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Will CarMax Really Buy Any Car?

handing over the keys to the car

For years, CarMax has operated as a convenient, local solution for individuals looking to buy or sell a used car.

Today, the company can be considered a household name and one of the first options you might think about when getting ready to sell a vehicle.

However, people typically associate CarMax with cars in good, running condition — not totaled cars, collision damaged cars or cars with bad transmissions and engines. Finding out whether you can sell a car that doesn't run to CarMax requires a little digging.

Here's the short answer: If you have a car that won’t turn on or drive, or has other forms of mechanical problems, you can trade it in or sell it to CarMax. CarMax makes offers on a variety of vehicles, including damaged cars.

Typically, CarMax will resell cars it purchases on its lots. However, they may not be able to resell cars that have serious damage, mechanical problems, or have otherwise broken down. In order to make a profit, they might offer you a trade in value or cash value lower than your vehicle is worth.

In other words, will CarMax buy a car with a bad transmission or other mechanical problems? Yes. Will you get the best price possible for it? Not necessarily.

Options For Selling Your Car That Doesn't Run

If not CarMax, then where else can you sell a car that doesn't run? You actually have a lot of options — let's get into them here.

  • Selling to an online buyer that specializes in damaged cars. If you haven't realized yet, you've already found such a buyer — at CarBrain, our focus is in providing clients a solution when they're looking to sell a damaged, non-running or otherwise less-than-perfect car from the comfort of their own home!

    We can generate a quote for you completely online based on our easy price generator. Those offers come with a seven-day guarantee and FREE towing. We'll come to you and pick up the cars, keys and title, and hand you your payment right on the spot.

  • Sell to CarMax or a similar business anyway. Depending on your goals, it might still be your preference to go to CarMax. Maybe you want to buy a new car as well, and you want to consolidate the process by choosing a dealer that will buy your car and sell you a new one at the same time. Maybe you want the familiarity of choosing a household name. It's entirely up to you!

  • Sell to a private buyer that will fix or part out the car. You could always choose to post your vehicle on Craigslist, Facebook or any number of avenues that could help you find a private buyer for your vehicle.

    Private buyers are typically looking for project cars, cars to part out or cars they can use for a low price. If you're selling a damaged or nonrunning car, though, you're more likely to find car enthusiasts that know how to fix or part it out.

CarBrain CarMax Craigslist
Specializes in damaged, older and less-than-perfect cars. Specializes in buying and selling used and late-model cars. An online forum that allows anyone to sell anything independently.
You get a dedicated file manager ready to help you. You might already be familiar with CarMax. You can post your car and pick your listing price.
Sell your car from your home! You can sell your car and buy a new one at the same place. You can conduct the entire sale yourself.
We can pick it up in 24-48 business hours. You can get in-person customer support. You get to decide exactly who buys your car.
We have top notch customer service! You have a physical address you can turn to for help. You can meet the buyers in person first.
Get an Offer

Before making a decision, it's worth evaluating the pros and cons of the best choice for you.

But let's say you still want to know about CarMax. We can help you out with the sections below.


Our expert evaluators can help you get an accurate estimate for your car's value, FAST!

Does CarMax Buy Junk Cars?

CarMax can buy junk vehicles. In some cases, you may be required to bring your vehicle to their lot to schedule a pickup. If your vehicle must be towed, you will most likely have to pay out of pocket for that — CarMax does not offer pickup services, according to their FAQs for selling a vehicle to their company.

To confirm whether you have to bring your vehicle in or not, you can contact your local CarMax office and ask about their policies for offering appraisals. There are currently 237 CarMax locations throughout the United States.

It’s important to confirm whether there is a CarMax location in your area when deciding whether selling to CarMax makes sense. Some states have more locations than others. For instance, there are 24 CarMax stores throughout Texas, but just one in Michigan, located in the greater Grand Rapids area.

Does CarMax Buy Old Cars?

Yes, in general CarMax can buy old cars. They are typically willing to make an offer on any vehicle. However, they generally do not keep older vehicles on their lots, which means they may consider older vehicles much less valuable than newer vehicles that are easier to resell.

On their website, they do not list a category for vehicles older than 2010, which indicates that vehicles from 2009 and below may get a lower value.

Will CarMax Buy Damaged Cars?

Not all old cars are junk, and not all damaged cars are junk either. So will they make an offer on a newer or more valuable car if it has some form of damage? Well, it depends on the kind of damage.

Minor bumps and dents that can easily be pulled out will probably not affect your estimate very much, for example.

However, if your car's fender is hanging off and three sides have been busted it from a collision, you might have a harder time getting CarMax to generate an offer that's right for you.

Is It Worth Selling My Car To CarMax?

In some cases, getting a CarMax cash offer and selling to them may be a good idea. For instance, if you want to get a new car immediately, trading your non-running vehicle to CarMax may be the right choice for you.

You can turn your car in and get its value as credit towards a newer vehicle. CarMax fixes up all vehicles it receives before selling them, so you are generally guaranteed to purchase a new-quality vehicle from them.

It may also be a good idea to use CarMax even if you do not plan on buying a new vehicle. CarMax will purchase vehicles from people who do not intend to buy a new one. That means there is no obligation associated with selling a car to CarMax.

How can I get a quote for my car instantly?

It's simple and it takes less than 90 seconds... click the button below to get started and find out how much your vehicle is worth!

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Differences in CarMax And CarBrain

Now you know that you can get a CarMax appraisal on non-running vehicles. It is important to consider all factors when determining whether it is worth selling a damaged car to CarMax or not.

  • Locations - CarMax has multiple brick-and-mortar stores located throughout the United States for you to sell your vehicle. Generally to sell to CarMax, you should be within driving distance of a CarMax location.

    This is because CarMax does not offer pickup services, which means you will need to bring your vehicle to a CarMax location. There are some states with no CarMax stores, which means selling your car to CarMax may pose a logistical challenge. There are no CarMax stores in Montana, Wyoming, Arkansas, West Virginia, Vermont, North Dakota or South Dakota.

  • Will Buy Almost Any Car - CarMax specializes in buying and selling used vehicles that are in good shape. While CarMax will generally make repairs and improvements on all vehicles it purchases before placing them back on the lot for resale, it does not specialize in damaged cars. The majority of their business is in their used car sales, which means they specialize in vehicles that can easily be resold.

On the other hand, CarBrain specializes in buying less-than-perfect cars. We have over a decade of experience purchasing blown engine, salvage, scrap, accident-damaged, junk and non-running vehicles. We know how to determine a fair market value for a damaged vehicle in any condition.

With CarBrain, you get:

  • Guaranteed quote online - Just upload photos of your vehicle and provide its Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).

  • Absolutely free towing - When CarBrain buys your car, our offers always include free towing. We will pick your car up wherever it is for free, with no additional charges or fees.

  • No Haggling - Whatever price you are quoted is the amount of money you’ll receive when your vehicle is retrieved.

Both CarBrain and CarMax guarantee offers for seven days, so regardless of which company you choose, you have time to think it over. 

Why You Should Sell Your Non-Running Car To CarBrain

Selling a non-running vehicle to CarBrain couldn’t be easier. It takes less than 90 seconds to get a quote. If you like our offer, you can get FREE pickup and FREE title transfer in under 48 business hours.

Our professional customer service team is available to help you get answers to your questions and sell your damaged car fast. You won’t have to bring your vehicle in or meet anyone in person to complete the sale. All you have to do is provide information, photos and your VIN for a guaranteed offer.

How To Sell Your Non-Running Car To CarBrain

To sell your non-running vehicle to CarBrain, you should:

  1. Click “get an offer”

  2. Fill out the form

  3. Get your quote!

If you like our offer, you can schedule a free vehicle pickup in under 48 hours. If you need time to think it over, you have it. Our offers are guaranteed for seven days. Once you’re ready to sell, reach out to our team members to schedule your pickup.

Selling your non-running car to CarBrain is the fast, safe and easy way to get rid of a damaged vehicle. We offer fair market prices and a no-fuss sales process for cars, trucks, vans and SUVs. Why wait? Get an offer and get started today.

Note: CarMax is a trademarked brand, and is not affiliated with CarBrain.

Need answers? Get FREE advice from our client care experts NOW!

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Frequently Asked Questions

Does CarMax buy cars with over 100,000 miles?

Yes, CarMax does purchase vehicles with over 100,000 miles on them. However, these vehicles may not be placed back for their sale on their lots, depending on the condition of the car.

Does CarMax buy cars with dents?

A minor dent won’t have any impact on whether CarMax purchases the car or not. Neither will mild issues like some bumper damage, scratches, scrapes and bumps.

More severe damage that causes the vehicle’s frame to bend will affect the appraisal amount, however, and may impact your choice regarding where to sell your car.

Will CarMax really buy any car?

Within reason, CarMax will buy just about any car. Severely damaged cars, however, are not within the class of vehicles that CarMax specializes in.

What is the oldest car CarMax will buy?

CarMax does not have a stated limit for the age of vehicles they will make an offer on. Although an offer for a very old car will typically be much lower than an offer for a newer vehicle, CarMax may still generate a quote for an old car.

Will CarMax buy any car in any condition?

It is possible for CarMax to generate an offer for any vehicle, no matter what condition it is in.

If you want to maximize your offer for a damaged, nonrunning or end of life vehicle, you should obtain quotes from multiple different buyers — not every online dealership specializes in less-than-perfect cars, which could impact the offers you receive.

Will CarMax Buy My Car If The Engine Is Blown?

You can get an offer from CarMax for a vehicle with mechanical damage, even a blown engine. However, there's two important caveats:

  1. CarMax doesn't specialize in cars with mechanical damage.
  2. CarMax doesn't tow vehicles — you have to get it to them on your own dime.

Given that you can't drive a car with a blown engine, it might make more sense to turn to a service that can pick up your vehicle for you (like CarBrain — we include free towing with all our offers!)

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