AutoBuy vs CarMax vs We Buy Any Car: We Compare

AutoBuy, CarMax, and We Buy Any Car each purchase used cars, vans, crossovers, SUVs, and trucks from private individuals. All three companies require in-person inspections before making a final offer for your vehicle. Appraisals take about 30 minutes to an hour, and after receiving an offer, you’ll have three to seven days to decide whether or not you want to sell. The companies’ appraisal and selling processes and criteria are similar, but CarMax is the only one that sells used cars itself and accepts trade-ins. Below, we compare AutoBuy, CarMax, and We Buy Any Car — from accepted vehicles and how to get a quote to requirements for selling your vehicle and more.

Regardless of where you decide to sell your car, you can maximize your appraisal offer by doing things like detail cleaning your car, fixing minor mechanical issues, and repairing any cosmetic damage if possible. Keep in mind, however, that you don’t want to spend more on repairs than the amount a fix will increase your offer. Additionally, be sure to follow each company’s selling requirements. If you fail to provide all of the vehicle’s keys/remotes, for example, the company may not buy your car or may give you a lower offer.

We’ve Done the Comparing for You — Here’s What We Recommend

If you have a non-traditional vehicle, such as a motorcycle, boat, or RV, AutoBuy will likely be your best option for selling, since it is the only of the three companies that accepts these types of vehicles. It is also the only one that will accept vehicles with damage that is pending an insurance claim, and it will match the appraisal offer of most competitors.

If you are also looking to buy or trade-in a car, CarMax is the only company that offers all of these services. It accepts virtually any car, regardless of age or condition. Its offers are also good for a full week, so you can shop around and take your time making your decision instead of having to decide on the spot.

For the most expedited process, consider selling through We Buy Any Car. It offers free online valuations so you can know what to expect before you even take your car in for an appraisal, and once you bring your car in, you be out with payment in hand in as little as 30 minutes.

Comparison Table: AutoBuy vs. CarMax vs. We Buy Any Car

You can use the table below for a quick comparison of the key differences between each company, then click any company or scroll for a more in-depth analysis.

Car Buying Company Accepted Vehicles Getting a Quote How Long Before an Offer Expires? Selling Requirements Additional Services
AutoBuy Cars, vans, SUVs, crossovers, trucks, luxury vehicles, sports cars, boats, classic cars, commercial vehicles, fifth-wheel campers, fleet vehicles, motorcycles, motorhomes, and RVs. No online quotes; enter vehicle info and schedule an appraisal online Five days Photo ID, title, all keys/remotes, loan info, and cash or check to pay loan balance (if applicable) AutoBuy will match competitors' appraisals
CarMax Cars, vans, SUVs, crossovers, trucks, luxury vehicles, and sports cars Check online to see if CarMax will accept your car, then schedule an in-person appraisal Seven days Photo ID, title or payoff info, all keys/remotes, and proof of registration CarMax also sells cars, takes trade-ins, and finances used car purchases
We Buy Any Car Cars, vans, SUVs, crossovers, trucks, luxury vehicles, and sports cars Enter vehicle info online for a free valuation (market conditions updated every Monday) Three days Photo ID, title or payoff info, all keys/remotes, owner's manuals, and proof of registration Settles existing financing and buys cars in a matter of minutes

AutoBuy

Accepted Vehicles

AutoBuy accepts the widest range of vehicles compared to CarMax and We Buy Any Car. It accepts cars, vans, SUVs, crossovers, trucks, luxury vehicles, sports cars, boats, classic cars, commercial vehicles, fifth-wheel campers, fleet vehicles, motorcycles, motorhomes, and RVs.

Getting a Quote

AutoBuy does not offer quotes online, but you can schedule an appraisal online. To begin the process, submit your name, phone number, email address, and preferred AutoBuy location — along with your vehicle’s year, make, model, trim, VIN, mileage, and ZIP code.

Appraisal Criteria

AutoBuy, like CarMax and We Buy Any Car, typically evaluates vehicles based on the following criteria:

  • Year
  • Make
  • Model
  • Mileage
  • Vehicle history
  • Condition of the vehicle
  • Current market conditions

AutoBuy will also buy vehicles with damage that is pending an insurance claim/check.

Appraisal Process

The appraisal process typically takes about 30 minutes to an hour. Your appraisal appointment at AutoBuy will include an interior inspection, exterior inspection, test drive, and vehicle valuation (which may involve running a vehicle history report and market analysis). After the evaluation, your appraiser will give you a final, personalized quote.

You can choose to accept or reject the offer on the spot. If you prefer to think about the offer, AutoBuy gives you five days to make a decision before its offer expires.

Selling Requirements

To sell your vehicle, AutoBuy requires that all titleholders show a valid photo ID and that you provide all keys/remotes and the vehicle’s title. If you have a lien, AutoBuy may still buy your car but you’ll need to provide the name of the lienholder, your account number, the last four digits of your Social Security number, and cash or a cashier’s check for the balance due on your loan.

Additional Services

Through its “We Pay the Max” policy, AutoBuy will match offers from large used vehicle buyers, including AutoNation, CarDrop, CarMax, and HGreg. The competitor’s appraisal must include a written, cash-only offer and a full vehicle evaluation.

CarMax

Accepted Vehicles

CarMax accepts cars, vans, SUVs, crossovers, trucks, luxury vehicles, and sports cars. It accepts old vehicles, salvaged vehicles, and vehicles with the check engine light on (as previously reported).

Getting a Quote

In most markets, you’ll need to visit a CarMax location to get a personalized offer, but you can check whether or not CarMax will buy your vehicle online. Enter the year, make, model, and current mileage of your vehicle to see if it’s eligible for sale or trade-in. You can also schedule an appraisal online. In select markets, CarMax provides trade-in offers online. CarMax representatives were unable to provide a list of the markets where this service is available, but we were told that the option will appear automatically on the CarMax website based on your location.

Appraisal Criteria

CarMax typically promises to buy any car regardless of its age or condition, but it evaluates vehicles based on the following criteria:

  • Year
  • Make
  • Model
  • Mileage
  • Vehicle history
  • Condition of the vehicle
  • Current market conditions

Appraisal Process

The appraisal process typically takes about 30 minutes to an hour. Your appraisal appointment at CarMax will include an interior inspection, exterior inspection, test drive, and vehicle valuation (which may involve running a vehicle history report and market analysis). After the evaluation, your appraiser will give you a final, personalized quote. You can choose to accept or reject the offer on the spot; CarMax’s offers are good for seven days.

Selling Requirements

To sell your vehicle, CarMax requires that all titleholders show a valid photo ID and that you provide all keys/remotes and the vehicle’s title. You must show proof of current vehicle registration. Instead of the vehicle’s title, you can provide payoff information if you still owe money on the car.

Additional Services

While AutoBuy, CarMax, and We Buy Any Car all purchase cars from private individuals, only CarMax also sells cars directly to customers. CarMax sells cars, vans, crossovers, SUVs, and trucks, including luxury, diesel, and electric vehicles. Popular brands include BMW, Chevrolet, Ford, Honda, Lexus, Mercedes-Benz, and Toyota. It does not buy or sell motorcycles (as previously reported).

CarMax has a seven-day return policy. You can return a vehicle for a full refund or transfer the down payment to a different vehicle; see our related article for details of the CarMax return policy.

You cannot buy a vehicle from CarMax online, but you can browse CarMax’s current selection online before visiting a lot. You can also place a free, no-obligation hold on any vehicle. You can also get pre-qualified for financing at CarMax.com. CarMax accepts applicants with bad credit and does not base its financing decisions on your credit score alone. See more about CarMax’s financing requirements and credit approval policy in our related article.

CarMax.com allows you to search by location, and some vehicles can be transferred between CarMax locations. CarMax’s website marks which vehicles are non-transferable in the search results and the vehicle’s detailed listing.

If you request a transfer, you are under no obligation to purchase the vehicle but you may be required to pay a store-to-store shipping fee. Costs vary depending on the shipping distance but are usually around $150.

Because CarMax is the only one of these three companies that also sells directly to customers, it is the only one that offers trade-ins. If you want to sell your current vehicle and buy a new one from CarMax, you can follow the appraisal process as described above. Once you have an offer, you can apply for a trade-in and CarMax will put the value of your current vehicle toward the purchase of a used vehicle from one of its lots.

We Buy Any Car

Accepted Vehicles

We Buy Any Car accepts cars, vans, SUVs, crossovers, trucks, luxury vehicles, and sports cars.

Getting a Quote

We Buy Any Car gives free online valuations. You’ll need to enter the year, make, model, body type, mileage, equipment options, accident history, and condition of your vehicle. Keep in mind, We Buy Any Car may adjust the offer after inspecting the car. And, We Buy Any Car updates its online pricing tool every Monday, so if you wait until after the following Monday to bring your car in, the valuation may increase or decrease based on market conditions.

Appraisal Criteria

Like its competitors, We Buy Any Car generally considers the following criteria when appraising a car, even if it is damaged or is not running:

  • Year
  • Make
  • Model
  • Mileage
  • Vehicle history
  • Condition of the vehicle
  • Current market conditions

Appraisal Process

The appraisal process typically takes about 30 minutes to an hour. Your appraisal appointment at AutoBuy, CarMax, or We Buy Any Car will include an interior inspection, exterior inspection, test drive, and vehicle valuation (which may involve running a vehicle history report and market analysis). After the evaluation, your appraiser will give you a final, personalized quote.

You can choose to accept or reject the offer on the spot, or you can take more time to think about it, but We Buy Any Car’s appraisal offers expire after three days.

Selling Requirements

To sell your vehicle We Buy Any Car requires that all titleholders show a valid photo ID and that you provide all keys/remotes and the vehicle’s title.

You must provide all available documents and owner’s manuals, as well as proof of address and current vehicle registration. Instead of the vehicle’s title, you may bring a payoff letter if you still owe money on the car. We Buy Any Car will deduct the amount you owe from the sale price and pay you the remaining amount.

Additional Services

We Buy Any Car prides itself on its fast car buying process, and once the appraisal is completed, you can sell your car in a matter of minutes. The company settles financing and often beats traditional trade-in offers.