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You can’t beat that new car smell, but current models can be expensive. It can also be hard to buy one if you have poor credit or a variable income. When buying a used car, you can purchase a car at a lower cost and, if acquired from a private seller, no interest rates.

You can find a wide variety of used vehicles online from sites like eBay and Craigslist. There are also two popular companies that specialize in selling used cars: CarMax and Carvana. Let’s compare these companies and see which one is better.


With CarMax, you can shop online, but they also have physical stores across the country. You can view each store’s vehicles online, then visit the store to examine the cars. Unlike salespeople at dealerships, CarMax employees don’t pressure shoppers. According to, CarMax employees only gave the customers helpful advice about cars and clearly outlined the buying process.

Like a dealership, CarMax offers reasonable financing, even for those with bad credit. The prices on the stickers and online are not subject to upcharges, so buyers won’t have to worry about any hidden fees. You can test drive the car before you buy it.

Additionally, CarMax offers a seven-day warranty on all its vehicles, allowing you to return the car for a full refund if you’re not satisfied. You can even sell your old car to CarMax, but the price they offer may be less than a regular car dealership.


Unlike CarMax, Carvana only offers online shopping. A free oil change comes with every purchase. Once you choose a vehicle, the company will deliver the car to your home within 48 hours. You’ll have to cover shipping costs, but if you live near one of the company’s car “vending machines,” you can pick it up yourself.

Even though you can’t test drive the vehicle before you buy, the company offers a seven-day window where you can get your money back if you’re unhappy with the car. If you have any issues, you can have the vehicle inspected and serviced at no charge for up to 100 days after you buy.

Unlike most online sellers, Carvana uses Carfax to obtain vehicle history reports on all its cars. Each vehicle is inspected and professionally detailed before selling. The company also refuses to sell cars that have been in accidents, so buyers can have the peace of mind that a new car won’t have any hidden damage.

Why choose either?

When buying a used car from a private seller, it can be harder to get the best value. Sellers will price the vehicle for what they think it’s worth and may not be open to haggling. There’s always the risk of being scammed, especially on Craigslist. Even if the seller posts detailed photos, you won’t be able to get an accurate picture of the vehicle’s history or the way it drives, unless the seller allows you to test it.

You can also buy a car at a traditional used car dealership, but many people avoid them due to pushy sales reps and lack of inventory. With CarMax and Carvana, the buying process is streamlined and user-friendly, no matter which one you pick. The prices may be a little steeper than a dealership due to overhead costs. But vehicles at Carvana and CarMax also have higher quality standards.