Kelley Blue Book value of your car (for both sale and trade) and see what that number is and compare it to the offer they give you so you have an idea. Keeping in mind that if you trade the vehicle versus selling it, there are tax savings so depending on where you live, that might factor into your decision. I recently bought a 09 Honda CRV with 50,000 miles for under 20k and it’s 4 wheel drive and has all the bells and whistles. I wouldn’t normally go that old, even with the low miles, but I work at a garage so I know if there was an issue the guys would take care of me. This was also a one-owner trade and I have all the service records, so that helps. It really depends on what you want. Carmax will give you peace of mind to buy and sell, but might not give you the best deal. Good luck!

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