How To Donate a Car That Doesn't Run

Has your car seemingly reached the end of its life? If your car no longer runs, then donating it is your best option. You could potentially try to sell it, but it's unlikely you can market a car that doesn't run unless someone wants to buy it for spare parts and scrap metal. By donating your car, you are making a difference in the lives of others. In today’s times, you can donate your vehicle to the charity of your choice. There are many nonprofits that will benefit from your car donation, and they will all earn you a tax write-off that you can turn in the next time you file your taxes. Ready to learn more? Keep reading for a comprehensive guide on how to donate a car that doesn't run!

How to Donate a Car That Doesn't Run

  1. Determine if it's an easy fix
    • The first step should be determining why the car doesn't run. In some rare cases, it may be a simple fix, such as a new spark plug. If your problem is simple and inexpensive to fix, you might opt to go that route before proceeding with a donation or selling your vehicle. In most cases, the issue is more complex than that, but it's always worth checking out. You can take your car into an auto shop or mechanic to try and get the issue diagnosed.
  2. Why you shouldn't try to sell a car that doesn’t run
    • It may be tempting to try and sell your car that doesn't run. However, this is rarely a good idea. You cannot sell or trade in a car at a dealership if it doesn't run on its own power. Your only option is to post the car for sale privately, but you must disclose that the car doesn't run. In this case, the only people likely interested in the car will be scrap yards and people who strip cars for parts. It's not common for this to be very monetarily rewarding, and you won't make much money on this sale. The only other way you could potentially sell your car is to first repair the vehicle to working order, which might incur massive costs at the repair shop. You're better off donating your car than trying to sell it yourself.
  3. Where is your car? (Auto body shop, side of the road, garage)
    • Where your car is located might make a difference in how you donate it. If your car is located on the side of the road, you're going to need a tow to get it where it needs to go. Luckily, some car donation programs will come and pick up the vehicle at no cost to you. Check with the organization you wish to donate to and see if they offer pickup services.
  4. Can you donate a car that doesn't run?
    • Car donation programs will gladly accept vehicles in any condition, including cars that don't run. Make sure when you call the vehicle donation program that you specify the car does not run so they can make transportation arrangements. In most cases, a car that doesn't run is not an issue for a donation service.
  5. How long does it take to pick up a donated car?
    • The time it takes to pick up donated cars varies widely. Often, you can expect anywhere from 24 hours to a few days to process the intake forms and have the vehicle picked up. Once you notify the charity of your intent to donate, they will schedule a time to pick up the vehicle that works with your schedule.
  6. What happens with donated cars that don't run?
    • Donated cars that don't run are usually sold at auction. Even a car that doesn't run can have a high value at these special sales, where people purchase the cars for scrap metal, spare parts and more. Some people also purchase cars that no longer run as a passion project, especially if the vehicle is old or rare.
  7. How do you donate?
    • Have you decided to donate your car? If so, you can follow these simple steps to donate a car:
      1. Pick a charity: The first step in car donation is choosing a charity. You want to look for a nonprofit, 501c organization that accepts car donations. Many charities take donated cars, so look for one that matters to you.
      2. Fill out the form or call: Some car donation programs have an intake form online. If they do, you can simply fill this out and submit it. If not, you will have to call the charity.
      3. Vehicles are picked up and sold: Once you have gotten in contact with the charity of your choice, they will schedule a time to come pick up your vehicle. After the vehicle is picked up, it is no longer your responsibility, and the charity assumes full responsibility for the car. The car will then be taken to an auction and sold.
      4. Charity receives the proceeds: After selling the car at auction, the charity receives the proceeds for the cost of the car. This kind of money can allow your chosen charity to extend their outreach even more. Donating one car, even one that doesn't run, can have an enormous impact.
      5. Donor receives a tax receipt: Once your charity receives payment for the car, they will provide you with a tax receipt. Because car donation is a tax-deductible write-off, you will want to save this receipt for your next tax return.

If you have a car that doesn't run, consider donating it to a charitable cause. It might not be doing you any good sitting around, but it can have a huge impact if you choose to donate it. You will also receive a tax deduction, which could be worth more than what you could sell the car for on your own. The process of donating a car is quick, easy, and painless. If you're ready to make that move, start researching nonprofits you can donate a car to in your local area. Find a charity that speaks to you and arrange the donation at your convenience.