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The Best Time To Donate A Car To Charity

April 10, 2017

Many people have plans to someday donate their old car, boat or motorcycle to charity. But how do you know when the best time to donate is? Giving up your car can be a tough decision even if you know it will help a cause you care about. To help with the sometimes difficult decision of when to donate a car, we've put together this simple guide. 

11 Tips For When To Donate Your Car

People donate their cars for all kinds of reasons. If you're here, you probably have a few reasons of your own in mind. If you want to donate your car but you aren't quite ready to take the next step, here are a few situations that are the perfect time to donate!
Man with car trouble

  1. Your car is unreliable or has left you stranded. Not being able to count on your car is extremely stressful, and it may be time to move on.  
  2. Your car's warranty has expired and you no longer have the manufacturer's coverage for expensive repairs.
  3. The car is nearing 100,000 miles and you don't want to face the very real possibility of needing to repair the transmission, brake pads, fuel pump or water pump. Granted, cars these days last longer than they did 20 or 30 years ago. However, some people will still start to worry when their car gets a lot of miles on it, and it's perfectly okay to donate the car and move on.
  4. The cost to repair and maintain the vehicle becomes a burden. Even minor repairs can add up, making the car more expensive to maintain than it's worth.
  5. You finally paid off your car loan and are in the market for a new vehicle.
  6. You just saw a great deal on a new car, but know that your old car's trade-in value is low. Dealers are known to offer people a much lower value for their trade-ins. This can be especially true if they know the buyer is motivated to get rid of the car in order to take advantage of a sale.
  7. An older relative passed away and you're left with their old car. Family members sometimes face undue stress in trying to sell older model vehicles that their relatives may have owned, even if the vehicle has relatively few miles on it.
  8. It's getting close to the end of the year. Many people donate their cars to get a nice tax deduction. When the end of the year comes around, many people are reminded that they only have a few weeks left to get a tax deduction for that year. Any car donated before 11:59 p.m. on Dec. 31 counts for the tax year in which you made the donation.
  9. Your car is starting to get rust damage and you know it'll only get worse. People who live in states that use road salt know how rust can destroy your car's value. If you notice the telltale signs of rust damage – or your car is already rusted out – car donation is a great option.Rusty car
  10. The car has body damage. If your car has sustained damage, it may now need a salvage or total-loss title, which greatly diminishes the car's value. Because most insurers won't cover a totaled car that leaves you with very limited options. However, you can still donate a car that has body damage. The car will likely be recycled, but you still get a tax deduction and the proceeds from recycling your car still help the charity.  
  11. The car won't start anymore. When your car completely gives out and won't start, you might think it's completely worthless. That may be true if you're trying to sell it, but isn't the case if you donate your car. Even cars that no longer run can be donated.

How To Donate A Car

If any of these circumstances describe the situation you find yourself in, now is the perfect time to consider donating your car. You may think that cars need to be in great condition for a charity to benefit from them, but that's not the case. Older cars and cars with mechanical problems all help Wheels For Wishes achieve its mission of benefiting local Make-A-Wish chapters.

To donate your car to Wheels For Wishes, simply call us at 1-855-278-9474 or use our online car donation form. Our donation representatives are here to help with any questions or concerns you may have about your car donation.

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CDF also runs the following programs:
Wheels for Wishes benefiting Make-A-Wish®, Wheels for Wishes & Wellness benefiting local children's hospitals and charities, Vehicles for Veterans benefiting disabled veterans, and Animal Car Donation benefiting animal rescue organizations.

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CDF's mission is to help these benefitting charities fulfill their missions with proceeds from CDF's car donation programs. CDF and all benefitting charities are separate and unaffiliated 501c organizations.
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A federally registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization