Can I Still Donate My Car Even If It Hasn’t Run in Years?

February 12, 2017

Charitable Donations

Old cars are among the most popular items that are donated to charitable organizations. A large number of charities throughout the country will gladly accept your old car, which they in turn sell to old car dealers or to junk yards. Such donations help clean up the streets in your neighborhood by removing an old, and in some cases inoperable, vehicle, benefit the charitable organization and save you time as it can be rather difficult to sell an old car. In some cases, donating your vehicle can be financially more rewarding than selling it. Since such donations are usually tax deductible, you may very well save more on your taxes than you could have received in a conventional sale.

Inoperable Vehicles

Most charities that accept car donations will gladly take an inoperable vehicle. For instance states that most car donations are accepted whether the vehicle is running or not. The organization has an online Car Donation Form you can fill out to see if your vehicle will be accepted. Similarly, American Kidney Fund states that your car donations will usually be accepted even if the vehicle isn’t running.

Removal Cost

When donating a car, keep in mind that the charitable organization must rent or send one of its own tow trucks to remove an inoperable vehicle. This will inevitably involve a certain cost and the value of your car must make this operation worthwhile for your donation to be accepted. To ensure that the operation will run smoothly and that you do not waste the charity’s time, describe the condition of your vehicle in detail and try to give an idea about the location of the car and the kind of effort it will take to remove it from its present location. A vehicle trapped by trees in your backyard may take several hours to load on a tow truck and may therefore not be accepted by the charity.


Before you donate the vehicle, locate the title. Although you will not receive cash for the car, you must still prove that it is legally yours before you can donate it. If a name other than yours is displayed on the title, you must ensure that either that person is available to sign the title over to the charity or obtain a power of attorney from that person allowing you to sell or donate the car.


Finally, make sure to get a receipt from the charitable organization for your donation. This will allow you to deduct the vehicle’s value from your taxable income while also absolving you of any legal responsibility associated with the illegal operation of the car after you donate it.

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