Can You Sell a Damaged or Salvage Car to CarMax? Solved

Picture of a car with light rear quarter panel damage and red duct tape over a tail light.

Short Answer — CarMax will buy a vehicle in almost any condition, including damaged and salvage title cars. If the car has extensive damage or a salvage title, CarMax will sell it at a dealer auction. The level of damage will also affect how much CarMax will offer you for the car.

Does CarMax Buy Damaged Cars?

CarMax will buy damaged cars, including cars with frame or flood damage. CarMax will even accept cars with an activated check engine light.

In a CarMax advertising campaign, the company boasts: “We Buy All The Cars.” Note, however, that CarMax has the right to refuse to buy a car for any reason.

CarMax will take all damage into consideration before it makes you a written offer for your car. CarMax appraisers will inspect your car, perform a test drive, and check the car’s history report to determine its value.

An FAQ page on the company’s website also notes that many people overestimate the value of their car, and things like major frame damage will have a significant impact on CarMax’s appraisal offer.

If it can properly repair the vehicle, CarMax may resell it at one of its used car lots. CarMax will sell cars with extensive damage (i.e., those not suitable for driving on public roads) at dealer auctions, and the company must disclose all known defects at such auctions.

Does CarMax Buy Salvage Cars?

CarMax also buys cars with salvage titles. While the CarMax website doesn’t provide any information on salvage vehicles, we called the company’s location in Boynton Beach, FL, and spoke with a company representative who confirmed that CarMax does, indeed, take salvage title cars.

CarMax sells these cars at dealer auctions.

Once a car has experienced damage that amounts to 75% to 90% of its value (depending on your state) it is issued a salvage title. A vehicle with a salvage title hasn’t necessarily been involved in an accident; it may have been in a flood or had extensive hail damage.

Stolen cars that are recovered after an insurer has already paid the claim are also declared salvage.

If your car was in an accident and issued a salvage title, you can also choose to repair it and apply for a new (rebuilt) title once the repairs are complete and the car passes all necessary inspections.

Selling a Car to CarMax

As mentioned above, CarMax appraisers conduct in-depth car inspections and research to determine how much they will offer you for your car.

According to the company’s website, in order to sell or trade in a car, you will need the following:

  • The car’s title or payoff information (all titleholders must be present)
  • The car’s current, valid registration
  • A valid, state-issued photo ID
  • All keys and remotes for the car

You may also want to do some research to get an idea of your car’s value before you bring it to CarMax. Resources like Kelley Blue Book can help you figure out how much your car is worth.

Once CarMax makes an appraisal offer for your car, the offer is good for seven days and will be the same amount whether you trade-in or sell.

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