What to Consider Before Donating Your Car

Genevieve Fraser
· 3 min read
Thinking of
donating a car
to your favorite charity to do a good deed and get a nice tax reduction while you’re at it? Well, you may want to proceed with caution.
Donating used cars to charities has become an ideal way for many Americans to do away with their unwanted vehicles, especially during the pandemic, which has seen a surge in car sales.
It seems like a viable option, as you can bypass the hassle of reselling or junking the car, contribute to a charitable cause, and get a tax cut, all at the same time!
The bad news is that, in reality, the process might not be a win-win situation unless you’re careful.
Before you make the decision, here’s what you should consider when donating your used car.

Your donated car might end up in the junkyard

Donating your car is a generous idea.
You might be surprised at the number of nice cars that somehow find their way to the junkyard.
reports that most of them are often pretty well-maintained and less than 15 years old.
Junkyards can encourage the reuse of old parts for other vehicles, which can be a good thing for the environment.
However, according to Autotrader, it might be the case that your donated car is taken to a junkyard prematurely for valuable scrap metal and parts, simply because charities will likely be able to get needed funds in exchange right away.
Many of the junked vehicles are in working order or would require only minor fixes to be driveable again, which is what makes this practice an overall environmental issue.
It unnecessarily puts working vehicles out of commission, and prevents them from being used by someone who could have benefitted from a fairly affordable second-hand vehicle. Plus you are likely to get more for your vehicle if you
sell it yourself
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Sell the car yourself, or donate it for charity use

Using a tool like
Kelley Blue Book
’s Instant Cash Offer, you can determine the going rate for your vehicle and then donate the money to charity when you sell, and still get a tax deductible.
If your vehicle is in good working order, it is also a generous idea to donate it for the charity’s internal use.
notes that many charitable organizations could use such vehicles to deliver essential items or transport those in need.
Additionally, schools often welcome used car donations, as mechanics students can use them in their training.
If you’re donating your car to make way for a new one,
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