Why you should Never Ever buy a Vehicle from CarMax

Once upon a time on a motorbike somewhere in India

As a travel blogger, who still wants to get out and explore this big ‘ol world even during a global pandemic, my vehicle is very crucial for my travel needs. I may not be jet-setting away to Kerala India these days but the wanderlust-filled traveler in me still has the desire to get out into the spectacular wilderness and explore. As much as I would love to hop on a plane and trek through the jungles of Goa, yelling at Langurs who get too close and hoping not to get trampled by a grey-green pachyderm here in 2021, I’m too much of a germ-a-phob to even consider air travel yet. Having a reliable vehicle is incredibly important to me. Too bad I purchased my vehicle through the shit show that is CarMax.

In the last sixteen months, I personally do not feel comfortable setting foot on an airplane. Knowing my luck, I would end up sitting next to some bro who is not vaccinated and probably partied at the Kane Brown concert all weekend without a mask. In this crazy world we live in, 2021, who knows if the weirdo sitting next to you is high on weed gummies and about to attack a flight attendant. And did he even wash his hands when he came out of the loo? I just know I would be trapped for hours sitting next to someone breathing Delta variant germs in my direction. And that is why for me, road tripping is the way to go in 2021.

RV your way to outdoor adventures

Hanging out by the 20-year-old RV; More reliable than my Subaru!

For our family that usually means packing a month’s worth of vidals and maybe some of our pets into our twenty-year-old motorhome and hitting the highways of America. Because did I mention our twenty-year-old motorhome is more reliable than my daily driver, my piece O’ crap Subaru Crosstrek? My boyfriend has actually told me many times, I should just drive our falling apart, sometimes the battery works 2001 Suzuki Vitara because Suzy the Suzuki is just so much more reliable than my Subaru.

After two years of attempting to get the CarMax dealership to fix my damn car that was under warranty when all these issues with my air conditioning started, I’ve about had it with Subarus and CarMax dealerships. And I’m not the only one! Watch this video!

I didn’t always hate Subarus

2010 picnic at Oktoberfest on my Subaru Baja’s tailgate.

I would never call myself a Subaru influencer (Because that’s a career in 2021 right?) but I had two previous Subarus before I bought the Crosstrek from hell. My vintage 2006 Subaru Baja was my favorite vehicle I ever owned. Just like I wish pets could live forever, I wish our favorite vehicles could stay new with under 10,000 miles on the odometer forever. Wouldnt that be nice? But unless you drive five hundred miles a year like my grandma that does not happen to all of us who embrace the C-word. (Commuting. Ugh)

My Subaru Crosstrek was a stinky pain in the ass from the minute I drove it home five years ago from the dealership in Riverside, California. The girl who sold it to me told me it had been owned by a single-family. This was a bald-faced lie I would find out later.  And I’m not the only person CarMax lied to.

When I purchased this 2014 Subaru Crosstrek, I had never heard of CarFax. I had not bought a used vehicle since I was twenty-two and I honestly did not expect the CarMax employee to flat out lie to my face and not tell me the vehicle had actually been a rental car. If I could go back in time I would have done a CarFax report and also wish I had noticed the stanky sweat stains on the seats before I drove off the CarMax lot. All the way driving home in my new to me Subaru Crosstrek with only 20,000 miles on it I smelled something funky. Once I got home I realized that not only was my driver’s seat covered in someone else’s funky sweat but when I started checking out my vehicle with a fine-toothed comb, I discovered petrified dog piss in the hatchback of the vehicle in the spare tire area. What is crazy about this nasty unsanitary mess is that this has happened to other people at this dealership! But as I was soon to find out, a little petrified dog piss was soon to be the least of my problems.

My Subaru from hell

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My first Subaru and my air conditioning worked when it was 121 degrees outside.

When I’m not traveling around the world, riding camels in India or inhaling fish balls in Hong Kong, I commute from the idyllic mountain community of Big Bear Lake to Arcadia California. Arcadia is a suburb of Los Angeles and the home of the great race place Santa Anita Park. I work as a wagering ambassador and handicapper for Santa Anita’s marketing team. It’s my dream job and I love it but what I don’t love is showing up for work a sweaty mess because my air conditioning has not worked properly for two years. My commute is seventy miles one way. Part of that is scenic mountain highways through an alpine forest. Then I reach the flatland desert where it’s usually above one hundred degrees. Not having working air conditioning for two years made this drive miserable. Throw in some congested L.A. traffic and by the time I reach work I’m sweaty and pissed off about the way CarMax treats their customers.

Commuting all this time gives me lots of time to call the CarMax dealership and complain that they didn’t fix my vehicle again. Well, that was when they used to take my phone calls. When I tried to call ten days ago about the fact that after charging me eight hundred dollars for a new compressor, my air conditioning still did not work, they stopped returning my calls entirely. I left three separate voicemails and finally had to call the CarMax corporate office to have them reach out to the CarMax in Duarte and tell these idiots to return my call.

The CarMax extended warranty; A terrible joke

When I purchased my vehicle from CarMax the lying salesgirl convinced me to purchase the CarMax MaxCare Protection Plan. I had no idea I had just been swindled into purchasing a worthless extended warranty. When I first realized my air conditioning does not blow cold whatsoever basically any time I’m stuck in traffic my vehicle had under 70,000 miles on it. That was well under my MaxCare extended warranty. I then took my vehicle back to two different CarMax locations over a twenty-four month period.

Because one the pandemic, and two I live in a mountain community at 6,000 feet, I barely have driven in the past two years. I had not used my air conditioning since May when it was “Fixed” at the Duarte dealership, until two weeks ago, when I realized though it blows some cold air now, when the air conditioning is on full blast, I’m still sweating. Maybe I’m just picky, but this, in my opinion, is not the signs of a working AC unit.
This was the sixth time I had taken my vehicle into Carmax to have the AC looked at. They replaced the condenser (Twice) They did multiple maintenances on the AC unit (Some I paid for out of my pocket) Why am I paying for these repairs when I purchased an extended warranty and my vehicle was never fixed correctly, to begin with? I feel like I was swindled out of the funds for this MaxCare extended warranty at this point.
I’ve wasted so much of my personal time, googling what is wrong with my car, watching youtube videos, trying to educate the CarMax service center employees when I take my car in what the issue could be. Shouldn’t that be their job? And they still can’t fix my vehicle…
Just looking online at reviews for both the Duarte, California and Riverside California CarMax dealerships, I have seen this same thing has happened to many different people! Many online reviews of customers paying for the extended warranty and not being able to get their vehicles fixed! When I had the AC compressor replaced in May, the employee who helped me told me that if it was still not working, to contact CarMax at once and they would help me. Well, that sounds simple enough but when I called CarMax it just goes to voicemail and my three voicemails were not returned in an eight-day period. Maybe it’s just me but this does not sound like professional customer service. I actually had to reach out to CarMax corporate office and have them track down an employee to return my calls and make an appointment to fix my damn vehicle. 

Over the last two years,  I have had multiple arguments with the service manager at the Riverside dealership where he told me repeatedly my vehicle was fixed correctly, then I would go on holiday to Palm Springs in April and it would be 106 degrees in the shade and my vehicle was blowing hot air. (Ironically like the Riverside CarMax manager did when he told me my vehicle was fixed. Check out his bad reviews on Yelp also)

  • I probably wouldn’t have written this blog if I wasn’t so disheartened with all aspects of the CarMax experience. Like the worthless MaxCare extended warranty, I purchased and then my car’s air conditioning was never fixed properly.
  • The service manager at the Riverside dealership who flat out lied to me saying my air conditioning was fixed perfectly on my fourth trek to CarMax.
  • After my compressor was replaced a few months ago and it still was blowing hot air the girl who was helping me at the Duarte dealership would not return my calls. I called three times within a week and left multiple voice mails. I finally had to call the CarMax corporate office, have them tell her to return my calls. And she was a bitch to me when she did return my call and refused to let me talk to her service manager.

    Camping in the back of my Subaru Crosstrek

I might never had penned this article if I hadn’t been sitting in CarMax Duarte’s filthy waiting room for seven hours on August 24th while flies bit me every five minutes. (And CarMax? Global pandemic still, perhaps you should sanitize your waiting area one time in seven hours as I watched hundreds of customers come and go.) Considering that CarMax did not fix my air conditioning correctly on my last visit and I paid eight hundred dollars to have my compressor replaced, and I had an appointment for this service, I would have expected a rental car for my wasted time or at the very least not to be sitting in an insect filled waiting room.

By the time my vehicle was finally fixed seven hours later and the chick helping me admitted the compressor was not installed correctly and that’s why it was still blowing hot air I was furious. An apology for wasting my time would have been nice. These assholes don’t care how many days I have taken off work to deal with their shoddy repair work. They don’t care how many miles I have driven and how much time I have wasted just to get my issues ignored like I am making them up. Their whole operation is a complete shit show and their online reviews for both the Duarte and Riverside California dealerships reflect this. It’s ridiculous that the employee at the Duarte dealership ignored my voicemails and phone calls for eight days like I was making this shit up. And then the technician at the Duarte dealership yesterday actually showed me infrared photos of the seals leaking in my air compressor; The whole issue.

So what have we learned today?

south Lake Tahoe
One dirty camper and a million eastern Sierras lakes to explore.
  • Never, ever buy a vehicle from CarMax.
  • Never, ever buy another Subaru.
  • CarMax employees will lie to your face to get you to buy a broken-down vehicle.

I just hope and pray I never have to step back into a CarMax dealership ever again after this hellacious experience. I honestly don’t understand how anyone thinks this is a competent way to run a business. The good news is now that my vehicle is fixed and has working AC again, I can get back to road trips and traveling and not be a sweaty mess. It’s bad enough to be a dirty camper for a few days on vacation, it’s even worse when you are driving through Bishop and it’s 106 degrees outside. The dirty camper in the shitty Subaru just wants to reach nice cool Mammoth Lakes and go for a hike!