CarMax - CarMax sold me a less than substandard vehicle and now takes no liability.

Posted on Friday, January 22nd, 2010 at 1:13pm CST by 3662b483

Product: 2003 Saab 9-5 wagon

Company: CarMax

Location: 12966 Jefferson Ave
Newport News, VA, 23608, US


Category: Other

I purchased my vehicle from CarMax in April 2008 since then my vehicle has been put in the shop 10+ times for repairs. I was sold this car under the assumption that with the extended warranty CarMax would be able to fix my car for $50 a visit. CarMax has been able to work on my vehicle once, every other time it must be sent to the dealership. The mechanics at CarMax usually cannot even diagnose the vehicle as having a problem. They changed and rotated my tires and returned the car saying that everything was fine once. I was having problems with it so I took it to a Saab dealer. The Saab dealer said that the oil pump was leaking, the water pump was leaking, the head gasket was cracked and the tires were bald. CarMax rotated bald tires and didnt say anything and they changed the oil on a car and didnt notice the oil leaking right back out. I have spoken to the Operations Manager who is claiming CarMax is not liable for any problems that we have had with our vehicle. He says it would be impossible to be able to be liable for every car owner that is upset when their car breaks down due to age and mileage. I have never heard of a car with 80,000 miles needing a new head gasket. CarMax has robbed us by selling us this liability of a vehicle and now they are washing their hands of us. Below I have documented all repairs and dealings with CarMax since the day I purchased my vehicle.

My experience with CarMax

Summary of 2003 Saab Maintenance

Date Event

4/2008 Purchased Saab from Va Beach CarMax

7/15/2008 Dealership: CarMax

Problem: Check engine light on

Result: Instructed to take vehicle to Saab dealership, we were told that CarMax could not fix the problem.

7/21/2008 Dealership: Saab Dealer

Problem: Check engine light is on

Result: Replaced ignition cassette and changed spark plugs

8/28/2008 Dealership: Saab Dealer

Problem: SID display bland and SES light on

Result: Replaced SID display and replaced brake vacuum booster

1/23/2009 Dealership: Saab Dealer

Problem: Check engine light is on

Result: Replaced thermostat

3/5/2009 Dealership: Saab Dealer

Problem: Theft system light is on

Result: Replaced siren

10/27/2009 Dealership: CarMax

Problem: car clunking when hitting bumps

Result: diagnosed as strut assembly

*Took car home to await parts

11/9/2009 Dealership: CarMax

*Return to fix struts

Result: Struts were not the problem, wrong diagnosis. Ordered control arm bushings.

*Took car home to await parts

11/17/2009- Dealership: CarMax


*Return to install control arm bushings

Problem: Car is rattling

Result: Air conditioning compressor replaced

*CarMax was unable to change the control arm bushings and the Saab was transferred to Suttle.

12/08/2009- Dealership: CarMax


Problem: Car is still making noise when hitting bumps

Result: Car is evaluated and diagnosed as no problems exist. We were instructed that key battery needed to be replaced and told it must be done at the dealership; CarMax was unable to change it.

*Oil change and tire rotation completed-Upon pickup we noticed that the car had not been reset. After trying to reset the car we were told that the car would have to be taken to the dealership to be reset. The next morning the shop tech called to inform us that the car would not reset because the key battery was dead. CarMax changed the key battery (the same battery that we were told had to be changed at the dealership) and the car reset.

Due to the holidays we had to drive our car on vacation while it still made noise and ran horribly.

1/4/2010 Dealership: Saab Dealer

Problem: Car still making noise

Result: Replaced head gasket, water pump, oil pressure switch, front crank seal, oil pump and o-ring. Instructed that PCV valve needs to be replaced ASAP and 4 new tires are needed.

*CarMax diagnosed the car as fine, changed the oil and rotated tires and never noticed any of the problems above.

1/29/2010 After numerous attempts we finally contacted a manager who was willing to help us. We were instructed to bring our vehicle in for service and told that the PCV valve and head gaskets would be replaced.

1/20/2010 Dealership: CarMax

Problem: Ongoing complaint from October 27, 2009. Car continues to make the same noise and PCV valve needs to be replaced per the Saab dealership.

Result: Car diagnosed as fine. We are informed by CarMax that the vehicle does not have a PCV valve rather it has a PCV tube? CarMax stated that the car runs fine and no noises were heard.

Despite numerous attempts to contact CarMax corporate management we have had no response regarding what can be done about the car we purchased. We have tried to give CarMax every opportunity to correct the situation.

1/21/2010 Dealership: CarMax

Sales Manager set up an appointment for us to drive the vehicle with him and the Operations Manager at 4pm

1/22/2010 Dealership: CarMax

*Showed up for appointment with the managers, the sales manager was at lunch and the Operations Manager was not at the store. This letter was left for the Operations Manager in his mailbox.

Result: Drove Saab with a mechanic who instructed us that the noise may be the vehicles axle or the wheel bearings. PCV valve still not diagnosed while mechanic felt the problem while driving he informed us that he doesnt know what he is looking for in the part because he is not educated on how it functions.

1/22/2010 CarMax Corporate

Problem: Called to speak with someone in regards to our vehicle. We tried to obtain contact information for someone that can help us with our problem. We were once again directed towards the elusive Operations Manager at CarMax Newport News, Va. The customer service representative has assured us that the Operations Manager will be contacting us in the morning.

1/23/2009 CarMax

*Finally spoke with the Operational Manager who instructed me that there is nothing that CarMax could do to assist. They could not take responsibility for every customer that had repairs from aging and mileage being put on their vehicle after purchase. I am not an expert but unless I am drag racing I dont think a head gasket should blow on a car that has 80,000 miles on it.

Result: CarMax is attempting to change PCV valve for $96.14 for the part and $20.70 for labor. If the car has to be transferred to the Saab dealership, CarMax will be paying the difference.


c95777de, 2010-12-12, 12:51AM CST

shouldnt have bought a saab...its called do a little product research...its like going to wal-mart and expecting their cheapest lcd tv to have as good a picture as a get what you pay for...and with saab, you pay for crap

7202c1f2, 2011-01-08, 07:54AM CST

Thank you for sharing your experiences with CarMax customer service. I plan to buy a car today and CarMax is on the list of 7 dealers . . .

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