Will CarMax Buy a Car With the Check Engine Light On? Answered

Short Answer: CarMax buys vehicles in all sorts of conditions, including those with the check engine light on. CarMax sends cars with severe damage and serious issues to auctions, so your car may not end up being sold back to the public. For more about selling a car with the check engine light on to CarMax, see below.

Will CarMax Buy a Car With the Check Engine Light On?

CarMax will buy a car with a check engine light on, as well as cars with more severe issues, a customer service representative said. To prove how serious it is about accepting cars in virtually any condition, the company even launched an advertising campaign called “We’ll Buy Your Car Even If You Don’t Buy Ours.” CarMax will also purchase damaged cars and cars with salvage titles (as previously reported).

However, be aware the company won’t always sell your car back to the general public. Cars with severe mechanical issues and/or body damage are sold at CarMax auctions, where all issues are fully disclosed. These dealer-only events are not open to the public.

Selling a Car to CarMax

In order to sell your car to CarMax, you’ll first need to schedule an appraisal. You can do this by calling your local CarMax or by filling out a form online. Once you’re at the lot, a CarMax appraiser will examine your vehicle. This process can take as little as 30 minutes.

When determining an offer, CarMax primarily looks at the vehicle’s condition (including accident history, mileage, wear and tear, etc.) and market conditions (such as the car’s general desirability). Keep in mind that the company values a track record of long-term maintenance more than surface-level improvements like a new set of tires.

Make sure to bring your driver’s license, all sets of car keys, your registration, and the car’s title or payment information to your appraisal appointment. Once CarMax makes an appraisal offer, it is good for seven days.

For more on CarMax, see our articles about the company’s buying policies for old cars and cars with a bad transmission. We also compare CarMax vs. AUTOBUY vs. We Buy Any Car.