With supply shortages driving up car prices, gas prices on the rise, and fewer people driving to the office each day as they transition to remote work, many people are thinking about selling their cars — some for the first time ever.
Luckily for prospective sellers, there are a number of well-known online services where users can get an offer on their car in just a few minutes by submitting vehicle information such as mileage, accident history, and condition.
So where are sellers most likely to get top dollar for their vehicle and where are lower offers most likely to come from? To find out, the FinanceBuzz team compared offers on over 100 different vehicles from three major online car-buying services: Carmax, Carvana, and Vroom. By comparing offers for the same car across all three platforms, we found which online car retailers deliver the highest offers, and how vehicle type, age, and mileage affect potential sales prices.
- Carmax offered the highest prices for used cars among its competitors, nearly $1,000 more than both Carvana and Vroom.
- Between Carmax, Vroom, and Carvana, Carmax offered the highest amount for used vehicles 63% of the time.
- Vroom had the lowest average offer price of the three dealers and was the lowest offer in 46% of the cars we tested.
- How much different car-buying sites will pay for your vehicle
- How much car-buying sites will pay for different kinds of vehicles
- How much car-buying sites will pay for vehicles of different ages
- How much car-buying sites will pay for vehicles with different mileage amounts
- How to protect your car
How much different car-buying sites will pay for your vehicle
After compiling a list of 100 vehicles of varying manufacturers, mileage, and age, we compared offers provided by three leading car sites: Carmax, Carvana, and Vroom.
One company stood out from the other two: Carmax’s average offer was nearly $14,000, over $1,000 more than its competitors' average offers. That’s an especially notable difference considering that the gap between the second-place Carvana and last-place Vroom average offers was just $120.
Carmax’s perch atop the rankings isn’t limited to their average offer size. For nearly two-thirds (63%) of the vehicles we reviewed, Carmax returned the top offer.
On the flip side, Vroom’s offer was the lowest of the three 46% of the time. For nearly half of all vehicles, Vroom’s offer was lower than its competitors.
How much car-buying sites will pay for different kinds of vehicles
But do some sites value different types of vehicles? No matter which of the four categories we looked at — cars, SUVs, pickup trucks, or minivans — Carmax returned the top average offer.
The difference between Carmax and their closest competitor was smallest regarding trucks, where Vroom’s average offer was only $107 less. The gap is largest for SUVs, where Carmax offered over $1,500 more on average than either of the other two sites.
How much car-buying sites will pay for vehicles of different ages
Regardless of the age of the vehicle, we again found that Carmax is the best bet for a seller looking to get top dollar. The difference in offers is particularly pronounced for vehicles produced in the last six years, as well as those from 2009 and earlier.
For newer cars, Carmax offered $900 more than Vroom and $1,500 more than Carvana on average. While for older cars, they were the only site with an average offer in excess of $2,000, coming in at an average of $2,728.
How much car-buying sites will pay for vehicles with different mileage amounts
The final comparative metric was mileage, allowing us to see how much money each car-buying site is willing to offer based on how many miles a vehicle has already been on the road. At this point, it probably isn’t surprising to learn that Carmax came out on top for all mileage ranges.
For cars with fewer than 50,000 miles, as well as those with 100,000-150,000 miles, Carmax offered over $1,000 more than the competition on average.
Even for cars with 50,000-100,000 miles and those with odometers in excess of 150,000 miles, neither Carvana nor Vroom could even get within $500 of the average Carmax offer.
How to protect your car
Whether you’re looking to sell now or plan to keep your current car on the road for a few more years, it’s important to protect your car and its value by getting the right insurance. Here are a few tips on how to do that:
- Find the right company for your needs. Coverage and costs vary from one insurance company to another, so finding one that matches your needs is essential. Be sure to compare the offerings available from some of the best car insurance companies to find the right fit for you.
- Look for ways to cut down on your insurance costs. There are plenty of ways car owners can save on their expenses. Researching the top ways to save money on car insurance can result in some relief on your premiums.
- Keep your coverage while dropping costs. There are a number of ways to improve your current insurance rate without sacrificing quality coverage. Learning the ways to lower car insurance rates can put money back in the pockets of savvy drivers.
Using data from 100 actual vehicles, FinanceBuzz requested quotes from each website listed, keeping mileage, vehicle condition, and accident history consistent across each site for each car. Only vehicles where all three sites returned an offer were included in the analysis. Vehicle offers were collected from 4/19/2022-6/22/2022.