Donate Cars for Cash

Have you got an old clunker sitting in your yard or driveway that you want to get rid of? Maybe you just bought a new car and your old one would cost more to repair than the car is worth. Whatever your situation, you have a car that you want to get rid of but that you'd like to find a way to get at least some cash for, if possible. There are a couple of ways to donate your car and get cash for it.

Choose a charity that you would like to support that takes car donations. Choose one that is nonprofit and that is a 501(c)(3) organization or is qualified as a religious group.

Call the charity you've chosen and find out the steps you need to take to donate your car. Follow the steps to the letter.

Be available when your car is picked up.

Give the keys, but not necessarily the title, to whoever picks up your car. It varies from state to state what you're supposed to do with the title so check that ahead of time.

Get a receipt from the person representing the charity that picks up your car. Make sure that the receipt has the charity's name, its federal tax ID number, as well as your full name and the date you donated your car. All of this information needs to be on there for tax purposes, so that you don't have any problems claiming your deduction on your tax forms.

At the end of the year file tax form 1040, which allows you to itemize deductions and deduct the fair market value of your car at the time of the donation.

Get together all the information you have on your car. You need your title, your insurance, and a list of nonworking parts on the car. You will need this information to give the junkyards that you call in order to get a fair amount for your car.

Call at least five junkyards and find out what they would offer you for your car. Also find out if they will tow the car for you if it is not drivable or if you will need to contact a tow truck to do this.

Pick the top three bids and then see if you can get at least one of them to go a little higher on what they are willing to pay.

Accept the highest bid and then make arrangements to either drive your car to the junkyard and take a cab home or have a friend follow you in his car so he can take you home. Or if the car is not drivable make towing arrangements with the junkyard or with a third-party towing company to pick up the car and deliver it to the junkyard. In most cases if you can drop off the car yourself, you can get a check right then. When using the towing option you will have to wait for a check to come in the mail.

Make sure there is a legal transfer of the title to your car to the junkyard. Get a bill of sale at the time of the transfer of the title.


  • Call your insurance company as soon as the car is no longer in your possession, no matter which option you've chosen, so it knows you no longer own the car.

    If you are dropping off a car to a junkyard be sure to take the title to the car with you so that there is a legal transfer of the title from you to the junkyard. Also bring your car keys because you will need to turn these over, as well.


  • If you donate your car to a company that is not a registered 501(c)(3) organization or is qualified as a religious group you will lose the ability to use your car as a deduction on your taxes.

    Don't leave anything that you care about in the car because once the charity or junkyard has the car, any items inside become theirs as well.