Illustration for article titled Another Update: Owning an Unreliable Car With a CarMax Warranty

I have a Ferrari. You know this, of course. Everyone knows this, because I continually make it abundantly clear whenever possible. Sometimes, I stop strangers on the street, random people going about their business; I grab both of their shoulders, and I scream it right in their face: "I HAVE A FERRARI!" At which point they tell me to go home, and for the love of God, could you put on some pants?!


I mention this because you would think the Ferrari is all anyone would ever want to talk to me about. You'd think I would get invited to secret parties in cool old warehouses, warehouses so swanky that they're referred to as "event spaces," and tall women with long, slender legs would come over and say: "Are you the guy with the Ferrari? It's SO nice to meet you. Why aren't you wearing any pants?"

But that's not what happens. Instead, what happens is, I'll meet up with someone, maybe a fellow Jalopnik reader just like you, and we'll go for a ride in the Ferrari. And we'll be sitting there, shifting through the gears, engine roaring behind us, speedometer climbing, exhaust note screaming, and we will, in this highly exciting time, in this bright red Italian sports car, invariably start discussing CarMax. Yes, that's right. The lip balm.


No, I'm just kidding. That's Carmex, with an "e." I think this mistake happens a lot, to the point where they're always having shipments of lip balm delivered to the dealerships. This, I am told, is how they get their tire shine.

What I'm really talking about is CarMax, a chain of car dealerships that calls itself a "new and used car superstore." I first wrote about CarMax way back in July of 2013, when I informed you, my dear reader, that CarMax offers a six-year, bumper-to-bumper warranty on every single car in its inventory. This made huge waves in the automotive world (precisely defined as: a bunch of Internet users with too much time at work), largely because it's when we all discovered that CarMax has some pretty cool cars available, not just Dodge Avengers that Enterprise couldn't sell.


A few months later, I provided you with an update on my own CarMax purchase: a 2006 Range Rover. By then, CarMax had paid out around $1,800 in repairs, which was a pretty sweet deal considering the warranty only cost around $3,500 and I still have five years left. So, you might be wondering: how's it doing now?

Well, I'm glad you asked, because I've decided to deliver another update, following a long period of self-reflection, careful consideration, and the fact that I can't think of anything else to write about.


Today's update comes to us courtesy of Hennessy Jaguar Land Rover (MOTTO: "Remember folks: we don't build them, we just sell them!"), my local dealership, who is really excellent at finding things wrong with my car.

But they didn't need to find anything wrong with my car this time, because I found it for them. It was actually pretty easy. I got inside, turned it on, and the power tilt steering wheel went into its lowest setting, which I would define as "toddler." It certainly wasn't "adult," because I happen to be an adult, and I couldn't get my leg between the seat and the steering wheel. So we had a real problem here, and I decided to take the car to the dealer rather than risk getting punched in the belly button by the airbag.


Now, I'm not quite sure what happened when the car was at the dealer, but I walked away from this ordeal paying more than $1,600. Let this be a lesson to you people: CarMax might take care of stuff that breaks, but you're still buying a used car that has used car problems, like the fact that a previous owner may have licked the gear lever.

You also may have issues where the car requires work that isn't covered under warranty. Brakes, for example. Of course, no warranty on earth covers brakes, but they'll probably need to be replaced much sooner in a used car than on a new one. Mine certainly did. And I didn't need just one brake, either. I needed front brakes. Rear brakes. Brake rotors. The whole shebang, as you might put it, if you're one of those people who believes that bowling is a legitimate recreational activity.


The total cost of all this came to $1,600, which is a rather large sum of money for those of us who bought our Range Rovers used at the approximate price of a Honda Accord. But the thing of it is — and stay with me now — brakes are pretty important. I learned this fact during the following conversation with my service advisor:

Me: If I don't pay the $1,600, will I die?
Service Advisor: Probably.

But you're probably more interested in what happened with the CarMax warranty repair, so here's the deal: some sort of electronic motor in the steering column went out. This is odd, because I had this happen before, and they traced it to some sort of other electronic motor in the steering column. This leads me to believe that there is more than one electronic motor in the steering column, which is proof that we should all kill ourselves right now before cars start offering features like computerized roof racks.


Anyway: just like last time, CarMax paid for this repair, too. And they didn't just pay for it: they covered it in full, without complaint, and immediately when the Land Rover dealer asked for it. The total CarMax cost was $785.19, bringing my grand warranty total up to $2,627.34. And here's the beauty part: I've still got four and a half years of warranty left, or 51,000 more miles.

Now, if only I could get CarMax to give me a warranty for a Ferrari.

@DougDeMuro is the author of Plays With Cars. He owned an E63 AMG wagon and once tried to evade police at the Tail of the Dragon using a pontoon boat. (It didn't work.) He worked as a manager for Porsche Cars North America before quitting to become a writer, largely because it meant he no longer had to wear pants. Also, he wrote this entire bio himself in the third person.

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