Drivers Get Pop Quiz on Selling Their Cars

CarMax report shows opportunity to increase consumer knowledge around vehicle trade-ins

RICHMOND, Va.--()--With the start of the school year top of mind, CarMax, Inc. (NYSE:KMX), the nation’s largest retailer of used cars, and third largest auction operation in the United States, recently focused a national survey on a different type of education: how knowledgeable are car owners about how much they can get for their vehicle when it comes time to trade it in? The CarMax report today reveals that only half of respondents had a good idea of how much they could sell their car for, and 35 percent were either not sure or had absolutely no clue. To help all car owners better understand the intricacies of trading in their vehicle and empower them through the process, CarMax provides the guide below.

Mileage and Age Can Make a Grade-A Difference

Less than 20 percent of car owners surveyed knew the maximum number of miles that is considered “ideal” for trade-ins – 100,000 miles. Industry data indicates that while lower mileage is typically better, after 100,000 miles the value can drastically decrease depending on the make and model of the car and its condition.

“It’s important for drivers to know how much they can sell their car for and the factors that impact the offer they will receive. That will allow them to get the best deal and have a better experience,” explained Tom Marcey, CarMax vice president, regional merchandising. “CarMax offers an honest and authentic appraisal process. We see a 23 percent spike in customers coming into our stores for an appraisal during the summer, and we want to help consumers get the most for their trade-ins now and at any point in the year.”

Another misconception identified through the survey was that two in five car owners believe there is no difference in the offer they will receive between selling a 10-year-old car versus an 11-year-old car. which According to CarMax and industry data, the cut off between 10-year-old and 11-year-old vehicles can be substantial in affecting the offer they will receive when selling their car. More men than women were confused when it came to knowing this important trade-in fact (47 percent compared to 33 percent).

A Trusted Advisor Can Eliminate a Painful Process

Nearly one in ten respondents said they would rather shave their heads than try to sell their cars. However, selling a car does not need to be an extreme process, and CarMax has a proven, hassle-free approach that allows drivers receive an offer for their vehicle in as little as 30 minutes. They can even choose to walk out the door with payment in-hand.

Separate Emotions for Less Stress

Additionally, about one in six respondents had a harder time “breaking up” with their cars than ending their first relationships. Letting go of any car is an emotional experience – one in 10 people said the emotions were the hardest part of their last trade-ins. But like a relationship ending, it’s also an opportunity for an upgrade and something better will roll along.

Timing Can Help You Ace the Class

Is there a better time of the year to sell your car? There is, and more than 25 percent of people surveyed were right on target. CarMax data indicates March and April are the best months to trade in your car for the best deal. Except for luxury and sports cars, most vehicles also tend to appreciate slightly at the beginning of the year when the miles per year are lowest.

Just as in School, Preparation is Key

When it comes to car trade in prep, many consumers were also on track. A majority of respondents said cleaning their cars will mean higher appraisal offers, and while it’s not guaranteed, a spotless car may help you clean up.

“Taking care of visible maintenance issues like worn tires, warning lights and broken tail lights prior to an appraisal can increase the offer you receive for your car,” adds Marcey. “An interior detailing, which you can do yourself or have done professionally, will make a good first impression with the appraiser or buyer, showing the vehicle has been properly maintained.”

The CarMax Difference

CarMax will buy your car, even if you do not buy one of theirs. You’ll get a competitive offer in as little as 30 minutes and can leave with payment in hand or take up to a week to make your decision. To learn more about used car appraisals and sales with CarMax, including helpful tips and frequently asked questions, or to schedule an appointment for an appraisal, click here.

About CarMax

CarMax is the nation’s largest retailer of used cars and operates more than 160 stores in 37 states nationwide. CarMax revolutionized the auto industry by delivering the honest, transparent and high-integrity car buying experience customers want and deserve. For more than 20 years, CarMax has made car buying more ethical, fair and stress-free by offering a no-haggle, no-hassle experience and an incredible selection of vehicles. CarMax makes selling your car easy too, by offering no-obligation appraisals good for seven days. At CarMax, we’ll buy your car even if you don’t buy ours®. CarMax has more than 22,000 associates nationwide and for 12 consecutive years has been named as one of the FORTUNE 100 Best Companies to Work For®. During the 12 months ending February 29, 2016, the company retailed 619,936 used cars and sold 394,437 wholesale vehicles at its in-store auctions. For more information, access the CarMax website at

Survey Methodology: CarMax commissioned SHIFT Communications to survey U.S. online consumers via Google Consumer Surveys to uncover understandings and attitudes as they relate to selling a used car. The survey was shown to 15,868 people age 18+ with 3,044 responses, for a 19.2 percent response rate, with a 95 percent confidence level. Consumer Surveys weights results by inferred gender, age and geography when possible to make the sample as representative as possible of the internet population. Responses were collected from July 25-27, 2016.


CarMax, Inc.
Jonathan McNamara, (855) 887-2915


CarMax, Inc.
Jonathan McNamara, (855) 887-2915