Where to Donate Your Used Car? E3 Spark Plugs Offers a Few Ideas

Nonprofit homes for troubled youth use donated cars to teach young residents auto mechanic skills.

Got a ride sitting in your driveway or yard that not likely to see the open road with you in behind the wheel again? Rather than let it rust and rot, why not donate it to a nonprofit organization that could use it for a positive cause? Not only will you get that feel-good vibe from doing something helpful, but you may just get a little cash for it come tax time, too.

The US government allows vehicle owners to benefit from donating used rides in one of two ways, depending upon how the receiving charity will use the donation. If a charity will actually use the vehicle itself, you may be allowed to deduct its value up to a state or federally predetermined amount when filing you’re taxes each year. If the charity will sell your vehicle and use the proceeds to serve their beneficiaries or further their cause, then you’ll be allowed to deduct the amount of money for which the charity is paid for the car.

So how do decide which charity to bless with your unused ride? There are lots that will be more than happy to take you up on your generous offer, and we here at E3 Spark Plugs have a few ideas. To choose one, first decide how you want your vehicle used. If you’d like to see a charity sell your car to someone who will be able to use it, and allow the charity to benefit financially, you’ll likely have more options. A top choice for many donors is the Make-A-Wish Foundation’s Wheels for Wishes program. The organization sells donated vehicles and uses the proceeds to grant wishes to children battling life-threatening medical conditions. Thus far, Make-A-Wish has benefitted some 250,000 children worldwide.

If you’d rather your vehicle be used by the charity, you’ll need to do a little more digging, but again – you won’t have trouble finding a taker. Many group homes for troubled teens use donated cars to teach young residents auto mechanic skills. This helps prepare them for future jobs, or for working on their own vehicles. Churches and youth or senior citizens organizations use donated vehicles to transport participants to and from church services, dinners and other events. And, if you’re a pet lover, consider donating your ride to a local animal shelter or rescue organization. Via social media posting and email, shelter pets often find homes in other cities or states, and thus need to hitch a ride. Shelter workers or volunteers can use extra vehicles to transport homeless pets to their new homes, or sick or injured pets to the vet’s office.

Remember that getting the tax benefit out of your donated vehicle requires certain steps and paperwork, so do your research first.