CARMAX: Great Deals, or Just Great Advertising?

Posted Tuesday, Dec 26, 2017

Thinking of buying from Carmax?  Lots of people do, over 176,000 people in FY2016, in fact.  But are they getting the best deal?  Did you know Carmax averages over $3,000 of profit on each car they sell?

Carmax proudly offers no-haggle pricing on all their vehicles, giving many consumers a false sense of security that because they don’t have to negotiate, they are getting a great deal.  Spend a few minutes on a third party website like, however, and the reality of Carmax’s pricing philosophy becomes quite clear.

How do they do it?  Marketing!  Carmax spends millions of dollars on advertising each year, telling consumers that they’re “the way car buying should be” but what does that mean?  Should we all pay over retail for our next used car or truck?  We encourage you to educate yourself on the market value for the specific type of vehicle you’re looking for, and to look beyond the surface.  Carmax lures customers in with cosmetically attractive vehicles.  Vehicles that may or may not be solid under the surface.  Ask folks in service departments at dealers nationwide, and you’ll learn they see many recent Carmax purchases in the shop for one repair or another, no different than vehicles bought elsewhere.  Be mindful that just because the car looks sharp doesn’t mean it’s a new car.

So what’s the best way to protect yourself?  Be informed!  Take the time to compare prices of similarly equipped cars online before spending your hard earned money at Carmax, you just might find a better deal.  If you’re committed to buying from Carmax, make sure you read and understand their return or exchange policy, and we recommend always having a used car inspected by your own third party mechanic.

Shopping for the best deal?  Give your local independent dealer a shot!  Check out the difference in value between these two Jeeps, one at CARMAX, and one here at Petrol Auto Sales.

It’s always great to support local small businesses, and here at Petrol Auto Sales we find ourselves competing with Carmax head to head on a lot of the pre-owned vehicles we offer, but at a much lower price, usually by thousands of dollars!  All our cars must pass a 52-point mechanical, as well as a standard safety and smog inspection prior to sale.  We always encourage our clients to have our cars inspected at their own mechanic should they choose to do so, and while we are willing to negotiate on some of our models, we always study the local market for each vehicle we offer for sale, and price accordingly.  That means you don’t need to be a shrewd negotiator to walk into Petrol Auto Sales and get a great deal.

Want to know more?  Visit our Why Buy From Us page, or send us a message and we’re happy to help you in your search for the best used car, truck or SUV, even if you don’t buy from us.  We offer a brokerage service to help you get the best deal possible when buying from any dealer.